I’ve used this blog to talk a lot about my veganism. I told you guys about why I’m a vegan and what it means to me. I shared a pie recipe and a cookie one all with no meat or dairy in sight. And I love it – I love that I have readers who are open to hearing about dietary lifestyles different than their own, and I love that I have readers who are also vegan and share their awesome recipes with me.
But man do I hate extreme vegans. I’m not talking about extreme in the sense of strict. I’m talking about those people (I think you’ve probably encountered at least one) who feel the need to lecture you on every choice you make that’s not “right.” The ones who have clever little quips about how it’s not worth being a vegetarian if you’re going to eat dairy, or how meatless Mondays mean you’re still killing animals six days a week. The people who look you up and down, searching for a hint of wool.
I remember three years ago, sitting in anthropology lecture with a girl who was vegan. We bonded over a shared love of coffee and black beans, and then she said that really annoying, made-me-want-to-pull-my-hair-out thing. “Well, I wouldn’t dream of eating dairy. Really, it’s no different from eating meat.”
UGH. She could have put all the evidence in front of me at that moment – she could have told me how much healthier I’d feel until the cows came home – but I would have just been so freaking mad that none of it would have mattered. Because the second she got that snotty look on her face and talked down her nose with that holier-than-thou tone, I was checked out. I don’t like being judged, and I don’t like being told that eleven years of vegetarianism is “no different” from eating meat.
I think I would have gone vegan a lot earlier if it wasn’t for these people. Because they made being a vegan seem so inaccessible. In fact, for a few months I just told people that I gave up dairy. And that I happened to be a vegetarian, as well.
When you get right down to it, it’s very narrow-minded and defeatist to pretend like everything we consume comes from lovely little farms one state over with well-paid workers and ethical materials. And it’s short-sighted to pretend like things like meatless Monday don’t help. Are you freaking kidding me? Besides saving animals, meatless Mondays help promote discussion about where our food comes from and the idea that a good meal doesn’t have to center around meat. I will never understand how that’s a bad thing.
I’m very passionate about my lifestyle. I love when people ask me about it, and I love to hear what they believe. But I don’t think any sort of extremism is the way to go. Promoting awareness comes through open, respectful discussion – not attacks. This is true in all areas of life, but for some reason people see food as open season for criticism. I could write a whole post on how much flak I get for being a vegetarian (and now a vegan) but it would be just as rant-y, and just as worked up. With lots of stories of uncles making jokes about how I should have just one piece of turkey, and the Joke That Never Dies, AKA the imitation crab bit. But really, I won’t go there.