I am finding that actually being a vegan may actually be easier than handling peoples’ reactions to my decision.
I have had many more questions, comments and challenges that I ever anticipated since my adoption of a vegan lifestyle. I know that most of the people I am sharing my good news with are responding from a base of assumed knowledge as opposed to any real understanding of what being a vegan is all about and that to some extent there is also the fear of the unknown.
I have purposefully taken a softly, softly approach to announcing my veganism, I haven’t refused to eat at the table of a meat eater, haven’t thrown paint over someone at Starbucks for ordering a full fat latte and haven’t even berated anyone in a supermarket for buying cheap processed reformed meat.
I think every vegan should take every question or comment as if it’s the first time they have ever heard it; if you are the only vegan anyone ever meets then they form their opinion of all vegans and of veganism based on your response.
The questions to date have centred round a few topics and I’m guessing that these are the comments heard on a regular basis.
How can you be a vegan, what can you eat? – How can you not be a vegan. I’m a vegan because I want to ensure I don’t play any part in the suffering of animals, I want to protect the environment and I want to live a naturally healthier lifestyle. I eat everything that you eat that is plant based and can say that I have eaten a wider variety of foods since becoming a vegan than I would have traditionally eaten by following a repetitive meat based diet.
It’s not healthy though is it; you can’t get your protein from seeds can you? – Yes it is healthy and all accepted research demonstrates that people following a vegan lifestyle have lower rates of heart disease, cancer and generally live a longer healthier life than those that follow a more ‘traditional’ western diet. We can get all the protein we need from leafy vegetables, pulses and beans and without all the cholesterol found in animal products.
We have dominion over animals though; they’re put here for us to eat. What would happen to the animals if we didn’t eat them? – We owe all creatures our respect, if we didn’t eat the animals then there would simply be fewer animals. The animals in the food chain are bred just for that, to eat, the impact this has across the globe is staggering. All the animals that live or die based on the gender lottery, male you die, female you ‘live’. Billions of male chicks die each year in the egg production industry; many male calves get killed or live a terrible life in the veal industry.
It’s down to the vegans out there to lay the myths to rest and to help those looking to explore, even tentatively what being a vegan is all about.