On being “not one of those” vegans

When I decided to start eating vegan, it was with the solemn promise to myself that I would not become an angry, evangelizing vegan. I wouldn’t be “one of THOSE” vegans, I told myself. I would be a peaceful, breezy, “live and let live” kind of vegan, and all would be sparkly and good.

Yeah, unfortunately, that’s turning out to be a bit tougher than I’d first anticipated. :P

In general, I feel no particular animosity towards people who aren’t eating the way I am. Hey, if that’s what works for you, great. But the problem is, it’s pretty clear from the host of preventable diseases plaguing us these days that it’s NOT working, and because we’re so accustomed to this diet and have it so wrapped up in our traditions and who we are as people, it’s hard to even consider the fact that it could be at the root of our problems.

The more research I do and the more I see the benefits of plant-based eating (and the dangers of eating meat and dairy in particular), the harder it is for me to keep quiet when I see people making decisions that could legitimately cause them health problems down the line – and that’s not even taking into account the animal cruelty + environmental damage aspect of things.

There are a lot of good reasons to go vegan, but when you do, it’s hard not to get frustrated that everyone else can’t see the light at the same time. The research pretty clearly shows that meat and dairy contribute an incredible degree to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and a ton of other less than desirable things, and yet I hear friends saying that their doctors advised them to stop eating soy to protect them from cancer and had nothing to say about the meat and dairy in their diets.

One of the main reasons this is frustrating is because there’s no way to say, “Your doctor is clearly wrong!” without sounding like a nut. :P I’m neither a doctor nor a nutritionist, and I’m not likely to become one, but the fact remains that there are thousands of doctors and nutritionists out there who agree with me, and probably just as many who disagree. It’s such a polarizing issue, and people get mad about it. Really, genuinely, screamingly mad, on both sides. Vegans are seen as insane extremists who want to destroy the traditional American (or *insert country here*) way of life, and non-vegans are destroying our world, their own bodies, and those of their children with unsustainable, unhealthy eating habits.

It’s just too much, man. Can’t we all just get along (and eat vegan without being crazy about it)?

The thing is, I know what it’s like on the other side. I laughed at vegan jokes, I rolled my eyes at how extreme it all seemed, I said to myself, “Man, I could NEVER be a vegan,” and I was pretty sure I meant it. But the more you look into it, and the more you see actual, quality research that wasn’t funded by the meat and dairy industries, the more it all starts to make a lot of sense.

And yet, there are so many people who think that protein is the most important thing in our diet (it’s not), and that you can’t get protein from anything except meat (plants have protein, you guyz, and it’s practically impossible to have a protein deficiency if you’re eating food every day and not starving), and that people who don’t eat meat and dairy are somehow nutritionally deficient (the opposite is true), and just in general that it’s ***EXTREME*** and somehow unnatural to eat plant-based foods when, if you spend even a few minutes thinking about it, this is clearly not the case.

I mean, really. What seems more natural? Picking a vegetable from a garden and eating it, or taking a living animal, slaughtering it, butchering it, cooking its meat, adding a crap-ton of salt and flavoring to make it palatable, and then eating that? Or forcing another living animal to be in a state of permanent pregnancy, then stealing away her calf when it’s born, taking her hormone-laden breast milk, and drinking it ourselves? IT IS WEIRD, YOU GUYS. When you stop and think about it, IT IS WEIRD.

I’m a bit of an over-sharer on Facebook, and I like to post whatever I find interesting or amazing or horrible. When it comes to politics, LGBT rights, nerdy stuff, and a hundred other things, I feel absolutely free to post and know that the majority of my friends will either enjoy it or, at least, not be offended by it.  When I come across awesome vegan talks, though, or funny comics about dumb questions vegans are always asked, I hesitate to post them, or post them and then delete them, because I just don’t want to have the inevitable argument.

To be clear, this:

100% okay, no hesitation.

This:

“Ehh, I don’t know, I don’t want to offend anyone.”

So, yes, long story short:

/end vegan rant

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