Since I do eat meat, I can’t consider myself vegan. However, I do try to eat vegan as much as possible. When I cook, it is mostly, say 90% of the time, vegan. The rest of the time, it is vegetarian, but it’s never dishes with meat. Just for clarification, I try to pursue the vegan diet, not necessarily the lifestyle (yet). In this post, I will be addressing the problem why vegans are sometimes seen as annoying and I will be rambling about my experiences regarding veganism. There are lots of kind, loving and wonderful vegans out there. But also shitty vegans. One of the greatest problems that I’ve come across, is the aversion towards veganism . Disclaimer: I am not trying to offend anyone or call anyone out by any means. I’m just trying to give my thoughts on why there has been a negative stigma around vegans.
The duck’s face represents my face every time I see this joke.
Little background story
About 4 to 5 years ago, I discovered this whole veganism community. Before this, I would only eat vegetarian when going out for dinner. But at home, I would still eat meat. The reason behind this, is because I do not like to waste. I still live with my family at home where most of the time, my mother cooks dinner. As she is quite traditional or old-fashioned (and stubborn as hell), there is always meat on the table for dinner. She comes from a tradition/culture where it is common to have more food on the table than eaten which leads to food going into the garbage bin every day. As I mentioned before about my dislike for wasting food or anything else, I had to eat meat that she prepares. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the effort she makes to provide us food. It doesn’t necessarily come from a bad place that she wastes food quite a lot. I have talked to her about vegetarian dishes and the whole better-for-the-environment story, but she still wouldn’t consider it. Nowadays, my mom lets me cook my own meals and she would cook less for dinner since I would eat my own meal and don’t eat together with my family. That is the only way for me to eat fully vegan. But the downside is, she still prepares meat which partially ends up in the bin. I try to reduce this by eating the left-overs, which logically makes me a non-vegan. I would consider myself as a person on a plant-based diet. Anyway, I might address my situation regarding my diet in another blogpost. I am a big believer of “Alle kleine beetje helpen” which translates to “Every little bits helps, significantly”.
Trying to make this blogpost less boring by putting a picture of a duck in between the text.
One of the problems I have noticed throughout my journey of learning about veganism, is that vegans (not all) may come across as annoying and some even hateful to other people (prime example: youtuber Freelee). To be honest, I have encountered some vegans on the internet and real life that actually annoys me as well. I feel like these kind of vegans promote there lifestyle in a toxic way, which created this stigma on veganism as I have observed. According to them; their lifestyle is superior and anything outside their lifestyle is "wrong". First of all, there is no "wrong" lifestyle. No one can live a 100% cruelty free life as veganism (lifestyle) is about being as much cruelty free as practically possible in my opinion. Second of all, people don’t like to be told that their habits or opinions are wrong generally speaking. Even though you might have a better lifestyle in terms of environment, don't say their habits or lifestyle is the wrong way of living. Instead, provide people with facts as much as possible and let them think for themselves. It's also okay if someone does not agree on these facts, not everyone is the same. That’s the beauty of humanity. Knowledge is not the same as realization, tho. From my experience, it takes a while for people to turn knowledge into realization or awareness. Some may not even be capable of that or still disagree on you, but that’s okay too.
To lighten up the mood. What’s up
What also fascinates me is that some omnivores see a plant-based diet as something abnormal or totally different they shouldn’t be eating. For example, comments on a cooking video on making pancakes like "I’m not vegan, but I’ll try this" confirms my statement. It is very strange to me as omnivores are by definition consumers of plant and animal products, and therefore, they practically eat everything. My initial thought when reading these comments are: “You don’t need to be vegan to try this out, so why pointing this out?”. These comments can be found on videos where the title includes the word “vegan” which I think is the leading cause that generates these type of comments. I’m not trying to say that we should stop labelling things as vegan, as it does have a purpose on targeting a specific audience. Non-vegans are of course always welcome to use these vegan recipes, however its purpose is to make it more convenient for vegans to find suitable recipes for them. I myself am guilty of using the term vegan as well in my life. ( See my previous blogpost of the recipe). I believe using the term vegan can be mentioned, if used right. If used wrong, it will only create this distance between other diets as they differentiate itself from a “regular” diet. There are times I feel like some non-vegans see a vegan diet as an alien diet or something.
So, why are they annoying?
The fact that non-vegans may see veganism as an extraordinary ( is that the right word?) diet, is caused by the way veganism is "promoted", I think. Promoted is in between quotation marks, as there are actual vegans out there that are shoving down their opinion into someone’s throat. I have an example for this which hopefully clarifies the way I think about promoting veganism the wrong way. This particular girl in my class, is incredibly passionate about veganism. Just like me, but she expresses it completely different than I do. Every time she notices something is vegan, she needs to speak out to other people (non-vegans) that it is vegan and it’s the best for you in terms of health. Which, again, creates this distance between veganism and a "regular" diet. There are times she tells people how bad dairy products are to a person that she knows is eating his/her lunch with dairy products. If she did this to me (which she did several times), it would make me feel bad, but not in good way that makes me want to change my diet. I have heard numerous people talking about her (when she is not near) that they find her a bit bothersome, which is a shame since she can be friendly and kind. She's passionate about veganism which is great, but I think it's just the approach she has taken to inform people about veganism is not right. Even though I do not consider myself as a full meat eater or meat lover (hell no), I can understand it might feel repulsive when you constantly get confronted by someone who thinks you’re eating unhealthy or “wrong” whatsoever.
I understand the frustration when someone (you care about) eats something unethical or unhealthy and you want do something about that. When my friends go to the mcDonalds and order a double cheese burger, I have this urge to talk to them about animal welfares and environmental impact. But I don’t, cause I don’t want to be seen as that annoying hippie girl and I want them to have a good time. I would choose another moment to discuss about animal welfare since timing of informing is also important when you want to avoid insulting the people you are talking to.
There are vegans out there who simply want to be better than anyone else by bashing on other people just for the sake of it. Luckily, there are also vegans who honestly want to improve the world, coming from a good place in their heart. If you want to make the world a better place, you need to do it the right way. Be mindful of others. Veganism should be promoted as an alternative diet with respect to other people’s choices, in my opinion. What are the best ways to promote veganism? I think I am going to write another blogpost on how to promote veganism the best way coming from my experiences.