I would just like to start this by mentioning that I completely support veganism and that I believe it is an aspirational way of life. I myself am not vegan, but Valerie, my best friend, is. We very frequently cook together and she educates me on the cruelty of animals and the negative affects to the human body in which consuming meat causes. I am not here to discuss those facts because frankly I am no expert and have not been able to cut meat out of my diet yet so I would be a complete hypocrite.
The topic I want to touch on is how certain Vegans express their love for animals and how they inform meat consumers. I believe that education is the best way to promote change within a society, but how the information is being presented is extremely important. For many consumers, veganism is portrayed as being a “hippy” thing and obnoxious or annoying. I have never understood why people felt this way since Valerie was always been respectful to me when informing me about it. That was until today of course.
For the last 4 days and the next 10 days, I am participating in a sugar and carb cleanse with my dad. It’s pretty much as simple as it sound although very challenging to incorporate into your daily life. We aren’t eating processed sugar or foods that are mainly carbs. Of course there is no way to cut out carbs completely. Carbs are found in basically everything; even carrots and bananas. I am not complaining about the carrots because carrots are gross. I am a sugar addict and am constantly craving sugar and carbs like bread. It was becoming a problem in my life and that is why I am cutting it out for two weeks. That should get my craving under control so that I can consume heathy amounts of sugars and carbs and make better choices.
I posted a picture on Instagram of the fruit and veggies I brought to work today because I am proud of myself. I am usually seen with an empty gallon of ice cream with chocolate all over my face. Doing this was a ginormous step for me. So I posted this picture:
I never expected to get comments because majority of my followers are old high school kids who couldn’t give two shit about what I’m up to, and that does not bother me one bit. Needless to say, I was shocked when Valerie’s ex boyfriend, who is our friend and also vegan, commented and mentioned that I need to learn about nutrition. This is a man who I see semi-regular and he know where I stand on the topic. I am no enemy to vegans. He then continues to tell me how carbs and sugars are needed in a diet, which I know. But out of nowhere , he states that I shouldn’t be consuming dead animals because that is the real poison to my body. I hadn’t once mentioned meat and was attempting to make the conversation light so it wouldn’t feel like he was lecturing me. I told him to talk to me about this in person instead of social media, because I am always open to learning new things.
Although he didn’t fully stop. He then messaged me on snap chat all about it and basically told me that I am full of bull shit and don’t know anything about nutrition even though I never once asked for his opinion or his nutritional help. This is the largest reason that non-vegans have negative stigmas towards veganism.
There are many different lifestyles that people partake in. Veganism is one of them. It has been found to be extremely healthy and cutting meat from your diet helps your body avoid many different potential sicknesses or health issues. When you have this information and it is your lifestyle it can be easy to not understand why other won’t change because it just makes sense to you. As I said before, education is the best way to make a change in society. But change doesn’t happen overnight and people won’t respond in a positive manner if they feel the information is being forced down their throat or they are made to feel stupid. That is how I felt today. I do have the goal to become vegan at some point, but hearing him talk to me like I knew nothing and every thought I once had was wrong, made me hate the idea of joining the lifestyle that he is a part of. People want to be welcomed into something and feel as if the choice was completely theirs. Humans just don’t like being told what to do and they respond negatively to it.
Strong moral and ethical values are strung into veganism which can make the passion for it hard to contain. I love that Valerie feels so strongly about being vegan and about the environment. I personally have not felt the extreme desire to change yet and that is very import. If you are going to do, you can’t do it half assed and I don’t think I am ready yet. She respects that and I respect her in a way that I don’t cook meat around her and try my best not to eat it in front of her. I eat tofu with her majority of the time we are together.
Mutual respect. That is what that is called. We don’t necessarily agree with each other’s lifestyles completely, but we have respect for other human beings and the way they choose to live. We have to educate people since many are very naïve, but if they are unwilling to listen, that is their choice and you can’t force them to do what you say is right. They must figure that out on their own.
People fear the unknown as well as hostility towards them. That means that the education will take away their fear of the lifestyle that is foreign to them, but the forceful tone or even yelling and demeaning insults about how they are animal murderers, will make them defensive and angry. That is no way to make someone see your point of view. You just sound like a bully at that point.
I guess the moral of the story is not to be an asshole and respect others no matter how strongly you feel about something. You don’t want to turn a good cause or lifestyle into something that others feel the need to bitch about to other because you didn’t approach the topic in the right way. Be awesome and educate the world!