For most vegans, it is a daily struggle to converse with people about their dietary and lifestyle choices. However, there is also a struggle amongst vegans within their own community. This is the struggle I’d like to talk about today.
There are a few things that often come up within the community that I often feel are detrimental to the movement and are often the source of why people don’t stay vegan or never become vegan.
The primary culprit is perfectionism. There is this concept that vegans are perfect. They live perfect waste-free, minimalist, cruelty-free lifestyles eating nothing but plants. It’s true that there are vegans who find it easy to live within this highly specified archetype but most people just can’t live up to this kind of perfection, especially when first transitioning. Here is where I’d like to cover a few common raps that vegans attack other v vegans about.
1. “You eat honey. You aren’t vegan.”
It’s true that honey isn’t considered vegan to probably the vast majority of vegans. However, there is still a boiling debate about the subject. Some feel it’s perfectly natural to eat honey, even beneficial while others feel that it’s cruel to bees in a multitude of ways. I, myself, eat honey. I am also new-aged so honey holds spiritual and medicinal importance for me. However, I still consider myself vegan. It’s unfair to call other vegans who eat honey not vegan as it makes the entire concept of not eating dairy or egg products almost insignificant. They’re vegan. They just disagree with you about honey.
2. “Aren’t vegans supposed to be skinny?”
Vegans aren’t supposed to be anything other than vegans. I feel this is probably the easiest answer to most of the things I’ll be discussing here. However, when it comes to weight, it is especially true. Vegans just like meat-eaters come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are simply people who choose to reduce animal suffering to diet and lifestyle.
3. “You can’t eat faux meat products. Meat is supposed to disgust you.”
Many people go vegan because they love animals and not because they hate meat. Many actually really enjoyed the flavor of meat but were disgusted by the practices of the meat industry. The truth is that faux meat products make it easier for many to transition to a vegan lifestyle without feeling immediately deprived and make it much easier for the to be successful.
4. “You’re doing vegan wrong. You can’t be eating all that bread.”
You’re right that eating nothing but bread isn’t healthy. That being said, I can eat whatever the hell I want. You can eat whatever the hell you want. Any vegan can eat whatever vegan food they want and still be “doing vegan” just fine.
5. “You shouldn’t eat vegan products made by non-vegan companies.”
Eating vegan products made by non-vegan companies actually tells companies that this is what we want to spend our money on. Every dollar you spend is a vote. Vote with your dollar for the things you want more of. The more support vegan products receive the more vegan products companies will produce. Many companies have already admitted that their future lies in vegan products because the demand for dairy and meat has decreased substantially and exponentially. That being said, if you don’t feel comfortable supporting companies like Hellman’s who sued Hampton Creek, a plant-based company, for using the word “mayo” then I totally understand that.
There are plenty more vegan on vegan biases. These were just five that I’ve encountered or seen rather often in the community. My suggestion is that instead of judging other’s versions or methods of veganism that we lift each other up for making sustainable and ethical choices. Supporting each other will make the vegan movement all the more successful in the end.