BUT I try REALLY HARD not to be one of those vegans. You know the type- they take every opportuity to tell you they are vegan, they pretend to gag when you eat meat, they sit atop their high horse sipping chia seed smoothies and pretending that tofu and cheese are the same thing. I try not to proclaim my veganism from the rooftops and in most cases will just say “oh, no thank you” to something that falls outside of my dietary restrictions. I prefer to do this rather than going on a long-winded rant about how you are EATING THE MURDERED CARCASS OF A SENTIENT BEING, but that’s just me.
I’ve also been vegan since 2011, so I feel like I can speak from some years of experience and vague authority.
In my 5+ years of eating a plant based diet I have noticed some trends. A lot of people don’t understand what vegan is (OH SO YOU DON’T EAT GLUTEN AMIRITE). They assume that I’m one of those *sometimes vegans* who talks a big talk, but at the end of the day will actually chug a gallon of milk like their life depends on it. Even though in my head it all seems pretty simple- I don’t eat anything that came from an animal- people still seem pretty confused. And people like to ask a lot of questions. PEOPLE ASK A LOT OF THE SAME QUESTIONS AND LIKELY WILL FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. There are things people will say to you when you are vegan. They will say these things to you so often that your eyes will start to cross and you will have to pretend that deep inside you are not slowly going blind with rage.
How long are you going to be vegan for?
As I’ve mentioned before, I hate questions like this with a burning passion. It’s a lifestyle choice- much like following a religion or recycling regularly- that I’ve decided to form my life around. I deeply believe in it. I take it seriously and hey, it works for me, so I plan on doing it for a while. How long do you plan on eating the foods you like for YOU JERK?!
When somebody alters their life in a way we are unfamiliar and/or uncomfortable with, it’s generally easier to declare that they are *just going through a phase* than to accept that this might just be how they live their life. Making a dietary change makes people uncomfortable because they are (sometimes) forced to look at their own diet, which can make them feel *squirmy*.
Where do you get your protein?
I DON’T KNOW WHERE DO YOU GET YOURS FROM?! Wait, actually though, do you know how much protein you’re consuming? Are you aware of the nutritional intricacies of your own diet? It’s an exasperating truth that the second you go vegan (or make any non-traditional dietary change, tbh) that suddenly SURPRISE EVERYBODY YOU KNOW IS A NUTRITIONIST. What I always find hilarious about this, though, is that they don’t actually tend to know anything about their own diet. I remember being at a party a few years ago where a friend-of-a-friend found out I was vegan and started digging into me about how unhealthy I was. This tends to happen about twice a year in social settings, so I stood there and let him get his *feelings* out and waited for my turn to politely shut him down. The whole time he was “lecturing” me he was also slamming back diet soda. So, there’s that. Clearly he was a GOD OF HEALTH.
I realize that not all vegan humans do this, but I did my research. I did a lot of it. I went vegan when I was a D1 athlete, so I didn’t have any wiggle room to mess it up. I had to make sure I was getting all the right things in my bod or I would turn into a zombie. I was lucky enough to have a trainer that I could talk to about it. I also planned out my meals very carefully.
I dread getting sick for many reasons, but PARTICULARLY because without a doubt there is always SOMEBODY who questions if it’s related to my veganism, as if my eating more fresh produce also equates to me being wildly malnourished. Some well-meaning but very misinformed person always whispers under their breath- “do you think it’s because you AREN’T EATING ENOUGH MEAT?!” Yes, I’m sure that’s it. I’m sure that I got sick because I haven’t eaten steak in over 5 years and not because literally everybody I know got this stomach flu also.
Essentially, I’m getting more than enough protein. Are you?
But what about when you’re pregnant?
This is an offensive question on multiple levels. To begin with, it assumes that I’m chomping at the bit to begin pumping babies out of womb. Also, it implies that I am not intelligent enough to plan ahead and supply adequate nutrients to my unborn child. Really? If I do ever decide to start popping out babies I plan to take it really fucking seriously, and make sure that all parties involved are getting what they need. Also guys, it’s just kale. Kale is not going to kill a growing human.
I think this stems from those crazy stories- we’ve all seen them- of vegan parents who got in legal trouble because they fed their spawn some extremist diet and the child either died or was incredibly ill. I hate the stories of vegan parents whose children were malnourished. Saying all vegans will do this is very similar to saying all people who are Muslim are also terrorists-it’s terrible, terrible logic! You heard like, one story one time about this happening. You are making a very extreme generalization and being silly. Not all vegans are idiots when it comes to their diets. Say it with me, NOT ALL VEGANS.
But HOW DO YOU LIVE WITHOUT CHEESE?
In case you weren’t already aware, cheese is ACTUALLY addictive, so it isn’t completely insane to wonder in despair at how somebody could ever give it up. I was the Queen of the Cheeses, so this was not my favorite part about going vegan, but I made it work. WAY BACK IN 2011 WHEN DINOSAURS ROAMED THE EARTH the vegan cheese offerings were pretty terrible. I tried to make nachos once and the cheese-alternative I bought smelled so terrible that I threw up. I’m not kidding. BUT through trial and error I’ve found substitutes that I have learned to love (heeeeeey Fauxmage) and I eat plenty of it.
“But I could never give up cheese!” Actually, you could. You probably just don’t want to. And that’s OK! But it’s not impossible.
*and last but certainly not least*
You eat fish though, right?
You do understand what an animal product is, right?
Until next time,