January 17, 2012

9 Excuses for Not Going Vegan

I like to hear people’s excuses for not cutting animal products out of their diets because it means they’re actually thinking about it.

A few people in my life lately have told me that my simple presence ‘makes them feel guilty’ about their diets, but the funny thing is they are always the ones to bring up the discussion.

When I remind them that I can’t ‘make’ them feel anything, this is when the juicy part happens; they start to fight with themselves about how consuming animal products is ‘okay’.

Have you ever read the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Well it talks about how when men grumble about doing a requested task, women should see this as a sign of love because this is the process of how men reach within to put the woman’s needs first. This is the exact same thing that happens when people generate excuses to stop eating animals – this is their growth process and it was once mine, too.

Here are the top 9 self-fights I’ve been hearing:

1. It’s Hard Enough being Vegetarian, let alone Vegan.

I feel you. I’ve been there. I was vegetarian for 10+years and towards the end was trying to eat less dairy. But as long as I continued to see dairy as food, I would still eat it. When you learn about the link to casein and most major diseases, when you learn that rape is a mandatory part of dairy, and when you realize that veal is the mandatory byproduct of dairy (calves kept in solitary confinement from birth, then slaughtered as infants), this sickly product starts to look less like food. Mix it with the blood, pus, and bacteria that mixes in during processing  and this secretion cocktail becomes simply inedible.

So what will happen if you don’t have dairy and eggs to support your meat-free diet?? You’ll inevitably make healthier choices. That was the main thing I found in transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. I had to avoid the quickie junk foods like chocolate bars, baked goods when out and about, ice cream, cheese, some types of potato chips, etc. I reached instead for snacks like fruit, some kinds of granola bars, nuts, smoothies, and homemade things. It’s harder to go wrong when vegan because your palette of choices is healthier.

So when worrying that you’ll be even less ‘nourished’ if you take the full plunge, it’s actually easier to be a healthy vegan than a healthy vegetarian.

*I’m all for ‘junk’ food! But as a treat, not a staple.

2. Eating Animal Products is Normal

I’ve heard this one a lot lately. I’m the freak, the animal consuming loved ones are normal because they represent the majority.

In our everyday lives, how many of us kill sentient beings? In our modern day society, this type of behavior usually merits jail and probably the psych ward, and maybe even the fate of being murdered in jail.

In our ‘civilized’ society, killing is not socially acceptable behavior. So then how is hiring others to do if for you behind closed doors any different? Animal cruelty is considered especially sick in our modern world – akin to child molestation.

Eating animal  products = killing.

Killing is not normal. Not anymore, anyway. This isn’t Middle Earth.

3. Veganism Doesn’t Make a Difference Anyway

Less than 1% of the population is vegan so what’s the point? It saves 90 animals per person a year!

Many people believe that unless everyone goes vegan, their doing it somehow doesn’t count. Who cares what everyone else is doing? If you can’t do it, how can you expect anyone else to?

As I said above, you can’t make anyone do anything. All you have control of is yourself and your actions. And that’s all you need.

The real difference is how you feel in making such a small, huge change.

4. I Don’t Like Vegetables that Much

Are you a mama’s boy/girl who was indulged to only eat chicken nuggets and donuts as a kid? Did your idea of veggies consist of perfectly sliced cold cuts and tons of Ranch dip? I was. I was raised with perpetual vegetable threats, probably because my parents had themselves been indoctrinated to believe that if it’s good for you, it probably doesn’t go down easily. Lies.

It’s time to reprogram. Small bites at a time.

You are not a crazy nasty ass honey badger. Do you know how badly your body is craving fresh fruit and vegetables? Can you hear the callings?

But if you love your comfort foods, you can still eat them. Any animal-based indulgence can be vegan: Cadbury cream eggs, poutine, meatball subs, Blizzards, ice cream cake, insert craving here> _____.

5. Eating Animals is a Personal Choice

Some become absolutely livid when confronted about their animal-based diets. How DARE you? they hurl. Eating animals is a PERSONAL choice. I don’t pressure YOU to eat animals.

Well, asking someone to behave non-violently is a little different than asking someone to behave violently, to begin with.

That aside, I believe we are now smart enough as a human race to understand that eating animals is no more a right than enslaving other humans. If eating animals destroys the environment at exponentially greater rates that plant agriculture, if the resources used to raise them perpetuates worldwide hunger when veganism would feed many more, if eating these ‘foods’ is keeping people perpetually ill with documented correlated diseases… then how is this personal?

Eating animals affects us all.

We have a responsibility to the planet, to the other species of this planet, to the oppressed people who are as enslaved as the animals who we pay to kill them, and to ourselves.

I’m all for individualism. However the very idea of civilization is based on the idea that our freedom ends at the loss of another person’s freedom. And what we are learning is that eating animals infringes on not only the violent treatment towards animals, but the violent treatment to people (starvation, destruction of environment, diseases, dangerous slaughterhouse conditions, etc.)

We are only as free as our neighbors.

6. Animal Rights is Not my Cause

Some people feel that going vegan is like choosing a charity to volunteer for. It’s an option among many. Nice try.

You can be vegan and still support whatever causes you choose. It’s not an either/or matter.

The movie Bold Native explains that animal rights activists are the ones who say: me, I will help; I will do something about it. While you don’t need to become an animal rights activist to be vegan, being vegan is the same concept of realizing that if you eat animal products you are the cause of suffering in factory farms, and therefore showing the world that you are willing to try a different lifestyle to change that.

7. Veganism is a Sacrifice

Hate that word. It doesn’t represent me at all. Yet I identify about 95% with the vegan concept. Veganism is not about cutting things out of your diet, it’s about redefining what you see as food.

From the outside, going vegan probably looks like giving something up, but once you’re in the loop learning new cooking skills and places to eat, and meeting veganish people, not only is it not a chore, but it’s a blessing, inside & out.

When you think about it, you’re only cutting out three main animals from your diet: chickens, cows, and pigs (lamb, fish for some). These 3 elements that make up a huge portion of the North American diet. How many thousands of other foods exist that you are not trying because you’re perpetuating a diet your TV raised you with?

The concept of sacrifice is the opposite of non-violence. Sacrifice is the idea that we must suffer for something greater. Non-violence is the quality of approaching all things gently. Veganism is a lifestyle that embraces non-violence. ‘Embrace’ being the key term.

8. Veganism is a Huge Commitment

You don’t have to be convinced that this new lifestyle will work. You don’t have to make a lifetime commitment. Going vegan is like working on your flexibility – one day at a time. Hurts a bit to start, but feels sooo good to progress and expand your power as a human being.

Before assuming that you’re going to be hungry all the time, actually try it for a few days. You will be hungrier more often, because you’re body will be digesting food faster. But you will also be entirely satiated, just without the heaviness.

Like Alicia Silverstone says in her book The Kind Diet: flirt.

9. Vegans are Annoying and I Don’t Want to be Like You

Guilty. People who lean towards veganism in all its variations can be really annoying. Hard to say if they’re genuinely excited about their transformations, or if they’re just trying to spread propaganda to ‘convert’ you. But they sure are vocal about their choices for the most part.

You do realize you can be a silent vegan, right? It’s just that most vegans don’t want to stay silent because they are having the time of their lives growing past what they once knew.


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