Sorry, You’re Just Not Vegan Enough

CREATIVITY. (3)

I know that this is a food and recipe heavy blog, but this is an issue that I am beginning to see more and more in the vegan community. I feel I need to point out the problem. This non-food post may also have a little bit to do with the fact that I’m wrapping up the moving process and don’t have my kitchen 100% put together!

In the vegan community – especially online – there is a lot of “tearing other people down under the guise of ‘education’.” For example, people say they are dietary vegans, and “true vegans” (which I think can seem overly pretentious sounding) say that there is no such thing – either you’re full vegan or you go home.

If someone is compelled, for their own personal reason, to cut down on their intake of animal products, how can this hurt the vegan community? I feel that it is 100% acceptable to go “dietary vegan” or “plant based” and transition yourself into the lifestyle.

And I can hear the criticism now, “So you’re okay with all the suffering and whatnot that this is causing?” No, of course I’m not, BUT if I chew someone out over their attempts to be better and begin the change, that will likely discourage them to keep going, right?

Are you Educating?

The biggest problem I see is that many people think they are educating other people, when in fact they are discouraging! Guess what, for 19 years I ate meat and used leather goods. Then, when I decided to go cold turkey from meat eater to plant based and then full blown vegan, I leaned on the people who SUPPORTED my journey, the ones who encouraged me. Not the ones that slapped my wrist when I had a “relapse” burger after 4 months (yes, I admit it – it happened), but the ones who pushed me to actually keep going despite my challenges and missteps.

Now listen, I totally understand that after a few months/years/etc. of being vegan – you have different views on the world, but new people who want to change the world just like you, may not get that yet. But,I literally saw something much like this on Facebook recently:

New Up and Coming Vegan Superstar: “Hey guys, I’m looking to make a mock cheese recipe because I’m really missing cheese.”

I’m Better Than You Response: “Why do you crave the excrement of an animal you were never meant to eat, get over it!”

 

If you never craved anything bad when you went vegan, that’s really awesome, but when someone is here asking for our help – it’s our duty to post a simple and tasty recipe along with a supportive message – that’s the support that helps him or her continue his or her evolution. If you don’t like mock cheese, that’s totally okay and I understand, it may not be right for you at this phase in your journey. The harm is coming from us acting as if new vegans are harming the world while they learn. Please stop and think as you may be harming the vegan community when you show hostility or judgment, even when well intentioned!

So, I also want to include in this idea topics like cravings, not knowing if honey is vegan, and asking about protein – not doing so to be rude. You would never reprimand a 1st grader for asking for help with math, because they don’t fully understand it yet – so let’s not reprimand the new vegans who are trying to change their lives (and the world) – one step at a time.

In an ideal world, yes, everyone could just go vegan cold turkey – but we don’t live in a perfect world.  I think that there is a time and a place to be direct, to protest, to speak up and be heard – but that time isn’t through a keyboard, on social media, in an environment intended to support people trying to join you on your mission.

Everyone's at a different point

Bottom Line: Understand that everyone is at a different point in his or her journey. They may not have yet seen all the documentaries, read the all books, or seen the vegan news sites. So let’s stop treating them as second class vegan citizens! As a group that tends to care about all animals, we have to remember that we are fellow mammals on the same planet. We are each on a path to a higher level of enlightenment.

This was meant to inform and defend, not to offend or hurt your feelings – but I truly feel this needed to be expressed.

If you agree with the message, please take a second to share, tweet, or pin this post so more people can hear this message :)

Have an amazing rest of your week – and more recipes to come!

Want More No Fuss Recipes Straight to your Inbox?
Type in your name and your email for weekly updates!

Comments

  1. says

    Zach, thank you so much for this post! I am still somewhat of a beginner vegan, and went vegan for health reasons. I have noticed so much negativity and unnecessary judgement in vegan groups I joined on Facebook looking for support, and looking to learn more about living a plant based lifestyle. This is one of the many reasons I love your Facebook group and your blog. Your aim to educate and inspire is wonderful and it’s working for me! I recently read an article about how most vegans and vegetarians return to eating meat. The statistics were pretty discouraging so we need more people like you to encourage and keep us going in our journey to a full vegan life!

    • says

      Hey Jen!

      That’s so great to hear – having people at all stages of their journey in the group and community is so important to me! I love that this post could only further the message I’m trying to put out there and encourage people like yourself to keep on keepin’ on!

      Thanks for being awesome,
      Zach

  2. Joan Moore says

    Zach, you are right! You said what needed to be said, and I thank you for saying it!

  3. kathy says

    Nicely put Zach….thanks for saying this…I have seen others post similar things and still get bashed…or the post still continue. ..hope it helps

    • says

      Thanks Kathy!

      If it get’s bashed a bit it’s okay – I just want people to know that me, myself, and my community are open, positive, and not cool with making other people feel bad! Education over reprimanding :)

  4. says

    Very well said, Zach!! People need to be kind and help ALL of us move toward a better lifestyle, all the way around.

  5. Missy says

    Zach, way to go in send the tough messages. Your journey is an inspiration! Keep leading, you’re doing great work for everyone on this journey!!

    • says

      Haha not the “toughest message” I hope – just maybe more direct than some people like – but I’m okay with that :p

  6. Shelby says

    This is fantastic! I wish someone could re write this to vegan haters And tell them to be nice since we have to be nice to them :) I think that the social pressure is one if the hardest things to deal with being vegan is so easy for me but having to hear why people can’t do it or their opinions on why it’s wrong is so frustrating.

    • says

      Hey Shelby,

      Social pressure is 100% one of the hardest parts and as a transitioning vegan – getting it from both sides can be down right upsetting – but don’t worry, we’ve got each other ;)

      Zach

  7. lisa says

    Yes! Yes! And a thousand times yes! It took a lot of contemplation, planning, and education for me to transition. Yes, I transitioned. I even had to allow cheat days for a few weeks. Had I gotten the “go all the way or don’t go vegan” messages before I made the transition – I would be eating meat and dairy every single day. Veganism is such a huge paradigm shift and without a whole lot of education, support, and resources – it’s not an easy change. I even got sick going vegan because I didn’t know how to incorporate healthy plant-based proteins into my diet. Had the vegan police caught me, I would have thrown in the towel. So yeah, if you want to persecure those who struggle and falter . . . You could end up losing allies. Because it’s NOT “just that simple”. THANK YOU for being supportive, encouraging, and inspiring. It’s people like you that sometimes keep me going.

    • says

      Hey Lisa!

      You are so very welcome – I know that on my journey the support was nice – so I’m just passing the torch! Glad to have you on board!

      Zach

  8. TracyS says

    Thanks Zach, this was well done. I especially like your comment that there is a time and a place to protest, but this isn’t it. It’s unfortunate but I’ve had to learn how to block the posts of certain FB group members who seem to like tearing people down. It wasn’t helpful or worthwhile to me to try to get them to change their tone.

    • says

      Hey Tracy,

      Sorry you went through that – but I’m happy to tell you that you’ve found a judgement free zone :)

      Zach

  9. Mer says

    Amen! I got kicked out of a local group helping folks transition to a vegan lifestyle for sharing your opinion. Even the stats on meatless Monday are staggering on how many animals are saved by eating veg one day a week! To cut someone down because they are not 110% vegan helps no one. The happy herbivore blogger wrote something like your post a few years ago and people were NASTY. But she held her ground.

    • says

      I do recall seeing this on Healthy Herbivore – and LOVED her post around diet and health! It pushed me to write this post beyond just diet and health but to go head to head with being a “bad vega” :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  10. says

    Thank you for your excellent article.

    It is sad that we have to say this over and over again. The “unapologetic” vegano-centred self labelled “abolitionist” vegans are a major pain in the tofu.

  11. CindyD says

    Like you said in your email; haters gonna hate.
    I became plant based (I still have a teeny bit of dairy – yes, I admit it), for many reasons. Other groups would hang me to dry if I mentioned what I just did. Not you and your group, Zach. Everyone is so positive and supportive. We are all at different phases and stages and as someone once said “progress, not perfection”. I am working on it. Thanks Zach for providing and keeping a safe and supportive place – I appreciate everyone in the group and the role they play and help me with in my journey!

    • says

      AMEN! So glad that I’ve been able to offer you a supportive place! I totally get that some people are pushing for vegan (shoot so am I) but I lead by example, friendly education, and offering a space space for quality interaction :)

  12. Lee says

    Very well written Zach! We are all on our personal journeys doing the best we can do in our own way. Everyone is different and while some can just go cold turkey others might have to change in stages and take baby steps. I got out of all groups except for yours and 2 others because of the constant bashing. We are all human and not perfect so slips happen and you just go on. Thanks for this group and all you do.

    • says

      Hey Lee!

      I’m so glad to have you in the group – the one thing I stand for in my group is breeding an environment of personal growth and positivity! We’re all on paths to the same place!

      Zach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *