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?
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.
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!