[insert “food” item here].
I hear this phrase multiple times at each trip to the grocery store I take with my mother. I do correct her: It’s not that I can’t eat those cookies or that frozen pizza or this bag of soup mix, it’s that I choose not to, because it contains animal ingredients. Even saying that I “choose not to” kind of makes me uneasy, because it brings to mind the whole “what I eat is a personal choice” idea, which, to animals, is a load of bullshit. Perhaps I should simply say that I will not eat whatever it is.
8. I tried being vegan but I got so sick!
This one’s interchangeable with “A friend of a roommate’s cousin’s teacher’s sister almost died when she stopped eating meat!” You can be a healthy vegan, or an unhealthy one. You can be a healthy omnivore, or an unhealthy one. While I am of the mind that eating whole plant foods greatly decreases your chances when it comes to developing diseases of excess, I begrudgingly admit that there are nonvegans who are healthy eating meat, dairy and eggs. But see, I’m am ethical vegan. Even if someone were to suddenly prove that the Standard American Diet were actually healthy (it’s not), it still wouldn’t convince me to eat animals. And if I were getting sick, I’d surely evaluate the factors that could contribute to it with reputable, knowledgeable professionals who were not biased against veganism to get to the bottom of things.
7. It’s natural to eat animals.
Listen, unless you are chasing down an animal, ripping it apart with your fingernails, and eating it raw, there is nothing “natural” about how you’re eating it. The industrialized CAFO system that brings you your cellophane-wrapped slabs of meat? That ain’t natural. Cut the crap (incidentally, there is crap, as in feces, all over your meat. Bon appetit!).
6. I knew a vegan once. He was sanctimonious/crazy/mean.
Hey, dude, thanks for the stereotype. I knew a car salesman once. He was pushy, condescending, and a little creepy. Stop putting people into boxes.
5. But tofu’s so gross!
Ok, first, no. Tofu isn’t gross. I mean, if you don’t know how to prepare it, it could be, but that’s not a tofu-exclusive characteristic. Second, is bean curd really too gross in comparison to the pus-laden milk, feces-covered meat, and chicken periods (read: eggs) you’re used to?
4. Don’t tell me; I don’t want to know!
There’s an old saying: “The truth hurts.” It applies here. Most importantly, the truth about how your “food” is produced hurts the sentient beings that are exploited and killed for their bodies and secretions. But having to face that truth? I’m not going to lie: it’s painful. You’ve lived your entire life believing something that’s complete and utter bullshit. Once you’re told otherwise, it’s really hard to reconcile buying into a construct that’s so horrible. You’d rather be ignorant. You’d rather the ag-gag bills get passed. You’d rather pretend that Old MacDonald exists. He doesn’t. You know it. What are you going to do about it?
3. I can’t afford to be vegan.
Can you afford rice and beans? Can you afford a few fruits and veggies every week? Can you give up your daily latte and your drive-in burger? I’m not saying there isn’t a very real food issue out there – food deserts and other facets of availability are problems. But if you are lucky enough to have access to a supermarket, you might be surprised what you can afford.
2. But you eat fish, right?
Nope, I won’t eat fish. Contrary to popular belief, fish are animals.
1. You are not alone.
Are you a new vegan? Are you the only vegan you know? I want you to hear it from someone: you are not alone. There are many of us. Our numbers are growing. Whether we’re outspoken or shy, cynical or positive, punk or preppy, young or not-so-young, we’re out. Ask questions. Your compassion for animals, for the planet, and for yourself is awesome – so embrace it!