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I Am a Vegan Hypocrite

By |July 13th, 2015|

By Daria Zeoli, Guest Contributor

From the first piece I wrote in 2015, Vegan in a Non-Vegan World, my worldview has been increasingly exasperated and pessimistic. I haven’t had a meaningful exchange with another, live in-person vegan in almost two years. I haven’t been to a farm sanctuary for some one-on-one time with the animals and I haven’t been to Johnstown, PA for Vegetarian Summerfest in 3 years.

“I respect your life choices…”

“I’m entitled to my opinion…”

All this non-vegan world stuff is really wearing me thin. I am angry.

I cannot take you seriously if you tell me you don’t “believe everything [you] read” when I tell you that raising animals for food is the single greatest human-caused source of destruction to our environment.

I cannot take you seriously if you tell me humans are natural carnivores.

I cannot take you seriously if you tell me adequate protein can’t be had from a plant-based diet.

I cannot take you seriously when you tell me to sign a petition about hunting when you just ate at McDonald’s.

I cannot take you seriously because your denial and hypocrisy is very serious. It’s seriously causing immense pain to human and non-human animals, as well as the planet.

I am angry at this systematic brainwashing that has been going on for generations. I am angry that I understand how easy it is to refuse to believe and to turn a blind eye from what is happening to the animals, to our planet, and to us.

I am angry at myself. I’m no better than you, so don’t assume I think otherwise. As someone who believes in doing as little harm as possible, I am not practicing what I preach. I’m angry at all of us and I’m not harnessing that anger for a better use. Some would say that karmically, I’m harming the universe. And that means that I’m a vegan hypocrite.

I worked very hard to come to a space where I was independent, where I was living on my own terms, where I was living authentically. That has changed. I am living with others now, under the pull of too much stuff, under the pull of too little willpower, and I cannot get up. I’m drowning under a sea of plastic bags and bottled water, trying to ignore someone else’s meatballs in the freezer and cold cuts in the fridge. I eat out with others as they cut up their chicken’s eggs or bite into a strip of pig’s bacon or a cow’s hamburger and I block it out because I can’t sit at that table and acknowledge how much suffering has gone into those meals. I try to hold a conversation about methane and cow waste and am told to stop because I’m too impassioned to deal with.

It’s said that we shouldn’t spend our time preaching to the choir, but what good is it to preach to those who simply don’t agree? I can accept – or try to accept – that not everyone will share my ethics. But when even scientific facts fall on deaf ears, it all feels so hopeless.

I share this all with you because I want to be honest. I want to tell you what it is like being vegan – at least for a thirtysomething introvert in northern New Jersey – because if you have experienced similar, it’s important that you know you are not alone.

Life is a series of peaks and valleys. You don’t have the wherewithal to recognize this as you’re riding a particular wave, but it’s something to remember when you’re on a decline. There will be an uphill swing to this whole journey, and if you do the work of recognizing where you are, you can move on from it more quickly.

Can you relate? How do you move up when you’re on the decline? Let’s discuss the way through!

Photo: joshjanssen

About the Author:

Daria Zeoli went vegan when she was thirty and is proof that there is life after dairy-based cheese.

6 Comments

  1. Steve September 21, 2016 at 2:25 am - Reply

    Because no animals die as a result of industrial cropping of the grains, wheat, corn, and soy you would have us eat do they. No plains, prairie, forest, waterway or table, wetland or river systems are destroyed, sometimes irreversibly due to nutrient rape and pillage by these crops, or the pesticides (an agonising death by poison for a rabbit, field mouse etc), insecticides and excess nitrogen pollution from your synthetic fertiliser polluting the soil and then the water.

    Never heard a vegan answer why they advocate for domesticated animal genocide either. If these animals are not used for their protein and clothing etc they will cease to be of use and they will be killed. They won’t become pets. In 100 years some of them will be extinct.

    Lastly, it is well known some people can thrive on a vegetarian/vegan diet. I know of no omnivore who begrudges you your ability to do this. It is also well documented that many can’t. Go and research vegetarian/vegan recidivism rates and the main reason cited for ceasing. Health. We evolved as omnivores. If your ancestors didn’t eat meat, your brains wouldn’t be capable of making the decision to try and circumvent (believe you know better) what nature and evolution have done perfectly. Nothing arrogant about that at all. If you require man made supplements designed in a lab and mass produced in a factory in order to eat, there is nothing natural about your dietary choices and many of you are nothing short of dietary bigots.

    Oh, one final thing. If you Vegans are so concerned about animals and the planet, why are so many of you parents?? The most destructive thing you could possibly do is bring another mouth in the world to be fed and it ensures 1000’s more animals will be killed to feed your precious, one in 7.5 billion people, miracle child. Keep an eye out you don’t abuse your children by causing Rickett’s as well.

    Have a nice day, you holier than thou types tend to :-)

  2. Sonja Smith September 24, 2015 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Ok, Im 54 and have been through MANY scenario’s where I was SURE I was right and being a pain in the ass to everyone around, and angry/hurting, myself, friends and family-“Why can’t they SEE IT!” This desperation is no good to anyone. Your health is at risk, more than theirs because YOU are suffering, making everyone else suffer and that is Not The Point.
    Many lives and times have gone before you. Many Era’s, civilizations have crumbled , injustices of GREAT MAGNITUDE have happened to all living beings on Earth, including the destruction of a few Worlds before ours. So, Don’t take the suffering of this tiny bit of time on your back, and live in the JOY of the decision you made, for yourself, without the EGO of trying to FIX others. It’s a drop in the great mind of consciousness and important drop, but be in Joy about it, if not, it’s not worth it. Your EGO is in mind when you are putting too much into
    you being RIGHT. Like a MONK, you do what you do for your OWN reasons, not for outside validation or to change others.

  3. Tommy F July 14, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Daria, I have the same fury burning inside of me. I had to deactivate my Facebook page, yet again, because the collective denial-world, which doesn’t associate animal atrocity with the snack sitting on their plate, thinks that “I” am out to lunch. It’s definitely tuff to respect other’s journey’s, when they aren’t respecting the journey of each and every single animal life they claim, when eating animal products. All the suffering caused, because someone (even vegetarians), just can’t give up a glass of milk or that addictive cheese they could never do without (NO NACHOS!?!?). The world is evolving slowly.. it seems too slowly. There are hero’s out there.. and you are one of them. And my immediate world, much like yours Daria, is still in caveman mode. Refusing to acknowledge the colossal destruction of human body, spirit, animal liberty and environment. And all because they think they will wither away without their precious animal protein. So, you are no hypocrite. Quite the opposite. You care both about the animal’s suffering, AND your friend’s suffering. Your passion to connect the dots for them, comes from your compassion. But the odds are stacked against you. 98% of our world are meat/dairy eaters and billion/trillion dollar marketing budgets for animal exploitative products are only increasing. Realizing common sense reach through the eardrums, pass over the battlefield of the ego, and reach the heart of those you love is a war that the trillions of cells in their gut-biome just do not want to lose. I can TOTALLY relate. What I’m left with, is living my own authentic journey. Believing I’ve spread some seeds for others, I’m going to now focus on watering my own. When I see fertile soil.. I’ll lightly spread some more seeds. Meditation has definitely allowed me to find solace and stay committed. I’m also trying to cultivate a more forgiving heart. Particularly as I walk through my local Petco, to buy my dog his Vegan formula vittles, bi-passing a dark force-field of bagged/canned massacred carcasses. None of it seems right, fair or kind. But all I can do, is find some space and breath. Then wait for small opportunities to demonstrate how Veganism is the ONLY true, sustainable, possible answer to World Peace.

    Hang in there girl.. the world desperately needs you :)

    Namaste

    • Daria Zeoli July 17, 2015 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      I love this: “Believing I’ve spread some seeds for others, I’m going to now focus on watering my own.” It’s really poignant and some great advice. Thank you for that, and for everything else you said. It helps! :)

  4. Susan July 13, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I know the feeling. Sometimes it feels like I am just continually smacking up against a wall and nothing is going anywhere. I’m not one of those people who seems to have inspired everyone around them to go vegan (I wish I could be!), and I just feel like I am stuck in the same loops with the same people in my life. Which is hard, because I love most of these people. I particularly get annoyed when people say ‘don’t believe everything you read’…. because the information that comes from the meat/dairy/egg/etc INDUSTRIES is obviously the impartial truth? Ugh. I guess I retreat to my online vegan community, but that is only a temporary balm because while that is a happy place, it is not the place where I can try and make change happen.

    • Daria Zeoli July 14, 2015 at 6:10 am - Reply

      The “don’t believe everything you read” line is so frustrating! I’m tired of hearing how there is “vegan propaganda” as if studies paid for by the dairy council aren’t slanted in favor of a particular result.

      Keep trying to be the change, Susan. Sometimes, just by “doing you,” people take notice. I tell you this because I think I needed the reminder myself, as well.

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