There are a lot of articles out there explaining how to be vegan; I’ve even posted some myself. Tips and tricks to make it easier, yummy recipes that will have you never craving meat again. I relied heavily on these articles during my transition, and their advice was valuable. However, being active on vegan social media has also shown me some of the darker sides to veganism. I know not everyone agrees, but I’m not a big fan on those advocating veganism in an aggressive way, and judging those who don’t follow the same diet and lifestyle. I don’t think it’s productive, and often, it just sheds a bad light on our community. So today, I thought I’d give you some tips on how to NOT be vegan. Please let me know what you think, as I know everyone has very different opinions on this; I love a healthy debate.
- Don’t be too preachy
- If you’re really passionate about veganism, that’s great, but remember that not every wants to or needs to know about it. Not upon first meeting you, anyway. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people openly advocating veganism (I even do it myself, through my Instagram account), but there’s a lot of people that take it too far. By preachy I mean introducing yourself as; “I’m an ethical vegan and you should be too, because the way animals get slaughtered every second is inhumane”. Fair enough if you think this, but I don’t think it needs to be constantly communicated. I know a lot of vegans believe their mission on this earth is to spread word about the vegan movement, and while some do it normally, there’s too many preachers around for my liking.
- Don’t let veganism consume your whole identity
- Veganism has become really important to me over the last few months; from posting daily pictures of my food on Instagram to writing about it on this blog to reading up about related research. But I have made sure that it doesn’t become to only thing I think and care about. I was my own person before I became vegan, and I want to stay that person. I’m not going to break friendships with non-vegans, I’m not going to stop reading my favourite food blog that occasionally features meat, and I’m not going to walk around with a “I AM VEGAN!” shirt everyday. I am much more than just vegan, and I going to keep it that way; you should too.
- Don’t judge others
- I think that there are too many vegan role models out there who think that they are better than non-vegan people. They think that because they have converted to this diet and lifestyle, they have instantly become superior. Wrong. Remember a few years ago when you still ate meat and dairy? Would you have wanted someone to openly judge every bite you took? Probably not. Everyone takes their own journey, some end up eating meat all their lives, other end up being vegetarian, some end up being vegan.You might not like it, but I don’t see the need to judge. Guide them if they want it, supply them with the facts, give them some advice, but I say leave it at that. At the end of the day, the world is a better off filled with loving people, vegan or not, not judgemental mean ones.
- Do your research
- If someone is interested in veganism and wants to know more about it, by all means, talk to them about it, but in an educated way. When it comes down to it, saying “being vegan is healthy for you, because it just is” isn’t really feeding a persons interest. Instead, make sure you’ve done your research; read up on the science behind it (or the ethics, if that’s what you feel passionate about), and explain what you have learnt to them. Supplying someone with the facts behind veganism allows them to think about the issue on their own, and reflect on what they might want to change in their diet and lifestyle. At the end of the day, facts are facts, and what a person does with them is up to you.
- Approach everything with positivity
- When you become vegan, you have to be prepared for questions, lots of them. Yes, they get annoying, and if the asker gets you in a bad mood, it’s very tempting to shout ‘LEAVE ME ALONE WITH MY RICE AND BEANS!’ in their face. But please don’t. At the end of the day, this person is interested (even if their interest is masked with a stupid question), and so my advice is to always approach such situations with positivism. Tell them why you’re vegan (the long or short version, depending on your mood), and let them ask you more questions. If they’re being rude to you (maybe they’re one of those that refuses to believe protein comes from anything but animals) leave the situation with the smile and “see ya later”. The truth is, the vegan community still gets a lot of hate, so we could do with as much positivism as possible.
Those are my tips! Let me know what you think, and if you have any other tips. Have a radiant day =)