22 Things Not To Say To A Vegan
When people find out I'm a vegan they tend to have a lot of opinions. And questions. And jokes. Want to know a secret? I've heard them all before. (Really!) Here's a list of 22 things not to say next time you're talking to a vegan.
- Where do you get your protein? Plants.
- Just have a little of this (non-vegan food), I won't tell anyone! No, thank you. I'm not vegan for my "image", I'm vegan because I believe deeply in living compassionately and saving the planet. I'm not going to cheat on my fundamental beliefs, and I'd appreciate it if you'd respect that.
- I just love a rare steak. I prefer it still mooing! Really? You would rather bite into a living cow? You want to eat warm, uncooked, flesh? Are you sure about that?
- God wants us to eat animals. It says so in the Bible. Well, kind of. Jesus did state that eating meat was not an unclean act (Mark 7:19), but nowhere in the bible does it demand, command, or ask you to eat it. It does, however, state that no one should look down on or condemn someone who eats/does not eat everything (Romans 14:2-3). So, make your own dietary choice, but take responsibility for it rather than blaming it on God.
- How can you live without bacon?? Easily and happily, thanks for asking!
- You don't make friends with salad. Weird, I'm pretty sure I've made new friends since going vegan...
- Don't you care about people? What about the immigrants that harvest your fruit and vegetables? Or are animals more important than humans? Because you ONLY eat animal products and no vegetables or fruit or grains... And the animals you eat also don't consume any plant foods... So vegans are really the cruel ones in this scenario... Right.
- How do you know someone's a vegan? Oh, they'll tell you. Maybe we wouldn't have to bring it up if you didn't push dead animals in our faces within 5 minutes of meeting us.
- Human beings were MEANT to eat meat. It's the circle of life! Yeah, we're just like the lions in the wild who catch antelope and keep them in captivity for their entire lives in horrific conditions and then slaughter and eat them while keeping giraffes pregnant all their lives, taking their babies away, and making their cubs drink the milk meant for the giraffe babies. That's nature, for you.
- Just a taste! I made it especially for you. I'd really rather not. Usually when someone makes something especially for someone else they take their beliefs and preferences into account.
- You must be great at yoga. There's no law forcing vegans to do yoga. But yes, I am.
- Is breastfeeding vegan? Of course. Because feeding my babies is literally the only reason I produce milk. Just like cows produce milk to feed THEIR babies, and only their babies.
- Do you swallow? I'm not sure why you think this is an appropriate question for casual conversation with a stranger.
- So... what do you eat? A rich diet made up of a variety of delicious, whole, plant foods in incredibly satisfying quantities.
- Vegan. Is that the same as gluten-free? ...no, it's not.
- What would happen to all the animals if we stopped eating them? They'd get to live. How horrible, right?
- Aren't you worried you'll get osteoporosis? No.
- You would rather waste good food than eat animal products? First world problems, much? If you eat animal products with the sole intention of not wasting it, you're good intentions are misguided. All you're doing is sending a message to the establishment selling the food that animal products are in demand, initiating a chain reaction causing more animals to be held in captivity and slaughtered.
- Plants can scream and feel pain, too, you know. At least they aren't systematically tortured and the largest cause of global warming and environmental destruction. I will continue to live my life in the way I feel is the most compassionate, ethical, and environmentally responsible.
- You don't smell as bad as I expected. Um, thanks? I do still practice personal hygiene...
- You're vegan? I'm basically a vegan. I only eat chicken, fish, turkey, ham, red meat when I go to restaurants, eggs, and dairy. Right. Our diets are so very similar.
- Animals have the perfect complement of amino acids for us. Why would I eat plants, even if they DO have protein? Fine. If you're eating meat because you feel it has the most optimal amino acid profile for your muscles, I can understand that. But if that really is the reason you eat meat, shouldn't you be eating human flesh instead of that of a cow or pig? It is arguably the perfect proportion of amino acids for our uses...
Now that I've listed 22 things NOT to say, here are a couple that many vegans would welcome (and be happy to answer!):
- Why did you go vegan?
- What do you like most about being vegan?
- How long have you been vegan?
- What are your favourite meals and/or restaurants?
- Have you noticed any changes in yourself since going vegan?
Ask questions from a positive, genuinely interested place and anyone is much more likely to be open with you. I know that I love to have honest conversations about veganism, just so long as I don't feel attacked or judged by the person who is asking my help to inform them! I love educating people about the positive impact of veganism on health, the animals, and our planet, but some people don't. And that's ok! Not everyone wants to be a spokesperson for their lifestyle, and it's not their responsibility to be. If you really want to learn about what veganism is all about, feel free to do research on your own and then ask your vegan friends for clarification or further details when you feel you need to! (You can start on my resources page for tons of books, films, and podcasts to get educated!) I hope you enjoyed this list!
Until next time,
Have you asked a vegan any of these questions before? Or, if you are a vegan, which do you hear most often? Let me know in the comments!
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