Two Newbie Intimidated, Imperfect Vegans: the One Month Update.
The joke goes like this:
“How do you know if someone’s vegan?”
“Oh, don’t worry–they’ll tell you.”
One month–wow! It’s been kind of uneventful lately. I went out to lunch the other day with amazing ele blogger and Flying Yogini, Nancy Alder. As I sat waiting in the little eco-grocer/cafe, doodling in my Moleskine about this post, sipping my Chia Kombucha, I thought…this isn’t really so hard. But, I could easily become a walking cliché.
You know, one of those vegans.
Waylon here: so, Kate and I decided to try and come up with 10 ways we’re trying to avoid being preachy and superior and obnoxious and generally turning everyone off from veganism:
Ten ways to keep from being an obnoxious vegan:
1. Don’t ask, don’t tell. 90% of the time, people aren’t really interested in hearing what you do or don’t eat. Don’t try to work veganism into every conversation. If it comes up organically, and the person seems genuinely interested, go for it.
2. Keep your balance. Yes, I love my swiss chard/chia/blueberry/avocado smoothies. I loooove all of Caley Alyssa’s vegan recipes! But I also sometimes just make nachos with Daiya cheese & (non-GMO) corn chips. Maybe even two days in a row for lunch. Just like with any other part of life, nobody’s perfect. Who’d want to be anyway? Boring!
3. Stop extolling the virtues of Daiya cheese. Note to self: people are rolling their eyes at you. Enough already! (But it’s soooo good! Ok. I’ll try to chill with the constant Daiya love.)
4. When you go out to eat, be polite to your server. Personally, I don’t like being high maintenance in restaurants (or anywhere for that matter.) But I also don’t want to get sick from something with gluten in it, and I don’t want any animal products. I also would like more than a bowl of lettuce. So, I ask questions. I flatter. I flirt. I smile–a lot. And I tip. A lot. I’ve been a server and bartender. Most of the good ones want you to have a great time and a wonderful meal. They also want to be treated with respect no matter what your food issues are. So, if your requests and questions are elaborate, be extra nice.
5. Don’t comment on other people’s food choices. Seriously. Stop it. It’s no fun when people ask questions that make you feel like a weirdo. There are so many different reasons people choose to eat what they eat. But the important point here? What they choose to eat and why–none of your business! I don’t like facing the Spanish Inquisition over my breakfast, I’m not going to do it to anyone else either.
6. Wow, Kate’s really at it. Don’t think I’ve even found Daiya at my grocery store. I’d say never to “contemplate others,” as Buddhists say. Don’t prejudge others for murdering meat needlessly for their pleasure! Remember…we all have our blind spots, including yours truly, and it’s all about education. No one’s a bad person, and don’t lecture or condescend or treat them as such.
7. Like Kate said, be nice when you go out. Be humble. Make fun of yourself when ordering. I do need to say “I’m vegan,” because I don’t want animal stuff in my food, including butter, milk, eggs, which I’ve found is everywhere. But don’t “act vegan.”
8. Remember veganism is about compassion, not aggression. Simple.
9. If you find yourself getting aggro, talking about veganism, shut up. You’re not doing the cause any favors.
10. Remember that if you’re eating processed gmos in plastic bags and you shop Amazon instead of your local bookshop and you drive a car or eat foods with palm oil…you’re far, far from perfect. Never consider yourself better than anyone else. Delight in going vegan. Be an example. Meditate. Exercise. Take your dog for lonnnng walks. Be a good family member and citizen. That’s how we’ll make veganism look attractive.