I don’t actually mean to be that harsh. But I would like to see the proselytizing vegans tone it down a little.
What I mean is, I am tired of hearing these peace-loving-yogi-vegans ripping into meat eaters as if we had single-handedly driven a herd of cows off a cliff. Here’s the thing: if any of you are in a relationship, you know exactly what berating people gets you. Ignored. Or a headache. Or both. So let’s try a different approach, shall we?
At this point, I anticipate that any vegans who are reading this (1) have already moved onto another article, (2) have already begun to formulate more anti-omnivore commentary, or (3) are actually still reading this! For the third of you who are still reading this, thank you! And please consider a few things the next time you encounter a chicken-eater (and by that, I mean an omnivore).
First, let’s consider how difficult it is to make dietary changes.
And to make this easy, I’ll use myself as an example. I have been struggling with losing weight for several years now. I have recently been making some progress, but let me tell you: it is very difficult to make an overnight change to something you have been doing for any great period of time.
Having been a cupcake and cheeseburger eater for the past 28 years, it’s not going to stop immediately because I saw a picture of a live, wingless chicken or video of a pig being slaughtered. (I cannot give you a comparable comment for cupcakes. I know sugar is bad, but cupcakes are delicious.)
I need time.
Anyone who has decided to make a change like this needs time. I have decided to make the change, eventually, towards being a vegan. As my first step, I have decided to stop eating pigs. I’ll get where I’m going eventually. But it won’t be today. I’m still eating cheeseburgers today.
Second, let’s consider the [passive-aggressive] nag-factor.
There are people who have not decided to be vegan or vegetarian yet, and they’re not going to because some of you are too annoying. So let’s consider changing your approach. For example, some people have already decided that this is the circle of life and cows are here because we are supposed to eat them. How do you think you’ll reach those people?
Showing them a video of how the cow is killed would be like showing them a video of how their car is made.
Who cares, just get it done and then I’ll drive the car (or eat the burger). So maybe for those people, the approach should be sharing information about healthier choices that might include vegan options. Or maybe show them how delicious vegan food is and that there are many options that taste similar to their animal of choice, but with less saturated fat [and death]. My point is, there are many reasons why different people have chosen to ignore you. And that brings me to my final point.
The yoga factor.
Remember that love and peace and respect thing? Let’s try, just for a day to start, meeting people where they are. I don’t think my darling fiancé has any intention of being vegan, and I honestly don’t have any intention of converting him. But maybe he’ll take a bite of my vegetarian corn dog and not spit it out. That’s a start! I’ll take it!
What I mean is, you should be the vegan. You. Live by example. If someone asks, share the reasons why you’ve made that choice. Share your meal, share a recipe, share some information. You don’t have to watch a cow being slaughtered in front of you, you should write to your congressperson, you should protest, you should blog, and tweet, and do whatever else makes you feel satisfied with advancing the cause.
I respect your right to do that, I respect the cause, and I hope to be a part of it one day. But I’m not there today, and I’m ok with that. You should be too.
Alex is figuring it out. By day, she is an employment lawyer; by night, she is a yoga teacher trainee. And all the time, she brings a child-like curiosity (but an adult-like commentary) to everything she encounters. Having fallen in love with yoga over the past three years, Alex hopes that her sense of humor, honesty, and open-heart will encourage new students to find the joy she has found in yoga.
Editor: Tanya L. Markul
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