I Am Going to Eat Meat. Deal with It. ~ Alexandra Grace

Via elephant journal
on May 4, 2012
get elephant's newsletter

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

Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? info elephantjournal com


71 Responses to “I Am Going to Eat Meat. Deal with It. ~ Alexandra Grace”

  1. robertwolf681 says:

    Aw man. I'm disappointed. I read the title and I thought you were gonna let fly with both barrels.

  2. Lisa says:

    Haha this is great and I am honored to be part of your one third who is able to "meet people where they are" and keep reading. As a Holistic Nutrition Counselor I have dedicated my practice to working with people who want to make this transition but as you say "need time". Its not easy and I respect your honesty. It took me ten years to adopt a vegan diet that is sustainable and I really feel the best I've ever felt in my life! So stick with it and get support if you are for real, its worth it! And please don't let vegans who are militant or abrasive in their beliefs deter you from embracing this lifestyle, do it your own way, and remember that those vegans are working on their own "stuff" too. Blessings to you.

  3. namastehon says:

    as an Ayurvedic practitioner (lifestyle and diet counseling) I have found (by experience and by reading in the Ayurvedic texts that certain body types should favor certain foods and avoid others. I've found that the most successful at being vegetarian or vegan are the Kapha body types who tend to gain weight easily and lose it slowly (if at all). The least successful are the Vata types who gain weight slowly (if at all) – Vatas would and do find a vegan diet destructive and depleting. Pitta types can shift their diet easily (and seasonally) as they can eat anything when in balance.

    A vegan diet is good for losing weight but may be severely deficient in certain nutrients which are best absorbed from their animal food forms. While there are veggie options, the body must usually convert them to the more usable form, and not everyone is capable of this. Look up the shocking story of a young vegan couple in France who were arrested in the death of their baby, which they were trying to breastfeed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/29/vegans-trial-death-baby-breast-milk). That baby was found to have died from malnutrition, specifically B-12 and A.

    Another case is from the US – http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-09-12/news/3… – and involves a couple who are apparently completely ignorant about what constitutes a proper diet for babies. They weren't even breastfeeding it but giving it soy milk and apple juice despite warnings on the soy milk label that it was not a substitute for baby formula!

    Anyone who is interested in shifting their diet should first focus on adding more fresh produce into their diets. Next shift would be to eat organic as much as possible, or purchase from local small farmers (farmers markets, CSAs, etc). Begin eliminating highly processed and refined foods, switching from white sugar to raw sugar, from table salt to mineralized salt (like Real Salt or Celtic Sea Salt).

    Then, once you've become healthier, you can begin eating less meat but still consume fresh, raw dairy if available and eggs from pastured hens. If and when it feels appropriate, then would be the time to go vegan (best during summer when fresh produce is available, or in warmer regions where such fresh produce is available year-round). Don't go vegan unless you are severely overweight, diabetic, or heart disease and need to lose weight quickly.

  4. namastehon says:

    as an Ayurvedic practitioner (lifestyle and diet counseling) I have found (by experience and by reading in the Ayurvedic texts that certain body types should favor certain foods and avoid others. I've found that the most successful at being vegetarian or vegan are the Kapha body types who tend to gain weight easily and lose it slowly (if at all). The least successful are the Vata types who gain weight slowly (if at all) – Vatas would and do find a vegan diet destructive and depleting. Pitta types can shift their diet easily (and seasonally) as they can eat anything when in balance.

    Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation (an organization promoting the healing effects of traditional diets) warns against a vegan book for children http://bit.ly/JwZxcs "The child will not develop to its optimal potential. It's extremely dangerous and unfair to do this to a child." She said meat-free diets can cause deficiencies in many vitamins such as A, B12, D, zinc, and iron…

    Expert blasts vegan book for kids http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca

  5. Love this, Alex! Even though I'm a vegan, I don't think it's for everyone. In fact, I'm glad that there are so many omnivores who are mindful and pushing for more ethical sources of animal products. There will always be people who eat meat, so it's great to see a movement towards more mindful eating—no matter what that looks like for the individual!

  6. __MikeG__ says:

    Fair disclosure, I'm vegan. But I have nothing to say about it unless someone else brings up the subject. Or spreads lies and disinformation. I do not think I am better that omnivores because I spent the vast majority of my life as an omnivore.

    And maybe I am a bad vegan because I do not think that the death of the animal is the issue. I think that the problem lies in that most people consume meat that comes from the horrors of factory farms. Not only is it a nightmare for the animals but the meat produced is full of antibiotics,hormones and chemicals. And often the factory raised animals are b12 deficient because they are fed only diets of corn or soybeans that do not contain b12 producing bacteria.

  7. Lilly says:

    What we eat is up to us. What others think of us is none of our business.
    This endless debate and discussion is a waste of energy. Who cares?

  8. Monica says:

    Great Article! I actually just took the vegan label off of me because I started eating ghee from Ancient Organics and stopped being so extreme. For example, if there are a bowl of chips at a party I'm not going to bombard someone for the ingredients. I don't think this is really contributing much to the animal industry. I think that proselytizing in general is not a very yogic act. Eating meat or proselytizing isn't the practice of ahimsa. I think it's great that you are taking the first steps towards vegan and of course no one changes overnight. My intention is just to compassionately educate the public about the animal and farming industry and how amazing vegan food can be in the hopes that they begin to eat local and cut back on meat. If everyone began by just cutting back on meat, that would be amazing! Namaste :)

  9. Phillip R. Lewis says:

    For Lilly, the animals who dies cares. It really is simple. Animals who must eat meat only kill what they need and no more. We do not need to consume animal products and can be quite healthy without. Either you care about the suffering and death of other living animals(human and non human) or you don't. If you are too weak to make the change at least have the strength to admit it. If you don't care now . I hope you do soon for the sake of all of us.

    Phillip R. Lewis

  10. Deedre says:

    I was a vegetarian for 20 years and it was ruining my health. Different people need different diets and my body needs meat, however I might wish differently. The first day I ate sardines I was running up and down the road with energy that I hadn't had in years.
    I eat organic meat, I care how the animals are treated and I do not eat more than I need.
    Vegetarianism is not a choice for every body.

  11. Little Orphan says:

    Couldn't have said it better. I need the meat, having a major vatta imbalance. Need to build my blood. And need to make my own choices. I don't yell at people who don't do yoga, or show them videos of deteriorating spinal discs. They would hate me and never go to a class. I did watch the beginning of Food, Inc, because I was on the treadmill and I needed something interesting… bog mistake. I might not ever eat chicken again. I don't even want to know about the cows. I need the red meat!

  12. yogi tobye says:

    I'd starve in a matter of days if I had to stop eating things that were alive once.


  13. Greg says:

    This omn

  14. e.scott says:

    for compassionate and yogic reasons, I was vegetarian for 4 years and then vegan for 2… now I eat anything and everything. I tend to get anemic and started to crave red meat so I listened to my body… i now eat cheese, steak and cheeseburgers…. (rarely eggs, other dairy or honey…) I know of other 'recovering vegetarians'… sometimes ahimsa means listening to what our body needs to be healthy is the answer. I wish it were easier and all we had to do was stare at the sun and ingest spirulina… but my body don't seem to work that way…maybe if everyone could hunt for survival and live off the land as close to nature as possible, cuz Factory farming sucks….however everything can become 'disordered eating'. As my guru says: eat what makes you happy…

  15. Ily Marie says:

    Thank you Alexandra! You have express what I have in my head since I started to do Yoga and eating more vegetarian meals and less meat. But I got to tell you, I have encounter Vegan practicioners that are just full of hate for us meat eaters, that have no compassion or respect for people who eat meat, but on the other hand call themselves animal lovers. We humans are animals too and we deserve love no matter what we eat. They sound like religious fanatics when they talk about this,and I find this full hypocresy. I’m gonna stop now before I get angry. But again THANK YOU, I feel less alone about this now! ♥ Ily

  16. Laura says:

    Thanks for this! I admire people who are vegan – and have no intention of becoming one myself. However, I agree, the moment an overly zealous proponent of veganism (or any lifestyle) starts in with the lectures, self righteous preaching, I tune them out and dismiss as diet nazis. Seriously, this approach is just as bad as the religious proselytizing. I prefer my vegans respectful and courteous, thank you :)

  17. stasha says:

    i love your writing! wonderful article. thank you! i was a vegetarian for awhile and was a psychological/health mess because of it. my body loves and needs to eat meat. as locally raised as possible. long live cupcakes and bacon.

  18. Mick Davis says:

    I’ve been enjoying this discussion. First thought? Developed world problem. We’re discussing things that most people around the world do not even consider. Meat? Yes. Thank you. Veggies? Please. More. We have the luxury of being able to survive without meat. We can pick and choose our diet based on preferences. Most folks do not have that luxury. Ask a Tibetan to eat only veggies. Kind of tough. We, as Westerners, have choices available. I feel it’s a better argument to eat locally and see what produces the least impact and most benefit to those around us. Organic food? Sure. If its been shipped 1500 miles to get to you? How is that better than the person that goes out, shoots their own deer and lives off that meat for a year? Bottom line is least impact. If you’re aggressive towards others then you have larger issues at stake.

  19. Candice Garrett says:

    I'm a long time veg head in a family, raising a family, full of meat eaters. The way we eat is a choice, and making that choice is the most important part. Being judgemental, from either direction, is a waste of energy. Lead by example, don't preach, don't judge. That being said, I most respect the meat eaters who know what they're eating, rather than those that can't stomach the sight of a vein or grisle. If you can be honest and eat it, than that is the point. Still, I'd like to see factory farms go by the wayside, meat eater or not…

  20. @Suri_k8 says:

    Step 1 , accept that omnivorism is not going away anytime soon , Step 2 focus our energies in changing the way the meat/dairy industry works

  21. Maria says:

    Bravo! I have been doing yoga for more than 10 years and am vegetarian. I never discuss this with everyone – it's how I live, and if the subject comes up and the person is interested, he'll ask about it. I am constantly put off by the people who literally preach yoga, going vegan, etc. on every street corner. Even I find this annoying! I end up by feeling sorry for the poor guys!

  22. Vee says:

    I am vegan. Sometimes I see a vegan complain about how omnivorous people are jeering and aggressive about veganism. And sometimes I see an article like this that seems to generalise that anyone who is vegan is a nagging, harsh, judgmental person. The truth is there are harsh, judgmental omnivores. And harsh, judgmental vegans. And then there are vegans and omnivores who are not. I am a vegan but i dont want to be in "camp vegan".I want to be in camp "informed and respectful".

    My own feeling on the issue (because I believe in the rights of all living beings, both animals and humans) is that people should take the time to educate themselves on exactly how animal based food is produced and decide for themselves. I also meet vegans sometimes who live under the delusion that their lifestyle choice does not kill any animals. Not so. Agriculture results in death (less than meat consumption, but death never the less) because when we capture land from nature to grow grain and vegetables, the creatures that lived there die. We need to protect crops from insects and animals whose instinct is to eat it.

    I am not even sure there can be a strict definition of vegan. I don't eact animal based foods, and I avoid cosmetics tested or derived from animals. But, I practise pest control to keep my home free of rats and roaches. That has collateral damage. For something to live something has to die. Humans have been blessed with intellect. We need to use it to inform ourselves, and then make the choice we consider right for ourselves.

  23. alexandraengland says:

    I see your point, totally, and I think you're completely right, but my own personal experience has been more that when people discover I'm vegan, I'm expected to justify it and listen to their reasons for not being vegan, as if I had expressed some opinion about their dietary choices. I listen, of course, and I make some kind of supportive comment to the effect that everybody should do what they feel to be right, but sometimes would be very grateful not to have to justify myself.

  24. just me says:

    the dogma that being a vegan or vegetarian is a superior spiritual choice needs to be exploded and challenged on it's face. underneath the author's assertion that she will eat meat and "needs time" there is a tonality that comes through that eating meat is wrong. i totally respect anyone who makes this choice for themselves, but the way that it is expressed it to others should be considered. non violence is not just about not eating meat, it's about how we live and communicate and move through the world – so how ironic is it that some vegans/vegetarians choose violent forms of communication to get their message across?

    non-violence also includes not being violent to self. for some (like me) being a vegetarian/vegan is a violent choice. i spent the worst 2 years of my life as vegetarian (with all of the proper guidance from a specialized nutritionist). in the end, when i finally let the dogma go, i discovered that i was depleted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. it only took a few months of adopting a paleo approach before my health came back in full. i have never looked back.

    not all diets work for all people. let us as community of "higher consciousness" move towards inclusion, inquiry and non-violence as we communicate what does and doesn't work so that each person can receive information freely and guide themselves holistically towards optimal health.

  25. Macyglitters says:

    LOVVED the article! Especially the part about the amazing fiancé!! You are amazing for taking a stand on something and completely standing behind it!!
    Work it LG!!


  26. Clare says:

    Your article reminds me that everyone is on a journey (sorry to be cheesy) and most vegans/vegetarians were not born that way, but came to it our of choice. As a vegan, i really do try to stay reasonable. I never offer my opinion to strangers, and will only drag out my soapbox when asked. However, once a person recognizes the amount of suffering, the scale of the atrocity before them (my words, my feelings on the subject) it is so hard to stay polite about it all. We have past the point of politeness regarding so many social injustices, and that is a good thing. So yes, as a witness to death, as a witness to pain, as a witness to the subjugation of the innocent, we tend to get upset. The fact is is that it is rarely helpful to anyone, and that is why I do my best to simmer down, yet can totally sypathize with those who will not witness such pain quietly.

  27. wendy greem says:

    been a veg/vegan for hmm, 40 years now..yoga practitioner just as long. healthy as an ox. i don't bash people that eat meat, but will teach them why it's important to eat a plant based diet. may i suggest, since you seem to be open minded about the subject (kudos!)…go on retreat where meat isn't on the menu and education is for dessert. give yourself the opportunity to try veg/veganism with quality support. we offer raw food yoga retreats in the rainforest. everyone is transformed…you may be as well…that would be very empowering. http://www.wendygreenyoga.com om

  28. Emily says:

    Great article! It IS tough hey?? I made the move to become veggo last year, and at this stage I still eat fish, eggs and dairy, but I'm getting there. With a history of disordered eating I may never go full vegan, but you know what – that's my own personal choice! I still buy ethically, and I don't think anyone else has the right to tell me what I can and can't eat.

    Thanks for this :)

  29. ashley says:

    i am a vegan. a raw food vegan. my diet is raw fruits & vegetables. some nuts and seeds, and cooked quinoa from time to time. my diet is perfectly balanced, i am never weak, never low energy. im a runner, strength trainer and a devoted yogi who practices daily, and completed full teacher training. i never ever get sick, no colds, flu, headaches, stomach aches…i havent even felt queezy in years. none of that. my skin is perfect, as is my digestion.
    my reasons for being a vegan are, most importantly for the sake of our animals and our earth. humans are equal beings. it is not our right to kill other beings. it is also not the cycle of life. if it was, humans would crave raw bloody flesh, bones, skin hair and fur, the way a lion devours a freshly killed zebra. THAT is life cycle. but we dont crave that at all. it repulses us. we humans were built to live on fruit and veggies that smell and look beautiful to our senses. food that replenishes itself when picked :) nature gives us fruit and veggies ready-2-eat :) just pick your apples ad go… not much processing required. to consume meat, you need to raise animals, deplete our rain forest and natural land to house them, transport them, slaughter them, process and package… then season, marinade and cook them. that is not natural. that is detrimental. not only to the animals we share our earth with, but to our earth and the human body. meat in the body wreaks havoc and causes harm. cancer, heart disease, ulcers. meat is loaded with antibiotics, hormones, growth hormones, disease, ammonia, dioxides and bacteria.
    the treatment of the animals during "processing" is horrific to say the least, and is goes on every single second of every day for billions of animals around the world. torture, abuse. they cry, they feel pain, the see and smell blood. they know when they are next in line to die. they hear each other scream. and for what? burgers and steak for humans who choose to enjoy ignorance to the pain and suffering they are causing? no way, not fair.

    its a shame that it will take "time" abandon such lifestyle. i advise anyone that eats meat, to please rent the movies Forks Over Knives, Food Inc, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, and Earthlings.

    Earthlings can be watched for free at Earthlings.com – and it could change your life.

    please, for your own sake, re think this life style.

    so much love for all beings. animals, universe, humans, vegans, meat eaters… all.


  30. You are not a vegan, Love, you are just trying to cover up your eating disorder (Max, waitress in 2 broke girls) You may laugh now, this is meant to be a joke :-))) Andrea

  31. Noelle says:

    You might enjoy some of the articles here: http://www.carpevegan.com/?page_id=352

Leave a Reply