Like ninjas, vegans are often unceremoniously lumped into stereotypes.
Unlike ninjas, we don’t get to dress in black and kick serious butt and field really cool movie offers. Well, most of us don’t. But maybe, we can have our day in the sun here on elephant journal, in the debunking room.
So, the ten things vegans are not, are…
There is nothing extreme about stopping a practice that no longer serves you. Following the promptings of your conscience, being brave enough to look into what is happening and respond to that viscerally, is simple common sense. The “extreme” label is exclusionary. Let’s decline it.
2. Animal lovers or Animal Rights activists.
I don’t much care for cows, and I’ve always felt a certain indifference toward chickens because they are clearly from another planet. Being vegan is no more about claiming that animals have rights or should be our equals than not smoking pot is some ganja plant sentience advocacy scheme.
It doesn’t take amiability or affection to see that animals are being treated wrongly in order to supply a demand. Not wanting to be part of that demand is a smart choice for personal cerebral, emotional and physical health. That is all it is.
3. “Extra Compassionate” or “Better than You”.
The only difference between vegans and most flesh noshers is that vegans are making choices that reflect the natural compassion we all already share.
Here is some news: vegans are not the only kind, gentle people out there. Many who consume animal products simply run a “background program” of denial. That program can be turned off in a second of insight. It happened to me, anybody could be next.
Vegans are living what most people believe, which is that non-human animals deserve better from us. The bridge from loving animals to becoming vegan is a short one, and most people love animals. Recognition that we have made mistakes in permitting animal torture on a huge scale, and the balls to live where you feel, is all it takes.
4. Protein deficient.
Soy it isn’t so!
Do you know anyone, anywhere, in your life who has ever died from protein deficiency? Or had a real case of it? (I am of course leaving anorexia, a serious eating disorder, out of this bit.) Do you know the medical term for that disease? It is “kwashiorkor.” Seriously. I wikipedia’d that bad boy.
5. Reporting UFO sightings.
More than other people, I mean.
I only mention this one because we are often treated as flat-out crackpots. This is simply not the case, and accepting such treatment allows for slower change. Vegans put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the little piggies do. (See what I did there?)
6. Pointlessly Proselytizing Pains in the a*s.
Well, without that first word, I couldn’t include this one.
The point is, once it was considered ok to own slaves. But it was never ok really. We are not asking for a leap of faith or any jumping into the unknown. We ask people to make their choices based on a real look at the very hard facts. That (frequently firmish) request is too often mistaken for zeal.
7) Financing Factory Farming
Intentionally, that is.
Congratulations! If you were stopped by this one because you thought, “Hey! That’s Wrong!” you are right! Everybody is financing factory farming, with our taxes, with our health, and even if you live outside of the good old USA, with the very life and well-being of our planet. We are all paying for that steak: may it soon be a genuine source of shame to be seen eating it.
8. Deadhead, Hippie Artist types.
Come on! Outside of the first three, I don’t fit any of those stereotypes.
In point of fact, the practice of eating irradiated, dye-injected, chemical-washed corpses, and thinking your body will be ok with it, is more pie-eyed than a seven-foot tall twelve-year-old dreaming of becoming a prizewinning jockey.
Drinking the infant milk (and ahem, related products) of another species, obtained under duress, is comparable to believing your boxer shorts should be bronzed because you made that shot with the crumpled trash. Really.
In point of fact, given the unsustainable nature of producing animals as food and drink today, it is far more likely that vegans are prescient.
10. Austere, bland or eating impaired.
I can’t believe you even said that.
Just try the Thai soup from “Rawvolution”. It takes 10 minutes to prepare, and is delicious beyond measure. A little research and that bogus myth is gone forever. I eat great and cheap. Anyone who cares can do the same. And let me say this about that: we are not “Oh, easy for you, you must love vegetables!” either. I never liked ‘em until I learned to. Now I can show you how to make a few tomatoes and some onions and rice into a real good time, but it took a little self-education. Turns out, yeah, veggies do rock, just not at first blush. Check out “The Veganomicon,” and “Rawvolution.” It can be delish.
11. Eating “Gross” supplemental meat replacements.
Whole foods, for a start can be zappy. Try the avocado, its delicious with chile powder and sea salt.
Vegan Frankenstein foods can look odd from outset.
Seitan can be a little weird at first, I’ll give you that. But lets glance into gross, I promise just for a peep.
Infection in modern milking machines and bovine growth hormone is rampant. These udders are under severe strain, and constantly infected, and well folks, that means pus is drifting into your milk. They haven’t invented a filter that intelligent. “Somatic Cell Count” is the USDA lingo for pus levels. One eyedropper full of pus per glass of milk is the legal limit.
Where dat gross at? Pass the weird rice milk, please.
12. Incapable of stopping even when its obvious they’ve gone past ten.
I’m not even going to address this one.
So next time you see a vegan on the street, don’t kick them quite as hard. Maybe they were once like you, only a little more curious. A little more open to looking at some ugly realities. Maybe the news they found made their choices for them. Maybe just under all that bile and anger and self- righteousness beats a heart of palm salad, no cheese. It could happen.