10 Things Vegans Are Not.

Via Karl Saliter
on Jan 18, 2012
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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…

1. Extreme.

At all.

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.

 Not really!

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”.

Parenting Extra


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.

Surely not!

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.

9. Deluded

Not by a long shot, my little cheese ball!

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.

I only eat gross food when there are M&Ms nearby.

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.


About Karl Saliter

Karl is a circus artist sculptor writer miscreant gypsy, living in Mexico. He has written two novels, "Compassion's Bitch," and "Breakfast In A Cloud," and has published neither. He often feels as if he was born under a silver whale of a frisbee moon in the back of a red cartoon pickup truck. That careening down route 66 at speed, he leapt up into the cab, took the wheel, stuck his baby elbow out the rolled-down window, and that though the truck had awesome chrome mirrors, he never looked back. He hopes you frequently feel the same.


30 Responses to “10 Things Vegans Are Not.”

  1. Seriously that was the raw gospel! Finally some one has expressed in pen & prose (ok most likely no pens were involved its not 2000 anymore) what we all have been wanting to say about those people of green, roots & seeds. I must admit that I was offend by # 11 (those fake meat products are not gross) & #2 is sooo true where do you think the term HOLY COW comes from? Overall EXCELLENT POST!!! Thanks Karl, pls keep it up!

  2. karlsaliter says:

    Kristin, I love that. We are shades of grey, about 17,542 of them, and thinking we are on opposite sides of some fight doesn't get us closer to resolution.

  3. karlsaliter says:

    I completely agree, Gary. Thank you for this comment.

  4. Ann says:

    Eff pus-milk. Rice, soy, almond, please. This article is great – laugh AND learn, what a concept. Karl Saliter should write more articles for Elephant Journal. I'm just saying…

  5. karlsaliter says:

    Oops, that was supposed to read…

    Thanks! I want to put it out there and maybe open some people up to the idea that vegan does not absolutely have to mean freakshow on wheels. And you are right, there are some fierce veggie burgers out there.

  6. Judit says:

    Great post, Karl, keep up the good work! One more thing people think vegans are: anemic. I have recently lost quite a lot of blood in an operation and I have anemia and when people hear that they go: "ooooooh, it's your diet. You should eat meat." But how about my husband? We are on the same diet and he has no trace of anemia whatsoever… The other thing I often get is: "Then what do you eat?" 😀 Love that one.
    On an unrelated subject: why do we love all the 10 things… 5 things… 7 things… ? Don't get me wrong, I love them too. Am I such a list freak? Number freak? Organizing things on shelves freak?

  7. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks, Ann, them's kind words.

    I completely agree, and keep your eyes peeled…

    there's one coming up called "Coffee and Soul". Looking forward to seeing how it does.

  8. karlsaliter says:

    You are right as rain, Judit. Somehow, Anemic slipped my moind.

    Maybe its time to write "22 reasons we love to read in list format."

  9. Fantastic read! Waiting for more wisdom from Karl, he obviously knows.

  10. Hilby says:

    That’s just great, now I have to change my way. Well at least there is still that Asshole who made his Dog being a vegan I can judge.

  11. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks for that, Ellen! I love to write, and your opinion is important to me. "Coffee and Soul" coming soon to elephant journal…

    Hilby, spot on! Without people to judge and look down on, where would we be?

  12. sara says:

    Karl, I totally agree with you, expecially on point number 12!!!!! ;-))) besos

  13. Love this Karl! #2 is a big part of why I am vegan, but I know several vegetarians/vegans that are not big animal fans.

  14. karlsaliter says:

    You are right as rain in that #12, Sara! Thanks for reading aaaaallll the way. 🙂

    Kate that means a lot to me, coming from you, I enjoy your writing here, especially your recent editorial.
    I am fascinated by many species of animals and really enjoy the hell out of dogs (one in particular named Bam Bam, don't even get me started) but wanted to emphasize a different direction for the sake of argument. Plus chickens creep me out a little. I like stripping away the "animal rights" debate to get to the raw truth that we need to treat animals better, wherever you stand on that fence. And I am way more proud than I have any right to be on seeing "ganja plant sentience advocacy scheme" come through my keyboard.

  15. greenbless says:

    Posted on EJ Health & Wellness Facebook

    Jessica Stone Baker
    Co-Editor, Elephant Health & Wellness
    The Mindful Body

  16. Roger Nicholson says:

    I appriciate your thoughtful and well written blog regarding the merits of a cruelty free vegan diet. You did an outstanding job of dispelling many myths regarding the nutritional value of a vegan diet, as well as shedding light on what motivates a person to want to go vegan.
    That being said, I am somewhat dissappointed that you never addressed the most common stereotype among vegans, and thought you might opine on the matter.

  17. Roger says:

    The stereotype is that young vegan women are most annoying and self righteous insufferable group of people on the face of the Earth. In my 40 years, I have yet to meet one that isn't completley bat shit crazy and have endured many attempted lectures geared toward "reeducating" me on my wicked and sinful carnivorous ways.

  18. Roger says:

    It would also seem that young vegan women tend to have an excessive amount of control issues and inablitly to contain their unbridled vegan zeal.
    I witnessed first hand, while standing in line at a local subshop, the interrogation of some poor guy behind the counter, at a local sub shop over what kind of oil they use to make french fries, by a huffy vegan patron.
    I also dated (very, very breifly) a vegan woman and suffered through a post coitus rant expressing outrage over the fact that in India cows are considered sacred, and unbeknownst to the Hindu population, McDonalds was using beef lard in their fryers.

  19. Roger says:

    I admitted to her I have a very hard time relating to, or having any sympathy for, just about every relgious group mankind has conjured up, especially those that worship farm animals. Needless to stay it was very soon after that proclamation that our evening (and brief romantic interlude) came to an abrupt end.
    One intersting note, the young vegan woman in question was employed as a chef in a French restaurant, which I thought to be at the very least a conflict of interest, but more likely the height of hypocrisy. It seems to me a person claiming to be vegan working in establsihment that battters veal in milk and flour is akin to a jewish person running the ovens at Auschwitz.
    Perhaps vegans are merley a misunderstood group of people. Over the years more than several vegans have annoyed me in a very simillar fashsion as the Jesus freaks do when they interrupt me on my merry was to let me know that God wants me to burn for eternity.
    Is there anyway to overcome my prejudice, or am I set in my ways having too many bad experinces and time in Cambridge MA?
    I am very interested in getting your thougts on the matter.

  20. karlsaliter says:

    Thanks, Greenbless.

    Hey there, Roger! Good to see you posting here. I am familiar with that puzzle, and I think, familiar with that woman. Is she very cute, with a nose ring, does yoga? I know 3200 of her. I think number six kind of addresses this point. This article is me trying to be my most sufferable, in fact, so I'm not sure if I can be of any help.

    My friend Mike likes it best when I shut up about factory farming, and cook and share delicious, kind hippie food.

    Maybe in there is your answer. A sweet sister with an innate dislike of discourse, teaches by actions and example only, huge dreadlocks and a wizard in the kitchen and other rooms too, and plays guitar even better than you. Until she shows up, you might be screwed. Hope this serves, thanks for commenting!

  21. Roger says:

    Thanks you Karl, not only your vast knowledge and insight on the life styles of the counter culture, but more importantly, for understanding the spirit in which my last posting was meant.

    your pal,

  22. maru says:

    I love the article and admire the way Karl can say the hardest thongs in the sweetest and funny ways.
    Thanks Gary for your comment.
    And Kate, I am with you, I am in this because I LOVE animals and I can't eat something I love. They are my #1 reason.

  23. karlsaliter says:

    Cheers Roger! And thanks, Maru the Maru.

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  26. JoKiwi says:

    I'm glad I'm not the only vegan who feels this way. I'm more of an environmental vegan…I mean, I do love animals (love my cats), but they are not the MAIN reason I become vegan…more of an added bonus.

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  28. lewis Brookks says:

    I really thought this was going too be about Guiness, most lagers, gelatin capsules products like xma and cheap foods with milk favouring like some salt and vinger chips or basic supermarker vegetable soups or soya supplements.. True none the less. Fed up of all these in about people some people use them as a type of reminding slur. They need to stop acting as immature children and not balanced and intruitive.