Calling All Vegans! Let’s Change Our ‘Bad’ Reputation
By Milly Hailstone
Wow, I just read an article comparing vegans to the Westboro Baptist Church - you just can’t make this crap up.
It’s hilarious when people on the dark depths of the internet call veganism a cult. I start to imagine all of us gathering somewhere in a field wearing hemp cloaks, throwing a giant picnic, there’s a bonfire and we all have flowers in our hair… To be honest, it sounds pretty awesome! But, ya know, this isn’t the pretty picture that they are trying to paint of us.
In actual fact, it gets worse. The article, written by a lobbyist that profits from industries that use animals, then goes on to describe how a lack of vitamin B12 in our diets is responsible for “improper brain function” and “mental disorders”.
Since when has compassion been a mental illness? Ludicrous.
The article itself was entitled ‘Is Veganism a Mental Disorder?’ On the surface, all rational people would dispel it immediately, but what about the people believing this nonsense? This is exactly why we need to raise more awareness than ever.
For the Greater Good
Yes, veganism is on the rise but so are the voices of those who are against it. However, instead of adding to our sucky reputation, I think there is a better way to go about it than guilt-tripping meat eaters. There’s already so much vegan hate out there, so I think it’s time to do something about it.
It’s all about good influence. After I became vegan, my boyfriend changed from veggie to vegan, and so did one of my best friends. My parents have also begun eating much less meat than they did before. They heard me talk about the positive changes, and the new plant-based foods I was experiencing. If every vegan manages to influence two other people to be vegan, that would be an incredible chain reaction.
In my experience, it’s a friendly and passionate approach to converting others that seems to work the best. By shaming someone, or showing anger towards them we’ll never reach our goal. Instead, let’s show the compassion that we have for animals towards our fellow humans - I know, it can be very frustrating. But, remember that the majority of us used to be in their shoes.
I think once the seed is planted it will grow. Most people don’t want to harm animals, and will slowly make the transition if a positive approach is provided. But, when people that have been shamed by vegans think about a plant-based diet, they think of something negative, which ends up being a lifestyle that they will never choose.
I’ve debated many of my meat-eating friends over the years, all to no avail. But, it wasn’t until I threw a party a few months back that I started to change their minds. Naturally, I baked up a plant-based storm in the kitchen, including a couple of giant pies filled with soy mince and veggies.
One of my friends, who is the probably the biggest meat eater I know, ate most of one of the pies and all evening was telling me how tasty it was. Another, who had at first refused to even try it, later had a piece of pie and was shocked at how delicious it was. I purposely didn’t even mention the word vegan or act smug. I was exhausted from debating them and accidentally stumbled upon this kinder tactic instead.
Consider this a small win - but still, a win that changed some opinions. I think a lot of people eat meat for the taste, but when we show them how delicious vegan options can be they discover a whole new world. It’s kinda assumed that we eat lettuce and dust, but when we break down that stereotype I think meat eaters will be a lot more accepting, and therefore stop being so goddam alarmed by us. In turn, they’ll be happy to try vegan options more often and the word vegan will become less ‘scary’ and ‘extreme’.
Readers, thank you so much for stopping by. I’d love to know if your vegan lifestyle has positively impacted others - please leave your story in the comments!