Most people avoid discussing religion and politics in polite company, but what about going vegan? Add it to the list of topics that are bound to stir up emotions. Some people are very passionate about their meat and dairy and the mere mention of being vegan is enough to provoke a reaction similar to announcing you’ve become a communist or joined Scientology.
Now the thing is that I was not trying to convert anyone nor was I telling anyone what to eat. There was no attempt to force-feed anyone tofu or even the ratatouille I was eating long before going vegan.
Nope. All it took was declining food somewhere or merely mentioning that I gave up meat and dairy. There were no declarations of being morally superior or even any conversation about ethics yet for some reason announcing that I’ve gone vegan has inspired intense reactions.
For those who worry about my protein intake…please don’t. I can assure you that I get plenty of protein from various sources. Thank you for your concern though I’m kind of curious when you got your degree in nutrition. You do have a degree in nutrition, don’t you?
Then there are the people who have stories about the vegans they knew who suddenly dropped dead one day. Because, you know, they didn’t know any meat and dairy eaters who have ever dropped dead. For some reason the vegans seem to stick out. I’m going to die one day. We all are. Now if I happen to get hit by a bus on my way home from picking up some fresh veggies then please feel free to have the last laugh though I am reasonably sure that buying veggies over meat and dairy would not be why a bus hit me. Still, I get why it would be a good story for you to share over a juicy steak.
Of course there are those who want to know if I’m going through some kind of religious conversion or transformation. Going vegan must mean some trauma occurred or that I am going to start burning sage and talking about my chakras. Did you find God? Actually I never lost him. Becoming vegan has nothing to do with my religion, spirituality, or chakras. I don’t even know how to pronounce chakras, but I do have three teenagers so there could be some truth about the trauma. At this point I’m just waiting them out. Eventually they leave. Right?
I love the people who tell me that their doctor warned them against becoming vegan. You mean you actually consulted with your doctor about going vegan and ruled it out based on medical advice? What science-based medicine did your doctor discuss with you? How does your doctor feel about the fast food, pizza, and alcohol that are a regular part of your diet? Did you forget to ask about that?
What I can’t figure out is why people care so much. If I showed up with a McDonald’s value meal nobody would question it. I’d probably be asked to share my fries but nobody would say, “Why are you eating that shit?” Nobody would ask what happened to make me eat that or tell me about the time that their doctor told them fast food is poison. Nope. They save those comments for the vegans of the world, and I just cannot understand what is so threatening to them about my choice to be vegan. I don’t have to justify my choices to anyone just as I don’t ask anyone to justify their choices to me.
I’m reasonably sure there are bigger problems in the world for them to worry about. I don’t even know why anyone would consider me eliminating meat and dairy from my diet a problem. So if you have a genuine interest, I have no problem discussing it, but please spare me the condescending lectures about health and nutrition. Spare me your pity. I can assure you I’m enjoying food more than I ever have. If I wasn’t, I would have went back to meat and dairy. For now me being vegan just means there’s more meat and dairy for you. Go have at it.