From aggressive advocacy techniques to finding ways of bringing it into every conversation, vegans get a bad wrap. For a lifestyle mainly based in some form of compassion, vegans often get lots of ridicule. But don’t base the entirety of your opinions toward veganism on a few bad apples.
Yes, There Are Some Crazy Ones
Just as with any other group of people, there are always a few crazy ones. From Freelee the Banana girl advocating 14-banana smoothies with sugar cane and orange juice (yes, I’m serious, look it up) to the person who routinely forgets they once ate meat too, the pushy vegans aren’t hard to find.
But just as with any other group of people, you can’t judge the whole based on the actions of a few people. However for every attention-grabbing plant-pusher there are tons of individuals who go about their dietary and lifestyle choices in a much more compassionate way.
Delusion vs. Passion
Individuals that are extremely passionate about something are often labeled as crazy or delusional. This applies to vegans especially.
Becoming vegan is a major lifestyle change. It’s one perception-altering discovery after the next until eventually you realize what you eat, wear, and consume does much more damage than you could’ve ever imagined.
Harsh realities meet us at every corner such as baby male chickens being thrown into trash bags in the egg industry, incomparable amounts of CO2 produced because of factory farming, and the fact that many of the animal products we consume are to blame for the massive obesity and health epidemics within our country and world.
Seeing the impact of what you eat can make on lessening or contributing to these, and many other, atrocities gives you the urge to spread it to others.
For the most part, vegans aren’t crazy, we are passionate. We have reaped incredible health benefits and peace of mind through this lifestyle and want to share it with others. It’s not that we think you’re a bad person for wearing leather or eating meat, instead we want you to feel as good as we do.
Again, even these assumptions don’t apply across the board. However, I strongly maintain that most of the vegan community feels this way. So, the next time that one vegan friend annoys you, hear them out.
Foundations of Veganism
People go vegan for a variety of reasons. The main subject matters that push individuals to a plant-based lifestyle are: health, environment, and ethics.
Eating more plants hosts phenomenal health benefits. According to Healthline, here are six of many:
- Richer in nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and E
- It can aid in weight loss
- Lowers blood sugar levels and improves kidney function
- Protects against certain cancers
- Linked to lower risk of heart disease
- Can reduce arthritis pain
Being that the top two killers in the United States are heart disease and cancer, pursuing a diet that lowers your risk for both can’t be a bad idea.
The impact of animal agriculture on the environment is probably much larger than you realize. Here’s some fast facts according to CNN,
- Emissions from beef and lamb production are 250x higher than those from legumes
- Livestock raising creates a large amount of methane and nitrous oxide which are more than 20x and 250x more powerful than carbon dioxide
- 80% of all Amazon deforestation is due to cattle-raising
- A projected 80% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions from food production can be avoided if the global diet is equal parts mixture of Mediterranean, pescatarian, and vegetarian diets
Lastly, for the animals. No matter what the smiling cow logo on your gallon of milk shows, animal agriculture is disgustingly brutal and inhumane. Here are some things to think about courtesy of the One Green Planet
- More than 80% of pigs have pneumonia upon slaughter
- A battery chicken lives on space smaller than an iPad
- Animals are forced to grow up to 3x faster than natural
- Dairy cows are killed after three lactation cycles
- New born animals, such as piglets, are mutilated
- 90% of broiler chickens cannot walk because of genetic manipulation
- Mothers are separated from babies at birth
Reach Across the Aisle
Regardless of your dietary beliefs or preferences, I think we could all benefit from reaching across the aisle in this matter.
Vegans, please try and sympathize with the societally-engrained beliefs regarding the consumption meat and animal-products. You probably ate meat once too. We all at some point in our lives either ignored or were ignorant of the logic behind plant-based eating at one point or another.
Non-vegans, hear out your plant-based friends. Chances are, their intentions are pure regardless of how it may seem. Transitioning to veganism is wildly beneficial and your veggie-loving buddy probably just wants you to reap the same benefits.
Let’s all seek to understand one another and use the main principle behind veganism to unite us: compassion.0
Also published on Medium.