I Don’t Know That I Could Ever Be Vegan… – Part 2 (And The Label Scares Me)

August 14, 2015

It’s Friday! Time for another veggie/vegan challenge post!

The other reason I don’t think I could go vegan is because I am afraid of the label of “vegan.”

Based on my experiences, what many vegan people think that label generally says is, “I’m a kind, compassionate, awesome, dedicated human being.”

What many non-vegan people think that label says is, “Ugh. How am I going to eat with this person? Are they going to be able to eat anything? They’re so judgmental of me. [etc.]”

I don’t think I want to necessarily be vegan because I don’t want strangers to be immediately turned off by this label I’ve given myself.

Now, having kind of delved into the vegan world, I will say that I’ve met so many super-kind vegans who aren’t judgmental at all. They’ve made a personal choice of which they’re proud, but they’re not in your face if you eat cheese around them.

I’ve met vegans who’ve enthusiastically and patiently applauded the steps I’m taking (even if I still have some foods with dairy in them sometimes). So, I think the picture painted of vegans in the world is not necessarily totally fair.

However, I’ve seen those other vegans too – more online than in person. But I’ve seen them. The ones who are extremely judgmental, who are calling meat eaters murderers and all that stuff. So, I can sort of understand why vegans get a bad rep sometimes. (I know every single group of people has some ruder than others. So I know that’s not completely specific to vegans…)

Cory Booker happened to also start a vegan challenge around the same time I was doing mine.

Can I admit I was slightly jealous that Cory Booker says on twitter that he’s doing a vegan challenge, and his over a million followers applaud and offer him free vegan home-baked goods…

And yet, when I’m trying out being a vegan all I hear are crickets. I do understand I’m not a super important, super cool senator. Still though, can I be just a tad jealous? Where are my free vegan meals made with love? ๐Ÿ˜›

I know jealousy is a very non-Cory-Booker-like emotion. Maybe that’s why he’s Cory Booker receiving all that love, and I’m hearing crickets. Perhaps that’s the lesson here… Aaaaaaanyway, enough with that tangent!

It’s weird because as I said, vegans are so often cast in this bad light, that that’s a label I wouldn’t rush to giving myself. But then when Cory Booker does it, there are a whole bunch of articles praising him for being vegan – saying it’s basically the most awesome thing since sliced (vegan) bread.

I’m sure there are haters too. (There always are.) But I dunno. Is being vegan becoming cool? I can tell you from personal experience, it is not cool in many pockets of the Midwest – as I’ve already mentioned having to laugh off my “silly challenge”… which is fine! It’s more than fine, because as a meat-eater, I was sort of judgmental myself.

I haven’t made some kind of grand declaration that I will live this way forever, and I don’t take offense when people think it’s so weird or different…

Basically, the point of this post is, I’m worried about the kind of reputation I give myself if I label myself vegan. I’ve often heard vegans are so difficult. I don’t need any more help being difficult! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you’re vegan, have you felt you have to go against stereotypes, or have you found people to be accepting? If anyone has any personal stories or thoughts to share, I’d love to hear them in the comments!

2 thoughts on “I Don’t Know That I Could Ever Be Vegan… – Part 2 (And The Label Scares Me)”

  1. OK first things first. Last time I checked you taking up the vegan challenge got you a four-figure charitable donation. That’s a lot of crickets,last time I checked!

    A vegan restaurant near where I live refuses to use the word “vegan.” They say “plant-based eating” or something like that. Of course, a restaurant doesn’t face identical situations as a person, but their concern was that a good number of folks didn’t know what “vegan” meant and it sounded foreign and probably came with a lot of cultural baggage that folks may not want to embrace. (Hey, you said you were vegan but I’m seeing shaved legs and no jewelry on your nose! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    Also one of my colleagues is vegan (or “almost vegan” at minimum),but doesn’t talk about it, like, at all. I only found out when we bumped into each other at a vegan MeetUp.

    I got some funny looks and challenges back in 1991-2, but back then there were a lot fewer vegan-identified folks; it’s easier these days. These days I use the word vegan when I can mostly to make it easier for those that follow. Can’t say I’ve had much of a hard time since, but then I’m neck deep in “Blue America” (college professor at an art/music-based school, living in a young, progressive neighborhood of a progressive city in a deep blue state), so I have it a lot easier than most. The worst discrimination I face is when everyone else is munching on cake, ice cream, etc (all of which have vegan versions which the host chose not to get) and they think I should be happy with a @$*%ing sliced apple.

    But really you should call yourself what your’e most comfortable with. Sometimes when I’m not in the mood to explain I say I’m vegetarian and then say I’m allergic to dairy. Put it another way, your food choices at the moment are doing a lot of good for animals and the environment, and if the psychological burden of a label puts you on a different path then the label did WAY more harm than good.

    For all care just tell folks you’re doing a cleanse and tell ’em you can’t have any meat, dairy, eggs, and then make up a few other fairly rare foods at random (“This week I’m trying to avoid barley, meat, date syrup, diary, starfruit, and eggs this week” and hide your diet in plain sight. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks for the always great comment, Kevin!

      Yes, it’s true that’s way more than crickets lol. It was amaaaaazing to get that charitable donation. I’m so glad that something so wonderful started the vegan challenge. I’m just saying no one else seemed to care. lol

      I liked everything you had to say. Thanks again for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?