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The ballad of the lonely vegan?

Discussion in 'Support' started by Nicky, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. Nicky

    Nicky Member

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    Hi Everyone,

    I've turned this over in my head, and I guess my real questions are: 1) how can I advocate for veganism, kindly and effectively, and 2) how to deal with flat-out rejections of my stance. So if you're not up for reading the forthcoming diatribe then I'd still appreciate some suggestions on these 2 points!

    The non-vegans in my life (aka everyone) fall into two broad categories. 1) "I'd love to be vegan but I wohaven't because cheese/socialising/health reasons", and the second (which includes my partner) respect and accommodate my choices, but think veganism is a bit eccentric. Their eyes generally glaze over if I mention an article or study that I've found interesting (and this is quite rare, probably 3 times in the year that I've been vegan, so I wouldn't say I'm nagging).

    First off, I know that I'm incredibly lucky that those around me are broadly supportive. Nobody has really been mean or tried to push me to eat or drink any animal products, and I'm very grateful not to have had to face those challenges, as I know a lot of you have.

    That said, I don't know what to say to people who are supposedly pro-animal-rights, but think that eating cheese is more important. The logic is flawed but I don't know how to challenge it in an effective way. I particularly don't want to offend people who have been avoiding meat for 20 years when I was still eating everything 18 months ago. Maybe part of my problem is that I feel like a hypocrite and have a lot of catching up to do?

    I often think about my omnivore days and wish that I'd had a vegan friend - I think that I would have been open-minded enough to hear them out, especially a close friend to whom veganism was important. I find it upsetting when my partner rolls his eyes and says things like "I love bacon" without hearing me out. I understand why people don't want to think about it, and that it's easier not to, but the flip side is that I don't know how to challenge that stance.

    Anyway, I'd love to hear any thoughts on this. I know it's an individual choice and all, and I'm not trying to force anyone to agree with me, I'd just to be able to have reasonable conversations about this stuff with pescetarians/omnis, and I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere.

    xxx
     
  2. Nekodaiden

    Nekodaiden Active Member

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    Hi there :) I've been Vegan for less time than you (around 8 months or so last time I looked), so I have limited experience in relating this to non-vegans, but a little, so maybe take it for what it's worth.


    So far I've been able to talk to a few different coworkers about it, and just a little with particular friends. Generally, I don't bring it up unless there is an opportunity to or it is appropriate to (for example, when I am offered lunch that I know is going to involve animal products) - which is a perfect time to politely say "no thank you, I am vegan". That's as far as it can go at first, but once people know, they naturally will be curious.

    One such person I work with said "What do you eat? Bread for breakfast, bread for lunch, bread for dinner?" To which I explained that I eat a variety of different foods: potatoes, corn, oats, legumes, rice/noodles, I use soy sauce, have pizza flavored meals, make plant milks, eat bean burritos and sometimes plant based burgers, love pickles, chili, popcorn and a variety of spices. Most people seem surprised, because they tend to have a view of veganism that is very myopic and consists only of one type of food.

    I have a friend who said to me "I have to learn to stop eating". Seriously. (A little background - she's diabetic, has had multiple internal issues involving surgeries) - but she doesn't know what to eat besides what she is used to and what her husband likes. I think she knows her diet is at least partly responsible, but doesn't know what to change TO. I can't preach to her, I just say I am happy eating Vegan and described my breakfast that morning (which was hash browns with baked beans on toast). It's not going to rock her world, but it's an idea she may act on herself instead of having eggs/bacon or something else animal based.

    Also, don't worry about "getting anywhere" (ie: being that one person who was a shining beacon of light who saved a person from certain doom). Just do what you can. It wasn't one person or situation that turned me vegan. I was raised an omnivore and didn't know anything else. Lots of things turned my interest to Veganism. Yes, one person tipped the scales for me, but it's not as if he "converted me", the soil had already been fertilized and the seeds sown from lots of different people and experiences.
     
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  3. veganDreama

    veganDreama Active Member

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    I don't try to 'convert' anyone. I tried when I first became vegan and big on animal rights issues.

    Only I've found It's a wasted effort. If they know all the facts and still eat meat nothing you can say or do will move them. When I told an email friend I was vegan he said his doctor said he 'had to' eat meat.
     
  4. Sax
    Happy

    Sax Active Member

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    I think veganism is something we all have to come to voluntarily and on our own. Nobody can be made to have an ethical epiphany or shift in values...that has to come from within.

    Directly engaging people with the intent to change their minds is counter-productive, no matter how respectful and articulate and well informed you may be. It's absurd that we have to treat carnists with kids gloves, and frustrating to take what feels like a passive approach to a moral issue we shape our lives and world views around. But carnists are actually very sensitive about this topic, and if they feel like they're being challenged in the slightest they become defensive and further entrenched in their carnism.
     
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  5. Deleted member 2263

    Deleted member 2263 Guest

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    You are likely to be attempted milked for rationale, experiences, thoughts and akin used for generating rationalization against veganism/not exploiting beings and having excuse for this.

    I vvould recommend getting to other vegans, though I knovv hovv impossible that is; stuck myself. I simply do not see others nor engage in socialization, even so the microbiological drain still exists.

    Sadly I have no option as going to Copenhagen/capitol of area involves harm for me, I cannot live in a big city or areas vvith psychiatric presence (some things vvas done to me).

    Nor vvill a relapse vvork, I am certain of that, though I much feel like eating "kebab" as of recently. A spain travel thing, vveird things, connected to some something pretending to be family to my father.

    || || || || || || || ||
    Black bean and butternut burritos. I so much miss this.
    Living vvithout a kitchen, ravv food etc. though.

    I look forvvard to shared kitchen and vegan only environments at some point, I hope at least.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2018
  6. Nicky

    Nicky Member

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    Thanks for all the kind responses everyone.

    I worry that I'm letting the side down, and that I ought to be doing more for the animals, but agree that it's probably counterproductive. It's impossible to even raise the science - climate change impact of farming, health impact of processed food (including meat) etc, because I know I've already been written off as a hippy!

    I guess the only thing to do is lead by example.

    Saying that, one of the things that helped me was finding out about No Meat Athlete (and other vegan athletes) - it really made me confront the idea that you could not just survive, but thrive, as a vegan, and made me appreciate how truly unnecessary the meat & dairy industries are.

    So, maybe I should start running marathons?! If nothing else I'd burn off some of my frustrations...
     
  7. Sockpim

    Sockpim New Member

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    Hi Nicky,

    I'm a bit late to this conversation, but I'd like to chip in and say that I'm also new to being a vegan and the emotional side of it. My wife converted me from being an omnivore to being a vegetarian when we were going out and in the last few weeks, we've recently both made the transition to being vegans. I was raised to love nature and animals as an omnivore and my family ate organic meat and veg (apart from when eating out) and my folks always bought products that weren't tested on animals, which I then continued doing when I moved into my own place. Even with this being the case, I was still very resistent to the discussion I had with my wife about it and her asking me to justify why I ate meat. when it came down to it, it was the taste, which I thought about for a while and then decided it just wasn't worth it. By that point, she'd also gotten me to try the quorn chicken pieces, that tasted exactly like chicken, were cheaper than chicken, and didn't require killing a chicken to make them, so I stopped eating chicken a while before becoming a vegetarian.

    If a close family member was a vegetarian or vegan and had asked me to justify it, I would have had the same conversation with them and I think I would have eventually become a vegetarian too. Having said that, I think as other people have said here, a lot of people won't even entertain the idea. I've tried asking some of my friends why they eat meat recently and they just say something like 'I just like the taste of it' or 'I like the taste of it... I don't see why I wouldn't eat them'. But it's clear by the tone in their voice when they say this that they have no intention of discussing it or ever ebing open to changing their minds. You would have thought that a close family member would be up for discussing something like this... but some aren't, as I found out a couple of weeks ago with one of my older brothers, who I've now fallen out with about the subject.

    Trying to answer your questions directly rather than the waffle I wrote above, I'd say education from an early age is the main game changer. I'm 29, but I've been learning recently that mroe people in their late teens are becoming vegetarians/vegans now. I think one of the main issues for my age range and above is that although people eat meat, they seem to have chosen to be ignorant over where it comes from and how it gets from a baby animal to their plate. That is, they've closed their mind to any suffering that might take place, so they belittle vegetarians/vegans to make themselves feel like they don't need to change.
     

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