Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I just don't get it...stop putting plant eaters down!

It happened again...and ugh, I hate it...

I really don't understand why people have to make snide comments or say inappropriate things to vegans. I really can't quite grasp what makes them feel like they have to do that.

Tonight I was at Safeway in Helena, Montana, not exactly a vegan mecca when it comes to food. It's been a long week and I felt like grabbing food at the grocery store and eating in my hotel room. I have a little fridge and microwave so I just did the quick store stop to pick up some stuff. Surprisingly, Safeway had quite a few vegan options (Amy's, Kashi, Field Roast, etc.). I was looking at the little section that has a few vegan options and was holding the mushroom stuffed field roast and a guy walked by and said something to the effect of "ha, what a joke, like that crap would taste good". No, he wasn't on the phone, he wasn't talking to anyone else as I was the only one around. I turned to look at him and he just gave me a snide grin and laughed. Yeah, he was an asshole; in fact it might have been tattooed across his forehead.

Granted, I'm in a huge "kill it and eat it" area of the country so I know I'm probably one of very few vegans here. In the paper this morning there was a write up on how they are going to cull (kill) 175 urban deer and the meat will be donated to the local food bank. Yikes and yuck.

No matter what someones reasons are for being vegan, whether it is for animal welfare or to live a healthier life, it's simply not necessary to try to belittle vegans. I am not doing one thing to hurt you or put you down. I don't walk up to people while they are eating a rare, bloody prime rib and make rude comments. Yes, I post things on twitter and facebook about the cruelty of factory farming, the dangers of eating certain foods, positive articles about eating a plant based diet and information about how being vegan can help your health, animals and the environment. Yes, sometimes I get on my soapbox. I think it's important to know where your food comes from, living in denial can hurt your health. If one person gets something out of it, it's worth it.  

Maybe I don't belittle people because I was raised right..."if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". So I do try to keep my mouth shut and yes, sometimes it's hard. But I certainly would never say anything to a perfect stranger to make them feel bad. Not that I wouldn't get in my car, roll up the windows and curse the person who gets a "half and half/whole milk mixed mocha with extra whip" and wonders why they are 200 pounds overweight. Yeah, that really happened and it was before I went vegan and even then it almost made me want to hurl. 

Eat to help your health, don't just pop pills to make things "better". Eat to prevent disease, don't medicate to alleviate symptoms. Give food a chance, it's much more fun, much more tasty and not nearly as hard as you think it is. And it's a lot cheaper in the long run too! 

The only thing I hope to do is to possibly open one persons eyes to seeing that eating a plant based diet not only helps save lives of animals, but also helps to save your life. There is enough scientific evidence out there to support how a plant based diet can help you live a healthier life.

So what is it? Why is it that friends and perfect strangers feel the need to make comments as if there is something wrong with my choice to eat a plant based diet and to help protect animals from suffering and death and to help the planet. When I told a friend I went vegan she said to me "oh my gosh, have you gone crazy?"

People always feel the need to tell vegans things like: "oh I could probably be vegetarian, but I could never give up cheese". It's weird, it's ALWAYS cheese, it is never "oh, I could never give up hamburgers" or "oh, I could never give up milk". Strange really, because when I wasn't vegan, I probably had cheese once a week or so and I liked cheese. Nowadays there are a lot of really good vegan cheese, there weren't in the past, but now there are. I mean really, cheese, that's it? Odd. 

I feel a bit lucky, because I don't work in an office where at this time of year potlucks are a plethora of meat and cheese filled casseroles and the only veggie option is a salad and even then it's usually not vegan because it's covered in ranch or blue cheese dressing! I have a friend who gets snide comments from co-workers quite often about vegan food. I'm pretty sure that if they didn't know the dish was vegan they would actually like it, but they know she's vegan so they are too closed minded to even give it a try. 

For some reason people have an odd, preconceived notion that vegan food is tasteless. If you just peruse and search vegan cookbooks, you'll see how many options there are. I have a whole bookcase to showcase that fact :) So if food doesn't have meat, cheese, milk or butter it has no taste? Quite the contrary. There are so many delicious vegan recipes you could have years of different meals every night with not repeating one dish if you could cook every night.

So if you know a vegan or someone who is eating a plant based diet, give that person a big "atta girl" or "atta boy" and not "you crazy". Tell them that you are proud of them for making a choice to eat right for their health.

All right, time to step off the soapbox. Now, go eat your kale. 

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