The Flaming Vegan

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Vegans, Stop!
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Vegans, Stop!

On a recent post I made for this site, I received a comment about how a lot of vegans have this tendency to be preachy and make meat-eaters feel bad about their dietary choices. I don’t know how much backlash I am going to get about this post, but VEGANS, STOP.

In my mind, everyone has their own right to make their personal dietary choices. There is a huge difference between informing others that you may think a certain diet is beneficial and making others feel bad about their choices. The comment I received on my post pointed out that the poster, as a carnivore, had no problem with the food choices vegans made, but (s)he did not appreciate how the vegan companions (s)he knew did not respect non-vegan decisions, and they only saw one absolute truth in food consumption. This is not okay. VEGANS, STOP.

If you want to be a carnivore, that is fine with me, and if you want to be a vegan, that is fine as well, just as long as you respect my choices. It is too bad that there exist vegans who only see their way as the right way, and it’s too bad there are carnivores who feel the same way about their choices. There will always be people like this, but you can’t fight fire with fire, so VEGANS, STOP.

You are better than this. You chose a vegan diet because it makes you happy, and while you should definitely promote your beliefs, be friendly about it. Don’t make others feel uncomfortable about their personal decisions. Carnivores, this message goes out to you too. If both sides actually listened to the others’ points, and ignored the preachers on both sides, maybe we could work something out. EVERYONE, STOP.

STOP. LOOK. LISTEN. There are so many carnivores who have an open mind about food choices, even if they are not open to becoming a vegan. There are obviously extremes on both sides (carnivores and vegans), but most people are reasonable human beings. There does actually exist a middle ground where we can work together to make the world a better place (for lack of a better cliché). If vegans can inform the moderate carnivores about humane, locally-sourced alternatives, maybe there is hope. You don’t have to convert anyone to veganism, just share your knowledge. Instead of making people feel bad about their choices to change their opinions, try having an open conversation about better food choices. Anti-meat is not always sustainable for everyone, but humane practices and lower meat consumption are much easier for most people to stomach.

Meat is such a large part of many cultures, and so many people’s lives in general, that the best way to spark social change is to take things slowly. Personally, I don’t see many large scale practices changing any time soon, so I just choose my own eating preferences and stick to them. But if a plan to reinvent the food mindset were to be initiated, making people feel bad about their choices is not the way (vegans, stop). There are so many people who cannot imagine a life without meat, and they really should not have to. Vast improvements can be made by simply educating others where their food is coming from. It has become clear that neither vegans nor carnivores can have everyone conform to their lifestyles, so why not try to meet others halfway there?

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  1. BuddhasDelight
    BuddhasDelight
    i totally agree and never preach, i just state my personal preferences and reasons for vegism and live my life. if others ask me questions or find inspiration in watching my example, great. but i think it doesn't work to force anyone into anything and all people, whichever path they are on with diet, deserve respect. thank you for posting, the last thing we want is for vegans to turn the carni public against us or the ideas and lifestyles we represent. voted. blessings!
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    1. Ugawa Sagara
      Ugawa Sagara
      I agree! I talked to some other friends too and they have had unpleasant experiences with forceful vegans, making them reject the idea of veganism even more than normal. I didn't realize there were so many bad experiences people have had, and it's definitely something that is changeable. Whenever someone tries to force something on someone else, it just puts them off. Kudos to you for representing vegans in a positive light! I feel like the people on this blog don't fall into the "forceful vegan" archetype, but I wanted to bring awareness to the issue =)
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      1. BuddhasDelight
        BuddhasDelight
        well said! i appreciate your voice... thank you for sharing. hopefully the vegan movement can be gentle but persistent like water carving a grand canyon over time! i think if we continue to be positive and loving in our actions and opinions... in time we as veg-heads can move mountains! :) cheers and have a lovely day!
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  2. Curiouser49
    I tell this to my daughter all the time and I think it is just starting to take root. She has alienated people as a result of preaching. So have I. Honestly, the only reason why I am vegetarian (buy "certified humane" dairy products and eggs only and am just starting a garden) is because of the cruelty to animals. I am working on becomming vegan. The cruelty is savage and vile. But, in order to bring people over or at least to get them to understand why we don't eat meat and fish is to discuss it at the right time and listen to them too - hide your disdain. I just ask people if their food preferences include meat and fish would they consider coming over to the side of animal activists who fight against the food industry's treatment of the animals who nourish them. If they want to eat meat, it is their right, but I know a lot of meat eaters who are against the cruelty. Many have agreed to take one meat meal a week and replace it with a non-meat meal. That helps, it's a good start, and the awareness is kicking in.
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    1. Ugawa Sagara
      Ugawa Sagara
      I completely agree. Approaching the issues in a non-confrontational way seems to be the best practice. If a meat eater understands the issues and limits meat consumption (even if only by a little), this is still better than preaching and having them do nothing. It is surprising how many meat eaters simply do not know about cruelty, and if they know, many of them (in my life at least) seem to be willing to make smarter eating choices (even if not fully vegan/vegetarian).
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  3. mystic40s
    Well said - makes me stop and think and analyze if I'm preaching or not. I hope not, but I do speak my mind when someone says something stupid about a vegan diet. I, too, don't mind someone who chooses to eat meat but don't appreciate it when they make stupid jokes about adding bacon to my food...etc..It's then, I might get a little preachy.
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    1. Ugawa Sagara
      Ugawa Sagara
      Even though this post is titled "Vegans, Stop" (it used to be titled "Vegans, Stahp," but I guess it was mistaken for an incorrect spelling rather than a clever use of internet meme), it really goes both ways. Meat eaters should also respect vegan choices even if they do not believe in them. Both sides are preachy from time to time, it's just best to be aware so we can do our part to limit the amount of preaching.
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  4. tre4evor
    as an omnivore, I am envious of vegans....I try....I really do. but maybe not quite hard enough, so I've been told. I eat very little meat and do drink organic rice milk. but I am weak for eggs (and egg subs are....sucky) and the occasional cheese. I respect those who are able to be completely vegan, all of the time. I take it one day at a time and am working on it. this is a great article because I have felt shamed for my eating choices....I applaud this site because it inspires me to try new things; to skip the animal products (if I can suppress my inner urges) for both health and ethical reasons. thank you, flaming vegan. keep the recipes coming. I am one step away from complete conversion!
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  5. Danielli Marzouca
    While I do agree that the preachy vegan is the failed animal activist, I don't choose a vegan diet "because it makes me happy". It is not a simple dietary choice for the millions of animals that are physically and psychologically abused and then slaughtered every year to be someone's momentary pleasure. Nothing would have ever gotten done if non-slave-owners respected slave-owners' lifestyle choices. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, in his letter from Birmingham jail that, "I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” So as someone who was raised with a carnistic mindset, I totally agree that preaching and making people feel bad is not the way to combat the world's largest and most accepted systematic cruelty and it does nothing for the animals to create an us vs them, exclusive vegan archetype. I do think that we can advocate for animals and fight for their freedom by being positive advocates, praising people for how many veggies are on their plate rather than how much flesh is. This is the social movement of our generation. Let's start acting like it. Murder should never be accepted as a lifestyle choice, but being empathetic toward the meat-eaters awakening towards this fact is so, so necessary to making veganism mainstream.
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