The Flaming Vegan

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A Kind Word About Angry Vegans
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A Kind Word About Angry Vegans

Before becoming vegan, I was vegetarian for well over thirty years, and nearly vegan without really recognizing that fact. I did not consume dairy in any form, and very rarely ate eggs.

 During those years I was not aware of the deeper ethical considerations which occupy much thought and discussion on many vegan forums. I was blissfully unaware that some white sugar is considered not vegan,

because it is filtered through charred animal bones. Such things as the vegan objection to honey was also outside my consideration, or animal origin of some food dyes, made in fact from crushed Beatles. To name a few things which I simply did not understand as being against core vegan ethics.

 As I became more deeply involved in a vegan lifestyle I became increasingly aware of many and varied issues which are in same way exploitative of other species large and small.

Kindness and compassion are cornerstones of being vegan, yet these words alone do not really embrace the full thrust of while I will describe as the vegan ideology, if such a thing actually exists.

I have come to understand that being truly vegan, requires one to adopt a comprehensive world view which is anchored in the concepts of peace, freedom, non-violence, respect for all life, and a total rejection of exploitation in all its forms.

It is an ethical lifestyle which goes well beyond food. It is a lifestyle which is both complex and comprehensive, embracing all aspects of ones thoughts and actions.

To my surprise I discovered that some vegans are so passionate they seem to lose perspective, attacking non-vegans verbally, openly judging, berating, admonishing and criticizing, often with harsh and acidic comments.

 Some of these folks simply seem very angry, and let's be honest, being angry is just not very attractive, endearing, or appealing.

I must admit that when I first encountered such behavior by other vegans, I was shocked and dismayed. But I also saw in them much of the outrage I myself had felt and expressed openly.  After a period of intense rage, i reconnected to my personal reasons for becoming vegan and recognized that being angry was not one of these.  

I became vegan in part because i wanted to live a more kind and compassionate life. Being in a state of rage and disillusion over the social acceptance of death and torture as routine did not bring me peace.  it certainly was not a healthy mental or spiritual place to be. 

While it sounds rather superior, I can say in all honesty, I also became vegan after undergoing a kind of personal Epiphany. Put another way it might also be called a spiritual awakening, in an almost religious context. I became conscious that my choice of food, and in fact my entire lifestyle rippled out in many directions.

 It opened my heart in ways which are to numerous to mention. It perhaps enough to say, I no longer wanted to a party which caused the suffering of another being, of any species, including my fellow humans, vegan and non-vegan alike.

 That personal transformation might never have occurred had I been exposed to a vegan who attacked me, criticized me or otherwise judged me.

 With that point in view, I really struggle when I find other vegans being anything but kind to those who are not. I find it equally disquieting when vegans judge or attack each other, which seems all to common an occurrence in some places.

 Vegans are sometimes characterized as being radical. Regrettably, I find this description to be entirely accurate on occasion. I do understand why, driven by heart felt passion for the suffering of millions of animals slaughtered for food daily, such passions arise.

Having come to understand the suffering animals endure. Having become aware of them as intelligent, feeling sentient beings, I too want so stop the slaughter.

However, I implore all vegans, no matter how committed or impassioned, to consider the teachings of the Buddha. His enlightened wisdom advocated that we follow the middle path. The middle path representsa way ahead which is not extreme.

If we are to help others understand kindness and compassion towards animals and other vegan values, we must first practice kindness and compassion.

Hurling insults is not only a waste of energy, but it does nothing to advance the vegan agenda. It simply makes all vegans seem more radical and anything but peaceful and happy.  Not many people want to joint a group where people are angry or insulting.

It is a simply fact that many people will continue to eat meat, eggs and dairy. Not only is this socially acceptable to it is encouraged.  Given the amount of food advertising to which everyone is exposed it is little wonder moving people towards a vegan diet can be a challenge.

I encourage all vegans to not lose heart, or courage. Continue to promote the vegan diet, lifestyle and ethics using kindness, compassion and persuasion, and most of all patience. Change is already underway, it just must happen in its own time.  It can't come soon enough, it can't come fast enough, but it is coming.

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  1. ustmamo
    Well put, thank you!
  2. leipacariem
    A great read! I'm a vegetarian, but just like you before, I still choose not to consume eggs or dairy if alternatives are easily accessible. Someday, I believe I'll truly be a vegan. =) veganism is not a diet - it is a lifestyle. When I think of veganism, I think of sustainability - a lifestyle which can all allow us to be at peace with other creatures, and all other else in this world. =)
  3. Skip Stein
    Skip Stein
    Nicely done. One thing I constantly battle is the frustration (yes often anger) as friends and family continue to consume 'foods' that are, to us, poison. Having been vegan for 5 years it has changed our life (my wife became a gourmet vegan chef! - yea for me). It is constantly baffling how so many, otherwise reasonably intelligent people, can be bamboozled by advertising and false claims. We have found it better to be more passive and demonstrate Health & Wellness by example. When people ask us or compliment how good we look (both 67) we just say, Plant Based Lifestyle does the trick. We often do not use the term 'vegan' but focus on Plant Based Lifestyle comments and even avoid the 'nutrition' word as even that can sound 'preachy'. It is so sad that, even with the preponderance of evidence, a vegan Plant Based Lifestyle is not only healthier but good for the planet and the animals with whom we cohabit this planet.
  4. Terry d'Selkie
    I love what you have to say below. thank you! "I have come to understand that being truly vegan, requires one to adopt a comprehensive world view which is anchored in the concepts of peace, freedom, non-violence, respect for all life, and a total rejection of exploitation in all its forms. It is an ethical lifestyle which goes well beyond food. It is a lifestyle which is both complex and comprehensive, embracing all aspects of ones thoughts and actions."
  5. Vin Chauhun
    Vin Chauhun
    Excellent post :) I am by no means an angry veggie but it is some times in "the interests and in name of stress relief" that I take the odd pot shot at meat eaters. voted !
    1. Skip Stein
      Skip Stein
      Isn't it just so frustrating when you see folks, who should know better, eat such horrendous crap? You just can't but feel 'stressed' as they are often your friends and family! <smile>! Sometimes I really have to 'bite my tongue' when around loved ones who just don't seem to 'get it'! Even after seeing how terrific we have been and our vastly improved state of health. Go figure!
      1. Marvin Double
        Marvin Double
        Thank you Skip, I appreciate your comment and your view. i am the only vegan in a household which includes my wife or 43 years, my adult daughter 40+ and 5 of my 6 grandchildren. Virtually every night I sit at a dinner table with a vegan meal while everyone else eats something involving some animal or animal product. With that as a context I think i can say I truly do appreciate what it means to be understanding and compassionate towards those who do not share my diet, or my views. Each person must come to being vegan willingly and with an open heart. Simply being angry at them or forcing my views on them creates conflict and resistance. i do my best to live by example and allow them to find their way to being vegan when they feel the time is right to do so. We each walk our own path in life, and theirs simply has not yet arrived at a point where being vegan is a choice they are willing to make.
        1. Skip Stein
          Skip Stein
          Marvin, I congratulate you on your perseverance. It isn't easy. Our daughter, also 40+ has 7 kids and, basically think we are nuts! <smile>! BUT, I am surviving a prostate cancer diagnosis that had me dead (no matter if I got treatment or not) around May 2014! Yea, how about that! So much for what they know about nutrition! Still our family resists. I have to say that they aren't as critical now as they were when we started. The Grandkids are beginning to see that vegan meals aren't all that bad. Our one granddaughter is getting very interested at 13 years old. Our #2 grandson has avoided soda now for almost 4 years. Little steps and as long as I'm still alive and kicking it must give them something to think about. <grin>! Still for the Holidays it has changed our family dynamic drastically. Now we go to my daughter's house and have Thanksgiving there and bring our own vegan dishes. We always bring enough for others to share and some of the guests were amazed at how delicious our meals were. Naturally the vegetables dishes could be shared with all and my lovely daughter refrained from putting butter in some of the dishes. Little steps! Luckily my daughter's family is pretty healthy; they get colds and flu while my wife and I do not and that seems to raise eyebrows. In the past 5 years we have only been ill once; when we got a horrible virus but compared to others didn't suffer near as poorly. Hang in there! Eventually as you remain healthy and age gracefully while others don't do as well, it will be more and more visible. We want the best for our children/grandchildren but cannot rule their lives (even though we would like to!!). Cheers, Skip Stein Whole Foods 4 Healthy Living
    2. Marvin Double
      Marvin Double
      I fully understand, and thanks for the comment and the vote
  6. JulesV
    Good post , I enjoyed reading .
  7. tigerose
    It was really good reading your post. I'm a new vegan, only been at it for a year and while it is something I know wholeheartedly I will commit to forever, I'm at the 'angry' stage. I get into trouble on social media when I tell meat eaters and vegetarians that they support cruelty and suffering. I agree that being angry doesn't serve any purpose or motivate people to think about being vegan but at the same time, I know I'm not going to stay passive and avoid the subject or not be upset by the hostility of many non-vegans. And no way am I going to take it lying down. Call it misguided passion but I'm still learning how to channel my indignation and anger in a more positive way. So the best solution for me now is to continue posting articles on social media but omit making any comments and let the article speak for itself! I think this is a phase that some new vegans go through and I hope in another year's time, I'd take a more educational, measured stance to communicate with ignorant or belligerent meat eaters. There is nothing wrong with being peace-loving but it is important to stand up for your beliefs in a world that is surrounded by violence and cruelty.
    1. Marvin Double
      Marvin Double
      Thanks for your measured and thoughtful comment. I have found that one way to stop being angry is to get a correct perspective. Consider that most non-vegans really don't make the connection between the plastic wrapped meat in the supermarket and a living animal. Further to that point we are all conditioned from birth to turn off our compassion in this so called dog eat dog world. We are taught that we must compete and be dominant. We are taught that animals are simply here to be harvested for our use. They are in that mode of thinking, no different than plants - things . This idea is reinforced in virtually ever culture, and has been so for hundreds of centuries. Such ideas will not change quickly. However, the fact that there is a growing number of vegans suggests that something is changing, if only slowly. Take heart and do what you can to spread the vegan message, knowing full well, it will never be enough to stop all suffering. Make peace with yourself first, and then and the anger will diminish. Remember too that most people fear change and things which are unfamiliar. Being vegan is entirely outside what most people can conceive of as being normal. It take tremendous courage to step outside the box, or colour outside the lines. When someone is comfortable inside the box, they have no reason to change unless compelled to do so by something so powerful, so motivational that it changes their ideas about what normal really is. Offering up something that powerful, that motivational is not an easy task. There are those in the vegan community who have been at this task for many years. When pressed on the point, they will acknowledge that some people can't be reached. This does not represent failure, it is simply the truth. So take a breath and centre yourself when you come to recognize that there are limits to what you can do. Know that change takes time. Know to that being angry does not encourage others to embrace a lifestyle which makes you feel angry. I don't suggest that you should be passive, only that you use an approach which does not put people off. Do your best to be positive and offer up a message which is encouraging and hopeful. Thanks very much for your comment, I really appreciate the feedback.
      1. tigerose
        Many thanks for your encouragement and advice. I do forget that the continuum of social and moral consciousness is vast, stretching from very little to very deep. I forget that many people truly do not know what happens on a commercial farm and how animals are killed. And for just as many, they simply do not care or are apathetic. Veganism, for the majority, is too different, too 'deep', too militant, too difficult, too elitist, too many things it is not and they either cannot or refuse to see past that. Moral consciousness can, to some extent, be taught and inculcated but most of it comes from deep within each individual, if at all. We do what we can to educate in this lifetime but what's most important is for each vegan to stay true to living a life co-existing with other sentient beings in a peaceful manner and rejecting violence in all forms.


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