Running a pretty large facebook group of over five thousand people almost single handedly till this point has been challenging but it’s also like a giant science experiment on how people think and behave too.
Within a short year the group has grown radically, which is great. It’s also allowed me to observe human nature and the way people think on a deeper level.
I am also part of a lot of other – larger, less moderated groups and actively contribute to those also, so I see how other admins in groups run their ships and the kind of discussions that unfold. I say this because I feel like over the past years I have become some-what qualified to lay out the kind of stupid things vegans do and say that actually keep this great movement a fringe minority.
This blog is my observations and perspectives – I realize they aren’t inherently right or wrong, but just how I see things. I also know many other vegans have similar views and many vegans who began this journey for the ‘right reasons’ now actually hinder the progress of it – and this is how –
1) You Support Animal Cruelty
When You Buy Stuff From Businesses That Participate In the Use of Animals
Let me get this straight. I get it the argument.
I get that there are thousands of businesses out there profiting of the pain, suffering and cruelty to other sentient beings. I also realize that these businesses don’t torture animals for fun, they do it because there is a demand for that animal and they are in the money making game.
It’s not like Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream gets thrills and jollies over the idea they have cows shackled to milking stations for their entire lives, getting repeatedly impregnated so they lactate as much milk as possible. They do it because there is a demand – and if it makes MONEY it makes SENSE (in big business eyes)
Equally those companies do their market research. They can sense when a tidal shift is occurring and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is a prime example. They can see a shift away from dairy to nut based ice creams and it’s why they have now just got into that dairy-free market.
The same goes for businesses like Chipotle, Wholefoods, Subway and Wendy’s with their vegan options.
We would be freaking stupid to boycott them saying they support the animal holocaust and we shouldn’t give them a dime. What message does that send to their business analysts? That there is ZERO market for these vegan ice creams so f*ck it! Lets go back to making MORE dairy ones.
I’m sorry but vegans who want to boycott business for this reason are total idiots.
They don’t see the forest for the trees. Even staunch vegans like Gary Yourofsky encourage vegans and non vegans to buy and support the vegan items in any fast food chain or store. Why? Because we take up a larger market share of the money and they see that in their profits, so overtime they adapt.
If you are a vegan who thinks I am wrong, then ask yourself?
Where do you shop? Because if you shop in a super market that sells non vegan items as well as vegan ones you are implicated in the very thing you think is wrong. If you use gas in your standard car, you are implicated. If you hire a non-vegan plumber, electrician, mechanic, AC expert or carpenter – you are facilitating people who participate in animal suffering. Can you see where we are going with this?
The whole idea is to make veganism seem easy. To make it seem appealing.
If it looks impossible to achieve and awkward as f*ck to implement do you think anyone in their right mind would ever try it? Hell no. Wake up, not everyone has access to gourmet vegan supermarkets and farmers markets like you do (and lets hope those farmers selling the vegetables are vegan, otherwise…well you know, you are implicated in animal use).
In this day and age, we don’t vote on ballets anymore – that’s an illusion. We vote with our $$$$$ and like I said, if it makes money it makes sense. Next time you think boycotting a business that is trying to adapt is going to help, think about how your vote will then send them the message there is no demand here – and to continue perpetuating more animal abuse and suffering – any smart vegan with a broader perspective can see this. Be one of them too and encourage your non vegan friends to buy these products, because it is a step in the right direction.
2) Mock Meats Are Disgusting
& Perpetuate A Meat-Eating Culture
I’ve seen this sh*t happen too often, where a new vegan who is trying some of the plant based meats available shares on social media what they got – and they are met with insults and criticism around the fact they shouldn’t be eating that. That it’s not healthy, that it’s not what veganism represents – that it’s still perpetuating a ‘meat eating’ culture.
I’m here to tell you that the animals do not give a f*ck if you think this is wrong. If you were a Jew in Dachau back in Nazi Germany would you have cared if the person who saved your life was a full on Nazi, German or a Jew? Hell no you wouldn’t.
What I am saying here is it is totally irrelevant. That the end result is still the same – that person eats fewer animals. Isn’t that what veganism in its core is about? – To do the least harm possible.
So if someone choses to eat mock meats, shouldn’t we support that? Shouldn’t we encourage that? To me it is utterly insane to think that we shouldn’t.
Also realize people might be Vegan for different reasons than YOU. That maybe you have some nutritional motives behind your veganism which make you not want to eat as much mock meat. Maybe those people are purely ethical vegans, but still enjoy the taste and texture of those old foods? Is that a bad thing? No – it’s all perspective.
It’s only bad in the eyes of people who are blind.
To me it’s a great thing. I’m not a massive mock meat eater, but I have it sometimes and I sure as HELL will recommend people to use it if it means less animal consumption. We as vegans have to move away from this myopic purist mindset some of us adopt and realize that to make this movement grow we need to meet people where they are and not look down on them from some high horse.
3) The “Oreos Aren’t Vegan” BS
I know what you are thinking here.
This guy doesn’t know about palm oil or bone char.
He hasn’t seen the elephants that get poisoned and orangutans that get burned to protect and make way for palm crop fields. I get it! I know it exists. I also realize that some companies use bone char in the process they use to make sugar, which is a byproduct of the animal industry and isn’t directly part of the sugar itself.
I understand the ethical conflict here, but I feel the worst thing we can do for Veganism is condemn everything and make this lifestyle awkward as f*ck to implement for a non vegan. We live in a world where MOST foods and most business and most people are NOT even close to being vegan and billions and billions of animals are needlessly slaughtered each year for this – and we are here worrying about bone char which wouldn’t even exist if the animals weren’t slaughtered for flesh in the first place.
Again, it’s not being able to see the forest for the trees.
Some people get so entangled in the peripheral bullsh*t they forget that most people need to evolve towards veganism in stages. That many cannot do this overnight, or they WILL often relapse.
I focus on the greater good. I would rather see someone stop eating meat and dairy and still eat Oreos, than to stop eating Oreo’s – but eat meat and dairy. To me it’s a no brainer.
The amount of damage isn’t even comparable.
I remember some ‘high horse’ asshole vegan on instagram went on someone’s account (this person was a NEW vegan bythe way) and the high horse vegan berated her about how Oreos aren’t vegan.
That sh*t pissed me off – that idiot had no clue that this person has just begun her journey, or that she is TRYING. That if she evolves and learns she will get to a point she may not want things like Oreos in her diet anyway, that the fact she’s even vegan is a HUGE step.
That she might learn about the damaging effect palm oil crops cause on animals and choose herself to not eat them anymore, but it won’t happen if some holier-than-thou vegan struts in and condemns her from the start line. That is NOT how to promote the beauty of this lifestyle.
Would you rather they put the oreos down and go grab some poptarts, with milk, bone charred sugars, palm oil and eggs in them instead? [Do you even logic bro]
The reality is we don’t live in this utopian, purist, plant based vegan world. It’s actually the complete opposite – so rather than thinking everything has to be black and white, focus on the lesser evil first and work from there. Focus on the largest change first. Focus on getting someones foot in the Vegan door first. Focus on helping them and giving them alternatives in a positive way.
It comes back to this simple concept. “Be the kind of Vegan you would have wanted to meet, before you became Vegan”.
4) High carb is great, Protein Sucks &
“The Fat You Eat Is The Fat You Wear”
It’s often a huge achievement just going Vegan. To then be confronted with all these fringe cliques within Veganism who staunchly promote certain eating paradigms.
To be honest it’s ridiculous. It’s like a magnified disordered eating culture in many ways and vegans will burn other vegans at the stake over arguments around macros – its such a blackhole of energy that could be used to be doing positive advocacy for the movement.
I hear people rattle off the incredibly stupid saying “The fat you eat is the fat you wear”.
What a complete and utter load of generalized bullsh*t.
No one single macronutrient is responsible for fat gain. Over consumption of energy (calories) and not enough outout (exercise/metabolism) is the primary reason for fat gain aside from hormonal dysfunction etc.
When a vegan says that to a new vegan and makes them fat phobic (along with being carb phobic from their non vegan former lifestyle) – all it does is narrow the person’s options down further. It’s like Paleo people condemning carbohydrates. Vegans do the exact same thing with fat and protein. Neither are good or bad if used the right way.
But we live in a world of extremes, so people take things to polar ends of the spectrum and that’s when problems arise.
I’m all about being adaptive and taking the bits from things that work and synergizing them all together instead of pigeon-holing myself into some narrow bracket. Within Veganism is things like 80/10/10, raw till four, fully raw, starch solution, potato diet, 30 banana’s a day, high fat/keto vegans, paleo-vegans, junk food vegans, high protein vegans and so on.
It’s all just a freakin distraction. We are really all the same, working towards similar goals and visions yet people feel the need to pigeon-hole themselves. I personally take the bits I know work for me, from every aspect of those niches and mix and match.
I personally do about 60% carbs, 20-25% protein and about 15-20% fat. BUT I don’t force that model down people’s throats. In fact if someone wants to do higher fat I give them suggestions how. If someone wants to restrict carbs I give them suggestions how and allow them to learn through their own experience. I obviously give them my preference, but I don’t condemn or forcefully try to make someone do what I am doing.
Learn to let go of labels.
Our entire lives we place label upon label on ourselves, these layers of things around who we THINK we are or who we should be and it distracts us from making further changes in our own lives and in others too. It’s so important to realize that when someone is new to veganism, guide them, but allow them to experiment too.
If they cut out meat, dairy and eggs yesterday and today you are telling them oils, avocado, nuts and seeds (fats) will give them heart disease and make them fat – do you think they are going to enjoy the journey? Or feel encouraged to try more plant foods? In my observations – NO.
Allow them to learn and get their foot through the damn door first.
I’m not disputing that some fats are probably not good for us, but what I am suggesting is that there is no perfect way to do anything. We have to remember that the more fractured and complex veganism appears to a newbie the less likely they will want to stay. If we can make it seem easy, simple and fun – they WILL thrive and stay. That to me, is the GOAL.
5) You Just Aren’t “Vegan” Enough
This is the final bit of icing on the cake of asshole vegans.
This one comes in many forms too. From “They built their muscle on meat and just maintain it on plants”. Or “He’s on steroids you couldn’t look like that as a vegan”. Or any negative comment, condescending message or unhelpful critical conversation a vegan has with someone over how they THINK things should be.
Ya know, that whole level 10 vegan bullsh*t people see and makes them think Veganism is like a cult.
The kind that are so purist they actually condemn other vegans. How utterly insane and pathetic is that? To condemn someone in the same movement as you who is actively reducing animal suffering.
There is no logic behind it at all, just narrow-mindedness.
If you are like this wake the f*ck up and evolve past it. There is no room in a beautiful movement like veganism for angry, hateful vegan assholes who condemn other vegans. You are a detriment to this movement with that kind of attitude, so change it.
Here are some examples of this painful stupidity in action:
– A vegan (new vegan or non vegan who is making the transition) posts some vegan junk food and is faced with comments about how unhealthy it is, that it’s disgusting and so on – by other vegans.
– A vegan shares a progress shot of themselves working out and is met with comments about building their physique on meat or using steroids. One of those two arguments is always the case and often comes from other vegans!
A vegan posts a recipe or food that might have debatable ingredients in it (honey, gelatin etc) and rather than finding out if that person is a new vegan and positively encouraging any progress – they are met with insults and comments bluntly telling them this isn’t vegan, with no word of support or advice as to why.
And any of the ridiculous crap I’ve talked about in points #1 through to #4. #5 encompasses them ALL. I’ve been told many of these myself, but I have a thicker skin now – it doesn’t stop me and I would NEVER leave veganism because of some weak vegan jackass. BUT I do know new vegans who get constantly berated and torn down, WILL leave and leave with a BAD taste in their mouth.
They will then go and tell their friends and family how nasty vegans are and how horrible it was, and those people will never open their minds to change.
Some Vegans do not see the ripple effect they create when they open their mouths. THINK before you speak.
Again – be the kind of vegan you would have wanted to meet, before you were vegan. Also ask yourself this – is it helpful? Positive? And encouraging? If not shut UP and let someone else do the talking who WILL bring those qualities to the table, observe them and LEARN.
The very worst thing any vegan can do is berate another fellow vegan. As if we aren’t already enough of a minority, the last thing we need is more division. Realize that people do their best, they aren’t perfect – nor should they be. That someones context matters a lot. So have they come from a standard American junk food diet? If so, then eating a bit of Vegan junk food or getting something and not realizing gelatin wasn’t vegan is okay at first!
Cut them a f*cking break.
And this is coming from someone who is super diligent about EVERYTHING I consume. I could easily insult and belittle most people based on what they do compared to what I do, but that is so wrong. Instead I find out, where is this person in their life, have they just begun their vegan journey?
Maybe they are still overweight but have lost 200lbs already!
Maybe they have had cancer and have battled their way through?
Have they been a vegan for a bit, but want to move away from vegan junk food now and need help?
What is their context?
Their context when you give a response is the key. It’s not about you anymore, or what you THINK is right, what can help this person evolve and walk the Vegan path a little further.
In the end this is all just my perspective like I said. I don’t feel right or wrong, but how I SEE things. The best thing you can do is come from a inspiring place of peace and love (as hippie as that sounds) because most people respond to kindess. We can’t fight violence with aggression, we have to create peace, with peace.
The important thing for non vegans to realize is MOST vegans aren’t like this, but the ones that yell and scream the loudest who get the most attention often are – and they are the ones that people base their views on Veganism around,.
The truth is most vegans are some of the nicest, gentle, compassionate people I have EVER met, they are kind, supportive and amazing so don’t feel like this post is geared towards any form of majority, because it isn’t. It’s more of a guide on how to NOT be an asshole than anything else!
Regardless what I think or feel, I take the time to stop, breath and think about what is the best answer for the cause. How do I need to speak and act in a way that will inspire others into action, not crush them into failure and regression.
That is the goal.
It’s not just enough to support animals. Support your fellow human who might be trying too, because in the end the people who lead this lifestyle in a way that is kind, appealing, interesting and fun will always have the most impact.