Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Stand by my Beliefs

Before making the best decision of my life and becoming a vegan, I was a vegetarian. I definitely got some flack over the years for being vegetarian, "more meat for me" and other such jokes straight from the Mensa society. A few times people got a little more aggressive than what I like, but for the most part I felt like I could co-exist and not disrupt the peace too much. At restaurants also, it's much easier to piece together a meal, and even the meatiest restaurants tend to have at least one measly vegetarian option, and I don't recall getting too many eye rolls from servers.
Once I became vegan, all bets were off, and I have had to defend my choices so many times I've lost count. And I had a customer at a bar I used to work at say he was surprised that I was a vegan since I wasn't thinner, I've had to explain to people that I'm not an expert on health, as I am an ethical vegan, I've had people drill me about whether I wear leather, and it goes on and on, as I'm sure almost any vegan has tons of stories. It's like somehow if you don't eat meat, but you still ingest some animal products, then you're still part of the crowd, you're just a little different from the rest. You are still a "safe" person to be around, and you can still let loose and party with the rest of the gang.
When you take the final step and phase out all animal products, well now you've done it. You have become an extreme radical, something to be feared by most, and challenged by the brave.
It does seem since veganism has become somewhat of a hot ticket health item, there is a little bit of a grey area, where if you're doctor, or even Dr. Oz tells you to cut out animal products, you get a little pass, because you still want those things, and might even occasionally sneak some in you're life. However if you make the choice because you truly feel animals have a right to live, well you are too radical for me. And it has always cracked me up because the number one stereotype that I hear about vegans is that we are self righteous, judgemental, confrontational, and we go on an on about tofu and animal rights. I don't know about other vegans, but in my experience, I have had more carnivores than I can remember challenge me on everything from the ethics of meat eating, to the lack of nutrients I'm obviously getting(even though I am in perfect health), I've had people practically demand that I prove I don't own leather, and I have had to hear every "meat is delicious" joke that one can hear before going crazy.
Becoming a vegan is one of the best choices I have made in a life filled with bad choices, and although I do go through phases where I am more of a silent vegan, because I can't handle it, I try to keep those phases short, because I am proud to be a vegan, and while I don't believe in forcing my views down anyone's throat, I don't believe in hiding from my beliefs either.

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