Vegan is not a dirty word

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What's going on, friends? What have we done to the word 'vegan' to create a stereotype that sees people shut down before we can even begin to speak about it?

From what I can gather in my interactions, vegans appear to have a reputation as militant and judgemental. And that our food is boring and raw and healthy and not at all tasty.

I AM HERE TO CHALLENGE YOU! On all counts! Last night I went out to dinner with friends. I ordered fries, one ordered pizza and the other a big steak. As our meals arrived, the steak eating friend said she felt bad eating it next to me. I said 'it's fine, don't worry." The pizza eater said "it's okay, Kelly's a good vegan." A good vegan. I laughed and asked what that meant - "you don't beat us with statistics and examples of why it's bad all the time."

Interesting. I can't see it appropriate at all for anyone, to sit down to a meal with friends and lecture them on their food choices. I post links on facebook, I talk about ethics and health on my blog, I put the information out there, but I try not to lecture. Sometimes I border on it, but I try hard not to. I feel like I have to try extra hard because of the vegan stereotype.

What is interesting is that for me, the two major influences on my adopting a vegan lifestyle, two close friends who are both vegan, were not at all stereotypical in this sense. I have had no experience of such vegans. I've met only kindness, understanding, patience and helpfulness. I guess the old adage you win more flies with honey than vinegar (or whatever the fuck that saying is) is apt here.

I'll happily challenge the food stereotypes too, my goal is to show you can be vegan and not miss out on anything. The fact that I've managed vegan peanut butter and chocolate pie, schnitzels mash and gravy, and a number of other indulgent dishes shows that you can have comfort foods, junky foods, tasty foods and live a life of kindness and compassion to all species - it's not all quinoa and flaxseed. Promise!

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