Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vegans Think They Are Better Than Meat-Eaters

We do?!

I'm not saying that's the case.  But, in reading some of the comments from my last post (trolling excepted), I feel that's what the perception is.

I don't think I'm better than you.  I don't know you.  I'm typing behind the veil of a computer, and know nothing of your life - your experiences, your passions, your challenges, your heartbreaks, your addictions, your family, your friends, your childhood, what makes you happy, what motivates you, who helps you, how you help others, how you live day to day.  And, you really know nothing about my life either. 

Yet, whenever discussions arise about eating vegan, particularly where animal compassion and ethics are concerned, vegans (myself included) are accused of being sanctimonious.  'Holier than thou'.  'Better'... than you.  

In being vegan, I hope to be better - than I was, not than you.  When I made dietary changes to become vegan (it was a process), it was to become a healthier me.  I was not happy with how I felt at 20, and knew it was related to something I was doing - or rather eating.  Removing meat and dairy made a huge difference in my body.  My energy, my digestion, and how I felt after every meal.  I feel these changes helped me achieve a better physical self.  Not without slips, and not without imperfections.  My diet isn't flawless, and I am anything but perfect.  

So, am I a better me?  I think so.  I hope so.  There's always room for improvement.  But, I feel I have bettered my physical body, and also have more peace about my choices knowing they are more compassionate and ultimately take less toll on our environmental resources. 

But, am I 'looking down my nose' at you?  No.  If you think I am, I've done something out of order.  Because I hope to provide some inspiration to evoke change for those of you reading that are ready to make some changes - or support for those that already have.  If you don't want to change and think eating vegan is bunk, I don't know why you're reading my blog!  I'm not here to "change" you or anyone.  That's impossible.  

People make changes when they have reached that point of ready.  If you are ready, and think a vegan diet is the change you need to come to a healthier, happier, better-than-you-were you...  maybe (hopefully) my work will help.  

19 comments:

retina-marie said...

Cheers! Well said. <3

tweal said...

Well said Dreena!

It's an unfortunate part of being vegan - people have some real hangups about their own diets, and as soon as they hear someone doing what they consider to be 'better' they become defensive...mostly towards themselves. That is how I have come to understand it anyway.

Anonymous said...

I agree. It's about a better "me." When I feel better, healthier, stronger I am happy.
By discussing veganism with others (only if they ask, I'm not preaching unsolicited) I am not looking down at people, only trying to offer a positive example of how life changing this way of eating can be.
Try not to take to heart, you're a shining example of good health and a positive, compassionate life.
Emma

Tina said...

It's really surprising to me how much others care about what I eat (or don't). When I told my friend I stopped eating meat, she said "oh so now you think you're like part of some kind of cool club?" Huh? Makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

yeah, i have to say i don't even use the "v" word anymore since it gets people in my face right away. some favourites: "you eat food that food eats", "knock, knock; who's there; interrupting vegan; a vegan wh..; i'm better than you" "but, you're wearing leather shoes, so there". i try to have a sense of humour about things (although it's usually not that difficult) but it really peeves me off that people get defensive about MY health choices. i find it almost on par with when people say "no thanks, i don't drink alcohol" people assume everything is about them, even your own personal choices.

i have no idea what the solution is. i just usually stare for a few seconds and walk away. all i know is i'm certainly not letting someone's hangups about themselves revert me back to a way of eating that caused eczema, a stuffed head, suppressed immune system and the plethora of other health problems i had. ignorance and the presumptions that follow are just that, and i'm certainly not making it my problem.

(from Jackie) (sorry, I accidentally deleted your comment through blogger and had to repost myself Jackie)

The Nerd said...

I'm vegetarian, not vegan, so I feel like I occupy "the space between". And my opinion is... veganism is ideologically superior to meat-eating, at least as far as the particular realm of diet choices is concerned. Now the fact that I'm not vegan should show that there are other things that factor into my choices, such as the circumstances of my home and work life, so I'm able to feel compassion (as I'm sure you are too!) for why people would make an "inferior" choice. No matter where they or I or anyone is coming from, that doesn't change the raw facts that matter about food origins and effects on our bodies. Whether vegans or meat-eaters be smug or no, sticking to the facts and showing compassion for other people is what moves the discussion forward.

Sara (The Veggie Eco-Life) said...

Agreed!
I became a vegetarian for myself, not because of someone else or because I thought I would be better than someone else...

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I really like your blog.

I don't know where these crazy trolls and commentors are coming from, but I hope you're able to ignore them and keep doing the good work that you're doing.

Amanda said...

Great post, Dreena. People wrongly assume when they find out I'm vegan that I'm immediately judging their non-veg lifestyle. I guess they're feeling insecure about their choices. I never let anyone make me feel insecure because I'm strong in my reasons for being vegan.

Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan said...

Amen! Fantastic post!

Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan said...

It's odd because before I went vegan, I felt vegans were pretentious and holier than thou. I even watched a stand up comedian ranting that he would never be friends with a snobby vegan, while the crowd laughed and nodded. Now that I am vegan (lots of research!), I do feel I am the better version of myself. Not better than someone else.

mynaturallife said...

I guess it's comments like these that bother me:

”I just ate for lunch, it was soooo yummy!” and then on and on and on, describing it in great detail. Um…vegan here! Not really interested in hearing how the meat was just “falling off the bone” and now I’m starting to get nauseous.


I've been a vegetarian for 19 years (I'm 31) and I generally dislike vegans. I love vegan food and have been vegan for several periods over those 19 years, but when I hear things like this I roll my eyes. So people should censor themselves because you're vegan and somehow special? I don't expect people to not tell me about their chicken sandwich just because I'm a vegetarian. I think that's snobbish and it's one of the things that people dislike about vegans (and vegetarians).

Trust me, I have heard every comment in the book about not eating meat. I stopped eating meat at age 12 in a German family and I grew up in PA Dutch Country. You didn't NOT eat meat there. So I get it. But thinking you should be treated differently is off-putting to others.

I'm NOT trying to start a fight here. I love vegan food and have been doing the veg thing for a long time. I just think a little self-awareness about how we're coming off to others is a good thing. It's fine if you don't care how you're coming off, but then don't let other people bother you when they don't care about your opinion, either.

Tanya said...

Oh boy do I know this too well! I've had certain people think I'm a snob because of how I eat. Not once do I tell them they should stop eating what they're eating or anything. But still.....(and it's actually a family member)....it makes me feel really bad. And it got really bad this summer especially. I just don't understand it. What did I do??

Christine said...

Great post, sending support from Michigan.

Missann said...

all of you young people hang in there I am 67 and have been a vegan for 40 years I have heard it all just be true to yourself

Epicurean Vegan said...

Thank you for this post. I love that: "In being vegan, I hope to be better - than I was, not than you."
That says it all! Well said!

Cakelyn said...

Aye aye aye!!! I just read all the comments on that post. As someone who is a vegetarian, is very pro-vegan and adores this blog, I feel really offended by the surly trolls who hijacked the post to attack and belittle the community for which this blog is produced. Grow up and bake Dreena's homestyle choc chip cookies - I promise your outlook on life will be much more positive! :)

Jennifer said...

I agree with other commenters, that this post was well said, Dreena. Choosing to be vegan puts us in a difficult place in a meat eater's world. I have made these changes - gradually over the past two years - because I could feel the improvements in my body. The hardest part for me is watching some family members and friends suffer the way I used to (due to eating so much dairy) and not say anything...all I can really do is say how great I feel (no coughing/colds/allergies) after stopping dairy consumption and hope that maybe they are listening. Keep up the good work. We appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

This was a great post-really rings true. If the concept of veganism is so foreign and offensive to a meat eater, why take time out of your day to berate it? People just need to live their own lives and accept each others choices. Its no one else's business how each person chooses to eat. Make your own decisions and get on with your own life.