7 Things Vegans Want You To Know

First things first – it’s pronounced “vee-gun”, not “vay-gun.” Now that we have that cleared up, there are some other things veg folks want others to know about themselves, the movement, and how we can all co-exist and learn from each other better.

Vegans are often the butt of the joke in popular culture… eye-roll-worthy stereotypes and misinformation typically sculpt the public’s perception and lead people to think we’re whiny, deluded hippies who just don’t get how the world works. Well, like any other group of people, you will learn more about them if you engage with them and hear what they have to say.

So, here are some things actual vegans want others to know:

1) It’s okay to ask questions.

Oftentimes, we welcome it! We realize that, despite how quickly veganism is growing, many people still don’t quite understand what it is or why people would opt to go against the grain and do something that seems drastically different than the norm.

If you have sincere questions (emphasis on the word “sincere”… the question “but don’t plants have feelings?” is a jab, not curiosity), go ahead and ask. Most people who take the vegan plunge have immersed themselves into the learning process of how animal agriculture is detrimental to the environment, how the optimal diet for humans is based on whole plant foods and how to make changes easily and affordably. You want resources? We’ve likely got ‘em!

Related: Why Veganism is the Future

2) It’s okay to make jokes – just not at the expense of animals.

What do vegan zombies eat? Graaaaaaaaaains… Corny joke, but totally appropriate. What isn’t appropriate is making jokes about the experiences (or “tastiness”) of animals. Let’s back up a bit…

The biggest reason ethical vegans ARE vegan is because they recognize the devastation and horrors that farmed animals endure in the industry. They believe it is not just and understand that eating animal flesh and their reproductive byproducts is not necessary for human survival. So, when people make jokes to us about the byproducts of animal suffering, it’s not funny.

3) Please give me a heads up if you’re making me food.

First of all, thank you so much for expanding your culinary experiences and trying new recipes! We value your thoughtfulness and efforts. However, transitioning from non-vegan to vegan cooking involves a little bit of a learning curve.

For instance, if you found a great recipe online that calls itself “vegetarian,” this is not the same thing as vegan. Ingredients could very well come from animals. Also, even vegan recipes that call for items at the grocery store that people have never purchased before could also be hiding some insidious ingredients.

Give us a heads up and we’ll provide some guidance on how to find fully-vegan recipes and plant-based cheeses without casein or butter alternatives without lactose (curious what all that means? Ask a vegan!).

4) Good vegans are intersectional, care about your health and care about farmers.

There likely are vegans out there who do “care more about animals than people.” But that doesn’t describe most of us. Most of us concurrently care about farmer/worker rights, women’s rights, black lives, LGBTQ non-discrimination policies, feeding families in poverty, the rights of indigenous cultures, etc.

Also, many vegans initially made the transition for health reasons. Some people saw older generations in their families succumb to heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, etc… and recognized that eating more whole, healthy plant-foods can aid in prevention for many of these diseases. Caring about their own health and the health of the people around them is something that vegans also do.

5) If we appear angry, it’s for a good reason.

Vegans have a unique perspective on the world – literally, not figuratively. We have allowed ourselves to see what others cannot or will not see. It’s often painful and leaves us feeling helpless and hopeless. Sometimes we want to scream at others so they will be jarred out of seeing the world the way industries and advertisers want us to see it. Know that our anger is not a threat or something to be brushed off - it is real and it comes from a place of deep compassion and desire to change the world for the better.

6) We do mind if you order a steak around us… but it would be “rude” of us to say so.

This situation puts us in a very difficult place. Yes, we do “mind” if you purchase animal products, thus creating further demand for industries to exploit and harm animals, our health and the environment. But, if we say so, we are seen as infringing on others’ “personal choice” and freedom.

Our choices are no longer “personal” once they affect the lives of others. Eating animals and their products is not a personal choice. It is a choice, made by a person, but it doesn’t just affect whoever is making the choice.

Trust us: it won’t kill you to try a plant-based dish every now in a while. You already eat plants every day. Try a vegan dish in place of your usual cheeseburger – even if it’s just one meal out of hundreds of others you have in a year.

7) Family gatherings can be really tense for us.

After our eyes have been opened to the realities of what’s on our plates… we still have to witness the consumption of animal products all around us, day in, and day out. We see it in TV shows, at restaurants, on billboards, in social media and at family gatherings. It can be a real challenge to sit through an otherwise wonderful get-together with loved ones if the gathering is centered around eating a dead animal.

Please be respectful of this fact, and of any decisions vegans may make to opt out of family gatherings for this reason. Understand where that pain is coming from, instead of interpreting it as a slight toward you or the rest of the family.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock>

104 comments

Frances G
Frances G1 months ago

TYFS

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J4 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE10 months ago

Thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y11 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J11 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Angelo Morella
Angelo Morella11 months ago

All sound good but a report by Australian scientists on the mineral content of fruit and veg found that they only provide some 20% of the minerals required by the RDI; the rest needs to come from somewhere else. On average the fruit and veg contain 200mg/kg of say calcium, so one would need to eat 5 kg of fruit and veg to meet the RDI for calcium. I am of Italian heritage and follow the Mediterranean Diet, so most of my minerals apparently come from non plant sources. Moreover plants contain little or no iodine, if it’s not in the soil it can’t be absorbed and many soils are lacking or low in micronutrients like iodine and selenium. If micronutrients are not in the ground they can’t get into our food. Organic gardening doesn't help, if the organic matter comes from depleted soils they don't contain the micronutrients the plants and more importantly we need. So to be on the safe side I will follow my ancestors. The findings in the report I talk about above are quite a wake up call for me, I now use iodised salt because sea salt only contains 2 ppm not 45ppm iodine and plants apparently contain less.

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