The One Thing I Hate About Being Vegan
I often times wonder if those of us that choose a cruelty-free lifestyle were just born more empathetic than the rest of the world. I think, WOW! We are just incredibly enlightened beings, radiating love and acceptance, for all species, out of our every pore. And then…I watch how vegans treat other vegans, or worse, how we treat vegetarians.

If you hadn’t been made aware yet (although I’m sure you have), there are levels of vegan-ness. Maybe you decided to give up meat and dairy to lower your cholesterol and your carbon footprint. Maybe you finally realized that the carcass on your table had feelings and a MOTHER. Well, that’s not good enough, buddy! Are you GMO free? Are you all organic? Are you soy free? Are you still wearing your Burkenstocks you bought years before you made the switch? Are you eating anything other than what you grew in your back yard and harvested with your own bare, blistered hands?! Tsk Tsk Tsk…

If a black belt vegan were to rate me on a one to five scale, they would say that I’m barely a level three vegan. Sure I refrain from eating meat, dairy, honey, etc, but I have leather seats in my Subaru. See?! You just judged me, didn’t you? It was a hand-me-down, guys! God!

It is very disheartening that we are all on the same journey to this absolutely amazing ethical revolution, but have the nerve to look back at those who got on the road later or haven’t had access to as much information, and judge them based on where they are in their journey. It’s not just the most vegan-ey of vegans who do this. It’s all of us. I am guilty!

For future reference, I have compiled this short list of things we need to stop saying to each other, like, today.

Don’t say:
Uhm, is that tofu GMO free?
Do say:
Yay for choosing a plant based protein!

Don’t say:
You eat honey?!
Do say:
Dude, have you tried agave? So good.

Don’t say:
That Chocolate better be fair-trade!
Do say:
Chocolate is delicious!

Don’t say:
That sugar you’re using probably came from a factory that uses bone char.
Do say:
Whatcha bakin’?

The idea of veganism can never be accepted by the general population while we cannot accept ourselves, within our own community. We show compassion towards animals and then contempt towards each other, constantly making each other feel as though we are not vegan enough. While offering some tips and tricks to a newly vegan pal is totally cool, backing someone you barely know into a corner to make sure everything they own is organic makes people defensive. Why would anyone want to take part in that?

The solution, of course, is to offer support instead of showing superiority. We offer guidance, instead of passive aggressive questions about where their sugar came from. In doing so, we will stop alienating ourselves, from each other. We will represent ourselves as a united, and in turn, welcoming community.

All of the beautiful vegans and vegetarians, wherever you are on your ethical journey, I am inspired and amazed by you. Maybe you came from a long line of hunters or an Italian household full of meatballs. Your parents probably thought you were going to get sick and die when you told them you were going full-on veg. I am so grateful that you are here, doing what you do, a piece of the puzzle that will, one day, be a cruelty-free world.

  • Kip

    Yes to empowering people rather than putting them down. There’s a fine line between pointing something out kindly and telling someone they’re naughty, but one thing is for sure: shutting someone down is more likely to end the conversation than it is to validate someone who is making an effort. I think you hit the nail on the head by saying it’s about support rather than a show of superiority!

    • Annessia

      Thank you so much for reading, Kip! That’s exactly it. We don’t want to shut anyone out.

  • Brittany @ Garden of Vegan

    I loved this! I totally agree, the way to spread ethical eating is by spreading positivity!

    • Annessia

      Exactly! People get very defensive, if you’re not careful. Spread the word with love and people are more likely to be open minded. Thank you for reading!

  • Katherine Heiss

    What a great post. I am enjoying your pics – I’ll be sure to try a few- THX for your hard work- Katherine

    • Annessia

      Thank you so much, Katherine!

  • Annie

    I can really relate to all of this that you wrote. I was reading some of your posts and from my own experience I can say that is not about level of vegan-ness that makes people look down on other people. It is about intelligence, compassion, tolerance, empathy. Yes, we all judge and are judged. I live in a small country that has few thousands of vegans and I have a privilege of knowing only one of them. I feel a bit lonely at times. Explaining my grandma that I do not want to eat that fresh cottage cheese or her astonishing apple pie loaded with sugar, wheat and diary that makes me sick because of health reasons, not even from animal rights point of view.
    And it is hard understanding that one of my closest friends that saves abandoned cats eat meat on a regular basis. Well, we all have a long road to walk, I guess. :D