It’s seeing a surge in popularity, with a lot of people deciding to ditch animal products altogether and a lot of others just deciding to reduce the amount of meat, eggs or dairy that they consume.
All-in-all, for people like myself, we see this as a good thing and a big step in a positive direction. However, a lot of people feel a lot of resentment and hostility towards vegan’s with the impression that all of them are ‘throw it in your face activists’.
Whilst this may be true for a considerable number of vegan’s, it is important to remember that not all vegan’s want to force their beliefs on others and for those who do want to influence others with their nutritional choices, it is actually often due to health reasons as opposed to reasons regarding animal welfare.
What I’ve Learnt About Veganism
Around 12 months ago, I decided to ditch meat and animal products. It was in the airport in Las Vegas where I sat in waiting; reading “The China Study” a book by Colin T. Campbell.
Having beaten cancer 4 years ago at this point and after just meeting one of my biggest inspirations – former world champion Daniel Jacobs – I decided to scan the index pages first. In amongst the announcements, the crowds of people and the sight of planes taking off and landing, I began scanning for the word ‘cancer’.
What I read next blew my mind and within an instant I was immediately put off meat. After working my way through the book, doing more research and reading more books, I decided that animal products were not for me.
The emphasis there being on “not for me.”
Let People Make Their Own Decisions
As I said above, animal products were not and are not for me.
I consider myself to be an extreme case as I’ve already had cancer once and I don’t particularly fancy getting it again. Therefore, I want to do everything in my power to keep it away; so if that means giving up meat and animal products, then so be it!
With this in mind, I make it a point not to try and force my beliefs on anyone, or try to make them see it my way. I will speak to people openly and honestly about my choices, the reasons why I made these changes and how I think it would benefit a person.
But I will do so only if they ask…
Why is that Important?
I believe that it’s important to let people come to their own conclusions, to form their own opinions and to do their own research. Although I understand that people do get very passionate about the “vegan movement”.
That’s fair enough, but by forcing beliefs on people, you very often end up alienating the thing you’re trying to promote and end up making people dislike you and/or the things that you stand for. Which kind of ends up working against the whole idea of the vegan “movement”!
I think it’s great that people care – about people’s health and the welfare of animals – but when beliefs are forced upon other people, there will always be conflict, arguments and a nasty divide.
My Own Thoughts on Veganism
Veganism is a really great concept and I do believe that it’s one of the best ways that we can eat, providing it is done properly (like Cory mentioned in his article) and is whole food, plant based. However, it’s a way of eating that requires a fair bit of research (in my opinion) if it’s to be done properly. Especially if you’ve eaten a ‘normal’ diet your whole life!
I am against the slaughter and mistreatment of animals and I am also against the milk and egg industries. Saying this I do have some leather clothes/shoes/furniture in my house, but all of which I’d purchased before considering the ethical side of veganism. My view on these now is that if I already own them, then I’d might as well use them as opposed to them being wasted. (Don’t hate on me – militant vegans…)
With that being said, I try to do most things with a consideration to animals and the environment. I can rest easy knowing that I’m doing my part, am willing to educate people on the things I’ve learnt (if they’re interested) and am not throwing it in people’s faces or sending death threats to butchers…
If I have to label it, I would consider myself to be someone who eats a ‘Health Conscious Vegan/WFPB Diet’ and cares for the welfare of animals and the environment.
Although, quite often, the word ‘vegan’ is just an easy way for someone to communicate their dietary preferences. And I definitely use it as a simple way to do just that, especially if I’m out for a meal with friends or family!
So, if you do speak to someone who says they’re a vegan it’s probably worth asking them for what reasons – in a way that shows you’re genuinely interested. Whether it’s for health reasons, animal welfare reasons or a bit of both!
Hopefully, this post sheds a little bit of light on veganism. As well as going to show that not all people who consider themselves vegans are like the stereotype.
Below are a list of links which will re-direct you to articles on things related to vegan and plant based eating…
Thanks for reading,