Thursday, June 14, 2012
The Perils of Dealing with Vegans and Non-Vegans
I am always at a loss for words when it comes to speaking to people about the veg lifestyle and not have them look at me with either severe confusion and/or pity. While it is probably one of the hardest decisions to make, it is the most rewarding and self-affirming decisions ever. Period.
Recently I saw a friend post on FB a picture of a frozen vegan meal that was mofongo. (This is a dish that is meat, seafood, chicken, and/or pork laden.) Being Puerto Rican she felt that no one should 'mess' with a traditional dish by 'veganizing' it. She said that if you wanted to eat vegetables, then eat vegetables, but don't touch her food. I really had no idea how to respond to that. She probably doesn't remember I am vegan so it wasn't like she was daring someone to respond. But, I did feel like I had to say something, even though the words failed me.
After giving it some thought I realized that it wasn't that "we" were interfering with her food so much, but rather we were trying to get back a little of what we'd traded for the ethical life chosen. You miss home cooked meals that bring back nostalgia. You're not trying to have a tradition ripped away from someone else. I never did add to the comment. (Let's face it, on FB if you don't respond within minutes it's at the bottom of your timeline before you know it.)
Another experience I had was a highly charged "discussion" with a vegan on LinkedIn. I added a comment to a discussion thread agreeing about having empathy for those who don't see eye to eye with you as a vegan or vegetarian. Out of nowhere a man begins to verbally attack me with a rage like I'd just eaten a plate of osso bucco in front of him! He hurled several arguments my way, almost identical in form to the logic used by non-vegans who come up with arguments like 'If we stop eating meat, the earth will be overrun with cows.' It was just so preposterous and he became more and more detached and venomous that I left the discussion. He ironically was the type of person I COULD NOT STAND as a non-vegan who felt they were the Messiah on Earth and their rage and disgust at your omnivore flaws would instantly cause you to see the error of your ways and go veg.
Two very different people. Strangely enough the non-vegan would have been the more worthy human to engage in a mature beneficial conversation. For me it is not about sitting on a throne a vegan righteousness condemning people who will just stick to the guns harder, even if you are starting to make sense to them. It is about having intelligent discussions that change peoples ways of thinking that what they've always done or always eaten doesn't make it right.
Am I wrong?