Sunday, August 2, 2015

Veganism: And the problems of being largely misunderstood

I started this blog last year, basically I just needed a place to start putting all of my writings on veganism, where I would respond to online threads and conversations. I was involved with multiple discussion boards, and I was also investing a lot of time in typing up responses. Often I was finding myself writing the same responses or very similar ones, repeatedly, and also having to re-find articles and links to back up my information.

This spurred a platform for me to compile everything in one place. Every time I felt I was addressing a different type of question or response, I would make a new category.  After several months of this, I felt that I roughly had the bases covered on addressing arguments against veganism. I'm still updating it as comments roll in and responses roll out, it's just less frequent.

My latest post was on, the claim that 'diet is like religion keep it to yourself' and 'the problem with vegans is that they think they superior and enlightened'.

I felt these were really great comments to address because it is a slightly common perception that vegans have to deal with daily. Some vegans actively avoid confrontation because it's exhausting, it's exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally.  It's not easy constantly having to defend your choices in a way that doesn't make people feel bad, ultimately humans largely care about the same things. We largely care about treating animals with respect, having a clean home for our children, having safe drinking water for our communities, having food security in the years to come and having fresh air to breathe.  As vegans taking on the personal actions to promote some of these aspects of life on earth, they can easily be misunderstood as on a high horse, when in fact, it feels good to them to do. And human nature, is really to communicate to others what has worked for us. What makes us feel good.  Unfortunately because of the depth of our mistreatment of the natural world, many people feel totally overwhelmed by this burden, hence lash out at people they view as contributing to the problem. The truth is, we are all contributing to the problem, yet at different degrees. It just so happens, that making dietary changes, can dramatically change the degree to which harm is inflicted to other beings and the planet.

If this message came from a non-vegan, perhaps the message would be less intimidating, the person receiving this message could feel that they were on the same page, that this perhaps is beneficial to living systems, yet they aren't alone in facing how complicated those steps seem at face value.  It is huge, it's huge to remap your brain to it's tastes and it's preferences, your cells, stomach and body to obtain a fuel source which is a little lighter, a little more nutrient dense.  No one said it was easy, it becomes easier, and it becomes increasingly a joyful decision.  Most vegans I speak to, say that their biggest regret is not plunging in sooner.  If someone is really active fit personality, and they speak to you about how being more fit has changed their life and how they are using less fossil fuels because they avoid elevators and cars, because they enjoy taking their bike and the stairs whenever possible. Can people take offense to this? Sure, if they are in a situation where they feel it's not possible for them, or they feel the person is judging them for not living this way.  Does that mean it's the absolute truth?  Not in the slightest.  It all happens in the minds of the people taking in the information.  Someone could hear this athlete talking, and feel inspired, inspired to take small steps to live more actively for their health.  Someone else could interpret it as such a favor for them to speak up about their passions, igniting them to also follow their passions whatever it might be.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  It has little to do with the messenger, it's how the message is chosen to be received.  People like to relate this stuff with religion.  But in fact veganism has more to do with science, more consumption of a variety plants leads to higher immunity, animal studies have shown more and more intelligent animal behavior, social structures and sentience, global warming is more and more connected to animal farming in tropical areas.  These are logical assessments of the world we live in.  They can be actively researched online, in the form of peer reviewed journals, and you will find that it's all there.

Here are my responses to the comments on vegans being perceived as thinking they are superior and that diets are a personal choice:

The problem is that we are all affected by the dietary choices we make. Animal farms contribute more to global warming than any other industry sector including transportation. We are all affected. If you met somebody who ate humans... you probably wouldnt think that was a personal choice would you? Animals may not be humans, but like humans they feel pain, they have complex social orders and natural inclinations. If we have a choice to promote the wellbeing of those who have little choice in the matter, that goes a long way in making the world a more peaceful place. A little less suffering. It's not a matter of 'holier than thou', because of who anyone is... it's a matter of each individual being able to make a choice in every moment to create a little less suffering on planet earth. And that option is open to everyone, no one is excluded from that option, therefore no one is better than anyone, because the potential of making the world a little more peaceful exists in everybody. Believing that humanity doesn't have room for improvement or believing that no human can take choices to promote peace, basically affirms that cruelty and less peace is a personal choice of those individuals. I guess for me I tend to believe that this really isn't the case for most people. Maybe there's a disconnect from those who promote messages of peace and those who ultimately want less suffering. This stuff though isn't just made up, with no substance, there are many actually studies that have been done correlating pollution rates, factory farms, nutrition from dairy and meat and diseases, animal intelligence and animal cruelty ... don't take anyones word for this stuff. The best that can be done.. is actually research it.. .google it... look up articles for this stuff... It's amazing the information available and actually how this isn't a religion, it's a logical approach to working with natural systems. "Cowspiracy" is a really great documentary, along with "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" "Forks over Knives" ... This stuff is really inspiring and is life changing. Personally I've reversed my own challenges with cancer cells,acne, low energy, and other illnesses through this lifestyle


It may come across that way, since a message is trying to be conveyed, but think about it this way: everyone is a genius at something. When it comes to an electrician coming to your home to fix some connection, there wouldn’t be judgment as to why they are trying to do this, or explain something to you about how to properly maintain something. Largely, vegan information has been stifled by big business and governments regarding the benefits of a plant based diet in our world and for our health. Just like anyone else who is passionate about a topic, vegans are adamant that this information is a human right, that all humans ought to have access to important information regarding their health and happiness in order to make the best choices to what fits their values best. A lot of people are pretty disgusted to see the cruelty we commit to other members of planet earth, as well as our tax money going into subsidies that ultimately add to lack of environmental regulation of CAFOs and the pollution which regularly flows out of them. There’s no doubt in my mind that you are a genius at something, and that when people talk to you about that thing, you lighten up, you want to share your experience to improve their understanding in some way. We are all guilty of this. For some reason, information regarding public health, is seen as a threat to the patterns and habits we’ve developed over a lifetime. It doesn’t help to shoot down the messenger… the problems will remain. Whether or not anyone speaks about this stuff… we are continually affected by it. In ways of pollution, in ways of health care costs, in ways of cruelty to beings who have not done any action directly against us.