Vegans get a bad reputation—and let’s be honest, sometimes we earn it. When we’re not being shrugged off as pretentious hipsters simply jumping on a trendy bandwagon, we’re being chastised for being overly preachy and self-righteous with our dietary and lifestyle choices (…and while most of us are just trying to live our best lives, some of us are kinda obnoxious about it).
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As a result, we’re bombarded on a pretty consistent basis with a veritable barrage of unsolicited opinions and questions concerning our veganism, which can be really frustrating. Particularly in 2017, when people have access to a wide range of information about veganism, which you would hope would be the first stop for getting answers. But apparently not.
Instead, meat eaters seem to just bring up the topic at the least convenient times. In the middle of enjoying one of the greatest lunches you’ve ever made for yourself, a coworker is bound to offer their opinions. Or when you excitedly find out about the vegan specials at a new restaurant, you can bet that your best friend’s new boyfriend will have plenty of questions for you. Feeling under the weather? Suddenly, everyone is a doctor explaining how and why your veganism is basically killing you. Here are all the things your vegans hear far too often, along with the only responses such inquiries richly deserve…
1. Why are you vegan?
This is not usually asked in a tone of polite interest, for the record. Typically, the tone is more like morbid curiosity mixed with disgust. Anyway, the short answer is, “None of your damn business, friend-o,” and the long answer involves a detailed history of my moral and environmental arguments, personal food hang-ups, and a devastating story about a pig named Glen I once made friends with on a farm.
2. If you were on a desert island and only had the option of eating meat to survive, would you?
In this highly hypothetical scenario, which is unlikely to ever happen, then yes, Jeff, I probably would. And no, that doesn’t change anything.
3. What would happen if you accidentally ate non-vegan food?
Obviously, the world would end.
4. Don’t you feel hungry all the time without “real” food?
Since when have bean burritos, pad Thai, three-bean chili, and chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies not qualified as “real” food?
5. If humans weren’t supposed to eat meat, then why do we have canine teeth?Just because we have the ability to do something doesn’t make that action moral or good for the planet, does it?
6. Yeah, but where do you get your protein?
Vegans are able to get adequate quantities of protein from plant-based foods such as peas, lentils, beans, tofu, soy alternatives, quinoa, nuts, and seeds.
7. It’s so annoying when vegans talk about being vegan.
… usually said by the same person who refuses to shut up about your veganism—or about how delicious steak is.
8. Vegans are so self-righteous and preachy.
Honestly, most vegans don’t take great pleasure in discussing their lifestyle choices with non-vegans. We’re not trying to get into another argument with someone who refers to themselves as a “carnivore.”
9. I was vegan once, but it made me really ill.Sorry that happened to you?¯_(ツ)_/¯
10. You must be deficient in so many nutrients and vitamins, though.
My blood tests and glowing skin both suggest otherwise, babe.
11. You must be really lean, eating nothing but plants all the time.Uh…yeah. That’s exactly why I’ve gone up a dress size or two in the past couple of years. All those damn plants, like French fries and dark chocolate.
12. Don’t you miss bacon, though?Go on, say “bacon” again. I dare you.
13. I’d be vegan, too, but I have this obscure, undiagnosed health issue, which means that I can’t.It’s OK. Nobody asked or even cares why you aren’t a vegan—you do you, Toots. But since you mention it, I’m not totally sure that the anxiety-related mucus build-up of which you speak actually has scientific correlations to a lack of meat and cheese.
14. If vegans hate meat so much, then why do they eat fake food made to taste like it?
Plenty of vegans don’t eat fake meat products. But not all vegans hate the taste of meat—personally, I still totally have a voracious desire for greasy, flavorful, chunks of joy. I just don’t want to eat a once-living creature.
15. Being vegan is so expensive! You must have money to burn.
Sure, if you insist on spending $10 for an organic, GMO-free slab of marinated tofu hand-pressed by angels every time you feel peckish, then being vegan can get pretty pricey, pretty quickly. But otherwise, soy products, fruit, vegetables, coconut cheese, and basic carbs are no more expensive than anything you’d find in a meat-based diet.
16. So much vegan food is unethical and bad for the planet, though.
17. Maybe if vegans cared more about humans than they did about animals, then the world wouldn’t be in such a mess.
18. Plants have feelings too, though.Uh, maybe. I’m not yet capable of photosynthesis, so… doing the best I can.
19. Sorry, do you mind if we eat this in front of you?
I’m not on my 30th day of a hunger strike, sweets, I simply abstain from certain foods. So long as you’re not slaughtering a pig right in front of me, then eat whatever the hell you like.
20. I’m sorry, but vegan food is too weird.
A raw slab of unseasoned tofu would make anyone cry, but vegan food is actually pretty mainstream these days and looks and tastes just like what you would call “normal” food. Also, there’s plenty of foods you probably already eat that are totally vegan. Avocado toast, sweet potato fries, Oreos…
21. Seriously, though. Bacon. How do you live without it?!
If only life came with a block button…
Next time somebody tries to ruin a fantastic meal by quizzing you all about it or when someone makes the same inane statements about your diet as always, save your words and just show them this. Over it.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, blogger, and musician based in Liverpool, UK. She’s the co-founder of the irreverent pop culture blog and podcast Clarissa Explains F*ck All and the bassist for d-beat punk band Aüralskit. She’s currently working on her first novel and slowly completing her debut poetry collection. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.