During a wonderful conversation I was having yesterday afternoon it came to my attention that I needed to clarify something. I was thinking over this conversation and realized I really wanted to express my point of view on a vegan (or plant based, as I prefer it called) diet (I bet its not what you think! You should probably read to the end). I’d like to share the whole story first though because maybe it will mean something to carnivores and herbivores alike.
So, I was talking to this lovely person who had mentioned earlier in our conversation that they grew up on a cattle farm. I was instantly curious about what that was like. I have seen many vegan documentaries that feature adults who had grown up on cattle/dairy farms & switched to a vegan diet as an adult. I really wanted to know what growing up that close to an animal & knowing where it was going to end up was like. What a life experience that must have been. So I asked.
He told me how he had befriended a cow & how it would even let him ride around on its back. How when his father brought it to be sold it huddled by his father & refused to join the others that seemed a little more oblivious to what was about to happen to them. He mentioned how he now realized that even years ago they were feeding the cows growth hormone & believes its near impossible to find meat today that doesn’t have it in it. Growing up on a small farm he commented that he thought these giant factory farms are terrible & knows the animals are crammed together. He commented on how terrible the smell is driving past them & how bad that waste run off is for the land around it.
The things he was saying shocked me. I had kind of assumed that most people just didn’t know those things. For myself personally I’ve become very concerned with how animal agriculture affects the environment. So, I HAD to ask if based on the things he had already commented on if those big factory farms made him worry about the impact it could have on the environment. Before I could even get half of the question out he was telling me how the animals were fine & they weren’t treated as bad as people think, etc.
I suddenly realized in the course of our conversation that that wasn’t the first time since the words ‘Im vegan’ came out of my mouth that before I finished (many) a sentence or question I was met with defensive (not angry but guarded) answers about why he would never change his diet & how the animals were treated humanely, etc. even when those were not questions or comments I had made.
So, this is what I want to clarify. Yes I most definitely advocate for a vegan diet! BUT I will never tell others that they are wrong & they HAVE to be vegan. I am NEVER judging you for the choices you make. My goal when I share vegan information or recipes is to give you as much information as possible to make YOUR OWN knowledgable choices. I WILL share the facts, and I well meaningly say that if something I post makes you feel guilty or concerned then maybe some changes do need to be made and if that is the case I would love to help! If you are happy with your choices thats awesome! I really do wish the entire world would go vegan but I completely understand that that is a far off dream. I will always always do my best to encourage plant based eating & think its incredible if I can inspire someone to do it even one day (or even one meal) a week!
The greatest lesson I learned yesterday is that you can not forcefully change someone’s mind & trying to do so could ruin any future chance of change. I never try to push people but I always kind of thought that if they just knew these really good reasons to switch they would, and I’m sure thats how most (probably all) vegans feel. This person KNEW the impact of the choices they were making & most definitely was not going to change their view no matter how much I could have pushed.
I very much believe that this person became immediately defensive with me because someone before had probably blasted them with their vegan justice.* My realization was that this person may now miss out on information that might hit home for them in the future because after having someone bombard them with their ideals they now are not willing to hear a single thing another vegan has to say. So, Ill say it again, I am NOT judging or pushing anyone to become vegan. I will forever encourage and hopefully inspire it but I will never force it on anyone. Your choices are yours to make but if and when you are ready to make more plant based choices I will be there to help!
*I will add a disclaimer that I am not trying to offend anyone who is vegan & I do admire those that tenaciously fight for animal rights because it is most definitely needed but as the saying goes I think you can attract more bees with honey and that is the way I hope to inspire change.