How Not to Treat a Vegan

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Although I’ve lived with mental illness my whole life, I am not a medical professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclaimer.

Being a vegan is like being a fly desperately trying to escape a fly swatter. I have my wings, but I can never go a stinking day without feeling like I’m about to be squashed.

It takes a lot more than just a little determination to live the life I choose. Let me reiterate, shout it at the top of my lungs from the tallest mountain, beg and plead, down on my knees for all to hear, I chose my lifestyle.

Those with traditional, meat-eating views have no idea just how strong-willed me and my people have to be.

Because we automatically have a bad reputation, we’re pretty much not allowed to have opinions on our moral outlook on life.  Like, yes, here I am, just walking into the room, sounds like a perfect time to shove my views down your throat. In reality, I’d rather not even let people know I am a vegan because of how much I’m ridiculed and degraded for my beliefs.

Us vegetarians and vegans live in a world of constant bullying. What we’re going through is “just a phase” and we love playing along with the “spot the vegan” game. But there comes a time when enough is enough. It truly is incredibly sad and hurtful that we are often afraid to let our true selves known.

I know plenty of vegans feel what I feel. We struggle sometimes. A lot of us are uncomfortable being around meat, and we do often lie and say that we’re completely fine. But, you know what, we suck it up because we have to.

We want to go out to eat and experience a restaurant. We want to have a family get together and enjoy really good food. Food is what brings people together. Unfortunately, food can also tear us apart a little bit.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that a lot of anxiety can come with being a vegan.

Everything has to have more thought. Ordering food is a headache, and a lot of the time meat somehow gets placed into my food, so I have to pretty much waste an entire meal because restaurants somehow just can’t get it right. Then I’ll feel even worse about it, because an animal was slaughtered for essentially no reason at all. It was all just a big waste in my eyes.

Another nightmare is grocery shopping. I check ingredient labels so much that my eyes automatically spot the forbidden ingredients. Gelatin. Beef stock. Chicken fat. Do you know that even Baked Lay’s BBQ Chips have chicken flavor in it?

Let’s not even mention we can’t buy this really cool pair of shoes we want because it is made of leather.

With nearly every meal, we have to sit and pretend to listen to people suddenly care about our stomachs and wonder whether or not we’re getting enough of our everyday essentials. We often get, “You can eat this. It has no meat in there.” And we’ll stand there, nodding our heads, but knowing all too well that chicken stock was snuck in there.

And no, the chicken was not just taking a bath.

Then when our plates are served, we have to sense everybody’s energy of  “Oh my, I’m eating a dead animal around them. They must be uncomfortable.” And here’s when I start counting down the seconds until someone asks me the infamous “So, where do you get your protein from if you don’t eat meat?”  It takes everything in my power to not rebuttal with,”So, where do you get your fiber from?”

And absolutely, positively do not tell me the age-old argument that fruits and vegetables are living too. Let me tell you…if looks could kill…wow. Do plants feel pain? Plants go through photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Animals have a nervous system and a brain. I mean, obviously there is a reason why we choose to not eat meat.

Please try to make being a vegan the best, most rewarding thing in the world for us and not our very worst nightmare by following these 5 simple steps.

HOW TO TREAT A VEGAN:

  1. Stop asking if we’re still going through “that phase”
  2. Stop caring about my protein intake or what I don’t put in my stomach
  3. Stop acting like I’m a martian or some foreign creature
  4. Stop acting like I’m the dirt engraved in the bottom of your shoe
  5. Let me be me, with all my moral and ethical beliefs

And even after you read this post, some of you will continue to ridicule and degrade us vegans.

So to you, I say yes, you did spot the vegan. Here I am. Loud and proud.

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