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  1. When people slam vegans for being ‘preachy’ I see it as code for ‘I don’t want to hear/confront the truth about animal abuse and exploitation; that the only acceptable, or ‘good’ vegan is a silent one. It is a way to dismiss us and shut down any possible discussion as this instantly (all too often effectively), makes the vegan the baddie for speaking out. Looking back through social justice movements throughout history, I for one am glad the suffragettes were ‘preachy,’ very happy to hear that those who fought for civil rights spoke up and out for what is right. I could go on. Why should being ‘preachy’ carry a negative connotation?? Maybe wear that badge with courage and pride instead.

  2. Jacquie Mahon says:

    I became vegan over 3 days, after I FINALLY deeply researched what happen to animals in our food industry. I’d been a pescatarian for 10 years after I saw a sliver of what happens. And I’m definitely angry. At myself, at the trance the whole human race is in, at the immoral and despicable abuse of animals. I immediately joined a street protest-and-education organization out of Australia with chapters worldwide and hit the streets. Right now I’m struggling with the reality of “comfortable vegans” who think it’s enough to sit in their houses and be vegan. But I know people are suited to different things …. I’m also struggling with vegans who think being vegetarian is laudable. Billions of animals still suffer for vegetarians.

  3. I do not “come out” as vegan unless it is pertinent or someone offers me food that I do not want to eat. I am vegan for basically every reason possible. I refuse to be a part of animal agriculture, where animals are hurt and treated terribly. I have researched and continue to educate myself on the many layers of how eating an omnivorous diet badly impacts the environment. Also, my plant-based diet makes me feel great, both about my ethics and my energy levels. I will never call someone out because of what they are eating, or talk about veganism in general. However, if I am invoked or called out, you better believe I will slap that person’s remark down. Yes, I know, it is never affective to be argumentative in that type of situation, it is just so hard to stop myself. Sometimes, if someone just asks a question or generally want to know about veganism and why I am the way I am, I will gladly fill them in on what I believe and how I became vegan. I need to work on keeping a calm demeanor, but also, I get upset because there are lives at risk. This is not just opinion anymore, it is about rights. Eating animals harms humans, and the eco system, not just animals. So yes, I am sometimes a “preachy vegan” but I am working on that. And if I am willing to better myself so others can feel more comfortable around me, than they should be willing to change a portion of their lives so that our environment can be saved, and animals do not have to suffer because we find eating their flesh pleasurable. It is all about deliverance when it comes to discussing veganism with people.

    1. I can totally relate to you, Jess. You’re right. It’s not an opinion but a reality. I’m sure others will benefit from your experience, and all we can do is try to remain calm, civil and open in these interactions.

  4. I am a very polite person. I never have really liked meat, and I have stomach issues, so I spent much of my life lets say gluten free mostly plant based to fix those things. My only time I ate things not plant based was at a persons home I was invited to. I felt horrible not eating what they gave me to the point of repeatedly making myself sick to do it. Then came my switch from mostly plant based to being an ethical vegan. Even after I understood the consequences, for the next while if someone like a coworker or neighbor tried to give me something, I would accept it then guilt trip myself to death about why I did that. You could say I started out as the antithesis of preachy. I was ashamed of being vegan because I felt that telling others what to do was rude. Over time I learned to say no, I learned to say I was vegan, and then I learned to explain why when asked. I will never be a person emotionally capable of shouting people down for consuming animal products. The way I have found for promoting veganism is through cooking. I get invited anywhere, I cook, I bring things, I set recipe cards down. I feel that through food comes the realization that veganism isn’t really a compromise on flavor in many cases. I also find that after trying my food, people bring the conversation up for me. They ask me why, and I have had quite a few of my friends tell me they are going vegan because of me and this. I would say over half the people who I know on a first name basis have started trying to reduce, and about a quarter of them are trying veganism. They tell me what made them want to try it was that I never made them feel bad. I know there is a place for tough love, but I don’t think I am the person to do that, and I don’t know if militant is really that successful. I think love and encouragement goes a lot further. People are more likely to listen when you do things that lower their emotional walls to what you have to say than raise them.

    1. Hi Evie, I loved reading about your experience navigating social interactions as a vegan. It’s no surprise that your humility and passion for cooking have inspired those around you to at least reduce their level of animal consumption.
      I think the important thing you mentioned is that you had the self-awareness to approach veganism in a way that suited your personality.
      There’s going to be others out there who are the opposite, and I don’t think either approach is wrong. I’ve heard people become vegan because someone was quite direct in their activism, while others are were inspired indirectly. Thanks again!

  5. Re: The Gary Yourofsky quote and that line of thinking:

    I used to feel that way, but humans are the only ones who can save life on Earth from the eventual death of our sun by bringing life to other planets. I think it would be helpful if more people stopped to think about that role: humans as the protectors and proliferaters of all life. We’re the only ones who can do it. When you point out to people that they are useless to this planet, it often makes them swing in the direction of not caring. If people feel they have a duty and a role, it’s more likely to make them want to live up to it.

    1. Hi sorry, we missed your initial comment, Bryan! I think you make a fascinating point, and I agree. By taking ownership it gives humans a sense of pride and responsibility to take action. It’s also more positive. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Hi Wendy, I know how hard it is to watch the willful ignorance when it comes to veganism, and kudos to you for finding creative ways to spread awareness. Your story of how you finally got rid of your eczema is inspiring!

  7. Lisa Leonard says:

    I just recently watch a documentary on the holocaust. The similarities to that and what we do to animals all day everyday is very disturbing to me. I think the human race is very easily brainwashed and very ignorant. If your not will to educate yourself and change after someone points the truth out to you, what you think of me doesn’t compare to what I think of you. You are selfish, evil, and stupid!!!

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for taking the time to comment! I can definitely relate to the pain and frustration you feel, especially after watching that documentary. The challenge is, remaining empathic to those who are influenced by the “system”. It’s very rare that we inspire change in others from a place of frustration. I’ve learned that the hard way after being vegan for many years.

  8. In AA we talk about “attraction rather than promotion” and I think that’s very fitting to this conversation as well. I just recently switched to a vegan diet and still feel uncomfortable saying that word around acquaintances I don’t know that well. I’m afraid of being judged, or afraid of seeming pushy even just by mentioning it. But I can say that these past few weeks I’ve been open about what I eat, where I eat, and how I prepare it and have been able to engage in some low pressure conversations about it. By letting people come to me, I feel comfortable sharing my experience – it’s exactly what I needed when I started going vegan.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Rachel. We too remember that feeling, to the point where we would sometimes avoid interactions. I’m glad you’ve found a way to engage with others about your values by letting them come to you.

  9. I will never make anyone wrong for their food choices and have had several people tell me how much more effective that has been in allowing them to having their minds open. But I do use the term Vegan about myself if it comes up naturally in conversation (as in for example: we have to work through lunch and are ordering in, what would you like?) because I feel people need to know there are Vegans all around them, especially people who maybe don’t look like the old-fashioned stereotype. I think it’s extremely important to normalize Veganism. The fascinating thing is of course that although I will just mention “Vegan” in passing, I can’t tell you how many people engage me in conversation about it, to the point that I have to change the subject at times because I don’t want to seem like someone who crams it down peoples throat (and since I’m the one with the uncomfortable information, the backlash will go against me, not the person who asked). One of the most effective things I have ever done though was to make a screensaver on my laptop of Esther the Wonder Pig sleeping in a blanket on the couch. Since we always have our laptops with us at work people will see Esther and without fail start a conversation about pigs. And I don’t have to say a word to get it started! Of course you get the bad bacon “jokes” at times, but I ignore them and I know multiple people who no longer eat pork or bacon just because of my screen saver. Go Esther!!

    1. Hi Anna, thank you for taking the time to share some of your experiences. I think it’s great that you let people know that you’re vegan. We used to shy away from it because we wanted to avoid confrontation – but now, like yourself we see is as an opportunity.

      Also nice subtle idea about the screensaver.

  10. Respect. Respecting each other’s choices. I have had this argument many times with other strong activist vegans who are often the pushy ones that people stereotype us into. We who are already vegan, for whatever reason be it health, ethical or a combination of both have a much higher level of consciousness and understanding of the reasons for Our choice to be vegan. We have been on a different journey, and we will not win by pushing our experiences on our journey onto others. It’s like when you tell a teen they can’t do something…….they rebel. Just be at peace with your own decision and lightly but gently every now and then explain that to those around you!

    1. Well said Colleen! Couldn’t of said it better myself. People often want to know why you’re vegan, and in that situation, it’s a great opportunity to share your reasons. Other than that, like you said, we just need to respect each other’s choices. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I love this article, and really needed this read. I used to practically wear “I’m a vegan” on my forehead years ago, but now, I don’t even think people around me now know that I’m a vegan, they just think I’m “super-healthy”. I’m vegan, but do slip up at times–really just to “fit in” and make others feel comfortable (try being in a foreign country and turning down their food, yikes!)… But you do almost get disgusted with people and the ignorance regarding this lifestyle, that obeys all laws of nature. We are the weird ones? Really?

    1. Hello, thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed the article! It’s an interesting topic – whether to wear veganism loud and proud, representing defenceless animals. Or to take the more subtle approach, choosing to inspire others through health. It sounds like you’ve experienced both paths and have found a balance. And yes, I also get frustrated at the ignorance of others. Having said that, I was once that ignorant and I understand that it takes a huge mental shift to make positive change. So all you can do is encourage people to start that conversation with themselves. Only then will they begin questioning what is “normal”.

  12. What an interesting post.. what is flabbergasting to me is that people can still eat meat once they become aware of the suffering and mistreatment that farm animals have to go thru for humans. To top it off, how this affects our health and environment. I had this experience in my own home, when my own family (brothers and sisters in law) after watching Cowspiracy, have not reduced or eliminated animal products from their diets. I wished I had this kind of information back when I was in my 20s .. My question is, why don’t they trying eating cats or dogs? If they can’t then why eat cows, pigs, turkey, chickens? I used to eat animal products and can say I was somehow addicted to cheese and ham.. but once I explored the world behind animal farming, I couldn’t do it anymore.. It was a switch that went off that will never turn on again! I do preach as much as I can to try to open other people’s eyes.. that may happen today or a year from now, but the information needs to be available otherwise we become complacent because we don’t want to bother…

    1. I 100% agree with you Rosanna. This information needs to be readily available to the public, more so than what we’re bombarded with in the media. I suppose the question is how we deliver this information? Personally, I’ve not been receptive to the in-your-face approach of any advocacy or cause as I’m naturally pretty stubborn (I think most people can relate). But when I come across some interesting information upon my own accord, that’s when I’m likely to make change. It’s definitely an interesting conversation. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  13. I have no problem calling out society, but when it comes to calling out individuals, especially those close to me, I find it very difficult.

    Unless someone I know well directly engages me in a confrontation I won’t call them out, but I’ll call out animal exploitation all day and just hope that people will make the connection. I was taught by a wise Jedi vegan not to alienate people. I might try something else in the future.

    1. Love your approach Jackson! Never thought about it that way in terms of society vs individuals. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I’m not a vegan yet, I’m consuming less and less animal based products. But (call me egoistic, annoying, etc) I do this solely to myself. So I can have a better health. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals (specially dogs) more than people, but they’re not the top concern on my mind. I’m well aware of all bad stuff animal product market brings too. As for preaching, I’m too introspect for such and I don’t think I can make up one’s mind. People should realize things for themselves, not be shocked or forced to do something.

  15. I do both things: call people out (in a gentle, never pushing way) and also inspire by example.