We are now in week one of Veganuary.
So far, Greggs are taking over the internet with their epic comebacks to the like of Piers Morgan and his snowflake antics, and a barrage of other anti-vegan rants from otherwise happy-to-eat-processed-sausage-roll-Tweeters. He recently sent out a load of childish tweets about the sausage roll, which ended up in wide-spread frenzy as people went out and cleared the shelves. Nice one Piers!
In the midst of the excitement, I found myself in an internet battle all of my own, (albeit a speck on the back of Gregg's), about the launch of the sausage roll, suddenly answering questions about why us vegans are forcing our lifestyle on people. 'Dude, it's a sausage roll, you can still buy the regular one. Chill' doesn't seem to go down so well when they're bringing up your long-lost Neanderthal Aunty, how apparently ate meat, so we should be too.
So in honour of all vegans out there who've had to answer ridiculous questions while still having to carry out their day with some shred of faith in humanity and our mental capacity as a species, here are my top 10 ridiculous things people say to vegans and how you could respond - I am sure you have some corkers of your own, so feel free to send them my way, and perhaps they will form a whole new post!
1 - Where do you get your protein?
It's in everything...literally. Vegans are not protein deficient, quite the opposite. Take our lovely Gregg's vegan sausage roll, it has 12g protein compared to the original with has 6.4g.
If someone is seriously concerned about this, here's a handy little chart courtesy of The Sustainable Dish gang. As you can see, the average adult required less than 60g protein per day, which is easy to find if you're eating enough food. Generally, we overeat protein which can lead to complications itself. So please take care to understand why we need protein before getting obsessed over consuming it.
2 - If vegans don't eat meat, why do you eat foods that taste like it?
To be honest, I used to wonder this myself, and it is a valid question, so it is not always coming from a bad place. It's often helpful to remind people that I, like many vegans out there, ate meat & dairy my whole life - 34 years in fact.
Most vegans who make the change do so because of compassion for animals, not because they hate the taste of meat. Personally, I wonder; if you could replicate all of your favourite foods in terms of look, flavour and texture without causing any harm to animals, why wouldn't you?
The other consideration, is that animals are not shaped like sausages or burgers, this shape isn't exclusive to meat.
And if you're offended by a non-meat product being called a sausage, then I'm not sure there is much more to say other than...get over it and worry about something else!
3 Animals are made for humans to eat
If this is not the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard...
Ok then let's look at the facts. So God, or nature, (or whomever you belief created the planet and its beings), created an entire eco system and put humans right at the top so we could eat them all. Right
Animals have the ability to communicate, solve puzzles, grieve and play. They look to humans to care for them and inherently put their trust in us, right until the moment they're led to slaughter. They feel pain. Regardless of how they are killed, they feel it, are terrified and spend their last minutes begging for their lives. There is no such thing as 'humane slaughter' when the animal doesn't want to die, there is no such thing as painless death.
If we're meant to eat animals, why are they so bad for our health & the planet?
The Independent recently wrote an article calling time on killing animals for food. Read it here - There are many other articles, resources and information from reputatble sources available, I could write an entire blog post on them alone. A recent blog post of my own addressed the need to take a closer look at how our lifestyle is damaging our health and the planet, the animals always seem to come last in that sentence, as if we need to apologise for reminding people that eating them is wrong. Shame
This moving video inspired that post. If you don't have time to read it, watch the video
Guys. We have so many delicious products available to nourish our bodies, and even junk food available if we want it. There is no longer any need to kill an animal for food, entertainment or any other reason we can think of. And with the information we have available to us, there is no longer any excuse. Taking protein, iron or other nutrients can be done without killing another being.
4 - Do you miss bacon?
Do I miss the taste of bacon? Yes. Do you miss unhealthy foods like crisps and burgers when you're living a healthy lifestyle? Yes. Right, there you are then.
Sometimes you stop eating things because the food in question goes against something you feel is more important. But now that vegan bacon is a thing, guess what, you can still enjoy it - so if bacon is the only thing standing between you being vegan and not being vegan, then worry no more.
Here is the link to sign up for Veganuary. - You're welcome!
5 - If you were the last person left on earth and there was just a pig, would you eat it?
Ok, if I am the last person on earth, and I am left with a pig, do I still have plants? Surely the pig is living off something? I'm good thanks, far happier hanging out with a pig on a dessert island surrounded by coconuts, mangoes and pineapples than having to answer these kind of questions.
6 - If you don't milk cows, their udders hurt
If humans didn't...what? Are you serious!?
And who, please tell me, WHO could possibly drink the milk from a cows udder if humans didn't? I just can't think...how about....their kids??
Simple biology fails a lot of people in their attempt to 'out-do' vegans. The milk is in the udder, because the cow just gave birth, they cow gave birth because she was carrying a baby cow in her tummy. What you need to ask are these three things:
- How does the cow become repeatedly pregnant to be able to produce 'your' milk over and over again?
- What happens to the baby cow who's not allowed to eat the milk so you can drink it?
- What happens to the mama cow after she's done making milk for you?
Babe, you're not lactose intolerant, you're just not a baby cow.
7 - If we didn't eat animals, they would take over the planet
No, no they wouldn't.
If the world goes vegan overnight, then hopefully, this means the farmers have become compassionate for the animals in their care, and would ensure they were looked after. But would they take over the planet? Errm, nope!
Animals are bred into existence for us to eat, as we gradually turn vegan, less animals are born, this would mean that gradually the numbers would decrease, leaving behind the lucky ones who were liberated instead of slaughtered.
Would they die out? If natural selection decided it then perhaps, but we are not here to determine who gets to live or die on this planet, animals should live in peace, in harmony with us, not in fear of us.
8 If you eat a vegan diet, you kill animals/Avocados aren't vegan
TV has been rife of late with anti-vegan/passively anti-vegan/nit-picking at veganism. The petty attempts at proving that we're insane are quite honestly, laughable.
This Morning recently featured a vegan who is apparently offended by a place called 'Wool' and is demanding it to be renamed.
Ok, I get it, they're clutching at straws in an attempt at highlighting vegans as aggressive, offended and angry. There is now a whole new topic to pull vegans up on. Not only do we not get enough protein (except that we do), we now apparently kill more animals through the production of our food.
I sigh every time I hear this because if anyone thought about this rationally, it is very clear that anyone eating a plant-based or vegan diet is harming far less in the world. Firstly, let's say that insects are killed or harmed in the production of crops. Veganism is not about being perfect, nobody is saying that. It's about causing the least harm possible.
In comparison to eating meat, you are directly killing an animal, or at least, paying someone else to do it. Not to mention feeding all those plants to the animal, which, in turn kills the little bugs you are so concerned about.
9 How do you know someone is vegan? Don't worry they will tell you.
Oh will we? How about the occasions when I am going about my business ordering my food in a restaurant, only to be called out in front of the table, expected to explain why I am vegan, then subjected to either a rant, mocking, or belittling? And this is the polite version. If we mention we're vegan, they attack us for it. If we don't mention it, we end up eating animal products by mistake.
To be honest, I don't care. If I want to tell people I am vegan, I will. You literally kill animals to eat them. Ok, logical.
10 I could never be vegan, I love my _______ too much
Ok, this one is frustrating, because the majority of the time, I haven't even challenged their diet. In fact, I don't think I have ever challenged a meat-eater's choice to eat meat.
But then I still have this one thrown at me.
There are a couple of major issues with this aside from the fact that I have caused possible damage to my eye sockets from holding back eye rolls.
If you feel the need to say something like this to someone who clearly won't agree, based on their choice of lifestyle, then there must be a deeper reason. Do you want a reaction? Do you want me to say 'it's ok' and make you feel better about it?
The other problem I see with this statement, is that, it isn't really 'your' bacon, steak etc. It belongs to another living being that didn't have a choice in giving it to you and they had to die in order to do so.
If you want to eat meat, do it, but don't force your opinions onto other people When a vegan person hears this, we aren't going to tell you 'it's ok', we don't respect what you are saying, and you sound like you have a guilty conscience. If it were the other way around, you would be calling us out as militant. Just stop it.
While I understand that there are vegans in the world who are intimidating in their approach, the majority of us just want to live a compassionate. In so many cases we're attacked, belittled and subjected to a constant barrage of questions, often (albeit not always) designed to prove that we are wrong.
I have been challenged online on numerous occasions by meat eaters who approach me of their own accord. When I do try to respond with facts it seems to aggravate people further. In my opinion if you don't want vegans telling you the truth because it upsets you, don't ask us.