Vegans Never Say Die!

23 thoughts on “Vegans Never Say Die!”

  1. Someone I know who has tried vegetarianism and veganism at various times, he says for the environment and for animals, returned to omnivorism because he was becoming too judgmental of those who were still eating animals. Too bad he didn’t try to overcome his self-righteousness — a little devil that many of us need to face and vanquish — instead of ditching his attempts to not harm other living beings.

    Near the top, you write, I think correctly: “An ex-vegan’s reasons for acting like a vegan are not based on principles; their ‘veganism’ is just a passing fancy.” Then, toward the end, you note: “To quit veganism is to quit the principles required to make the switch in the first place.” Perhaps in the second sentence you really mean, “To quit veganism is to never have fully embraced the principles required…”?

    I’m glad I persisted in opening this post; I finally clicked on “Vegan Rabbit.” Clicking on the title of the blog got me nowhere. Don’t know if it was my computer or if it’s fixable at your end. Just like true vegans never say die, so did my attempts to get here never die! 🙂

    1. I honestly don’t think I will ever stop being judgemental of non-vegans. The fact is, they are doing something I morally object to. It would be very hard NOT to judge the people perpetrating the wrongs inflicted on animals that we fight so hard to eradicate. However, I realize that I was them at one point in my life, as most of us were. Some people just need more time than others. I’m actually working on a post about judgemental vegans that I’m sure you would enjoy.

      “To quit veganism is to never have fully embraced the principles required…”

      I love it! Is it okay if I use it? It definitely is more along the lines of what I wanted to say.

      I’m sorry the link didn’t work. When I first published the post for some reason it was dated way back in October 2011 when I first started writing it (but never finished). I’ve got a ton of half-written posts and pages just waiting to be finished. For some reason instead of showing that it was posted 1/23/2012, it showed that it was posted some time in October 2011. So I just fixed it to the correct date and it messed with the url a little bit because the url has the date built into it. I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m certainly very happy you managed to make it here! 🙂

      1. Sure, Vegan Rabbit, I’m happy for you to use the sentence the way I tweaked it!

        Oh, now I understand how the link got messed up. You’ve got lotsa irons in the fire! Glad we’re all sorted out now. 🙂

        As for judgmental, gosh, it’s probably something we all try to stop doing about ANYTHING we morally object to — not just eating animals, huh? Seeing the good right in the midst of (or through, or beyond, or over) the not-so-good seems like one of life’s major hurdles, and most rewarding accomplishments when we’re successful. All part of the “peace movement,” I guess. Keep up the good work — and I look forward to that upcoming post.

  2. I’m much in tune with what you express when you write: “I honestly don’t think I will ever stop being judgemental of non-vegans. The fact is, they are doing something I morally object to. It would be very hard NOT to judge the people perpetrating the wrongs inflicted on animals that we fight so hard to eradicate.”

    My struggle is with judging and disapproving of behaviors and attitudes disrespectful and destructive of living beings versus judging and disapproving of other beings (humans usually but not always). It’s a fine line and one that I often stumble and trip over….maybe it’s foolish but I think it important to struggle with staying conscious of the fact that I’m not particularly interested in “judging” someone’s being but I am interested in “judging” what they do vis a vis other beings.

  3. As I go on I’m attempting to be less judgmental – Or at least openly so… In the beginning it all seemed so simple. To do what one knew was ethically right. But as the years have passed I’ve encountered so many excuses that the reasons to continue bad practices have become the norm. (sigh)

    There’s no amount of berating or chastising that I can do to make things otherwise. I have to put it in the hands of reality that people will change when they see no other choice. That’s the way we humans operate.. And so is the fickle way people “change” – For many, it’s on and off according to circumstances, devoid of any principles or commitment. And that makes it totally a lie.

    All we can do in the meantime is to reaffirm that veganism IS healthy, fun, delicious, affordable and easy. — And the right choice to make to create a better world. The resistance to that notion I fear will be with us for many more years to come… Fortunately we have a place where other advocates can air their frustration – Thanks for providing a platform for such…

    1. It is definitely very frustrating that so many find it so hard to go vegan. Being vegan is easy, as long as you’re willing to do a little research. It seems a lot of people don’t like to think. They don’t want to think about recipes, substitutions, their health, the environment, animals being tortured, the future… It’s like the world is asleep, numb to any spark of thought. They wander around in the dark, completely content, and completely oblivious to the cruelty that surrounds them. It reminds me of The Matrix; we vegans took the red pill. Even though the truth is unpleasant (to put it nicely), we would rather live knowing the truth than die living a lie.

  4. Great post. As a vegan who actually was an ex-vegan once, I completely agree. During my stint as an ex-vegan I felt guilty all of the time b/c I knew I was just being lazy. The guilt ate at me so much that I eventually made myself watch Earthlings and my commitment to veganism since then has been truly all heart and soul.

    PS: I love that you open your post with an altered quote from one of my most all time favorite movies. I just discovered your blog via An Unrefined Vegan. I look forward to reading it and hearing more from you!

    1. Wow, an ex-ex-vegan lol! I must say, I’m very impressed with your honesty in being able to admit to yourself that you were just being lazy, rather than blaming all of veganism. Earthlings is a very good motivating tool. I used it myself whenever I used to have cravings for certain animal products. I would tell myself “if I can watch even five minutes of this and still crave (insert animal product here), then I can eat it” and after five minutes those cravings would be completely gone.

      I love The Goonies! I’ve loved that movie since I was a little kid. I’ve alway been particularly keen on Sloth (but who isn’t?).

      I paid a little visit to your blog and WOW! I just ate and you’re making me hungry again! I will definitely be keeping up with your blog as well. Great work!

  5. I have been a vegetarian since a year now and i must say that i was a hardcore meat eater and lover of non vegetarian food.. when i become a vegan, people around me were shocked but must i say i am not in the least bit tempted. being a vegan has made me realize that there are so many fruits and vegetables in the world that i hadn’t even considered earlier. i always loved animals, but my taste buds would rule over my heart. now i feel in sync and no longer guilty about eating innocent animals. now days even the smell of cooked meat disgusts me and i feel a negative energy around. i had been doing yoga and its true that the human body and digestive system is not meant for meat. also, meat takes very long time to digest so from the health point of view also, meat is not good for you, especially raw meat like in sushi and other foods. eat an apple instead of an egg, eat a bowl of mushrooms instead of a bowl of chicken, eat a vegetarian burger and have a healthy bowl of clear soup with vegetables. You will feel healthy from within and it will show on your face. Veggies make your skin glow unlike meat which gives you body heat, pimples and skin redness.

    1. I can identify with what you say in your comment. I was a “hard core meat lover” as well, and still considered myself an animal lover at that point in my life. We are conditioned our whole lives by everyone around us to NOT connect the dots between eating and loving animals, and how one cannot do both. I used to love filet mignon (yes, I am ashamed) and thought that I would never stop craving it (or eggs benedict, my favorite food which I have since found alternatives to), but the smell repulses me now. It doesn’t smell like it used to. This is especially true with eggs. How did I used to eat those stinky things??? Blech! And as you say, when we consume animal products it’s not natural for us and will show in your body and face. When I went vegan my acne went away. I had tried everything to get rid of it short of Acutane (which would have been my next and final option, before I realized that animals are tortured and murdered just so I could get rid of my pimples). When do you ever see veganism listed as a cure for acne in magazines? – never! It’s always some kind of (animal tested) cream or serum, so they can make money. Anyway, the main thing is that I, like you, feel in sync. Our actions match our beliefs and values. We know we don’t need to choose between being kind and living/eating/wearing what we want to. It’s a good feeling.

  6. I’ve been a vegan for nearly 6 years. My best friend, Javier, loves meat almost as much as his next breath. However, Javier voluntarily doesn’t own a car because of it’s negative effects on the environment. Unfortunately, most people judge negatively and/or are confused by anyone who would voluntarily go car-free in this very car-centric society.

    I liken being a vegan to being car-free: completely against the status quo, often the subject of derision, and fraught with misunderstanding. How many of you own cars? I’d wager a lot, if not most, vegans drive cars and I’d also wager Javier would have very difficult convincing the most to give it up and take the bus. Most will likely admit to knowing that cars pollute and contribute to the general unhealthy American lifestyle, but most would come up with various reasons why they just can’t give up their car…. sorta not unlike how people say they can’t give up turkey legs.

    You know, Javier is not vegan but he’s damn good person, a good friend, and he’s doing some part in safeguarding this world by reducing pollution. I give him credit. Perfectionism is the enemy of any goal.

    My little anecdote about Javier was just to show people it would help the vegan cause more if they’d ease up on the I’M 100% WITHOUT A DOUBT SUPREMELY RIGHT AND BETTER attitude. I don’t think anyone has ever changed the hearts and minds of people by telling how much they suck (even if you just *know* you’re right). It’s crucial to know your audience and just how to appeal to them in a way that gets them thinking, that turns them on to your message. It’s just human psychology. I can attest: I’ve personally helped converted two friends into vegetarians just by eating like I do, letting them eat vegan food that tastes good, and answering questions when asked. One of them said my non-judgmental attitude toward her former meating-eating way was what allowed her to not become defensive and actually pay attention to what I was saying/doing.

    Also, I’m kinda frustrated at how some vegans proclaim how they can’t remotely understand why veganism is very difficult for other people. C’mon, guys. That’s like saying why you don’t understand why someone just can’t stop smoking or doing drugs or cutting themselves or watching reality TV. Okay. That’s fine. Maybe you honestly don’t understand. Everyone has their struggles in life and what may not seem like a big deal to YOU may very well be a struggle for next person. Try a little empathy before rolling your eyes and saying, “Veganism is so easy! Du-uh!”

    1. Hello Fermina, and thank you so much for your comment!

      1. Over all, I would say that I agree with your main point, which is for vegans to not come off as snobbish or know-it-alls (even though in many cases we do happen to know more about these subjects than non-vegans, simply because we have a passion for veganism and have taken the time to research vegan health, AR, and environmental issues). I concur that in order for our message to best be absorbed by non-vegans (rather than ignored or discounted), it cannot be made in an accusatory tone. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should tell non-vegans that their lifestyle ISN’T negatively affecting the lives of animals, our planet’s environment and ecosystem, and their own health — that would be a lie, and lying is (in my opinion) very disrespectful. When we lie to someone we are either ashamed of what we have/are doing, or for whatever reason feel that the person we are lying to cannot handle the truth. I discuss this issue further in my blog post called Pot vs. Kettle, located here: https://veganrabbit.com/2012/02/22/pot-vs-kettle/

      2. So all of that being said, I just thought I would drop a little stat for your friend, Javier:

      In a 2006 report, the United Nations issued a statement confirming that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes, and ships in the world combined. A senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization official reported that the meat industry is “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems”.

      While it is most definitely commendable that Javier is doing his part by going without a car, he is neglecting to see how his meat consumption is actually doing more harm to the environment than the good he is doing by not owning/driving a car. This doesn’t mean that he is not helping, but it does mean that he is not helping nearly as much as he thinks he is, and not nearly as much as he could if he would be willing to give up his animal product addictions. If Javier truly cares about the environment (and in all honesty, it seems that he does), and is willing to make such incredible changes in his lifestyle such as giving up a car, then it would seem to me that giving up meat, dairy, and eggs (and all other animal products) wouldn’t be too hard a task for someone as committed to saving the environment as he is.

      3. You bring up Javier’s story to illustrate your point that each of us has certain things that we would be comfortable giving up, and certain things which we would not be comfortable giving up. For Javier, giving up a car may seem like an easier task than giving up meat, whereas for some vegans, giving up animal products may seem easier than giving up a car. I can understand your point, but you have forgotten two things: 1. As I mentioned before, animal agriculture is much more destructive to the environment than transportation, and 2. Giving up a car is not exactly the same as giving up animal products. Going without a car will benefit the environment, but going without animal products will benefit the environment as well as all of the animals who will not be tortured, killed, and eaten because of a person’s gustatory cravings.

      4. I’m sure that Javier is a good person. I like to think that I’ve always been a good person, even when I used to eat animal products. The difference is that when I learned about what is happening every moment of every day and night to animals on farms and in labs around the world, I reached a crossroads. On one side, I could have chosen to ignore what I learned, and continue believing that whatever I was doing before was enough to make me a good person. On the other side, I could have chosen to accept this new information (no matter how unpleasant), make the necessary changes, and live my life knowing that I truly am doing the least amount of harm possible. — That’s another thing: veganism isn’t about perfection. Perfection is impossible, but it is something that we should always strive for. Veganism is about doing the least amount of harm. I will be the first to tell you that I am most definitely far from perfect, but what I believe makes me a truly good person is that when I learn about things that I can do to directly bring about positive change for the people and animals around me, I do them; I won’t let selfishness, laziness, or inconvenience get in my way. That is the basis of integrity. One cannot be a truly good person without integrity. Having integrity means doing the right thing even though it may not seem like the easiest or most enjoyable thing to do, and even when no one else is watching.

      5. About vegans saying that they “can’t understand why veganism is very difficult for other people”: I think in a lot of cases, this is said out of sheer exasperation. However, I’m sure there are some vegans who really cannot fathom why anyone would have a difficult time going vegan. On a personal note, when I look back at my struggle with transitioning to a veg diet and lifestyle I’m almost shocked at how long it took me and how easy it has become now. It’s easy to think “Well, if there’s bad stuff happening and I can stop it, then I will”. I recognize that for many people this is easier said than done. It took me about five years to finally become vegan (slowly cutting out one animal product at a time, when I felt “ready”). My life revolved around animal products. To this day my absolute favorite food is eggs benedict (probably one of the most NON-vegan dishes out there), but I’m willing to go without it because I have realized that my passing cravings do not take precedence over someone else’s well-being. So while I do agree that the process of going vegan can be difficult, actually being vegan is far easier than I ever could have dreamed of. If I would have known how amazingly easy and simple it is to live a vegan lifestyle while I was struggling with going vegan, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time along the way. If I would have known that my skin would clear up, my menstrual cycle and bowel movements (tmi?, oh well!) would become regular, my keratosis would dissappear, my moods would even out, my energy would pick up, my connection with nature and with the animals and loved ones in my life would improve so much, and that my actions are directly affecting positive change around the entire planet, I would not have struggled. I think these are the things vegans talk about when they say that making the switch to a vegan lifestyle is an easy one. It may not seem that way at first, but in hindsight going vegan was the simplest and most rewarding choice I have ever made.

      Anyway, thank you for your input! Your views and feelings are valued. I hope to hear more from you in the future 🙂

    2. I can identify with many of your points, Fermina. I suffered from bulimia (and when I say “suffered” I mean mental anguish and guilt trips galore) for many years. Try as I might, I couldn’t quit until I was ready to submit, not to harsh willpower, but to a gentle spiritual intuition reassuring me that I am worthy, loved, deserving of peace. Since that turning point, I have had no cravings for excessive amounts of food. Food no longer holds power over me, either as something to fear or something to worship.

      Something in me rebels against the notion of one person besting another. I prefer comparing myself today to how I thought and acted yesterday. That, to me, is true competition. Hopefully, I’m winning that race!

      I say that to explain that truly, I do not think I am better than anyone else just because I was finally told about how animals are bred, raised and killed. And I do not think I’m better than anyone else just because, armed with that new knowledge, I made the decision to stop using animals for my purposes. I simply know — and gratefulIy so — that I’m better than I once was.

      I wasn’t responsible for my ignorance. Even though in my youth I lived across the street from a small family dairy, no one taught me about the ugly side.

      But … I *was* responsible for what I did once I *did* learn. No one else has the power to make me feel one way or another about eating animals. I alone possess that power. If I take advantage of animals and justify my selfish or careless behavior, if I block out my sensitivity and compassion, I end up with guilt pangs. They are always sufficient to move me higher, to a place where I feel peace again (just as I felt when I stopped stuffing my face 15 years earlier).

      Cars. When I sold my last car a few years ago, it wasn’t for environmental reasons. It was because I no longer needed it and I wanted to save money. I’m really glad to know I’m helping the environment in that way. It feels like an extra brownie point for doing the right thing for my budget. (I work at home, but when I worked downtown for a while, I took the bus, even when I still had the car.)

      We’re all on a learning curve. When we’re humble enough to examine our motives and actions, to recognize our weaknesses, and to strive to overcome them, our harmful habits and appetites are bound to drop away, one by one. They can’t hang around when we take a stand for our innate, intact goodness, and for our right to progressively prove it!

      1. Very well said! Your bravery in overcoming bulimia and helping others in their lives by talking about your struggle is quite admirable. “I prefer comparing myself today to how I thought and acted yesterday.” — I love this! We must always strive to improve upon ourselves. Comparing our improvements or areas of opportunity against someone else’s does us a disservice. By the way, I would assert that you are indeed winning that race!

  7. It’s been almost 3 years since this article but I just found it and will comment anyways. I take issue with you on this, when you say “you were never vegan to begin with if you go back to” dairy/eggs/fish. I’m another ex-ex-vegan, vegan since May 2009, but on & off vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian from 1986 to 2009. I was mostly isolated from other vegans during those years and only found a strong vegan community online when I got home computer in early 2009. It wasn’t condemnation that got me back on track either; it was hard information (like farm/slaughterhouse footage which I’d largely avoided during my off periods) and a welcoming atmosphere. I wasn’t proud when non-vegan and never bashed the lifestyle, it was always my optimal goal, but it was just “easier” to fit in and not be so fussy about food, that was it, so you’d call it laziness. So I was lazy about it, doesn’t mean I didn’t always want to be vegan (for the animals, not for the condemning vegans). I would never have used any of those excuses that put down vegan lifestyles…I knew better than that, that it was me, not veganism that failed. But all those 23 years during the times I was strictly vegan, I was indeed vegan. So your strong implication that “vegan” implies solid perfection with no lapses, no “sins” allowed or you are excommunicated, well, that’s just mean and counterproductive, doesn’t seem welcoming at all for ex-vegans to come back.
    Thankfully I didn’t look to the approval of others for my decision to come back, nor to their disapproval when I was “sinning,” because NONE of us are perfectly vegan. Unless every aspect of your life contains not one ingredient of animal suffering/death, then you’re not vegan either, if going by what you wrote in this article. Thankfully again, that’s not true, you are vegan, I am vegan, and anyone following their ethics and rejecting animal products as best they can in this world, are also vegan, or trying. They’re only not so when they’re back indulging in animal suffering again and bashing vegan lifestyles, trying to scare others away from it, and so forth, which is extremely vile and those are the ones who were NEVER VEGAN. That was never me. Vegan-at-heart is at least wanna-be vegan, even if we’re in a weak/lazy period…the vegan-at-heart will come back in time, and stay for good. So you need to be kinder, not put them on the reject shelf and tell them all those years they did vegan lifestyles are just erased, no good, kaput. They did a very good thing back then, and welcome them back to do the good thing again, to stay this time.

  8. Oh, PS: Saw your other article on “ethical meat”…which was the main lie to myself when I was non-vegan, that “humanely sourced organic” eggs/dairy/fish was at least better than the other, so it was sort of “okay.” It’s why “happy meat” is such a vile and repugnant sham, the lie that can get people back on animal foods when they know better but are in weak/lazy periods.

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