Recently in Dallas, I went to check out a new foodie destination. When I inquired with the counter attendant about vegan options, I was disappointed to learn they had zero. Upon hearing the conversation, the next thing I knew the manager was introducing himself and offering to give me a personal tour of the facility — a facility where they make everything in-house, including bread, pastries, gorgeous desserts, and cheese from scratch. They also buy animals in “whole” and procure their own meat. I know this because the tour included a very cold meat locker, where I witnessed the hanging of various animal parts. Pardon me, gracious tour guide, while I barf.
Why didn’t I politely turn down a knowingly non-vegan tour?
If that wasn’t enough to send me into a vegan tailspin, my dear aunt, who doesn’t exactly get the vegan thing, decided to include me in a group text. Shockingly, the text included a graphic picture of a huge dead elk with her son, my cousin, kneeling next to the recently deceased animal, rifle in tow. Amidst the many congratulatory responses, I had no words. Barf. Again.
Why I didn’t respond and speak out against hunting animals for entertainment?
During a shopping trip to Whole Foods, I met a couple of ladies at the wine bar. As we began a conversation, one of them inquired about my career. I told her, of course, that I was a vegan coach, cook, and boot maker. She responded by speaking out against factory farming and the bad internal karma that comes from eating dead animals, yet she confessed that she’s not vegan. The other woman chimed in and favored “humanely raised” meat and eggs. She spoke adamantly that she’d never go vegan. I gave them my card and walked away.
Why didn’t I take the time to educate them on their choices versus vegan?
When a high-profile magazine recently published a story about my boots, I posted it on Facebook and added a boost to reach a larger audience. I was shocked at the backlash I received from fellow Texans, die-hard beef eaters and life-long leather wearers. They were all sweet enough to share this information on the post. In response, I attached a few articles about the production of leather.
Why didn’t I argue back and tell them I hoped they didn’t choke on their next chicken bone?
By being uncomfortable, I had the opportunity to talk to the tour guide and tell him about vegan meats. He was curious and wanted to know more so I took him some vegan sausage from the Herbivorous Butcher to sample. Hopefully my efforts will end up in their deli case.
I’m seeing my aunt over the holidays and taking her a copy of The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook. She’ll have a clear picture of exactly what a vegan is after reading this clear guide and perhaps think twice about her actions.
The ladies at Whole Foods will more than likely check out my site and get a dose of how to eat as a vegan and why it’s so important for their health, the animals, and the environment. Maybe they’ll sign up for one of my classes.
To people on social media who want to push my buttons: I’m a vegan activist. It’s my obligation to animals to be their voice and help bring an end to their exploitation for our personal gain. If this information doesn’t pertain to you, kindly move on.
Choosing to be vegan is not a frivolous action, expecting a reaction. It demands respect. You earn that respect by treating others with acceptance and kindness. When you plant a seed, someone else will come along and water it, but it’s up to that person to let it grow. A seed was planted in me, watered, and now I share that with others, seed by seed. The one planted in me grew deep roots, forming a foundation that refuses to be rattled or shaken.
Our purpose it to keep planting and watering. The harvest will come in due time.
A Texas vegan activist, Kat Mendenhall, Purveyor of Handmade Vegan Goods, is on a mission to mend the world through whole-plant based nutrition and cruelty-free products. She combines her nutrition studies and culinary training to implement effective coaching and cooking services for her clients. In addition, Kat shows her passion as a boot maven in the creation of her custom handmade vegan cowboy boots and non-leather accessories. She is a Master Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator certified by Main Street Vegan Academy, a culinary nutrition expert certified by The Academy of Culinary Nutrition, certified in plant based nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell University, and a Food for Life Instructor, certified by Physicians Committee. She is also a contributor recipes and tips to The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook. On www.katmendnehall.com you can read about Kat’s coaching, teaching, and cooking services, boots and fashion goods, get recipes, lifestyle and business tips from her blog, and schedule her to speak or provide a cooking demo at your next event.