I’ve been vegan for almost 7 years. Feels great! Lost 20 pounds without trying. Cholesterol, blood pressure both down; energy, digestion, mood…all improved.
To clarify, I’ve been eating a whole plant food diet, which doesn’t mean I eat the banana AND the peels. I try to eat mostly unprocessed plant foods. (It’s important to me to make this distinction, as not every product that’s animal-free is optimal fuel for humans.)
What’s funny about being vegan? We do poop quicker than we pee.
We all know the standard vegan joke: “How do you know if someone is vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” This pretty much sums up what most meat eaters think of vegans—we are annoying.
I can be very annoying, not when I’m being a doctor, but I can be an annoying vegan. Let’s say my wife orders a salad for lunch. I look at it and say, “Hey, why didn’t you have them hold the cheese on your salad? You know that dairy is addictive; cheese is full of saturated fat and cholesterol; and dairy cows are forcibly impregnated every year, have their calves taken from them soon after birth, and are turned into cheap hamburgers after only about 4 years. And you’re telling me that NONE of that crossed your mind when you were ordering?” I can be an annoying vegan, for sure.
I’ve been obsessed with reading the comments on social media. Do you like to read the comments? If you read the comments on political threads, you know how hostile people can get. Well, that’s nothing compared to the anti-vegan comments. I’ve found angry carnivores discussing EATING vegans! Yes, eating a human being simply because we don’t eat animals! I was scrolling down on LinkedIn (LinkedIn!) under an article discussing a new vegan burger at McDonald’s, and immediately folks start arguing about where you get B12, and whether you can get adequate protein (standard stuff). Isn’t it funny how no one gives a hoot about nutrition when you live on fast food and take 6 medications a day, but announce that you are going to not eat animals and suddenly everyone is an expert on the RDA of every known nutrient. I’d like to point out here that our hospitals aren’t actually filled with malnourished vegans. Itching to add my (snarky) two cents, I keep scrolling through the comments…
And then, out of nowhere, someone starts in with his instructions for how to cook a vegan. Of course, I check his profile. Thinking he’s some wingnut from the lunatic fringe, right? But no, he’s a geology professor from Australia. He and this other dude start writing back and forth about the need to baste us, while we are being roasted, so we don’t dry out and what kind of wine to drink with vegan (a woodsy white, by the way). They even talk about the thrill of finding and cooking a “rare fat one.” I’m stunned, and just looking for a place to jump into the conversation. After the obligate comments about the “sentience of plants” — y’all know that one — and then the professor says he’s going to “go out and eat some bacon,” and I crush him with the science. I type, in my most un-ironic tone, “Maybe you didn’t know” and attach the World Health Organization’s report on processed meat causing cancer (like cigarettes and asbestos). I press “post” and just imagine him reading that and feeling so ashamed of himself, right? You think?
There is always some truth in a joke. So, that joke about how you know if someone is vegan, they’ll tell you, is absolutely true. And why shouldn’t we? We live in such a way that reduces farm animal suffering, and we use less water, less energy, less medication, less medical care. We don’t think that any animals should be exploited or abused; aren’t we just appalling? Why are folks so threatened by vegans? “I just don’t want anyone telling me what to eat!” I see that one often. So I’m picturing a 6-year-old telling his mother, “Mom, I’m going to have Coca Cola on my Lucky Charms for dinner, okay?” “Sounds, good, dear!” Right: like no one ever told you what to eat!
I actually enjoy being an annoying vegan—it feels easier than munching on my tempeh, lettuce and tomato sandwich in complete silence. Silence broken only by the sound of the tomato slices screaming between my crushing jaws.
*All comics by The Vegan Sidekick. Used with written permission.
Debra Shapiro, MD is a Board Certified OB/GYN, a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, and Certified Health Coach. She is passionate about getting the word out about the benefits of plant based eating, and the vegan lifestyle, for the health and well-being of all living things and the planet we all share. Her website is www.anewviewoffood.com.