Thursday, December 4, 2014

Common misconceptions about vegans

Veganism is about equality, not superiority.
There are some common misconceptions about vegans that I've come across frequently in my journey toward a kinder life. Of course, not all non-vegans have misconceptions about vegans. Some see their vegan friends as kind, caring, well-intended individuals. Some are indifferent about vegans. They live and let live. Thank goodness I can list most of my non-vegan friends in those categories. There are, however, a few individuals who see vegans in a not so positive light. So, to clear things up, here are those misconceptions and the truth behind them.

"Vegans hate non-vegans."

Vegans can be very vocal about their life choices. They may post funny or sarcastic memes on Facebook to get their point across. They might even post a few shocking videos or get upset when friends post or display photos of their hunting excursions. That doesn't mean vegans harbor hatred toward non-vegans. Most vegans, myself included, hate the non-vegan lifestyle, not the person living it.

"Vegans know nothing about nutrition. They are malnourished."

Over the years many beliefs about nutrition have been virtually “set in stone” either by tradition, hearsay, or conventional medicinal education. Conventional medical doctors receive little nutritional education at all. Traditions are often based on outdated concepts. On the other hand, before beginning a vegan diet, most vegans do extensive nutritional research. They study both conventional and non-conventional diets and lifestyles. Conventional medicine is largely built around sick care, rather than prevention. Therefore, vegans turn to factual nutritional data to base their diets on.

Note: Speaking solely for myself, I have been a student of nutrition for over 40 years, beginning when I became vegetarian at the ripe old age of 12. I didn't make the choice to go vegan lightly. It was based on many years of research.

"Veganism is a religion."

Vegans come in all shapes, sizes and beliefs. Veganism is not a religion. It is, however, a way of living that embraces the idea of doing no harm. That makes it a spiritual, as well as a dietary choice. For that reason, it may appear to non-vegans that veganism is a religious conviction. In actuality, vegans have a wide variety of religious beliefs, just as non-vegans do.

"Vegans expect everyone to become vegan."

Pardon my bluntness, but that would be pretty unrealistic, wouldn't it? Vegans are not clueless when it comes to the ways of the world. The world is made up of all kinds of people who differ in lifestyle, diet and more. Expecting every single person on the face of the earth to go vegan would be ridiculous. However, there is no harm in trying to show people the benefits of healthy nutrition and kind living, is there?

"Vegans feel they are superior to non-vegans."

This is perhaps the most common misconception about vegans. We have found a way to increase our longevity, improve our health and protect the earth all rolled up into one diet. We know it's the best choice for us, due to our research and personal convictions. We do not, however, feel that non-vegans are inferior, simply because they have not made the same discoveries or come to the same conclusions.

We do become angry when we see people continuing behaviors that are destructive and cruel. It pains us to see animals suffer needlessly and the people we love, or even people we've never met, dying of illnesses a proper diet could have prevented. It bothers us that animal "production" is so prevalent and so destructive to the environment.  

Obviously, in our opinion, Veganism is a superior diet/lifestyle choice or we wouldn't have chosen it, just as non-vegans feel their diet is the right choice for them. That doesn't mean we feel that we ourselves are personally superior to anyone. In fact, veganism is all about the fact that we are all equals, human or otherwise and should treat each other with equal respect. That's the whole point.

Portions of this post were previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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