The Struggles of Being Vegan

Less about diet and more about society

In a world that consumes around 340 million tons of meat yearly, it can be hard to find comfort and support as a vegan. Many people are quick to assume that being vegan is too hard due to diet restraints and nutrition intake, but really what vegans have found is that it's more of a struggle dealing with the amount of misinformation and hypothetical questions thrown at us.

The Question

Them: So you don't eat any animal?

You: Nope

Them: But what if you were stranded on a deserted island with a pig?

If you're vegan or vegetarian, you're probably pretty familiar with this hypothetical question. It's already hard to live in a world with so much cruelty and lack of vegan options at gatherings, so why do people feel the need to go to such extremes to get vegans to say "sure, I'll eat meat for survival".

Firstly, let us remind you that being vegan is not a diet, it is a a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

Secondly, the best way to end this conversation is usually just agreeing to eat meat for survival. Don't worry, the chances of being stranded on a desert island are very slim and even more slim that that person asking would also be there - so don't stress out about these silly questions. In all honesty, I would probably eat whatever that pig has been eating to survive and live out my life with my new pig friend.

Learning to Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

We know how difficult it is to make those first steps when deciding to go vegan. Having to rethink our meals can be a bit stressful, but having to communicate your diet change to others is what we've found to be a lot more stressful.

Many people don't know what veganism is, or even what to feed a vegan. Be patient with family and friends, explain why you decided to go vegan and be a positive influence. If you're stressed about family dinners and going out with friends, simple suggest to bring something to share or offer to go out to a restaurant that has vegan options. Don't expect others to provide you with vegan food. Many people might even forget that you are vegan.

When attending parties, gatherings or even work events, we make sure to eat something before we go. Packing some snacks like nuts, dried fruit, or a granola bar can be helpful. In fact, we almost always travel with some snacks and water, just in case.

If someone pushes you to eat something you're not comfortable eating, it is totally okay for you to set a boundary. Learn to say no, especially if you are a people pleaser.

No One Else Cares, So Why Should I?

There's a lot that's wrong in the world, but even one small act of kindness can bring big change. Here's a short story titled The Star Thrower that demonstrates this.

An old man had a habit of early morning walks on the beach. One day, after a storm, he saw a human figure in the distance moving like a dancer. As he came closer he saw that it was a young woman and she was not dancing but was reaching down to the sand, picking up a starfish and very gently throwing them into the ocean.

"Young lady", he asked, "Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

"The sun is up, and the tide is going out, and if I do not throw them in they will die."

"But young lady, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it? You cannot possibly make a difference."

The young woman listened politely, paused and then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves,

saying: "It made a difference for that one."

The old man looked at the young woman inquisitively and thought about what she had done. Inspired, he joined her in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

One version of the Star Thrower story

To Conclude

While diet is a big part of being vegan, navigating a world that normalizes eating animals has been one of our biggest struggles as vegans. People will ask random hypothetical questions and your family might not provide a vegan option at dinner, but don't let those things deter you from all the other positive impacts of being vegan. Remind yourself of all the good you are doing for animals, for the planet, and for your health. Giving up animal products opened our eyes to the wonders of cooking delicious plant-based meals, and aligned actions to our values and beliefs.

besitos, J & R