You’ll Constantly Be Bombarded With These Questions Once You Go Vegan
We’re tired of being asked the same questions over and over again.
Being vegan in the 21'st century is no joke. Every second person out there is a meat eater and navigating everyday life literally feels like swimming upstream at the edge of a waterfall.
For the uninitiated, Vegans don’t eat, wear, or use anything that is made from animals, contains animal ingredients, or is tested on animals. On the social front, it’s kind of an open invitation to interrogate, investigate, or even attack your way of life. Many people feel the need to justify their speciesist way of life once they get to know you’re vegan. I’ve been wrongly introduced to so many people this way.
“So this is Shirley, she’s an accountant. This is Rajesh. He’s an analyst with HP, that’s Ankita who’s a restaurateur, and that’s Akash. He’s a vegan.”
Like seriously?! When did I change my designation to ‘vegan’ ? No one even sent me a memo. It’s a big question mark when it comes to what we should expect from newly introduced people once the V-bomb has been dropped. Some treat you nice, some give you weird looks, and then there’s the craziest of them all: The one who shoots you nasty condescending remarks BEFORE you’ve even broken ice with them.
Meat is integral to many religions and cultures around the world. So someone or the other is bound to take it as a personal affront when you openly talk about your vegan values. Be mentally prepared to have such kinds of conversations before you decide to go vegan.
And trust us when we say this, they happen A LOT!
If the person you’re arguing with happens to be fanatically religious or has taken it upon themselves to defend their culture and tradition, then it’s even worse as the debate is going to turn into a full blown verbal duel that will last hours and rip all the sanity out of your head. You have to develop a really thick skull to not be perturbed by such displays of superiority and anthropocentric entitlement.
But fret not. We vegans have a sharp intuition and possess the perspicacity to know the difference between those asking us these questions out of genuine curiosity, and those doing it just to poke fun and get free laughs out of us.
We know you. We can see you coming from a mile away.
Interacting with you guys over the years has got us so acquainted to your body language and mannerisms, that we can almost smell you coming at this point. Okay, that was gross. But you get the gist.
You risk losing your friends if you repeatedly keep asking them and every other vegan you meet the same, banal, run-of-the-mill questions to which you already have the answers to. Older first-generation vegans have received their fair share of taunts and are no stranger to off-hand remarks, sarcastic comments and loaded questions.
Here are 7 questions vegans are tired of hearing:
Whether we’re still vegan
And Numero Uno on the list is the most irritating of them all. “Are you still vegan?” I can hear some of y’all vegans screaming in joy at being able to relate to it.
Where’s my vegan fam at?
While there may be tons of ex-vegans out there, it doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m currently wholeheartedly invested on this path, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. You don’t go around asking people when they’ll stop hitting the gym or when they’ll stop running marathons right? Then why the partiality towards vegans?
Another variation of this is “soooo, till when do you plan on keeping this vegan thing up?” Seriously, don’t get your panties in a wad about it. I can assure you the moment we think about dropping veganism from our lives, you’ll be the first to know.
Keep some pizza and grilled chicken on stand-by for such an occasion.
What other “fitness things” are you into?
Well to be honest, I just eat Oreos, watch Animal Rights protests on Youtube, and lie on my butt all day long. Just kidding. But on a more serious note, veganism isn’t only for those who want to become fit and healthy, although that is definitely an added benefit.
Repeat with me: Veganism has nothing to do with fitness.
Veganism is a social justice movement whose adherents are in it solely for the purpose of arresting animal suffering; preventing millions of animals from being enslaved, tortured and murdered for food, clothing, and shelter every single day. You can definitely choose your own reason to go vegan. But if you’re not in it for the animals, you’re just someone who follows a plant-based diet.
There’s tons of folks like that out there. They don’t necessarily share common ground with animal rights activists. They’re not all about pouring fake blood over themselves and standing semi-naked out in the cold to direct public attention towards the plight of animals in slaughterhouses.
They are the ones who are in it for reasons other than animal liberation, such as health, fitness, or environmental concerns. So stop assuming every vegan you meet practices daily Yoga, commutes by cycle, and runs marathons. A whole lot of vegans may be into fitness activities due to their newfound energy, but it’s no excuse to generalize and bunch all of us together in the same basket.
A few variations of this question which is quite often posed are: “Are you dieting?”, or “are you on this special diet for your marathon training?”
Would you drink human breastmilk?
We get this one way more than you think.
This is wrong on so many levels I don’t even know where to start. First off, not everyone wants to have sex (although vegans do have twice as much sex as meat eaters). Asexuals do exist and live amongst us. Secondly, sex or not, your question seems to be loaded with a breastmilk fetish. Again, not everyone has a breastmilk fetish. And thirdly, for the vegans who do have such a fetish and would like to drink their partners breastmilk, if the act is consensual and cruelty-free, what exactly are your apprehensions about it?
Let’s not get entangled with labels here and look at this purely from a logical standpoint. Though humans are animals, which technically makes breastmilk an animal product, the two key points to note here are:
- The woman involved in the act has given you her consent.
- There is no cruelty involved in it.
Plain and simple right? Well, is it vegan? Most definitely not. But is the act humane? Yes.
I agree it’s a totally grey area. It’s subjective and open to interpretation. But you’ve got to know where you personally stand on it.
Do you eat Avocados and Mushrooms?
Since Avocados and Mushrooms are considered grey areas for completely different reasons, I’ll answer them separately.
Let’s begin with Avocados.
Fortunately, I found an entire blog post just on this topic on ‘Vegan Food & Living’ which you can read here:
Are avocados vegan? Discover the truth behind the myths
Since that episode of QI, it's a question many of us have been faced with - are avocados vegan and should we ditch our…
But here’s a screenshot from the same blog with just the gist of it:
Like they said, “its an individual choice that should be respected” and that they would “fall short of claiming that avocados are not vegan altogether”.
Now, moving on to Mushrooms.
Mushrooms are a fungi from the plant kingdom. Like all other plants, they too aren’t sentient. They do not possess a brain and a central nervous system, and cannot feel pain the way animals do. Mushrooms are very much vegan and happen to form a part of the staple diet for many vegans. Some varieties of mushrooms like Shiitake possess a similar texture to certain animal flesh and are used as meat substitutes.
“Mushrooms are not considered meat. Meat is the flesh of an animal used as food — but mushrooms are fungi, not animals. That said, mushrooms can be used as meat replacements in many dishes. They share a similar texture, a similar umami flavor, and some of the same nutrients.”
The grey area with mushrooms is revealed when talking about carnivorous mushrooms and Truffle mushrooms. Certain species of wild mushrooms act as dwellings for insects and are killed when the mushroom is harvested for food. Then there are other mushrooms who actively “seek out and destroy animals for food”.
“Can you really be vegan if your food is an unapologetic carnivore that slowly eats it’s prey alive? Carnivorous mushrooms are not vegan, are they?”
Since carnivorous mushrooms themselves indulge in killing and eating other animals, the question of them being vegan becomes much more accentuated. It’s a pretty grey area. It comes down to subjective judgement on where one stands on eating them. But for all the others, you should be good to go.
For those of you with the palm oil and coconuts question, you can do some further reading on how the definition of what constitutes a “vegan” product changes every single day with a change in our food habits or shift in consumption patterns:
I am Vegan But Veganism is Arbitrary and Inconsistent
One of my favorite feminists Simone De Beauvoir once said if a certain propaganda makes sense, is rational, and for all…
Do you consume oil/sugar/refined wheat flour?
Yes…..and no. Just like how there’s a spectrum of meat eaters, all favouring different kinds of foods with different tastes and health scores, the same is it with vegans. From the uber health conscious fitness freaks who won’t even come near anything that has oil in it, to the junk food lazy bones who keeps binging on Oreos and Fries all day long, and everyone in between, we have it all.
In the spectrum of vegans you’ll find oil-free vegans, sugar-free vegans, junk food vegans, vegans who follow a WFPB diet, straight edge vegans, and even raw food vegans and fruitarians.
Just because someones vegan doesn’t mean they eat only organic food and dine only at health food restaurants. So please stop equating vegans with the health obsessed.
Do you dine with meat eaters?
Like I said in the beginning, some people get extremely defensive about their food habits and feel like we vegans are missing out on something special when we say we don’t consume meat. Some of them are blissfully unaware of the fact that many vegans have been meat eaters for the majority of their lives, and do know what meat smells, tastes, and feels like.
Some of them can get perturbed and annoyed by the fact that (they know) you’re right and they’re wrong. They start feeling uneasy as they consume meat right in front of you while you chomp down your veggies. To break down the walls of ego that they themselves built, they’ll try their level best to offer you a piece of meat in the hope that you would try it and turn. This is usually the place where I draw the line and walk away from the table. It’s one thing to poke fun and laugh at our values. But it’s totally something else when you’re up in our faces trying to shove a dead animals leg down our throats!
While hanging out with friends and relatives, it’s not even like we even have a choice. We’re kind of forced to put up with the backwardness of the world just because we’re ahead of the times. (If you thought that statement was weird, see how today’s people react to all human atrocities that were committed in olden times). They’ll even resort to guilt tripping you into consuming meat “just for my sake” to see if they can break down your value system so that you can “be like everyone else”.
When given a choice, most vegans would prefer not to eat at restaurants that serve meat and dairy. For example, here in India we have many ‘Pure Vegetarian’ restaurants where only vegetarian food is served (In India Vegetarian usually means lacto-vegetarian). When given a choice between a multi-cuisine restaurant and a vegetarian restaurant, many Indian vegans and vegetarians will choose the latter. To put this question to rest, some of us are okay dining with meat eaters and some of us are not. Plain and simple.
Would you kiss/date a meat eater?
The last one on this list of annoying questions also doesn’t come with a straight answer.
Just like with all other aspects of vegan living, there’s a spectrum here too. I know a few AR activists who will not even sit down at a table where meat is being served. That’s one end of the spectrum. Then there are people who will not only kiss and date non-vegans, but also get into relationships with them. That’s the other end.
And then there’s everyone in between. It’s a pretty wide spectrum.
Many people who go vegan realize that their friends or partners friends don’t necessarily share the same enthusiasm for their newfound lifestyle. And that’s where things usually break off. For me, it would just be a huge pain in the butt to date a meat eater. Not everyone gets the vegan lifestyle. And meat eaters even more so because they can just walk around and eat whatever they see. The world’s their Oyster (at least for the moment) and no outdoor excursion requires meticulous in-depth planning the way it’s needed for veganism.
We can’t just hop, skip, and jump through life as like its a bed of roses. For vegans life is more like navigating Mario world with monster ducks, insane jumps, lava pits, carnivorous plants and fire breathing dragons attacking you, while collecting as many coins as you possibly can without dying or getting killed. It’s an obstacle course in and of its own making. Which makes dating and relationships with non-vegans exceptionally hard.
When you date a vegan, you’re at least on the same page for one thing: Food. And even within that vegan space, you’ve got people with different tastes and culinary expectations.
Dating a meat eater who doesn’t get the trails and tribulations that a vegan life is fraught with would be nightmarish. I’m not saying it can’t be done. Of course if you’re with someone whom you dearly love and treasure, such a concern wouldn’t even come up as it would be just another addition to the compromises you’re both already making for each other. Also, life can be totally weird at times. You can click perfectly with someone who’s a meat eater, and not be able to take it forward if veganism acts as a hindrance and keeps coming in the way of your relationship. On the other hand, you can share the same enthusiasm for the plant-based life while dating a vegan, yet have absolutely nothing else in common. It’s a pretty weird place to be.
Take your pick.