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#1 Old 01-27-2010, 10:23 AM
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Hi, I already introduced myself in the introduction bit but was really excited to see there are a lot of vegans on this forum too and so couldn't resit writing here as well. I have been vegetarian for most of my life (from the age of 5) and became vegan 9 months ago.. I guess for me the transition wasn't difficult because I had been vegetarian for so long... However, what sometimes makes me irate is having to defend myself to people over and over for being vegan... It appeals to me that I can come here and talk to people who have the same opinions as me... I notice that I find it difficult when people say they love animals and then go and consume products that are made from the suffering of animals..My aunt, for example, keeps asking me why I have to be so extreme - why I won't wear leather shoes or a wool coat and at the same time she sees herself as an "animal lover" (she feeds and looks after wild hedgehogs in her garden. she donates to animal charities etc) but she has no problem buying milk from factory farmed cows??? To me this is crazy logic... GGRRR!!! Anyway, sorry for the rant, I am just excited to speak to people who understand how I feel!!! Btw, does anyone know where one can buy a fancy vegan coat that is warm????
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#2 Old 01-27-2010, 10:35 AM
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As far as your aunt... She may call your veganism extreme, but I call 1 million animals being slaughtered every hour pretty damn extreme. My mother was also a huge lover of animals. The cute fuzzy ones like cats and dogs. The rest were out of sight out of mind. The less she thought about chickens the easier life (and dinner decisions) was for her.



I'm not going to give you suggestions on how to deal with your family because I'm pretty outspoken about veganism and that may not be your style. Just stick to your guns, you're right and don't forget that.
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#3 Old 01-27-2010, 10:41 AM
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Thank you!!! See this is why I joined this forum!!! And it's not because I want to bash non-vegans, it's just nice to sometimes be confirmed in who you are when your views are often seen as wierd!!!
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#4 Old 01-27-2010, 11:50 AM
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you aren't weird! I know exactly how you feel! I came here just under 3 years ago desperate to talk to like minded people because I was being harassed by my friends and family for taking it to the extreme! Once they realize you are set on this decision and it's not just a "phase", like they think it is, they will start to accept it and at one point or another some of them may even respect you for it.

When anyone tells me: "you are being too extreme", "or you don't eat meat? that's just weird!". I've learned this comeback here on VB and has served me well: I am weird/extreme for not wanting to cage and torture animals, then pump them full of antibiotics and other weird medicines, just to kill them and eat their flesh. Oh yes, I am the weird/extreme one!
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#5 Old 01-27-2010, 12:14 PM
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I look at it this way: You should never be defending yourself. I try not to defend my choice to be a vegan, although I happily explain the choice. Maybe I'm just being picky with words but I think it's a very different mindset. Many people do love animals but eat animals because they have no idea what goes on and because eating animals (and wearing leather) is the norm in our culture. They have a lot of cognitive dissonance to manage when hearing about animal suffering, and often become defensive. I used to have the goal of trying to change people by giving them my 2 minute speech--if they would just listen to me for 2 minutes, they'd realize eating animals was wrong and stop. But I realized after failure that it doesn't work that way. People have to hear the same message many times and have to be open to the message too just to consider change. The best thing you can do is get them to at least start thinking about the issues, and the best way to do this is to be factual and straightforward but entirely non-argumentative. (I at least strive to be calm and non-argumentative.) If they get defensive and you've been calm and non-argumentative, then it means you've hit a nerve (and that's not necessarily a bad thing). After they calm down, they may re-think things. If you're just acting as the defensive vegan police, it won't work. Phrases like "I used to think that too" or "I can understand why you'd think that" are helpful.
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#6 Old 01-27-2010, 01:51 PM
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Vegans should have no reason to defend themselves, it is meat-eaters that have reason: Thus they make up every excuse ever thought up as to why they must eat meat.

Try to see these moments as opportunities to educate other people on Veganism. Many people have misconceptions of what Vegans are, so try to educate them as best as you can. Make sure you do a lot of research so you can have answers, and if you dont have an answer be truthful and tell them you will find out that answer.

Be a happy Vegan and smile, talk with an upbeat tone, be polite even if they aren't. Though your presence as a Vegan alone may get some seeds to grow, educating people about this lifestyle and what it is all about may help people understand you, and maybe spme people will give Vegetarianism a try themselves one day because you planted that seed.



My entire family is full of meat-eaters, and I dont have many vegetarian friends, but I do have a 6-year old niece who is an aspiring Vegetarian, when she makes the change I'll be there for her for sure.



As for your Aunt, if the moment comes up: Tell her what these animals go through, or get the movie "Earthlings" with that movie she can see for herself what humans do to animals.



I understand what you go through. My father is Anti-Veg, and thinks we are all a bunch of brainwashed people. Though I have to laugh at that because really it is the dairy, egg, and meat industry that has brainwashed the world as we know it today.

I often had fights with my dad and it is very hurtful of what he says, but he knows I'm never going to turn back and this is who I am, so he has eased down a bit. Most of my other family members respect me for what I am though dont really understand it.

I have a great aunt or something in my family who claims to love animals, drinks organic milk, and says she is mostly vegetarian but eats meat in the company of friends and family it seems. Yet she wears a fur coat :/



Anyway, try to be a happy vegan, educate the people around you! We're here for you. <3



Also might I suggest this podcast? http://feeds.feedburner.com/VegetarianFoodForThought The first eps are at the bottom of the list so it may be good to start from the bottom and choose episodes that apply to you. I've learned a lot from her and she is very inspiring!
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#7 Old 01-27-2010, 03:01 PM
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Also, Bob and Jenna Torres's book, Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a Non-Vegan World, might be helpful to you.
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#8 Old 01-28-2010, 06:12 AM
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Thank you so much!!!! I loved reading all your replies and I think I made the best decision ever in coming here!! I also think that Bonn1997 had some very wise words in that you should never defend yourself.. I will try to remember this when meat-eaters question my lunch choices etc. I have to say, I was never a very outspoken vegan because I don't want to be preachy and so forth but I did get defensive when I would get attacked for my veganism when I wasn't preaching to anyone (just eating my lunch).. In the future, I will remember to stay calm and explain why I choose this lifestyle... I find it difficult, the issue of informing people on veganism and animal cruelty because on the one hand, I want to inform so that people make changes but on the other hand, I don't want to preach because I notice it turns people off and makes them more hostile and closed to the idea of vegetarianism.

Also thank you for the link to the podcast - I can't wait to watch it!! I have to say that becoming vegan has been a life-changing choice for me. I feel I have become a much more aware and compassionate person and I also realize that being vegan has made me more understanding of other people with very strong beliefs.. For example, I used to think that strongly religious people who for example, wouldn't do certain things (ie. let their children learn about evolution and so forth) were extreme. However, now that I am vegan, although I might not agree with their views, I can definitely understand that you refuse to do things (that everyone else considers "normal") on the basis of belief. So, I think in some ways, being vegan has made me more tolerant... On the other hand, however, I find it very hard to be tolerant of people who, in spite of knowing what goes on in factory farms, don't care and say "yes but I want cheap meat!!"

A big reason why I chose this site is also because it is a "veggie board"and so vegetarians and vegans are on it. I think this is good. In my search for a forum, I saw vegan forums that bashed vegetarians (who were vegetarians for animal welfare reasons) and said they preferred meat eaters to vegetarians because at least they weren't hypocrites!!! I thought this was awful and I think every bit you contribute to stop animal cruelty is a good step. So I am very happy with this site: Hurrah for vegans AND vegetarians!!!
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#9 Old 01-28-2010, 08:47 PM
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Hi Dutch!

I know exactly how you feel, thats why I joined this forum too, I always have to defend myself and my choice to everyone. they all believe in this 70's mind wave where oooh you need to eat meat or you will get anemia, etc. Seriously, I do it right, I take my vegan vitamins, I eat 3 meals a day, I take care of everything I eat and make sure I have enough of every kind of food I ned and do NOT need something that was living in my daily needs or diet to be healthy. I love being vegan, I feel weightless and free. i don't feel congested and I love that I am meeting new people on here! Don't worry about your aunt, as she only means well, I learned just to say what I need to, defend myself so they have nothing left to say and leave it at that. I too hate people who want "cheap meat" ...



I gave my Father in law the movie "Food, Inc." which tells people and explain how the factory farms treat the Animals. he watches it three times in a row and then goes and buys TYSON MEAT for his mother and Brother to cook. Because it was cheap? I presume.

Or he told me one day he ate mostly veggies and had just a little bit of white chicken meat in his chinese food, I just nodded. I thought that was disgusting. My Husband eats Fish and Eggs but won';t eat any red meat or chicken, I cant take him away from his pizza I guess. At least he knows and understands my feelings and why i won't ingest anything that was living or any animal products. Cheers to you!
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#10 Old 01-29-2010, 03:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutchvegan View Post

Thank you so much!!!! I loved reading all your replies and I think I made the best decision ever in coming here!! I also think that Bonn1997 had some very wise words in that you should never defend yourself.. I will try to remember this when meat-eaters question my lunch choices etc. I have to say, I was never a very outspoken vegan because I don't want to be preachy and so forth but I did get defensive when I would get attacked for my veganism when I wasn't preaching to anyone (just eating my lunch).. In the future, I will remember to stay calm and explain why I choose this lifestyle... I find it difficult, the issue of informing people on veganism and animal cruelty because on the one hand, I want to inform so that people make changes but on the other hand, I don't want to preach because I notice it turns people off and makes them more hostile and closed to the idea of vegetarianism.

Also thank you for the link to the podcast - I can't wait to watch it!! I have to say that becoming vegan has been a life-changing choice for me. I feel I have become a much more aware and compassionate person and I also realize that being vegan has made me more understanding of other people with very strong beliefs.. For example, I used to think that strongly religious people who for example, wouldn't do certain things (ie. let their children learn about evolution and so forth) were extreme. However, now that I am vegan, although I might not agree with their views, I can definitely understand that you refuse to do things (that everyone else considers "normal") on the basis of belief. So, I think in some ways, being vegan has made me more tolerant... On the other hand, however, I find it very hard to be tolerant of people who, in spite of knowing what goes on in factory farms, don't care and say "yes but I want cheap meat!!"

A big reason why I chose this site is also because it is a "veggie board"and so vegetarians and vegans are on it. I think this is good. In my search for a forum, I saw vegan forums that bashed vegetarians (who were vegetarians for animal welfare reasons) and said they preferred meat eaters to vegetarians because at least they weren't hypocrites!!! I thought this was awful and I think every bit you contribute to stop animal cruelty is a good step. So I am very happy with this site: Hurrah for vegans AND vegetarians!!!

I totally understand what you're saying. What I said before is a mindset I *strive* to achieve--I'm human and I fall short sometimes, though. However, for the most part, I don't have the goal of changing my friends' and family's eating. I try to inform them and hope they will change but I don't expect it. I try to work toward reducing animal suffering on a much larger scale by contributing financially and through personal volunteer time to animal welfare and animal rights organizations and through my professional work.



It's great that you joined the forum. Welcome!
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#11 Old 01-29-2010, 07:20 AM
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Exactly, we can only TRY to inform them on our beliefs, but unfortunately, that is usually not the case. I do mention what it in Geletin, and or what Carmine is and etc, but people don't listen or well they do but just accept that they drink bug juice? lol.
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#12 Old 01-29-2010, 07:49 AM
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Exactly!!!! I also believe that you have a greater impact by contributing to an animal welfare or rights organisation...Thanks for the welcome :-)
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