Reasons people don't become vegan? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-13-2010, 09:12 AM
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Hi everyone,

First of all, thanks for all the answers I got to the other questions I posted, 'difficulties of being vegan.' I really got a lot to think about, and a lot of insight for the website (yes, in case anyone remembers/cares I am STILL building the vegan website -- I even got a name -- leguminary (legume + luminary, get it??). I bought the domain, so it's too late to blast the name, mm'kay?)

I wanted ask another question, which kind of arose from reading the answers to the previous. It has a certain similarity, but, in my opinion, very different:

What, in you opinion, keeps people from becoming veg*n? After all, veg*nism has unequivocally won the debate in the big 3 issues -- health, environment, ethics. So why aren't people lining up? I find it difficult to believe that people just DON'T CARE about these things (many don't, sure, but it can't be THAT many, can it?).

I have some of my own half-baked thoughts on this, but wanted to know what everyone else thought -- what keeps people from being veg*n?

Andrey
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#2 Old 11-13-2010, 09:27 AM
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Speaking from personal experience (I was vegan for 9 months but had to go back to lacto-ovo veggie), sometimes it's just too bloody difficult to do with family members etc, especially when you're a teenager and are still partly dependent.
Rather annoying, I'm over 18 so legally an adult but because of university etc I still have to live at home for part of the year and as such still have to respect my family's wishes. My family have come to terms with me being vegetarian but they flat-out hate veganism so I went back to being just veggie as it made my life slightly easier when I was living at home this summer. Now I'm eating a limited amount of dairy and egg to keep my tolerance up because otherwise I know that if I'm vegan now, when I go back home for weekends etc (let alone the summer) I will have to eat them and if I haven't eaten them for a while it makes me really ill


Anyway, I think another thing is, unless people actually start researching it, they believe that veganism is unhealthy. This is not only due to media etc that tends to portray veganism as such but also because it's indoctrinated into us that animal products are needed to be healthy. Western society, as a whole, does appear to becoming more accepting to the fact that vegetarianism can be healthy but no dairy or eggs still appears to scream "unhealthy!" to most people. (You know, the whole "where do you get your protein and calcium?" thing.) Again this is supported by the media (just think of how many adverts there are for dairy products on the TV that will say something like "contains X amount of your RDA of calcium! Needed for healthy and strong bones!"). It is hard to break away from that viewpoint. Personally, if you'd told me 5 years ago that I would become a vegetarian, let alone a vegan, I would have told you to go get your head checked out. But now the thought of meat disgusts me. (BTW, as soon as I'm in a position to move out of home completely I will be going back to being vegan.)
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#3 Old 11-13-2010, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Annia View Post

Personally, if you'd told me 5 years ago that I would become a vegetarian, let alone a vegan, I would have told you to go get your head checked out. But now the thought of meat disgusts me. (BTW, as soon as I'm in a position to move out of home completely I will be going back to being vegan.)

100% same here.

And yeah, I guess you're right there is a lingering unhealthiness perception -- although at my work (everyone knows I am vegan) I am 'the healthy one'.

Andrey
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#4 Old 11-13-2010, 09:57 AM
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I think the societal mind-set remains that animals are here for humans to use. A lot of people who go vegetarian don't necessarily do it for the animals. They are more interested in the health or environmental benefits. Going vegan seems extreme, and to many, it's just a diet, not a lifestyle, so the commitment may not last. I also think people, in general, are complacent and don't want to leave their comfort zones. I know for me, it took far too long to go vegan, primarily because I had a hard time thinking about giving up cheese. That may sound lame, but that's pretty much what it was for me. After a while, though, the guilt got to me, when I really found out exactly what goes into producing dairy. I just couldn't ignore that anymore.
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#5 Old 11-13-2010, 09:58 AM
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Tradition

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#6 Old 11-13-2010, 10:06 AM
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I also feel it's due to indoctrination. I like to think of non-vegans like children who are raised in a cult; they'd actually have to be brainwashed to see and interpret the world the way other people(vegans) do, unless they're open-minded, which is quite rare in a cult. The problem is that the meat and dairy cult's membership base is far larger than ours.

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#7 Old 11-13-2010, 10:29 AM
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Cheese.

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#8 Old 11-13-2010, 12:41 PM
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Convenience, social pressure, lack of knowledge, habit, addiction, desire to feel superior to other beings, worries about health, fear that it's too expensive, dislike of fruits and/or veggies, don't know how to cook, prejudice against vegans...
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#9 Old 11-13-2010, 01:01 PM
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Cheese.

This.

Lactose intolerance was the best thing that happened to me, because I had to give up cheese. Still not vegan yet though... taking it in baby steps.


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#10 Old 11-13-2010, 01:07 PM
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They will miss omni food too much, eating meat is convenient, scared of what other people will think, believe that meat is healthier, have this perception that vegans are freaks, its habit to eat meat, dont care about animals, have dietary restrictions that would make it very hard....
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#11 Old 11-13-2010, 02:09 PM
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People just don't care enough.

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#12 Old 11-13-2010, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Convenience, social pressure, lack of knowledge, habit, addiction, desire to feel superior to other beings, worries about health, fear that it's too expensive, dislike of fruits and/or veggies, don't know how to cook, prejudice against vegans...

Elaine already gave my answer...though she says it much better than I would have.
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#13 Old 11-13-2010, 02:52 PM
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Residual carbo-phobia leftover from the Atkins, South Beach, Zone, etc. diet eras.

Seems like most of the population is always trying to lose weight. And they think they need copious amounts of protein (like, hundreds of grams/day) to do so. And they think carbs are fattening. Even ones like carrots.

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#14 Old 11-13-2010, 02:54 PM
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The reasons are best captured by that famous song by The Doors, People Are Dicks.

(and no, it isn't actually that simple, I was being facetious, sorta)

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#15 Old 11-13-2010, 07:28 PM
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Other than the usual "it's too hard" or I just can't give up (pick a product), I've been told by others: I was raised on a dairy farm and the animals were treated well; all of the vegans I know are junk food junkies, and I was raised on a dairy farm and only view cows as products. The last 2 comments were from the same person. I still don't understand how anyone can view any animal as just a product.
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#16 Old 11-13-2010, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

The reasons are best captured by that famous song by The Doors, People Are Dicks.

(and no, it isn't actually that simple, I was being facetious, sorta)

I actually think it is pretty simple. The universal reason really is "cuz I don't wanna", and all the "explanations" are just whatever you can talk yourself into believing in order to feel better. All it really boils down to is whether you fall for your own cop-outs.

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#17 Old 11-13-2010, 08:57 PM
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Some people are too set in their ways to change, especially when they are older. Sort of like, "Why mess with a good thing", y'know? I also agree with people not going veg cuz "vegans don't get enough protein/calcium/iron/whatever"
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#18 Old 11-13-2010, 09:08 PM
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Because people are friggin' obsessed with cheese..... which I just don't comprehend.

Cheese is pretty gross, IMHO.

"you know, nowhere in the bible does it say that jesus was not a raptor"


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#19 Old 11-14-2010, 06:56 AM
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People have an idea that it will be harder than it is. I thought it would be, honestly. It's not easy, but it's not as difficult as I expected.

I get the impression that people do feel like they ought to, but they're frightened. So, they get defensive, and de-humanise other animals, and just try not to think about it. Being patronising or overly critical is probably one of the most damaging things a vegan could do - I think a gentle "have some delicious cake!" approach would be better. Attacking people, or making them feel attacked, will just make them more defensive. If they see how delicious vegan food is (and seriously, vegan cake is better than omni cake), and are allowed to come to the idea slowly, they'll probably be happier to consider it, or at least to eat vegan or vegetarian more often.

Bringing home the fakin' bacon.
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#20 Old 11-14-2010, 07:59 AM
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lack of education about nutrition, food sources, and health.

look at the food pyramid that kids are supposed to learn about nutrition from. the US Dairy Counsel is still campaigning the "got milk?" and "milk does a body good" ads, brainwashing people into believing milk is healthy....
also there are commercials on tv that enforce that "beef is what's for dinner" and "pork, the other white meat".
We are not presented with enough information and education about nutrition and food sources. instead we are dazzled by flashy commercials, convinced by celebrities and athlete spokesmodels, and re-assured by our Federal Government that eating meat and dairy is necessary to be a healthy person. when in reality the gov't wants us to eat these animal products bc they are invested in these businesses and make $$$ off of our health problems.

if kids were taught about food sources and nutrition at an early age without bias from the Dairy Counsel and Agribusiness we would have many more vegetarians and vegans than we are today.
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#21 Old 11-14-2010, 08:00 AM
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I hold religion partially responsible. People are told by ancient books what is moral and they don't have to figure it out for themselves. In real life, 3/4 of the vegans I know are atheists, and there is a high percentage of atheists on all of the vegetarian forums I've visited. It seems letting go of god, helps people let go of other traditions, as well. I've met some unapologetic, meat-loving atheists though, so by no means is it 100%.
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#22 Old 11-14-2010, 08:42 AM
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Most people in the UK now accept vegetarianism: veganism is a step too far in most people's eyes - they see it as extreme and unneccessary.

When I went vegan, after being a long time vegetarian, the instant reactions I received from my closest friends were exasperated and dismissive,

'oh for goodness sake! You won't eat anything now'
'I was going to order a takeaway. Guess that's not an option now'
'what are we going to do with you?'
Sighs, and shaking of head.

I think (certainly in my group of friends) it is seen as extreme. And let's face it, most people won't want to put themselves in that position - they don't want to be seen as someone different, and are concerned about what others think about them. So they stay in their comfortable socially conventional world. They happily listen to and believe the food producers when they say their animals are happy, rather than hear the truth. because it suits their world view.

I went round to a friends the other day while she was having her hair cut. She introduced me to the hairdresser and then the talk moved onto food for a minute. My friend mentioned to the hairdresser that I was a vegan, a short conversation ensued (the 'what do you eat, then?' sort) and then the conversation moved on into different areas.

Five minutes later I walked upstairs to fetch something, and I heard the hairdresser say to my friend 'she's really nice though, isn't she....considering...!'

Not quite sure whether she thought I was going to be marching around the lounge, shouting 'meat is murder', or what. But she was surprised that I was 'normal'.

On top of that, the vast majority of people tell me they couldn't live without cheese. I tell them I used to think the same too! Now it just looks to me like a block of flavoured fat. Yuk.
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#23 Old 11-14-2010, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by delicioso View Post

In real life, 3/4 of the vegans I know are atheists, and there is a high percentage of atheists on all of the vegetarian forums I've visited. It seems letting go of god, helps people let go of other traditions, as well. I've met some unapologetic, meat-loving atheists though, so by no means is it 100%.

I don't really know many vegans with religious beliefs either and if they do it's usually Pagan or Buddhist beliefs which makes more sense to me as those religions seem more compatible with veganism.

I did meet a Hindu vegan the other day though. She does eat butter though so she is technically not a vegan I suppose, although she calls herself one.

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Five minutes later I walked upstairs to fetch something, and I heard the hairdresser say to my friend 'she's really nice though, isn't she....considering...!'
Not quite sure whether she thought I was going to be marching around the lounge, shouting 'meat is murder', or what. But she was surprised that I was 'normal'.

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#24 Old 11-14-2010, 10:04 AM
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apparently its cuz all vegans are nasty.
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#25 Old 11-14-2010, 05:31 PM
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People I know are concerned that they'll try and eat vegan, but slip up and not want to go back. There's a thread about Alicia Silverstones comments on eating cheese and I guess fish, but going right to being vegan. Now, I don't condone that as regular begavior from someone who calls themselves vegan, BUT, she stresses that she goes right back! I think it's important for people to know that vegan is a good life, food is good, and they'll feel so much better!
Their also worried about not being strong enough, and feeling guilty.

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#26 Old 11-14-2010, 08:01 PM
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Eating meat, cheese, eggs, drinking milk etc is all they've ever known. It's hard to imagine life so different from what you've known your whole life. Also, veganism can mean a lot of restriction (even not being able to eat a piece of bread because it contains small traces of milk) So restriction and tradition are my thoughts

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#27 Old 11-14-2010, 10:53 PM
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I agree that the general public perceives veganism as being much more difficult than it actually is (in my experience, anyway).

In addition to that you have any number of factors -- including the very human condition of being resistant to change.
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#28 Old 11-14-2010, 11:31 PM
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it takes effort
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#29 Old 11-15-2010, 03:28 PM
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(Often willfull) Ignorance
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#30 Old 11-15-2010, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annia View Post

Personally, if you'd told me 5 years ago that I would become a vegetarian, let alone a vegan, I would have told you to go get your head checked out. But now the thought of meat disgusts me. (BTW, as soon as I'm in a position to move out of home completely I will be going back to being vegan.)

I was exactly the same 1 year ago! It's amazing how things change!!!

Went vegetarian on the 27th December 2013!
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