“Where do you get your protein?” “How can you live without cheese?” “What about chocolate?” “But you eat fish, right?” “Why are you vegan?”
Even for the most patient vegans, answering with buckets of enthusiasm every time someone asks you about your diet or lifestyle can be tiresome, especially when they’re all questions you’ve answered a million times before. But chances are, you’re the only vegan that person knows, so it’s important that you give it your best shot, and try to stay positive!
You’re not alone
Living amongst non-vegans can be difficult in all kinds of ways. Always the same ridiculous statements, the same old questions, the same arguments … sometimes we would be forgiven for getting a little frustrated. I find it particularly annoying when people proclaim their love for animals, “just like me”, while happily munching through the corpse of some abused and slaughtered creature. Sometimes I bite my lip, sometimes I am calm and reasonable, but sometimes it really winds me up. If you sometimes feel bombarded with awful truths in your efforts to educate the world to animal cruelty, you’re not alone.
If you’re vegan, you’re different, and being different can be challenging at times. It’s very easy to feel very upset and angry on a regular basis. I have even gone through stages thinking that I have no right to be happy when animals are suffering, that it would be disrespectful and wrong. Being constantly upset and depressed isn’t good for us though and it doesn’t really sell veganism to those who are thinking of joining the ranks.
Don’t lose heart
I’m not suggesting we don’t keep ourselves informed or passionate, but focusing on the positive change in the world will help us to keep balanced and connected to one another in life-affirming ways. When we are happier we can be more creative, more persuasive, more empowered, and we feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Since you are never “off duty”, and Veganism is a sort of animal welfare PR position, if you’re angry all the time, you’ll probably end up scaring everyone away from the whole concept of veganism. As tempting as it may be sometimes to whack some non-vegans around the back of the head with my vegan handbag, I know that I must extend my compassion as far as it will go in order to appeal to the compassionate side of non-vegans and try to create meaningful change.
Next time all those non-vegans get on your nerves or downright break your heart, here are a few things that might help you to get back into a positive frame of mind.
10 Reasons Why Vegans Should Be Happy
1. Vegans eat more interesting food.
Far from a life of restriction, we get to cook, bake, and eat a much more varied diet than most people do. We love to experiment and get to try all kinds of new foods. Our desserts are sooooo much better than dairy-based desserts, and all that good karma helps to reduce the calories – doesn’t it? Well, maybe not … but it’s still good karma!
2. Plant power = better health.
Eating plant-based food is much healthier than eating meat. It’s a fact. There have been many studies on this. I highly recommend ‘Forks Over Knives’, a film that uses huge amounts of evidence to prove once and for all that veganism is healthy. Yay! So vegans can all do a groovy little dance of joy and celebrate how much our compassionate choice actually rocks health-wise too. Good vegan karma strikes again!
3. Quite simply, vegans rock!
I know we shouldn’t have favourites, but I love other vegans! We rock in all kinds of ways. I am always going to feel a deep sense of connection with my vegan sisters and brothers, often more so than with people who happily scarf down all kinds of innocent creatures at any opportunity and contribute to animal suffering as they selfishly stomp through life. Vegans care enough to actually do something. Being vegan means I belong to the kindest community on earth. Go vegan brothers and sisters!
4. Vegans are pioneers of a better future.
We are working towards a kinder, brighter future for our own species as well as for all non-human animals. Every time we positively educate the world around us with our vegan lifestyle, we clear an easier path for others to follow. We are creating a wider, more established viewpoint, every minute of every day. As vegans – we are being the change we want to see in the world.
5. Vegans have a clear conscience.
Vegans can look animals in the eye without any nagging guilt or confusion of emotions. I sleep well knowing that my consumer choices are aligned with kindness and compassion, and that I’m making a difference. It always makes me feel better to visit and support my local animal sanctuary. Honestly, cuddling and meeting the very animals you are helping will really put a huge smile on your lovely vegan face!
6. Veganism is awesome for the environment.
Changing to a vegan diet is by far the easiest and most effective way to do your part for the environment. Producing food for plant based diets uses considerably less of our precious resources and is much cleaner (and saner!) than farming animals for their meat and by-products. Take time out to celebrate the positive contribution you are making our beautiful planet – it’s well worth it!
7. Vegans have the power to change the markets.
The choices we make are changing the products being produced and sold in mainstream supermarkets, restaurants, and fashion shops. Veganism is growing – and fast, which means that our voice in the economic world is becoming even louder. Markets will always bow to the consumer, so the more we grow, the better our vegan pennies will help to create much needed change in the world.
8. Vegans are literally making history.
Strut your funky vegan stuff with pride and joy because veganism isn’t going anywhere. Your vegan story will be one you tell your grandkids because you’re vegan right here, right now, and you are playing a massive part in creating the vegan-friendly world of the future. We are literally making history! Truth, goodness, compassion, and kindness will always triumph over cruelty and ignorance. We will get there.
9. Vegans have every right to be happy.
Being angry doesn’t help the plight of animals at all. Our emotional state creates our reality and affects those around us on every level, including any non-humans we share our lives with. Besides, we are totally allowed to be happy. The “Vegan Police” won’t come and arrest us for being bright and cheery and enjoying our lives as much as possible. Vegans have so many positive references to draw from that don’t always get highlighted in our worlds, and it’s important to remember them and enjoy them. In fact, give yourself a big vegan hug for being so awesome – right now!
10. Vegans save lives.
Best of all, we literally save lives! According to Peta, turning vegan saves around one hundred animals a year.
You (yes you!) are a real life super hero for all human and non-human animals! Remember that the greatest part of being vegan is saving innocent lives and promoting positive respect and equality for all. So nip into your nearest health food shop, don your super hero cape – and get ready to save the world with your super powers of compassion and conviction!