I’ve been on the vegan wagon for close to two years now and I’ve had my fair share of ethical debate on the matter. Which I’m always up for, because there’s nothing anyone can say to trick me or make me reconsider this philosophy. I enjoy starting a stimulating conversation about the treatment of animals and the health of our planet and our bodies. Here’s the top 5 responses that I get when I tell people I’m vegan and how to continue the conversation gracefully…
- Plants have feelings too!
This is a funny one because sometimes it’s said playfully as in “You care so much about animals but plants are living too! You should just eat rocks!” Or someone is actually trying to start a scientific debate with me about the nervous system of broccoli. My short answer is the fact that animals are raped, bred, crammed, beaten, slaughtered and separated from their families to produce a meal that isn’t even beneficial to us. Plants don’t have family bonds or nervous systems. If people were really concerned about ‘plant rights’, they would be vegan too. The amount of water, toxic waste, land degradation and deforestation that goes into producing even a small or perhaps ‘free range’ slab of meat is unworldly. According to the well known documentary ‘Cowspiracy’, livestock occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land. That’s a lot of bulldozed greenery…talk about plant feelings!
- But what if the animals had a happy life before?
“But this cow I’m eating would never have even been born if it wasn’t a beef cow”. Some people like to tell me that animals are lucky to have been born and that being minced into a burger is worth it because, hey at least they actually got to live… If I was given the choice between coming back in the next life as an animal in the meat industry or not coming back at all, I would definitely choose the latter. Little baby cows, lambs and chickens are never born into lush, sunshiney fields where they can frolic and graze until they are old and ready to be lead to slaughter. Most animals in the meat industry would never touch grass and some would never see the light of day. I could go into the details about the horrific life of an animal destined for slaughter, however, I’ll just say it’s short, drug induced and free from pleasure or comfort.
- We were meant to eat animals
“Humans are designed to eat meat” is a pretty poor argument if you think about it. Sure our cavemen ancestors ate meat, they also hunted their own food, warmed themselves by handmade fires and didn’t lead sedentary lifestyles glued to a technological device. If we all lived our lives the way we did in ‘caveman times’ modern civilisation would come to a halt. It has been scientifically proven that human bodies actually weren’t designed to be carnivorous, these characteristics include; our small flat teeth, weak stomach acidity, long intestinal tracts, inability to chase and kill without weapons, our repulsion towards raw blood and guts, or the fact that human bodies hold onto the excess fat and cholesterol from animal products, leading to cancers and heart disease. Humans function better on plants. Fact.
- Where do you get your protein?
Every vegan or vegetarian EVER has had to explain this at least once. There seems to be such a big obsession with protein in the health and fad diet world. It’s all about ‘lean proteins’ and ‘minimising carbs’ for optimum health, but in actuality this leaves you hungry and under nourished. So I find it funny when people who starve their bodies of fruit, veggies and satisfying portions question my ‘lack of protein’. However, to answer the question, vegans get their protein from tofu, beans, legumes like chickpeas and lentils, leafy greens, nuts and non-dairy milk. Since I eat all these things in abundance I know I’m getting enough, and yes, my blood tests prove it.
- I could never do that!
Yep. Hands down this is the number one response I get when I tell people I’m vegan. I guess people imagine themselves being a vegan for a second and come to the conclusion that it would be too big a lifestyle change or restriction to even try. There are some people who are too stuck in their ways to hear veganism out. Even though they understand the cruelty and health risks, they just don’t care enough to act on it. They talk to me like my choice to be vegan must be the hardest thing to do. “How do you go out to a restaurant?” “What do you even eat?” “Don’t you miss chocolate?” “How do you live?” “Poor you!” “That would be impossible for me!” However, if they took the time to do a bit of research they would learn how to substitute food, work their way around an ordinary cafe menu, make vegan brownies and discover how colourful, flavourful, healthy AND social veganism can be! I do get a bit irritated hearing this response just because I know how untrue it is. YOU CAN!