I’ve learned to laugh when people perceive vegans as some alien life form invading their planetary bubble. It’s almost comical how there’s a line drawn in the sand whenever I so much as mention my dietary choices. Now mind you, I don’t exactly go around with a sign on my forehead proclaiming my lifestyle choices. But it does come up from time to time – like 3-4 times a day when food is involved in conversation! Some people (fortunately a declining number) feel suddenly threatened as if I’m about to start judging them on the spot. As if I’m about to take away all their favorite food. They protect it with a vengeance and defend it with desperation. Since when do my food choices have anything to do with you?!?
A person’s health is a very personal thing. I get that. When I tell anyone I’m going to an exercise class though, I rarely get the same defensive reaction. It’s as though it’s ok to differ in our exercise habits but not our eating habits. Differing from the standard American diet suddenly makes me an outsider and it apparently means that I’m about to unleash a barrage of insults and criticisms for anyone who’s not exactly like me.
I don’t know why the food I eat affects the way others feel, but totally know why it affects the way I feel! I feel on top of the world! Full of energy, full of life, light not heavy, healthy and happy. Moods are more even, sleep is better, and so much more. If this is how aliens feel, sign me up!
I can handle the criticism, I can handle the inquisitive stares. I guarantee I used to do that to other vegans back in the day, and I am sorry for that now. But I do sincerely hope that inquisitive stares lead to questions, open minded discussion, and a forum for sharing where all people can openly learn from each other. The whole Us vs. Them thing is so medieval whether you’re talking about race, religion, sexual orientation, or culinary culture.
Let’s all be reminded that there’s so much more to a person than what you see on the surface, and you can only find out if you are willing to ask. And you can only learn the answer if you are ready to listen.