A Kind of Vegan Eu quero ser

Quando me tornei vegan, I didn’t realize that I also had to figure out what type of vegan I was going to be. I thought I was just eliminating animal products from my life. It soon became clear, porém, that being vegan carries with it a responsibility to advocate for animals and a cruelty-free world. This is especially true when you are passionate about veganism.

But how you go about advocating can shape your vegan identity more than does just being vegan itself. Are you going to be a happy vegan or an angry vegan? A welfarist or an abolitionist? Are you going to advocate from the viewpoint of ethics, saúde, the environment or a combination of them all? Will you protest, leaflet, boycott, create recipes, wear t-shirts or get a tattoo? There are many ways to advocate and each one is valid. How you advocate may depend greatly on your personality, passion, social circle, idade, location and many other factors.

Pessoalmente, I struggled for a couple of years with this question. I became a vegetarian after watching “Meet Your Meat.” For me, that in-your-face, confrontational method worked best. I watched that movie and there was no place to hide, no more room for my denial of what really happens to animals simply to give me the food I wanted to eat. But for other people, the confrontational approach doesn’t work while a softer, gentler one might. I responded to the PETA approach while Tom was more comfortable with that of Vegan Outreach.

No início, Eu fui a protestos. I marched, chanted, stopped people on the street and got signatures for petitions. But I was never comfortable with the protestors who yelled at passersby, verbally assaulting those wearing leather or fur coats. I didn’t think this was an effective way of getting anyone to stop and listen. I certainly wouldn’t be inclined to stop and chat with someone screaming at me on the street. Para mim, I felt I got more of people’s attention when I smiled and engaged them in friendly conversation, when I took the time to educate rather than judge.

Ao longo do tempo, as being vegan became effortless to me, I made sure to never forget the struggles I had in the beginning. There are many advocates who tell people they should go vegan all at once, that it’s simple, that there is no excuse not to. They judge the meat-eaters in their lives and some even cut them out of their lives completely, even family. Sometimes it seems like they forget they too were once meat-eaters living in denial, that there was a time when they too didn’t understand everything about veganism or knew where they were going to get their protein from. Quero dizer, I used to think protein and iron came from meat, calcium from milk. Had anyone mocked me or called me stupid rather than kindly educate me, I might have abandoned the journey.

Para mim, o tipo de vegan eu quero ser é sintetizado em uma mulher, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Ela é a autora de muitos livros de culinária incríveis, incluindo A alegria de Vegan Baking, A Tabela Vegan, Color Me Vegan, The Vegan’s Daily Companion and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. Colleen é o fundador da Cooks compassivo e tem o podcast muito popular, Food for Thought. Mostly, I love that Colleen has made people associate Veganism with joy and love.

Então, muitas pessoas pensam de sacrifício, tristeza e raiva quando ouvem o termo “Vegan” mas Colleen, através de seus livros e seus podcasts, mostra como ser um Vegan Joyful. Ela luta a luta e defende os animais, tudo ao mesmo tempo promover o respeito, paciência eo tipo de ativismo que leva as pessoas a ouvir, ao invés de se afastar.

As an example, here is one of my favorite pieces of advice from Colleen (shortened for space) about how to respond when you’re asked the same question over and over again:

“However many times I’ve heard it, I try and treat each question as if I’m being asked for the very first time; de facto, I really am being asked for the very first time – by the person asking it. Each interaction is unique. I believe we have a responsibility to respond to every question we get with grace, humility, and truth, even to a question we’ve heard a million times. That may be the first time that person is asking that question. You may be the first vegan he’s ever met.

Whether we like it or not, if we’re the vegan someone comes to, we represent all vegans. He may write off veganism altogether if he finds that we’re just not interested in talking about it or if we make him feel silly or self-conscious for asking questions. If instead, we treat a question as if we’re hearing it for the first time, and our answer is genuine and enthusiastic, the person asking feels engaged and empowered. Em alguns aspectos, the specific question he’s asking is less important than the way we answer it. Aim to engage people – not alienate them.”

Exactly! What purpose is there in being rude, snarky or sarcastic? Why insult and judge meat-eaters? We were once them! I find it extremely sad to think that the people who call themselves my friends would just as easily have judged, ridiculed or hated me 4 years ago because I had not yet shed my denial. Are they my friends only because I’m vegan? Are the friendships based solely on what I do and don’t eat? What a sad thought.

Even sadder is how much some vegans fight with and judge each other! Someone isn’t “vegan enough,” someone isn’t eating healthy enough, someone is using the wrong oil, the wrong sugar, the wrong cat food. Arguments arise over fresh vs. packaged foods, raw vs. cooked foods, whether or not to eat vegan “mock” meats, whether to buy vegan products from non-vegan companies, or whether someone with an illness should throw away their medications and just drink green juice! Should you spend all your time and effort doing vegan education and conversion, is it wrong to care about dogs in shelters or single-issue causes like fur or hunting, can you just attend a dinner with family or a group of friends and not feel obligated to hand out leaflets and promote vegan education? It goes on and on and the negativity can weigh so much, I often feel like I am drowning in it.

Saddest of all is when I hear my friends say they are giving up the label of “vegan” because they have been told that for whatever reason, they are not vegan enough or not a “real” vegan. This has even happened to people I consider vegan heroes, people who have made significant accomplishments in the vegan world. They feel like they have somehow failed the test to be part of some exclusive club, they feel ostracized, judged and have been found to be lacking. For them, the “V” word has become a negative term, just like it is for so many non-vegans. This is exactly the opposite of what we are supposed to be working towards!

I love being a vegan. I love the word “vegan.” I think I say it a thousand times a day. It is part of my identity and there is no way I would let others take it away from me. Eu earn o privilege of calling myself a vegan because I live a vegan life, not because others have deemed me worthy of the title.

And I know exactly what kind of vegan I want to be: a kind vegan, a happy vegan, a joyful vegan, a patient vegan, a non-judgmental vegan, a compassionate vegan. Engraçado, to me this all sounds redundant because when I hear the term “vegan,” these are the adjectives that instantly come to my mind. These are the adjectives that describe the majority of the vegans I know and love who are filled with passion and compassion!

I want to fight for animal liberation and for better treatment of animals too. I want to fight for the chickens, cows and pigs as well as the shelter dogs and cats. I want to protest fur, boycott companies and educate about veganism. I want to show the world that vegan food is healthy and delicious whether it’s a raw salad or deep-fried jalapeno poppers. I want no one to ever feel hesitant to ask me a question for fear that I might respond with ridicule, sarcasm or judgment.

I want the same thing I said I wanted back in August 2009 when I began this blog, “Becoming a vegan is my proudest accomplishment. Deu a minha vida um novo sentido de propósito e direção. Eu quero que os outros sentir o mesmo caminho. I want to help bring the “V” word into the mainstream and let vegan voices speak out loud and proud!" Loud, proud and nice. I just want us all to be nice to each other.

Many paths can lead to the same destination. We are all working towards the same goal. The animals do not benefit from us fighting with each other. They count on us to come together as one strong united force to fight for their lives – each and every single one of us, each of us in our own unique way!

O "V" do Word: Diga-. Comê-lo. Vivê-la.

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19 Responses to A Kind of Vegan Eu quero ser

  1. Richa Maio 6, 2013 em 3:45 em #

    An amazing post Rhea. compassion for all is an everyday reminder. when not sure i end up finding answers from Colleens point of view too.

  2. Michelle Waters Novembro 30, 2012 em 12:03 pm #

    Wow, I just read this, and it so epitomizes my own views. I too am really saddened by infighting within the vegan community, and by attacks on vegetarians and omnis from some in the vegan community. We’ve gotta be the change we want to see in the world, like Gandhi said!

  3. Val Novembro 29, 2012 em 1:13 pm #

    This is such a beautiful post Rhea!
    How on earth did I miss it??
    I love Colleen too. She is my vegan hero. I lay most of the “blame” at her feet for me going vegan when I did, after 16 years of being a vegetarian.

  4. Rebecca Stucki Novembro 28, 2012 em 12:33 em #

    Ah, Rhea! You’re such a smartie (vegan) pé! Wonderful encapsulation of the vegan I am trying to be, também. Obrigado!

  5. Bea Elliott Fevereiro 17, 2012 em 12:06 em #

    This post is right-on! Thanks Rhea you covered it thoughtfully!

  6. idosos vega Fevereiro 15, 2012 em 5:06 em #

    Well done Rhea, good for you! 🙂

  7. Have Gone Vegan Fevereiro 14, 2012 em 11:54 em #

    How did I miss this? Great stuff, and it fits in perfectly with the special post I’m preparing for tomorrow, so I’ll be linking for sure!

  8. Anônimo Fevereiro 4, 2012 em 8:09 em #

    Nicely said!

  9. Rhea Parsons Janeiro 1, 2012 em 7:10 em #

    Thank you Debbie. There is nothing like hanging out on FB to remind me of this everyday!

  10. Debbie Dezembro 31, 2011 em 6:06 pm #

    Ótimo post! When I first went vegan I downloaded Collen’s podcasts and listened to them every day on the way to and from work. Her gentle message is part of what kept me going when I got push back from people in my life.

    I really love your post, it reminds me so much of how important it is to welcome everyone at the place they are, not at the place we might think they should be. We all want the same thing after all.

  11. Rhea Parsons Dezembro 1, 2011 em 4:08 pm #

    Aw, Cântico, that is so sweet of you. Obrigado. Love to you.

  12. Cântico Dezembro 1, 2011 em 5:33 em #

    All I can say is “Wow!” Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful, inspirational and life-affirming post Rhea. You and Colleen are my vegan heroines 🙂

  13. Rhea Parsons Novembro 30, 2011 em 4:13 em #

    Thank you everyone 🙂

  14. KimraDiggs Novembro 29, 2011 em 10:27 pm #

    awesome!! adoro!!

  15. idosos vega Novembro 29, 2011 em 7:54 pm #

    Este comentário foi removido pelo autor.

  16. idosos vega Novembro 29, 2011 em 7:53 pm #

    Good stuff!

  17. Lisa é crua em $10 um dia (ou menos!) Novembro 29, 2011 em 6:11 pm #

    Well said, Rhea! I’ve had to figure this out for myself, também … & I’m still fine tuning it four years later! Collen is a good place to look for how to be an effective (and kind) advocate.

  18. Suburban Branca de Neve Novembro 29, 2011 em 12:14 pm #

    I agree with Micky. Beautifully put! Just be nice. (A future Nike slogan?)

  19. Micky Novembro 29, 2011 em 10:11 em #

    So beautifully put, Rhea! And I agree about Colleen….she is the kind of vegan I want to be too.

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