I guess there’s more than one way to be a bad vegan. The first that comes to mind is one that “cheats”, by promoting the plant-based life to others, while sneaking in bites of chicken nuggets and dollar menu burgers.
However, I can confidently confirm that I have never intentionally “slipped up”. To my knowledge, I have not consumed any animal products since April 2013, nor any meat since December 2011. I have remained ever faithful to my alternative lifestyle choice.
The second idea that comes to mind when I think of a “bad vegan” is someone who is overzealous and appears to be judgmental of those who do not share their same strict values; eager to convert the rest of the world, especially through offensive images and stories of guilt and animal cruelty.
I admit, that was me for about a month after my conversion. I am still embarrassed by some of the memes I created for my Facebook page back in the summer of 2013.
But I got over my zealot stage, realizing that even if I could legitimately convince the world that eating animal products is unnecessary, it still would never matter.
Because for most people, the information I know and live by is not enough to change their minds or hearts.
I have accepted the reality that people continue to eat animals products because A) they think they need to in order to get enough protein or proper nutrition, B) they fear escaping the social norm, B) it’s more convenient, C) it’s an emotional tradition, and/or D) they simply like it.
After all, I’m a proud Libertarian (who’s not voting for Trump or Clinton). Since embarrassing myself on Facebook 3 summers ago, I have embraced my fundamental Liberation beliefs:
Sit back and watch other people make their own decisions. If they decide what they are doing is not working for them, they will get curious enough to ask someone else who seems to have things figured out.
I was so proud this weekend when a high school friend approached me about how to transition to a vegan lifestyle, as he is tired of digestion issues and being overweight.
He has an open mind about the plant-based life. He doesn’t let his preconceived ideas get in the way of making a positive change in his life. But he doesn’t represent the majority, as I’ve learned and accepted.
With that being said, here’s how I’m like the worst vegan ever:
I openly encourage the free world to eat whatever they want, since I can’t.
When someone brings donuts to work, I make sure everyone knows about it, proclaiming, “Hey, go get a donut or two, because you can. I’m a vegan, so that means someone needs to take my share; otherwise, that donut will just go stale.”
It usually makes the person laugh, followed by them going to get two donuts.
I also try to help people decide what to eat on their lunch break. When I go by other guys’ desks, I’ll suggest, “You know, you could totally go by Wendy’s for lunch and get a big cheesy burger. I can’t since I’m a vegan, but you should!”
And they know I’m not being sarcastic. They know me well enough to realize that if I wasn’t keeping my eczema, acne, headaches, sinus infections, sinus pressure, and pet allergies in complete remission by remaining committed to the vegan lifestyle, I never would have converted.
I would still be the world’s most passionate carnivore!
Perhaps it’s my way of living vicariously through them. I remind them they have the freedom and ability to eat whatever they want, whereas I no longer do.
But by doing so, in sort of a backwards unspoken way, I am reminding them that I am there to help them if they ever get curious about getting healthy.
Gone are the days of trying to convince other people to live the plant-based life with me (except for my own family, that’s a whole different story) .
Instead, I point mainstream society in the other direction; the direction they are already going. They know where to find me if they need me.
I think that sort of makes me the worst vegan ever.