My Vegan Diary: Week 7

<3 ALWAYS...

I feel that the weeks are going by faster and faster as my vegan lifestyle becomes routine! However, being vegan in college is completely new to me.  At home, my family never ate much meat. But now, I see enormous tubs of meat in the dining halls and people carrying plates full of it. It is almost ironic to watch students happily eating the flesh of tortured beings while smiling, laughing, and joking. As I watch my peers down animal products like it is nothing, I feel conflicted inside. Part of me wants to tell them about the where this disembodied flesh came from. But another part of me wants to keep quiet and avoid conflict, fearing being stereotyped as a crazed vegan. And this second part of me has been winning lately.

For one thing, I just arrived at college little over a week ago. All of these people are strangers to me. But I feel like that is an excuse to remain silent. I had plenty of opportunities to say something this week. One evening, my table mates were conversing about their favorite seafood. Another day, an acquaintance expressed her excitement about the dining hall serving pork shoulder, a dish her family made at home. In both of these situations, I could have chosen to speak up. I could have mentioned that for every  pound of shrimp on your plate, twenty pounds of other marine life were caught and discarded. I could have explained that a meal is not worth a lifetime of pain and suffering. Or that animals’ flesh and excretions do not belong to us. All of these things were on my mind, itching to come out. But instead, I sat there quietly, uncomfortably picking at whatever plants I chose to make my dinner that night.

Before I came to college, I thought I would be extremely vocal about the vegan truth. I thought I wouldn’t care whether people disliked me or found me annoying because of it. But now, I almost don’t want to talk about it with others. I feel afraid and unsure of what to say, almost hiding this part of me I feel passionate about.

Every moment of every day, someone is traveling to a slaughterhouse and enduring the most cruel, terrifying, and painful experience imaginable.  This week, I want to speak up for them. It doesn’t have to be a lecture. It doesn’t have to be a full blown debate. I just want to say something. Maybe I will mention how delicious the dining hall’s almond milk or veggie burgers are. Or maybe I  will ask my companions if they have ever wondered what it would be like to be an animal in a slaughterhouse. My fear to bring up a potentially upsetting topic does not compare to the sheer terror millions of animals are experiencing right this moment. If I keep silent, this horrifying cruelty will never end.

only chance Best,

Leila

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10 thoughts on “My Vegan Diary: Week 7

  1. The problem is, so many people would never even think about vegetarianism, never mind veganism, that mentioning it can cause them to be very defensive about it and even be more adamant to eat meat. I find it hard to keep my mouth shut – people can be very naive about the realities of where their meat/dairy comes from, but I’ve found that promoting the benefits of vegan food is better than mentioning the problems with eating meat (it doesn’t help that most meat-eaters think that we miss it and are jealous of them).
    On a slightly different topic, I bought a new bag a while a go, and friend took me aside and confided in me that she didn’t think my bag was real leather. She was shocked that I’d prefer a ‘fake’ bag than one made out of a dead cow. The mind boggles.x

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    • Thanks for sharing! I agree that the mere thought of changing their diet can send people into hysterics. Showing them how delicious vegan food can be is definitely a great approach. But if people would release their pride and biases and just let themselves see the suffering animals go through to get these products onto their plate, I know they could change. I did.
      And it is rather sad that products are marketed as “genuine leather,” like that makes it such an amazing and luxurious product! Thanks for you comment! 🙂

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  2. For some reason it’s a very touchy subject. I few it like religion, you may not believe what I believe but that’s ok. Lots of people don’t want to know where their meat is coming from and that it actually has a face. I battle this with my family all the time! I watch them eating enormous amounts of meat and dollar store food imported from China and it makes me cringe! They make their comments about my pantry only having “organic crap” but you just have to learn you can’t change ignorance….99.9% of the time

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    • People’s diet is a touchy subject. Many have eaten meat all their lives and see no reason why they should change. No one likes being told what to eat. I don’t regard veganism like religion, because you can physically go to a slaughterhouse and see the suffering of the animals, whereas religion is impossible to prove. Veganism is simply a lifestyle based upon minimizing the suffering one is responsible for.
      I hope that change will happen, even though it seems so impossible today. Historically, oppressing a weaker group is always wrong. It just takes people time to realize it. If people release their personal prejudices and view the situation clearly, I know they have the ability to change. I did.
      It is great that you make an effort to eat organic, despite your family’s eating habits. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

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  3. This is such a challenge in the life of a vegan. It’s like, they’re obviously not intentionally/consciously promoting the killing of animals, but they still are. And it can be a real challenge to find the best way to get that point across without it turning into an all out battle.
    What was the tipping point for you that made you take the plunge and become vegan? In my experience that’s the point you want to work to lead people to. It took you time to realize that using animal products was harmful, and it will take them time to see it as well. But they’ll see it a whole lot faster if you put the resources in front of them.
    I think talking about the benefits of veganism in terms of health (and deliciousness!) is a good place to start. It’s a good positive point to get people thinking about it. Then encourage them to look into where their food comes from, and build from there. Documentaries are a great resource that can work in your favor when you’re trying to educate people. It’s a large part of what pushed me to finally go vegan, in addition to all of the health benefits.
    Ease people into it and try your best to be patient, even though that is painfully difficult sometimes. It’s absolutely possible to change people’s minds!
    Good luck 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for your support! Turning someone vegan in just one conversation is definitely not possible. It took me months to finally decide to change, so I don’t expect others to go vegan right away either. I hope I can plant a seed in their minds and help them to begin a change of heart. I will definitely take your advice and begin by showing them how delicious and healthy it is to be vegan. Thank you so much for your comment! 🙂

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  4. It takes some time to learn how to speak up and when/where, so don’t be too hard on yourself! I think it’s a great idea to talk about how great the almond milk or veggie burgers are. I tend to cook for people and talk about the great vegan food I’m eating – after awhile, many people will then start to ask why I’m vegan and at that point I know they’re receptive to hearing about animals or reading a brochure.My partner, however, will be very up front and in-your-face. We’re all different – whatever works for you. Something else you might consider is a T-shirt, piece of jewelry, coffee mug, etc. with a vegan message on it. Someone may ask about it, and then you’ve got your opening to talk.

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    • Thank you so much for your support! I was thinking of making some vegan food for the people living in my hallway. I suppose that will help them become more receptive to hearing about why I’m vegan. A vegan T-shirt would be a fun conversation starter too. Thank you for your advice! 🙂

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  5. It is very challenging to be among so many strangers while facing plate choices and comments. Why people in this modern world still consume animals can be baffling. I believe that all is rooted in empathy. People who are not emphathetic do not care about the suffering in others. They may even know the hard facts and continue to eat animals, be part of the circle of cruelty and violence, thus, perpetuating animal consumerism. On the other hand, emphatetic people feel compassion and may likely change a lifestyle.

    You will find over time what works best for you socially. You are very good at writing. A column for the college newsletter or for the respect for the animals group that you mentioned before would reach many and may elicit conversation from their side. Something wearable is a good idea, too. I bring a grocery bag to the supermarket with a vegan message and many notice it 🙂

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    • Thank you so much for your support! I that know everyone has the ability to feel empathy. They just need to learn to not discriminate who they show it to. I will definitely look into ways I can use writing to spread the vegan message around my campus. Wearable items seem like a great way to get the message out, too! Thank you so much for your advice! 🙂

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