It never ceases to amaze how non-vegans, when they hear the word vegan, often-times instantly develop a whole range of skills and expertise that you never knew they had before.
On hearing the “V” word, they’re suddenly cave-men obsessed nutritionists who have a weird obsession with basing life’s ethical decisions on either being stuck on a desert island or in a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic, the survival of the fittest, gladiatorial society.
Which is even more baffling when the non-vegan conjuring up this post-nuclear war waste-land, utterly devoid of morality, is called Nigel Smith, lives on the outskirts of London is a qualified chartered accountant and collects stamps.
The problem is, Nigel and many others like him, are generally ignorant of even the basics of veganism. And where there is ignorance, myths are sure to follow. It’s like there’s somewhere hidden in the world, Area 51 style, a vegan myth-making factory that’s sole purpose is to churn out disinformation.
With that in mind, here is a guide to debunking some of the more well-worn and time-honored vegan myths that Nigel and others hold dear to their hearts but are fuzzy in their heads.
Strength and weakness can be defined both mentally and physically.
First up, mental strength.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.
As children, this is a lesson we start to learn pretty quickly from about 3 or 4 onwards.
It takes years to get it right, but we generally get there. In a human-centric fashion, at least.
Likewise, this code of self-restraint is at the heart of many legal, philosophical, and religious blueprints to be found around the world and in history.
It’s a filter that recognizes that
- we are not the center of the universe, and
- affords protection to the weak and vulnerable.
While self-restraint based on the punishment of law to enforce it is one thing (I won’t steal those sunglasses because I will get in trouble), self-control based on self-discipline and self-regulation, as per vegans, is another thing. And crucially, that requires strength of mind.
“Well, that’s the strength of mind,” yell Nigel and the non-vegans, “but what about vegan physical strength?”
Vegans are more than capable of securing protein and a range of essential amino acids from their plant-based diets - and all without the fat, junk, and misery that meat serves up.
And while I am opposed to only listing off athlete after athlete and sports-performer after sport-performers who are vegans, they are out there, and their numbers are growing.
Curious? A quick Google search for “vegan athletes” will check that box for you.
The irony that the phrase “as strong as an ox” is based on an exclusively herbivorous animal is not just lost on non-vegans, it’s strapped to a rocket and hurtling out of the atmosphere as we speak.
Non-vegan: So, we raise the animals in horrific conditions, spend eye-watering amounts on feeding, watering, and transporting them around.
Then we have to source sadists who are prepared to kill the animals for us because we can’t bring ourselves to do it, then re-transport the dismembered body-parts to stores for us to then purchase, take them home, prepare, garnish and then bake, fry or grill.
Then lean back, hit the TV remote, and say, “well, that was easy?”
Vegan: You could pick an apple from the garden instead? Maybe run it under some water first? Then eat it.
Going vegan is only difficult in that it’s a readjustment of perception and creativity. And that’s really not at all hard.
Like riding the proverbial bike, it becomes second nature before you know it.
Veganism allows for a broader range of new products and ingredients to be sourced and experimented with.
New vegans find that they reinvent their kitchens – the ingredients they have in it and the ways they then use those.
There are both online and in stores a continually growing number of vegan foods to be found, including faux meats and cheeses – if that’s your thing.
On top of that, there is an almost infinite amount of online vegan recipes, support sites, social media sites, and information out there to help in the transition.
And all of those are growing by the day. Practice makes perfect (and easier).
You hear that sound? Like upholstery being jabbed with a needle?
That’s the sound of non-vegan consciences being pricked when faced with the logic of veganism.
And when non-vegan consciences get pricked, vegan myths get produced.
Such as vegans think they are superior to others. While veganism is an excellent stand-point to have and highly commendable, that does not, though, translate into vegans holding themselves as being superior to others by default.
Put another way, lifeguards save lives. In that respect, they have water-based life-saving skills that are
quantifiable and better than mine.
However, person to person, I don’t hold a grudge against lifeguards because they go around saving people from drowning.
Vegans hold that all living things are equal, both human-animal and non-human animals.
Consequently, the notion that humans can destroy other living beings for their own consumption and pleasure is utterly rejected by vegans.
The contrary, that non-veganism calls for the destruction of virtually defenseless creatures, by the billions per year, for the fleeting taste of meat and casual entertainment, is undoubtedly a sign of a superiority hang-up.
Veganism is, therefore, the diametric opposite of superiority. Veganism saves lives. Animal, human, and that of Mother Earth. That’s common sense. Not a superiority complex.
I guess this vegan myth, for the large part, depends on how you define fun.
From a non-vegan perspective, fun appears to entail turning a blind eye to battery farms and slaughter-houses or possibly keeping a very open eye to a rodeo or bull-fight.
In contrast, from a vegan perspective, veganism is about wanting all living things to have a fair chance at the one shot they have at being alive.
In doing so, veganism also provides for better human health while simultaneously benefiting the environment.
If being a kill-joy is seeing happy animals feeling the sun on their backs, free from abuse and exploitation. At the same time, I feel and look better, and the environment gets better protection, then my name’s Kevin Kill-Joy.
A vegan stops fun by condemning animal exploitation and refraining from consuming animal products as much as the police put an end to a joyriders’ delight by confiscating their car.
And my final vegan myth to lay to rest – that plants also feel pain.
At first, I was tempted to delve further into the realms of plant biology and slip in some bang up-to-date research on the how tomatoes don’t have a central nervous system, melons don’t howl in pain when kicked and that if you pet a cucumber, it won’t start wagging its tail.
And then I realized what I was typing gibberish.
Put another way, if you simultaneously saw two people, one beating a dog with a knotted rope and the other beating a pineapple with the same, which would you intervene to save?
No matter much you stare at that question, there can only ever be one answer.
Non-vegans also overlook the logical fallacy that this argument raises in that the animals that they eat are fed vast amounts of plants. And if plants feel pain...
Clearly, by any metric of reality, plants do not have sentience, conscious awareness, or a central nervous system. If yours do, call a newspaper – you’ll make a fortune.
So, there you have it. Five of the best vegan myths returned to the sender with vegan love. Oh, and if you get a chance, check out random areas of the Earth on Google Maps.
You may stumble across that vegan myth-making factory, or read this article where we cover even more vegan myths!
When you showcase your vegan-hood proudly, the world won't always be kind in return. In order to justify their archaic beliefs, non-vegans will sometimes make up anything to get a rise out of you.
We encourage you to stay the course and push forward on your plant-based journey as we pave a better path forward together.
Those myths won't stand a chance!
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