We’re All Friends Here: The 2 Vegan Camps
Vegans sometimes get a bad rap. We aren’t what we used to be. Images of extraneous body hair, a natural odeur, hemp necklaces and bare feet might come to mind, and I’m sure that this previous model still exists and is alive and well.
But we are a new generation of vegan. A less judgemental, room-for-all kind of Vegan. Sometimes claiming to be called Plant Based or Fruititarian, or “mostly” vegan. Anything to remove ourselves from the paint-throwing, angry Vegans of yore. I still LOVE those vegans, I may not exactly be one of them, and my stance on the honey issue just isn’t as dramatic. But they are our forefathers of change, and I appreciate that.
These are the Die-Hard Vegans who can’t wait to get out their picket signs and chain themselves to something. And I love them for what they do. These are the purists who declare “Hell No!” to honey. They call attention at times to real cruelty and can enact change. These are the ones fighting for animal rights at all costs. You will never see one of these Vegans wearing leather or wool. They are the truest of the true. The New Vegans declare that this model often turns off would-be-vegans with their all or nothing approach. “If you’re not 100% Vegan, then you Aren’t Vegan!” is their refrain.
Then there is the New Vegan camp. They might eat a slice of birthday cake while never purchasing something like that to bring into their own homes. They might use a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy when eating out and the broth or side sauce is questionable, even when they try their best. They definitely aren’t ordering the chicken, and they are surely holding the cheese. These Vegans often don’t eat out in questionable places, but don’t rock the boat too hard when in a social setting. “Being Vegan is so easy! Even a meal a week can effect change, why don’t you try it?” Is more their stance. The Die-Hards can sometimes get very angry at these Vegans with their flexitarian ways. But these New Vegans are making great strides with helping the rest of the eaters out there to transition away from animals and in the end, are inviting far more people over to their easier way without the attached guilting and rigidity.
In the end, I think we need both kinds of Vegans. Vegans who yell and scream and make noise, they are the ones who keep posting awful truths on social media with corresponding videos and pictures of disgusting cruelty. These Vegans help keep me on track, and remind me of the humanity of Veganism. I came over to the green side decades ago for more nutritional reasons, even though I am of course, and animal lover. I love getting angry reminders to keep fighting the good fight, and it helps me stick to my purpose of leading by example.
We also need the New Vegans. The lenient, friendly, rule breaking Vegans. They educate by showing us pictures on social media of smoking hot Vegans, Vegans who lift and experience #VeganGainz with this amazing lifestyle. They show us Vegan junk food, like Ben and Jerry’s, they take the SCARY out of Vegan. They encourage slow transitions and applaud the smallest efforts from their Non-Vegan friends. Because in the end, the more people eating less meat, the better. They can get angry at the Die Hard Vegans for their Ride or Die approach, fearing they’ll scare off any well meaning transitioners.
So let’s agree, all the Vegans, the Vegan-lites, the Weekend Vegans, the ALL OR NOTHING Vegans, the Whole Food Plant Based Vegans, the Raw Vegans, the mostly Vegans and the Vegetarians and the I’m tryings, and the skeptics. Let’s welcome them, all. We are all on the same team so let’s agree that we might have our differences, but we all care deeply about creating change in our world’s Food Paradigm.
So go find a Vegan and hug them and tell them you love their mad Vegan style, because everyone’s is as unique as they are. There is no right or wrong way to express your Veganism. Just in general you know, don’t eat animals or stuff that comes out of them, don’t worry too much, don’t lose your head if you find out the ramen had fish sauce after you ate it. Or do, if you want to have an epic meltdown and that’s your personal Vegan style, go for it. It’s your right to express your own Vegan self. And I for one, will love you for it.