I recently started a new office job, which I absolutely love! Everyone is super friendly, and I’m excited to be a part of a diverse and welcoming space. Last week, one of my supervisors sent out a new email welcoming me to the team and inviting everyone to a small breakfast.
That’s when I grew slightly uneasy.
Do I tell them now I’m a Vegan now or later?
Now. That seems right. You have to let people know this stuff up front so they don’t waste anything… But I don’t want to seem like the high maintenance girl.
Later. I can just politely decline the food. Say you’re not hungry. But then again… people are always weirded out when you don’t eat their food – especially when they’re welcoming you.
I pondered on this for about two days before sending the brief message:
“Thanks so much… just a heads up.. I’m a vegan.”
It seems simple enough, but it truly lacked any semblance of conviction. I guess that’s because I’m not all that comfortable with being a vegan yet. I feel like some bougie Californian, and that people are instantly judging me, which is not always the case.
I get a mixed bag of responses when I tell folks that I’m trying this whole vegan thing out:
- There are the folks who are genuinely curious. “Oh that’s really interesting. I’m considering going Vegan myself. Please, tell me more.”
- There are the folks who are borderline disgusted like you just told them about some kinky fetish you’re into. “I could never. Ugh. I love meat.”
- And then there are the folks who are just flat out rude. “I’m gonna trick you into eating meat. What do you think is gonna happen if you stop eating meat. Don’t try and convert me to your veganistic ways.”
American culture is engulfed by the consumption of meat. It is a part of every meal, BBQ’s are the pillar of every summer party, and we gorge ourselves with a fat turkey every November. So I understand why it would be challenging to see a person distance themselves from these customs.
But the way many people look at vegans is with a face that says “How could you as an individual make any real change by being a vegan.” And that’s a terrible mindset to have when approaching any social justice issue. (Yes. Food is a justice issue.)
I think that’s the hardest part of being a vegan. It’s not giving up pizza or ice cream, it’s being surrounded by folks who don’t understand your goals of beliefs. Being around folks who don’t understand the colonization of food. The mass production of abused and drug pumped meat. The overwhelming diabetes and high blood pressure rates of low income communities of color.
Veganism is gaining more popularity in the western hemisphere. (A lot of folks are getting hip to the ten-thousand-year-old game.) But it’s more than a weird diet trend. It’s a social movement.
If you like posts like this one or want to read more about vegan and healthy lifestyles, check out https://www.positivehealthwellness.com/diet-nutrition/embarking-raw-vegan-lifestyle/ .
Also, check out my recipe for “Tuna Fish” Chickpea Sandwiches!