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January 21, 2015

Vegan: A Four Letter Word?

Recently I decided to go vegan for a week. As a pescetarian already it wasn't too much of a shift in diet, instead of shunning all meat except seafood, I'd go without seafood, meat, and animal products. After my vegan experiment I felt really healthy and strong and decided to continue with it, indefinitely for right now although I have a few obstacles in my way (such as staying in a stranger's home in Shanghai, I won't ask them to cook vegan for me although I will keep pescetarian and cooking brownies in Biology that literally require a taste test). Mom and I are heading to Thailand for spring break so I think I'll keep vegan (when I can) until then at least.  

The #1 response I got from people when I told them I had gone vegan was "oh my god I hate you". Over half of them weren't kidding or smiling when they said it. This got me thinking (as practically everything does)....why do we have such a negative stigma surrounding vegans? It's actually quite rude to say to a vegan "oh my god I hate you" aka "you're crazy! Why would you give up food?" We get it! You love to eat bacon or lamb chops or whatever and it's our choice to not eat meat/animal products and although people may not understand our decision, they should treat it respectfully. You made a choice to wear that outfit you're wearing today for whatever reasons you did, it's the same kind of thing.
A lot of people see it as a way to mask an eating disorder and while that may be true for some, it's not true for the majority of us and if you ask (politely) why we're vegan/vegetarian etc. more than likely we'd be glad to share our views and reasoning with you. Whether or not you understand or agree with us, we deserve respect and not to be treated like we're crazy for choosing to not eat meat/animal products. Personally, I am a pescetarian because I don't support the way cows, chickens, and pigs are tortured throughout their lives and then they are slaughtered for our consumption. 

Also: if you are struggling with an eating disorder please find help, you're literally killing yourself whether your poison is bulimia or anorexia--please seek help sooner rather than later. Go here to find someone to talk to, confidentially, and go here to find someone recovering from an eating disorder and posting about her recovery on Instagram (bonus: her blog).
If you would take a little time to research vegetarian/vegan recipes, you'd understand that we don't just eat salad all the time. I had a hot dog for lunch today! Granted a veggie/soy hotdog but still. If you bothered to try our food before telling us we're crazy you'd see that it actually tastes really good (especially the hot dog, literally it is interchangeable with a real one) and we still enjoy food the way you do--just without animal products. All I'm saying? Try our food and actually ask us what our motivation is before you judge it--you may still decide it's not for you and that's perfectly fine, this lifestyle isn't for everyone.  
Now I'm adding a little disclaimer: Being vegan is a lifestyle that requires a lot of research and careful planning, and is definitely not for those who have short-term goals in mind.I do not recommend going vegan as a way to cleanse after holidays or as a way to lose quick weight. If you do think the vegan lifestyle is for you, I urge you to do a lot of research and really understand what you're undertaking before you do it (the same goes for going vegetarian) It's a big lifestyle change that impacts things you never even thought of (like going out to eat, where to get your protein intake from etc.) and you'll face some definite backlash.

In short: don't knock it 'til you try it/ask us.

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