Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Vegan Bubble

My hubby may be the only other vegan that I interact with in my daily life, and I have one other vegetarian friend, but still I have realized that I live in a sort of vegan bubble. You see, my friends and family & even my many FB friends all know and accept that I am vegan. Sure, I get the occasional smart ass comment on FB about my veganism, but usually I get genuine questions if any at all at this point. So what does your BFF do when she has her bubble burst?

Interesting that you should ask that, as last night I found myself in just that sort of situation! I was at dinner with 2 friends and about 6 other women whom I did not know. I of course got the usual "What made you go vegan?" to which I respond with my usual "I was vegetarian for 10+ years for ethical reasons, & recently became vegan because that seemed to be the natural course for me". To which I usually get one of 2 responses: "I could easily give up meat." and "I could never give up meat." All standard stuff here, BFF. But at this table, there was one person who wanted more... "Where do you get your protein?" This question has ceased to astonish and annoy me, so I reply, "Protein is in almost everything we eat. I get high doses of it in a variety of plant sources." I then realized that I was dealing with a hostile meat-eater. She then loudly took a poll at the table, raising her own hand and asking "Who here could ever give up red meat? I could never give up meat!", to which every person sat in uncomfortable silence except for one. She wanted to single me out and remind me that there were more people on her side than on mine. So what did your BFF do? I met her with compassion. She asked more questions & I answered with compassion. I related to her. I made her feel that we weren't so different. She told me that she can really feel when she needs more protein in her diet and I told her that I get the same cravings and can totally satisfy them with plant-based foods. And eventually her voice quieted down, and we were able to talk about other things.

So was your BFF annoyed by this encounter? Yes and no. It's never easy to be picked on. I don't care if you are a kid or an adult, it's no fun to be singled out and ganged up on. I was also taken by surprise because I have not stepped out of my "vegan bubble" in a while. But on the other hand, I saw this as an opportunity. Not an opportunity to preach to her about the horrors of the meat industry, but an opportunity to show her that vegans are fine people to talk to and share a meal with. As I heard Rae Sikora say at a Farm Sanctuary event, "you represent an entire movement". This may have been the only time this woman had ever met a vegan. I could have snapped back at her comments or been a smart ass. But I wanted her to take away from our encounter that vegans are kind and compassionate (that is the whole point after all, isn't it??).

We as vegans have a great responsibility...we do represent an entire movement! And there are many negative stereotypes out there about vegans. We need to be vigilant about our interactions...making sure we are open, honest, and compassionate. We can get our point across without preaching and acting self righteous. Nobody wants to be around that person. Interact with others from a place of awareness and compassion...most of us did not come out of the womb vegan. It is a journey...and often times it begins at that first encounter with a vegan.

“Drop a pebble in a still pond and watch the pebble travel out in an ever expanding ring.”

Peace and love,
Your BFF


  1. Thanks for sharing this experience!! I have never met anyone who has confronted me in that manner. Wow...I don't know how I would've reacted but now I know how I should :)

  2. That is awesome that you were able to react that way! I have been there, and it can be hard not to become defensive and go all combative. Way to go April!!