As an ex-vegan, I have to tell you: it’s hard to be a vegan out there in the real world. The truth is that this lifestyle is still heavily stereotyped.
I still advocate for a vegan lifestyle and continue to eat a heavily plant-based diet, and my main source of protein are legumes (protein was always a huge concern with non-vegans).
Being vegan isn’t an exclusive club or some weird religion or cult. Being vegan also doesn’t automatically change your personality, your friendship group, your religion, your family or anything else that makes you “you.”
Vegans live here, in the real world, just like you. That’s the thing, society still sees vegans as tree-hugging, lettuce-eating creatures, and many don’t seem to know quite what to make of them.
I’m here to burst some stereotypes often associated to vegans:
1. Vegans are preachers
A common misconception is that vegans want to convert meat eaters to veganism. They try to do this by talking about documentaries and sharing PETA posts on Facebook.
There are obviously vegans out there who are pushy, but most vegans do not force their opinions on others. A vegan’s mail goal isn’t for you to stop eating animal products, but to be able to make the right decision on your own terms. If a tofu burger or sharing an animal abuse video is forcing an opinion on you, you need to take a look at why that one post in a sea of thousands bothers you so much.
2. Vegans hate meat eaters
Another comment I received a lot is that vegans can’t stand to look meat eaters in the face, due to the mere fact that they eat animals.
Vegans don’t hate people, they hate slaughterhouses. They hate that you are supporting them.
3. All vegans are healthy
It’s a stereotype to affirm that the amount of plant-based foods they eat must mean all vegans are super healthy.
In reality, vegans can also be extremely unhealthy. While it is true that the vegan diet consists of mostly fruits and vegetables, which are good for you, vegans who eliminate meat but continue to eat highly processed foods are not getting the benefits of a plant-based diet.
4. Vegans are weak
It is a known fact that a side effect of a plant-based diet is a slimmer waist, but that does not make vegans weak by any means. People who don’t use their muscles are weak; vegans can be and usually are strong and vital.
5. Vegan food is boring
For some reason, people think a vegan diet consists of eating a ton of bananas and romaine lettuce.
Plant-based food can be just as tasty and delicious, it just depends on the level of creativity you are willing to put into your meals. Once you break out of the “I’ll just have a salad” routine and experiment with new produce picks and preparations, vegan recipes can be anything but repetitive.
6. Vegans are hippies
If you eat a plant-based diet, you have to wear tie-dyed shirts, have dreadlocks, and have a body covered in tattoos.
There are just as many suit-and-tie vegans as hippy vegans — if not more — and all shades in between. Most hippies I’ve known throughout my life haven’t even been vegetarian.