Strange title, you might think. Well, let me explain to you. I just remembered a visit at my grandparents’ house a couple of weeks ago. I love my grandparents and always look forward to seeing them but since I have become a vegan, things are getting really ugly at times.
Several months ago I’ve had a heated argument with my grandma, when she was being angry with me because I didn’t want to eat her non-vegan cake but offered her my vegan one. She was like, okay, if you want me to eat your cake you’ll also have to eat mine. I tried to tell her that she really can’t compare her eating my cake with me eating hers because I don’t want to eat animal products on principle while she very likely doesn’t mind eating plants. I think that day she didn’t really give in, but at least she hasn’t brought it up again. My whole family always enjoyed my baked goods a lot, so I was pretty shocked in the first place that anyone would react in such a negative way just because my cake didn’t contain eggs anymore.
The really bad thing is still to come, though. Here I have to say that my grandparents are very passionate omnivores, including meat in all of their meals. Of course I don’t exactly approve, but I’ve never tried to convince them of at least reducing their intake a little. I know that they are old people and have lived like this for their whole lives, and I think it would be disrespectful to try to lecture them. So I am not aware of ever having behaved in a judgmental way regarding their diet. On this occasion I am referring to, I baked a really good yeast cake, and I even made sugar sprinkled areas especially for my grandpa who loves sugar cake. He didn’t even touch it. I think Christmas, when we had my grandparents over for dinner, was the last time he has eaten something I cooked. Since then he always refused, but I had assumed that it was just because he is very picky and usually his appetite is not big these days. But this time I knew that couldn’t be it and I asked him to please try because I had made this sugar sprinkled section especially for him. His reply was something like, as long as you don’t eat a proper mettwurst sandwich I’m not gonna eat your strange vegan cake. I tried explaining to him the same thing I had discussed with my grandma months ago, but he wouldn’t even listen. I was crying because I was so sad and angry. I enjoy giving pleasure to people I love and this was just so unnecessary. I tried again and again, but eventually just gave up. I don’t know what else to do.
I think the fundamental problem here (I’m sure many vegans have experienced similar things) is that omnivores feel threatened by the vegan diet. As if one vegan person making vegan food was a personified condemnation of their diet. I assume that people reacting this way are so defensive because they feel that if they really thought about the topic properly, they would have to admit that we are right. Veganism is just better for the world, for the animals and for ourselves. And the only sustainable lifestyle. But what I really don’t like is that even if you don’t try to lecture people at all they react this way. Just like, no, I don’t want to know about this, veganism doesn’t exist, please remove this from my life. It’s so intolerant, a characteristic commonly attributed to vegans. It shows that there is still a very long way to go until at least vegans can get the acceptance they deserve. Probably it is also more extreme in case of old people who can’t really handle the idea of changing their diet for the benefit of the inferior animals. After all, what good would that do? Humans are the crown of creation, right? *biting sarcasm*
What I want to say with this post is that to me it seems vegans are often more tolerant towards their non-vegan fellow humans than the other way around. It is just so hard to make people understand that veganism is not some strange phase that comes and passes but a lifestyle to which most vegans are very devoted. To me, at least, it is a huge part of how I define myself. And I wouldn’t give this away again for anything in the world. Living a cruelty-free life is the only way to be the person I feel I am.
Do you also sometimes struggle with people you really care about that just can’t seem to accept your diet choices? Any advice?