Back last fall, my Mom invited Colin and I over for a family dinner. I’d been vegan for three or four years (maybe five? I can’t remember) and Colin, at the time, had been vegan for about two years. My Mom goes out of her way to make sure we have vegan food. She buys Gardein products, vegan margarine, and sometimes even vegan ice cream. When we go there, we know I’ll have something to eat.
This time, for dessert, she made a rhubarb apple crisp and used vegan margarine in the oatmeal crumble so we could eat it. Then she proudly told me she bought us vegan whipped cream. She pulled it out of the fridge for me and it was Cool Whip. Cool Whip is not vegan. About halfway down their long list of ingredients is “whey”, a cheese making byproduct. I looked at her, looked at the container and thanked her. Both Colin and I took a large spoonful of Cool Whip and dug in. I even took it home with me because they’re not fond of sweets and wouldn’t use it. My Mom had gone out of her way to find Colin and I a treat and had missed one tiny word in a sea of incomprehensible words. I wasn’t going to disappoint her.
Recently someone in a vegan group was gifted “vegan” baked goods by a relative. One sticker showed egg whites and the other products were missing stickers. She was upset and her relative was upset. The baked goods, which were advertised as vegan, were expensive and she really wanted the cinnamon buns. The bakery claimed the label on the cupcakes was incorrect and they were indeed vegan. They did not explain the 33mg of cholesterol other than to say it wasn’t a lot. Vegan products have 0mg of cholesterol. My instant reaction was that they were a gift, they came from the heart, her relative had made a huge effort to find something vegan. Enjoy. I also shared my story with her. And there came one of the vegan police.
She hounded me in post after post, saying I was “just” plant based instead of vegan, as if that was an insult. That I was encouraging people to promote animal suffering and cruelty. She kept on posting while I continued to say that a) family is important and b) I’m still vegan. She was relentless, even following me to a different post to continue arguing. I ended up blocking her.
I logged on to Facebook this morning and someone asked if sugar is vegan, she’d only just learned about bone char. One person flounced from the group because the sugar question was being asked again. There’s 55 thousand members in this group, repeat questions are bound to come up. And, of course, the vegan police arrived, this time confusingly saying to “liberate your limbs from this white meth asap”. I’ll agree that sugar is overused, especially in packaged foods but meth? I have yet to see anyone on the street jonesing for their next sugar fix.
Then there was the time two of my friends started fighting on a post of mine. I can’t even remember what it was about, except my friend T was posting with the same view as mine and my friend E was posting against it, while wanting me to back her. They ended up on E’s Facebook page where T commented that one meal needed bacon. That is the most ridiculous of omnivore comments, one everyone uses if they can’t think up something original. That being said the comment didn’t warrant E’s reaction. T lives alone with two small kids. You can imagine the fear this comment generated.
Part of being vegan is supposed to be compassion for animals and the environment by avoiding all animal products as much as possible. I missed the part in the definition that said to be a total asshole to anyone who disagrees with you. No one should have their safety threatened over a bacon “joke”.
As for the vegan police, the world will go a lot more smoothly if you concentrated more on your plate and less on everyone else’s. If you have a burning need to help animals then go help animals. Volunteer at the local animal shelter, adopt a rescue animal… or two… or five. Volunteer at an animal sanctuary if you live close to one or donate if it’s not feasible. You’ll find a lot more people are willing to think about eating a plant based diet if you’re not screaming, “you’re eating the blood of the innocent” at them. Give it a try sometime.