Volume I

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The Things Non-Vegans Say

I have been Vegan for quite a few years, and I find myself avoiding the types of groups that attract the type that I refer to as trolls. Contrary to the assumptions of some, I am not just speaking of Carnist trolls. I am aware that the word Carnist is a word that is made up. Some even go far enough to insist that it doesn't exist. God knows we hear that often enough from objectors. I am also speaking of Vegans because Vegans can be trolls too. Let us go back to the word Carnist for just a moment, though. All words existing in the world's lexicon are made up. Until someone coined them or made them up, they did not exist. The same can be said of the word Carnist. I wish to move past this one, at this point. I just had to go back to it for a brief moment because I felt I had left my point unfinished. It is not all that uncommon for mankind to make up words or to use words differently than is considered normal. When I frequented the debate groups on Facebook, I encountered trolls from both sides of the aisle and everything in between.

Let's start with those who attempt to tempt the Vegan. I am sure you have heard the words, "I bet you miss ice cream, don't you?" Those who say this is oblivious to the fact we have Vegan Ice Cream in our stores, and if we didn't we can easily make it ourselves. Why would we have to miss it? Some are dairy intolerant, and non-dairy Ice Creams are made even for them. That is much like the phrase, "Mmmm, bacon!" or "I can't be Vegan because I love bacon too much." We have bacon too and made in many various ways. Bacon is made of Mushrooms, Seitan, Rice Paper, Been Curd or Tofu sheets, Tempeh and many other things. Being Vegan does not mean giving that up. It means giving up the cruelty based form of it and opting to eat your preferred form of bacon. It is far fromcomplicated.

We might also take a look at some bacon facts since we are on the subject. Did you know that one ounce of bacon contains 30 milligrams of cholesterol? I am not referring to the good cholesterol either. I am referring to cholesterol that comes from the consumption foods high in saturated fat, such as bacon. That high of a level of saturated fat consumption is known to lead to a higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Bacon along with other similar types of meat are also tied to an increased risk of breast cancer. I refer to similar meats which are highly processed. Bacon is quite high on the processed list. Bacon is also known as being addictive. The fact that bacon is commonly made from the backs of pigs is also troubling. Pigs are extraordinarily intelligent. Their intelligence levels are higher than that of a 3 years old child. Their intelligence is higher than that of dogs and even some primates. Pigs are inquisitive and inciteful, and they are extremely social beings. They are one of the two most abused farm animals, and they are not deserving of such cruelties. That is avoided when we utilize other ways of having bacon, and plant-based bacon is not processed severely, the way that pork-based bacon is. Are the omnivores reading this truthfully craving their pork bacon fixes still?

Don't you miss a good burger?" I wish I could count the times I have heard this question. We get asked this as if Vegans can't create tasty meatless hockey pucks to put between two buns. It isn't something that is at all difficult to do, but somehow some just can not imagine we can do it. That is right up there with, "Sorry but I can not live without cheese." As a Vegan, I have learned to make non-dairy cheeses, and just like omnivores, I have further learned to go to my local grocery store to buy it. That too is not at all complicated. When omnivores say that Vegan cheese does not compare to their cheese, I enjoy saying that I agree. Non-dairy cheese does not contain unwanted hormones and animal-based dairy fats so it is easier to enjoy with less foreseeable problems from doing so. I am OK with that. Sometimes we hear how we have to give up eggs, fish, and even butter. Perhaps we did give those things up in the past, but now we have those food items as well, and we truly give up nothing for our Vegan lives. Well, not anything that we will miss, at least. I can live with that.

I have to admit that I consider the average non-Vegan to be insecure when it comes to discussing the Vegan life as opposed to the Omnivore life. A few are so insecure that they venture to call themselves Carnivores. I find it comical when those same non-Vegans who call themselves Carnivores or Carnivorous are offended by the word Carnist. Especially since Carnist is a word derived from the word Carnivore. I also say that they are insecure because they accuse us of shoving Veganism down their throats. We may be simply discussing how we make some of our Vegan-friendly foods or discussing any number of issues, and an Omnivore will inevitably object by accusing us of throwing our beliefs into their faces. Think about it for a moment. We can not watch shows on Television without commercials blasting animal flesh and dairy-based foods periodically throughout a thirty-minute program. All of them aiming to peddle animal corpse chunks and bovine mammary secretions to the viewers. They often stop at nothing to try to make their animal flesh and mammary secretions seem cool, or sexy, or people-friendly, but our simply discussing our foods is shoving it into their faces, right? That type of complaining Omnivore also hates it when we point this out to them. One good thing to laugh about is the time's omnivores ask us if they can eat the animal flesh in front of us. If they honestly do not think their consumption of the flesh is not wrong or grotesque, why do they need to ask permission from us? That is a logical question for us to ask, don't you think? It could be worse. We could face an Omnivore who informs us that plants have feelings as a justification for killing and eating animals. Not that any intelligent human being could ever take such an illogical justification seriously. But, you would be surprised to know that some try that one. Since plants do not have brains, nervous clusters, and pain receptors, it is not likely that they feel, process or remember any pain.

It strikes me especially funny when an Omnivore informs me that if Vegans cared more about humans than they do about animals the world wouldn't be in such a mess. I find that funny because we are inheriting the mess created by the omnivores who occupied planet Earth before we were ever conceived and born. It is illogical to believe that we, as Vegans, happened along and messed up the entire world that Omnivores had kept in pristine condition before we decided to be Vegans. After all, aren't Vegans the minority in the present world? That is something I think is worthy of a good laugh. I also find myself being asked why I am Vegan if I don't hate meat. That is a question that I consider a Trap question, but I often answer them anyway. It isn't about hating meat. We are Vegan as a compassionate choice. We are Vegan because we want to decrease our carbon footprint, stop world animal exploitation and abuse, and we want to find a sustainable way of living for ourselves and our future generations. Animal farming is not sustainable and is based entirely on cruelty, pain, suffering, and needless death. We create meat substitutes to have the flavors textures and aromas of animal flesh-based meat for that reason. If we lived solely on plants we would need less land to live on and grow veggies on. around three-fourths of the land used for feeding the world is used to feed livestock. A minuscule amount of crops are used for direct human consumption, and the rest is used for non-food purposes. I would say that Vegans care very much for humans and animals of a non-human nature equally.

Sometimes I face a person who swears that one human cannot make a difference, and then they ask me why I even try. I have to agree with them on that, to a degree. Indeed, only one person can not make a difference. One person plus millions more singular people can and will make a difference though. Their point is hinged on the concept that I am the only one trying and I'm not. Family and friends are the worst about that, or they give you something with meat in it and tell you to eat around the meat or to just pick it out as if that is a viable acceptable option. Sometimes they try to instruct us to go ahead and cheat by eating it because they reason that no one will ever know. They just don't get that we aren't Vegan for what others will think. We are Vegan because we do not choose to consume animal flesh or animal products. This is not a hard concept. If we were doing it purely to find some kind of acceptance, we would end up not being Vegan at all. This world is not always accepting of anything. They should stop and consider that even they are not being very accepting of our Vegan choices or they would not be trying to get us to consume things that do not fit with our Vegan sensibilities. Instead, they will wrongfully tell us that we need meat to be healthy because they don't understand that plants nourish even the animals they consume. We simply circumvent the livestock to get our nutrients directly from the plants. This makes sense to us, right? But they somehow don't think of it in that way.

Another thing that I encounter would be those who insist meat made us smarter or led to brain development. Meat does not contain any complex sugars (Starches) and it takes complex sugars to power our cells, and for cell growth. When I encounter the claim that meat consumption did it, I have to laugh. That isn't' even a logical claim. The types who make this claim are also the people who say that our canine teeth prove we are supposed to eat meat. I produce pictures for them of the teeth of true Herbivores which very much resemble ours, and then I show them pictures of Fruit bats which have quite profound canine teeth. I ask them to explain this, and they never quite have a plausible response. It is a fool's argument for them, at best. Some of them resort to saying that Humans have always lived on Meat. Although there is proof that they ate meat, there is no definable proof they lived on it. The fact is that there is also proof of societies that did not consume meat, or if they did do so, they left no traces behind which would indicate that they did. When I point this fact out they scramble to invalidate my given points. That too amuses me. At that time they begin insisting that if we all went Vegan the farm animals would continue multiplying at such a rate that they would take over everything. It never sets well with them when I remind them that farms employ forced breeding, and if we were no longer consuming them the mass breeding would not continue to be common practice. The thing I usually am told next is that I am stupid. That is like a pot calling a kettle black. At least my side of the debate is logical and accurate.

How about this little Gem? "If you were on a desert island and only had the option of eating meat to survive, would you?" The lack of logic in this one is astounding to me. If there are animals on this imaginary island what are they eating? If they solely live on one another they would kill themselves out, so they would have to be living on plants, and if they are doing so, I can also. Taking this into consideration I have to wonder why an animal is the only thing I could eat if I am on this deserted island. When I point this out they add that in the real world other animals eat animals too. It is as if they are oblivious to the fact that some animals live on plants instead of living on one another. To me, this is equal to the debaters who proclaim that they only eat free-range so it's OK. I ask them if it is OK for a Lion to kill and eat them since they are free-range also. That always receives a resounding no. I ask why not since they had free lives before being killed and eaten That is when they feel incensed because they wrongfully consider non-human animals to be below humans in worth or importance. We aren't. I have to tell them the truth about the free-range. Those animals are kept in a huge dark, dirty, smelly, and often overly hot or overly cold room for their entire lives. They are called free-range purely because they are not kept in small cages. It is an inaccurate phrase and nothing more. This is especially true for Pigs and fowls.

I also get surprised by those who ask me where I get my protein since I don't eat meat or drink dairy. It is as if they never learned anything in a health education class. We get our proteins from a huge number of sources. The highest of which would be Legumes, beans, nuts, soy, Nutritional yeast, rice, and the list continues. We have no problem getting more protein than we even need. The same can be said for iron. This too is in abundant supply in many of our plant-based foods. The B12 question at least makes sense. We can consume foods that are high in B12, but they seem to forget that even omnivores are often B12 deficient and they never know it, so it is a problem for humans in general.

I have had quite a few seriously say, "You live on salads and I need a healthy balanced diet to stay healthy." Most Vegans I have talked to admit that they rarely eat salads. As Vegans, we have such a huge variety of foods to eat that we don't end up living on salads at all. If I had the option to live on them, I would. For me, they are too high in Vitamin K, and due to personal health problems, I have to avoid that due to the K content. We eat pretty much anything an Omnivore eats. Our meaty type replacement creations can take the place of any meat in everything from Lasagna to sloppy joes and in a truly magnificent way. The concept that we have to have animal flesh-based meat to eat as they do is a concept that escapes me. The best one of all, however, was when a young woman asked me if I was able to find Vegan peanut butter in the stores. for a moment I froze and waited for her to laugh. I thought she had to be joking, but she was serious and wanted to know. I explained to her that though a few brands have fish oil listed in their ingredients, most do not have anything non-Vegan listed, and those are the brands that I buy. To this day I hope and pray that was her reason for asking such an unexpected question. I have to admit that I got a kick out of that one though.

I was just thinking back to an encounter I clearly remember, mainly because this one had baffled me, at first. This happened some years ago. It had to be around 2009 or maybe 2012. It happened somewhere in that period. I met a woman on one of those social network sites that aren't Twitter, or Facebook. At first, I thought of how nice she seemed. I would even suggest that she was sweet. I had thought this of her until one day when I noticed her being incredibly rude or spiteful toward another lady on that site, so I wrote her privately and asked her if she was that rude to everyone or just that one person, and the woman responded that she was only being unkind to one of those nasty Vegans. All it took for me to suddenly start being attacked was for me to write back and say, "But, I'm a Vegan and I am a nice person, so you wouldn't treat me that way, would you?" I didn't need a response to find out that she would. Suddenly, you would have thought of me as all of the evils in the world. She became a vindictive and spiteful troll just that quickly. I took the intense hateful act in stride for some time while she attacked my posts, my comments, and my profile. She harassed me at every turn and after too long of a period I finally demanded to know what her problem was. Her response floored me. She informed me that the Vegan diet killed her mommy, and very nearly had killed her as well. She ranted that due to that nasty Vegan diet, she would never be completely well again.

A bit stunned, I asked how this was possible. It turned out that her mother had suffered from pernicious anemia and other chronic medical problems. Her condition was compounded by her advanced age, and she did not recover. The woman revealed to me that she too now suffered pernicious anemia. Her body was unable to utilize non-Hemi iron and that she blamed Veganism for this condition. I tried to be kind but honest and I explained to her that Veganism couldn't have caused her problem, but since she could not handle non-Hemi iron the Vegan diet might have exacerbated the problem. I even told her that I was sorry for the loss of her mother. This seemed to send her into a rage beyond anything I ever expected. She started threatening my life, cursing at me, and she even wished me to suffer unspeakable agony before I drew my last breath. It got so sadistic and aggressive the site disabled her account permanently.

If you are curious why I brought this up and went into such detail about it, I am getting to that now. As Vegans, we constantly are accused of being unhealthy, or of being too skinny. Some times it makes no difference how polite or kind we are being because of the intentions of the person we are facing. As a Vegan who has been a Vegan for many years, I can assure you that there are times when no matter how kind or informed you are about the subject of Vegan nourishment and the needs of the human body there are going to be trolling types who will attack no matter what you say or do. When you face those with such a hateful mindset that they are instantly and continually on the attack toward you get away from them. that is the best thing you can do for your sanity.

I am sure you have also had people tell you that they could never go Vegan because it is too expensive. On the surface they are correct but upon closer inspection, you will find that it is less expensive, not more. Of course, if you go into the store and buy premade Vegan meats and certain non-dairy milk brands you will be paying more. The trick is to learn to follow simple recipes to make your foods fresh and very inexpensive. You can make nut milk by soaking your nuts in water overnight before blending them into truly creamy milk. This seems expensive when you are buying the raw and unsalted nuts but once you realize how much milk 1 pound of nuts can make, you soon realize that it isn't. I also have had some insist that our bodies need fats but that Vegan food isn't going to give me what I need, wrong again.

One great source of oil would be Avocados, Just one medium avocado has approximately 23 grams of primarily monounsaturated fat. We also get plenty of fats from Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, seed butters, Olives, Olive oil, Ground flaxseed and many other sources that are non-animal and far more healthy than animal flesh and animal fats, We also make Veggie based cheese which contains healthier oils than you are going to find in dairy-based cheeses. If we do not make the Vegan cheese, that too can be bought in the supermarket in the vegetable section. It is more expensive to simply buy it though, and you have to be aware of that.

I think I will make this my last item in this article. I am referring to Soy. I have had too many tell me that they believe soy causes men to sprout Moobs (men's boobs). They are mistaken in believing that Phytoestrogens will work as the animal-based hormone Estrogen. It does not work that way though. Phytoestrogens are present in many vegetables but it is more concentrated in soy. They are a plant-based hormone that in minor ways mimics Estrogen. Phytoestrogens in soy are Isoflavones and may actually reduce the risk of breast cancer. They are anti-inflammatory when consumed. They also block certain pain receptors, and for women, they help to stimulate or improve Estrogen production. The production of estrogen is something the male hormonal system does not have to be concerned with. Isoflavones are quite beneficial and it will not cause males to sprout moobs. That just isn't how this plant-based hormone works. What might surprise some is the fact that the estrogen in meat and in dairy can actually cause Moob formation. Naturally, non-Vegan males don't want to hear about that. So, if need be, make sure to mention it to them. It is always good for a laugh

Written By:

C. J. York
(Speak To Me Magazine Editor)