Veganism is not for everyone, Karen.

Illustration by Steck Von

When it comes to veganism, there are several reasons one might make the big change. According to 2017 Healthline article, veganism is potentially healthier. It can be a vitamin rich alternative to the average, omnivorous diet. Some people have very little choice and must become vegan due to an intolerance or allergy.  For some people, the removal of meat and dairy can also have wonderful effects on their skin.

But it’s rarely ever the case that someone became a vegan because some pretentious d*ckhead on Twitter told them too.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is certainly not an “all vegans suck” scenario. The vast majority of vegans I know are delightful people. This isn’t even a “veganism itself sucks” situation. As I stated earlier, there are several positive why someone should become vegans.

This is a request by me, a fed up person, asking for certain people to rethink their “persuasion tactics”.

It’s become a trend for those who’re…passionate about veganism to immediately cast shame and judgement on those who aren’t vegan in effort to change their mind. From backhanded tweets to YouTubers like Sorsha who compare the mistreatment of animals to sexual assault, there’s plenty of people who view their veganism as a social mandate instead of a lifestyle choice.

Illustration by Steck Von

Let’s get one thing straight, being vegan is a privilege. A privilege in the regard that not everyone has the time, access the resources or the financial means of supporting that lifestyle. And before you all come in with the ol’ “rice and beans are only 99 cents” argument, let’s really sit down and unpack it.

When it comes vegan meals, there are several reasons why it may not be conducive to every person’s life. While beans and rice are cheap and relatively easy to make, not everyone has the time to make them. Single parents with time intensive jobs may find themselves in a rut when it comes to vegan recipes that are quick, easy and filling.  So while beans and rice tend to be non-perishable, the produce that are usually paired with it, like cucumbers and eggplants, are quick to spoil and are a waste of money if not used within the week they are bought. Which isn’t an ideal situation for those who don’t have the time on their hands to cook every night or meal prep.

Also, let’s not dance around the arena of price either. While beans and rice are cheap, one cannot eat beans and rice for every snack and meal. And while, according to the PETA FAQ page, non-meats, like rice and tofu, tend to be cheaper than meat, vegan specialty meals, like veggie burgers, tend to be more expensive than their meaty counterparts.

That is if you can even find these vegan options at all.  There are several more mainstream corporations, like Target and Walmart, who’re making an active effort to include vegan options into their lineup. However, you’re not going to be finding veggie burgers at your local dollar tree or corner store, not to mention, fresh fruits and veggies.  Cities like Richmond are considered “food deserts”, meaning that access to quality and affordable fresh food is scarce.

According to a 2007 ABCnews  article, fruits and vegetables tend to be more expensive than processed foods because they lack government subsidies due to the fact that produce cannot be made on an assembly line. Which is pretty messed up. No one should miss out on eating healthier foods because they can’t afford it.  

The fact that fresh produce and vegan options are less accessible to lower income neighborhoods is a much more pressing issue and addressing it directly would have more lasting results in the long run than dragging non-vegans on Twitter.

It’s time to redirect this conversation. Instead of focusing on shaming people for not being able to squeeze veganism into their hectic lives, maybe ask the question on why veganism is so hard to adopt in the first place and what societal changes can be made in order to change that.

Arianna Coghill

Contributing Writer

1 Comment

  1. Arianna, you are completely right that it’s important how activists communicate their opinion. I also agree that it’s not easy to be vegan. So, forget about veganism and start with vegetarianism. That would be huge step forward from eating loads of meat. The average American (according to some statistics) eats more than 200 pounds of meat a year! Even eating 20 pounds of meat a year would be a huge step forward. No need to go extreme with veganism.

    Forget about the privilege and the time requirements to make your dinner without meat — these are excuses. Being an environmentally and ethically conscious consumer requires brain activity — yes, it’s hard! That’s the main reason why most people are NOT environmentally conscious — they are just intellectually lazy. How many people take their own bags to a supermarket? Exactly! Hardly anyone, because it requires PLANNING, that is, thinking ahead. That’s asking too much of most Americans. But hey, can’t we expect a bit of intellecual engagement from a college student? Using your brain is the whole point of going to college. So, students, please think ahead: think of the environmental and ethical consequences of your actions. They will determine the your health and the health of our planet.

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