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

6 Comments

  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.

    • I personally believe that we should focus on correcting all the faults in the human race, rather than jumping to “save the animals”. I don’t have a problem with you or your morals if you are vegan or vegitarian, but people aren’t automatically bad people if they don’t want to be vegan.

  2. Hello, former poor person here! I know what it’s like to survive off ramen noodles and microwave dinners! I have slowly been transitioning to vegan and believe it or not but my cost of groceries has remained the same! The food I make is much more filling than the processed stuff so I can eat less and stay full longer! Also I used to suffer greatly from depression which made it hard to make meals, I just started by making myself a quick dinner that I could eat while doing longer meal preps that wasn’t making me wait to eat. Healthier eating has helped me manage my depression and I now no longer need to meal prep and have the energy to make full meals before eating. This is something completely new to me and I have vegetarianism and veganism to thank for giving me reason for wanting to cook for myself! So all those reasons are completely valid but for anyone in a situation of being poor, having bad mental health, or not having time that wants to transition, start slow! Substitute a couple of things at a time! Get frozen veggies! (and don’t feel like you have to do it – I wrote this for those who want to do it but it feels impossible)

  3. I recommend deleting this article because makes misinformation.
    Veganism is not a diet, in fact the official definition according to the Vegan Society is:
    “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”

    Meaning that someone who has to rely on animal derivatives for medical or other reasons such as lack of autonomy or food access could still call themselves a vegan, although we do understand why they may choose not to. ⁣⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣⁣
    It is important that we acknowledge that being 100% plant-based is not possible for everyone. What this means is that one aspect of vegan activism should be to work on making healthy plant based foods as well as nutrition information more accessible. However this cannot be an excuse for people who actually could adopt a fully plant-based lifestyle to avoid accountability for their speciesism. ⁣⁣⁣
    ⁣⁣⁣
    Poor and disabled people do not exist so you can maintain oppressive behaviours in their names; and poor and disabled vegans exist and should not be erased. So saying for example that “veganism isn’t accessible for everyone” from a position of privilege and while doing nothing to change it is ableist, classist, and speciesist.⁣⁣

    Please educate themselves better!

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