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Our Struggles with Veganism

A blog by El Lascelles

Recently, the vegan activist we all know and love, Ed Winters, posted a video named “My struggles with veganism." The content of the video was not what I was expecting in the slightest, but it really moved me, as I’m sure it moved every vegan that watched it.

Ed is one of the most prominent vegan activists out there, and it was really comforting to hear him talk about this struggle, it helped me understand that I am not alone in my vegan experience.

For those of you that haven’t watched it, you should! It is an incredible video. But to give you a rundown, he opened up about his struggles with dealing with non-vegan friends and family, and the exhaustion of feeling like you constantly have to explain yourself to them. To me, it almost feels like we have to constantly defend ourselves and our choice to be vegan, which is really disheartening when you know that you are defending your choice to not be harmful. It feels very strange to have to defend your position, watching the world around you consider the position that causes most harm the “normal” position. I often find myself in arguments with my family members that for some reason feel really offended that I choose not to consume animal products.

As vegans we understand that society has raised us to believe that consuming animal products is a normal thing, so we don’t tend to feel judgmental over non-vegans' choices. Yet, we are constantly met with people who feel the need to attack us so they can feel okay with their choice. Which becomes very exhausting for us.

Not too long ago, some of my family members came to visit. As we were all sat eating together, one of my family members brought up my vegan diet and asked me why I feel the need to be vegan. As I explained my position, my family members got really defensive and turned the simple question into an argument. It was really difficult for me to sit there with various family members getting so exasperated by me simply explaining my position, when I hadn’t even brought it up. Especially being the only vegan, it was a really intimidating experience.

Something else Ed brought up that I found incredibly relatable and impactful was the mental burden that comes with understanding the consequences of the choice to consume animal products and watching your family and friends make that choice. We know how impactful it is for the animals, the planet and even their health.

Apart from the atrocities that we know they are contributing to, it's incredibly disheartening to watch a sick family member, who we know could improve their health massively if they switched to vegan diet, be so against the idea of making that switch.

Holidays can be extremely stressful for us too, it's difficult to think positively about Christmas when you’re watching your family eat a chicken or a turkey. There is also a feeling of loneliness that comes with being the only family member who is choosing not to eat the same thing, that, for most of us, also comes with snarky comments about our diet and may even lead to arguments on a day that is meant to be spent joyfully with family.

I strongly believe finding a vegan community is incredible for us. Finding people that share your values and in a way can validate the way you feel is so necessary. When I speak to my vegan friends, I feel understood.

Whilst everything I mentioned carries a huge mental burden, it's important that we remember that the world is shifting for the better, we see more and more vegans every day and many wonderful animal sanctuaries like POHP that are doing everything in their power to give these animals a safe place to recover and live the life they were meant to live. It’s important to acknowledge the sadness we carry (because when we don’t acknowledge it, it becomes more difficult to bare), but it's also important to take care of ourselves and think with positivity and hope towards the future.

The future is vegan!

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