You know when you’re with a group of people and there is that one person that doesn’t want to drink any beer? Or that one individual who passes on dessert when everybody else has chosen to indulge? Maybe it’s the day you decide you decide to skip the gym, or the third day you’ve decided to skip the gym while your roommate is taking on their second workout of the day. When you have chosen to partake in the drinking, or the eating treats or the passing on a work out–sometimes you feel guilty. But we don’t like to feel guilty-so it’s always easier if we can convince the odd person out to drink with us, to eat with us, or to take a rest day with us. When they refuse, it can make you feel jealous or maybe even competitive. The odd person out can make you unconsciously question your decisions and in turn that can throw you on the defense.
Then consider veganism. It can be a healthy lifestyle that lowers your risk for cancer, heart disease, clears your skins, reverses various other illnesses, and it can also be a diet for weight loss. Let’s be honest, usually the word “vegan” doesn’t conjure up an image of a fat person. So sometimes automatically hearing that someone is a self-proclaimed vegan causes people to react in negativity and guilt-about their diet, about their moral decisions, and on a deeper levels maybe their identity or their personal image. I think that following a healthy vegan diet can make a person feel proud, but I think that to outsiders who don’t follow the same lifestyle may see it as elitist. It can be perceived as a threat and veganism unfortunately receives a lot of stigma. In defense people may tell you to be careful because a vegan diet will cause your body to waste away, that you will look sick, struggle to obtain adequate amounts of protein, etc. Those assumptions are simply not true. It’s a common misperception and in my opinion, an ignorant one. Choose the diet or the lifestyle that you believes works best for you, but before accusing your peers of their own health decisions consider opening your mind and doing your research (and by that I mean reading and hearing out both benefits of consequences of the issue at hand) first.