I don’t usually go out of my way to advocate a vegan diet, but occasionally someone realizes I have ordered a meal with no meat or cheese, or they ask a question that forces my hand and I share that I have a vegan lifestyle.
For example, someone might ask what my favorite restaurant is (it’s a vegan one, of course) or they might wonder how I am able to get by on so little sleep or how it is I am almost never sick or tired, or how I am able to think quickly and clearly even very early in the morning, or how I can wake up without an alarm clock or coffee, or whatever (and believe me, at best, I might have been able to do any one or two of those things prior to mastering my diet, but never all of them at once).
A funny thing happens when it comes up, though. As soon as I say, “I’m vegan” the reaction is almost always the same: “Oh, I could never do that!”
It’s a very interesting reaction. My first thought is usually, “But I haven’t asked you to; I just answered your question,” and my next thought is, “…But why not?”
The very idea of not eating meat or dairy is so terrifying (or revolting) to some people it sends them into an automatic defensive stance as if they could contract veganism from me (and honestly, would catching a healthy-diet be so bad?). We have been so well trained to believe the western diet is the only option imaginable that we actively choose to avoid those benefits. What’s really funny to me, though, is that people see being vegan as some sort of crazy anomaly.
Imagine your diet is a dial, like a volume control knob, with meat and dairy at one end (“0” on the dial) and vegetables at the other. Obviously, no one is at “0” (because we would die if we ate nothing but other animals). Most people, I would guess, are probably somewhere around 4 or 5. Being vegan is just turning the dial all the way up to 11.
We all eat what is in a vegan diet–I just eat a lot more of the good-for-you stuff.
I watched Forks Over Knives again recently. It’s a pretty good documentary explaining the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet (the new, less-intimidating way of saying, “vegan”). I’m especially fond of this movie because it briefly profiles Mac Danzig–mixed martial artist and UFC champ. I really like that it showcases a top-performing athlete (among many others–Prince Fielder and Carl Lewis come immediately to mind).
If you are curious about why vegans are vegan or just want some basic tips on how to eat healthier, then Forks Over Knives is a good entry level film.
The next time you ask somebody about being vegan, consider looking a little deeper into the question of why you’re not. Don’t be scared to look deep; every vegan had to go to the same spot before making such a huge decision. If you are a vegan… the next time someone says, “Oh, I could never do that!”–just ask them why not. The answer, honestly, doesn’t matter. The important part is to get people thinking, and asking themselves.