I’ve been vegan for about two years now and it’s a decision that I’m happy I made. It was a trajectory I had been on for awhile having been vegetarian for about five years before that and pescatarian before that. My choice to completely cut animal products out of my diet and out of my life was first and foremost for ethical reasons; the health and environmental benefits are also important to me but I did it for the animals.
Of course, being vegan also comes with a lot of assumptions from other people about who you are and how you live your life. Some of them are ridiculous and not particularly offensive, and some of them are nasty or just kind of stupid.
So if you’re planning on going vegan, here are some common assumptions you can anticipate people will make about you:
- That you’re super healthy or that all you eat is salad. I’ve had people who are trying to lose weight or be healthier ask me what I eat because they assume my veganism means I’m a health nut. I’m not saying I eat unhealthy, but I do eat a lot of bagels and I never say no to some good vegan ice cream. And sure I love salad, but I don’t eat it every day.
- While some people may assume that you’re the healthiest person in the world, there’s also going to be people who think you’re malnourished because of your vegan diet. This one is pretty annoying if I’m being honest but I usually try to ignore it. Be prepared for the “where do you get your protein?” question constantly from those kinds of people. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell them there are other ways to get protein, they’re still probably going to think you’re sickly. Try not to take it personally.
- Some people are going to assume that you’re a super judgmental, preachy vegan. And maybe you are, but there’s this stereotype about us being judgmental and mean to omnivores. Honestly, I’m more likely to be mean to you if you come at me with the assumption that I’m trying to push my lifestyle on you. Of course it would be nice if more people went vegan, but I’m not here to judge you and your choices. Everyone is on their own journey and it’s not up to me to tell you how to live. I try to put compassion into every aspect of my life.
- And probably the most infuriating thing people will assume about you is that because you care about animal welfare, you don’t care about the suffering of other humans. I hate this one. I don’t think we should ever belittle the good someone is trying to do because there’s other bad things happening in the world. I also think that veganism usually leads to making other ethical changes like boycotting fast fashion, buying local produce, going zero waste, etc. I think this assumption/accusation is a way for people to try to make themselves feel better about not making the ethical choice a vegan has made. No one wants to be made to feel like they’re not making the right choices and I think sometimes vegans can make others uncomfortable just by being vegan. A way for people to gain some power over you and make themselves feel better, is by finding some other ethical flaw you may have. It’s unfair but it’s important to remember that it’s not a reflection of you, but of them. They’re on their own journey and you’re not responsible for their feelings.
Don’t let any of this dissuade you from making the change to a vegan diet and lifestyle. People will always make assumptions about you, but that should never influence the decisions you make about your life. Do what is best for you and what aligns with your values and try not to worry about how other people perceive you; their opinions don’t matter as much as your opinion of yourself.
If you’re vegan, what are some things people have assumed about you? Leave them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.