If you are health conscious, or a vegan, or a health-conscious vegan, you know all too well the daily struggle that accompanies your food choices. If you are a female, you might be familiar with the need to be a people please-er and apologize for causing any inconveniences. I happen to be all of the above! A people-pleasing, health-conscious vegan, who constantly feels the need to apologize because females are expected to be either a) demure or b) un-opinionated in our society.
Eating with others (whom I don’t know well), ordering at restaurants or having people over for meals is pretty difficult for me. I always feel the need to explain or apologize for my choices even though I know what I am doing is right for me!
This is my un-apology. I am not sorry for choosing to be vegan and eat healthfully, even if it means I inconvenience my fellow diners! This phenomenon highlights how successfully the big food industries have brainwashed everyone…I have to go against the grain and fight social disapproval for a salad untainted by cheese or croutons, and then apologize for it!
It may not seem like a big deal, but for years I have dealt with being the odd one with “weird” eating habits. I always feel guilty when other people feel the need to accommodate for my diet, even though I constantly tell them not to! As a successful vegan, I know how to adapt to pretty much every situation, and no one needs to change anything for me! I’ve also endured remarks about how my food looks, or about my diet being just “rabbit food”, always implying that it is disgusting or unappetizing. Lastly, we’ve all heard the joke, “How can you tell if someone is vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.” (Ha-ha.) These remarks may seem harmless, especially because most of the ribbing (no pun intended!) comes from my meat-loving brother and father, and from my non-vegan friends.
Changing your diet is not the hard part of being a vegan, enduring other’s criticism and remarks is much more difficult. Our current food environment has made it easier to make terrible dietary choices, and really really hard to make health promoting choices. Something is definitely wrong if I feel the need to apologize for not consuming animals or junk food, and am made to feel weird for eating 3 plates of vegetables from the salad bar. (Hey, when you eat whole food fruits, vegetables, and grains, you can eat till you are stuffed!)
Two fish are swimming along, an older fish swims by and asks, “Hey boys, how’s the water?” A few moments later, one of the two fish turns to the other and asks, “What’s water?”
We have become so inundated with “health” information paid for by the meat and dairy industries and from large food companies that we don’t even realize that catch-phrases like “Beef, it’s whats for dinner” or “Got milk?” or “The incredible, edible egg!” are all advertisements paid for by the industry, not factual scientific information. Independent scientific research consistently finds that meat, dairy, and eggs are NOT good for building strong bones or preventing osteoporosis. Animal products are not a good source of viable protein, eating them won’t make you strong or healthy. There is, in fact, a correlation between high intakes of dairy products and increased osteoporosis in industrialized countries. There is also a correlation between excessive animal protein consumption and increased incidences of breast, prostate, and colon cancer. Also, the top causes of mortality and morbidity in the U.S. are heart disease (heart attack, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, etc.), stroke, cancer, diabetes…and they are all caused by consuming too much fat, sat. fat, cholesterol, and sodium, all of which come neatly packaged in animal products. Any scientific study that comes out in favor of consuming animal products was most likely funded by the USDA (responsible for making profits from meat and dairy, corn and soy), the meat or dairy industry, or the American Egg Board.
Most people don’t have time to conduct their own research and dissect and understand scientific findings. Knowing who to trust is difficult, especially when many people in our own govt. agencies have perverse conflicts of interests and benefit from keeping consumers in the dark about their food. People only have time for the ads they glimpse on the street, or see on TV or in magazines. None of that is scientifically sound information, but sadly that’s where most Americans get their nutrition advice.
I don’t apologize for not being a drone, I seek out my own information and I recognize the difference between true science and paid for advertising. I feel so different because I am not trapped in the eat junk- get fat/sick-go on a diet-go see a doctor cycle that fuels junk food companies, the weight loss industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and contributes to our nation’s ballooning healthcare costs. I will not be puppet-ed around by propaganda. I am responsible for being proactive about my health and not reactive.
Did you Know?
- Only a handful of big companies own your food: we are made to think we have a plethora of choices, but in reality 80% of what we eat is controlled by a select few parent companies.
- “Natural” and “whole grain” claims on packaged food mean nothing, there is no FDA standard for “natural” and as long as there is some whole grains, then the claim can be made on the box 😦 Labels like these are used to distract the consumer.
- Popular food companies have learned their marketing strategies from Big Tobacco, their tactics include funding favorable research and lobbying politicians.
- The excessive use of pesticides is shocking. For example, Roundup (from Monsanto) is doused on fields of wheat a few days before harvest because it is easier to harvest the withered, dead plants.
- Food companies lobby politicians, head govt. agencies like the FDA and USDA, and market to children in schools!
Source: “9 Hidden Facts the Food Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know” Livestrong, Oct. 10, 2014. “The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (it’s not the gluten)” The Healthy Home Economist, Nov. 13, 2014.
As a vegan, I am made to feel like an “extremist”, a crazy left-wing, animal loving, tree hugging hippie. Supposedly I am weak and subsist on a diet of twigs and leaves….the harmful misconceptions that perpetuate about veganism are simply other ways for the meat and dairy industry to continue to rake in the profits by convincing consumers that they need to eat animals.
Am I really extreme? No, I’m educated. Am I weak? My last marathon time doesn’t indicate that I am. My biggest problem is that I am not “getting with the program” and cooperating by eating animals and processed junk foods, and thus not lining their pockets with cash.
I’m not sorry for that!