Smackdown: Meat Eaters vs. Vegans

Tim Ebl

The war between meat-eaters and vegans can shove off

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I stopped eating animal-based products over a year ago. It seemed like the right thing to do.

I was having trouble digesting milk products. The doctor told me I was lactose intolerant, and I was on the fence about meat. The movie The Game Changers pushed me over the edge, and I went plant-based shortly after.

That was October 2019. It’s a decision that, for the most part, I stick to, although it’s hard for me sometimes. I might have slipped on occasion.

For the first few months, I jumped on that Vegan bandwagon. Imagine an oilfield worker going meat-free! I hit some rough patches there. Construction guys love their meat and hate people that are different.

It wasn’t long before I realized I didn’t want to be a vegan, and I probably never will. The word vegan means something to most people that I want nothing to do with.

Tell Anyone You’re Vegan And They Treat You Like You’ve Got Infectious Skin-Eating Disease.

No one can live and let live.

I wasn’t prancing around shoving pamphlets down people’s throats or actively trying to convert the entire world to my viewpoint. It just comes up when people notice you aren’t scarfing down chicken wings and steaks like everyone else.

I stopped bringing animal products in my lunch, and guys noticed right away. And when I ordered a salad instead of a burger, I got questioned.

“I’m only eating plant-based foods.”

“Oh. You’re one of those…” Nose curled up, and brows come together. Here come the attacks.

“You’ll never get enough protein!”

“It’s natural for humans to eat meat. We’re like lions. Fight me!”

“What do you eat, grass?”

“Why don’t you hug that tree before you pick those leaves for supper?”

All this negative energy, even though I didn’t volunteer my food preferences. I didn’t tell anyone at work about what I was doing, because frankly, it was no one’s business.

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Both Sides Want To Recruit Me or Kill Me

Everyone else has issues with my personal food choices. It just won’t go away. They’re like a pitbull on a chew toy. If I visit family, it isn’t okay to eat what I want to eat separately from them. It has to become a huge deal.

I took my parents out for lunch one day. As we were walking into Mollie’s, a local cafe, my 87-year-old dad stopped at the door and said, “I hope they’ve got grass on the menu!” and laughed as he went in. Aren’t parents fun?

At one extended family function, a couple of vegan-haters called various names because I didn’t eat meat. This is what they “jokingly” said to me, all because I wasn’t slavering over their whole pig roasted in a pit:

  • Leaf licker (this one seems pretty insulting)
  • Tree hugger (? I don’t get it)
  • Bambi lover (not really a fan of interspecies sex, thanks)
  • Meat dodger (okay, true…)

All this because someone realized I was preparing my own food separately instead of grabbing sliced pig with the rest of them. I made zero comments about their choices. They came after me.

I didn’t fight back. I just laughed along and ate my baked potato, pasta salad, and Beyond Burger. But it was hurtful.

The Meat Eaters Think I’ve Gone to the Wimpy Dark Side

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“Oh, so you’re one of those…”

I’ve heard it all, and I’m sick of talking about it with people that are low on facts or common sense. Some meat-a-tarians tell me that eating meat is the only normal, healthy way to live. They unkindly inform me I will surely die soon if I don’t change my ways. I can pull off my insane dietary experiment for a while until I get sick and wither away.

I’ll get the no-meat scurvies!

“Look at this Blood Type Diet chart. Can’t you see that for your blood type, you need red meat for every meal, including third breakfast? It’s a fad diet, so it can’t be wrong!”

“God created lambs specifically for us to slaughter and eat. It says so in this book written by ancient man. Same with cows. Why do you want to go against God?”

Then there’s another group of carnivores who are afraid of offending me. They walk around on eggshells because they think I’ll attack with a political vegan rant. These constantly check in to make sure they don’t screw up by allowing me to smell the faint odor of cooked meat.

And heaven forbid I see them eating it. They would rather not invite me than take the chance that I’ll try to take away their birthday because they dismembered a chicken for supper.

But I’m not interested in spreading discord, thanks. I’m striving to be harmless, not harmful. I want to lead by example, not exposition.

Some Vegans Think I’m a Weak Pretender Who Won’t Fight for the Animals

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Well, I guess they're partly right. But that’s my business. I can eat mostly plant-based, save some animals and be a good role model. That’s enough for me.

It isn’t enough for them, though.

The vegans I’ve met think I should be “an active, vocal champion for animals.” They also feel that I’m too loose with my food requirements. They want me to be all or nothing. I don’t think that’s even possible unless I grow everything myself.

I don’t want to argue all the time about this. I want to enjoy food, be healthy, and live a long, productive life. I’m not into crusading.

I’m striving to be harmless, not harmful.

Sure. Factory farming and animal cruelty are terrible things. And I’m taking actions in my personal life to support change.

I’m voting with my dollars for sustainable and healthy foods. I’m choosing veggie-based meals at restaurants, which will encourage them to come up with more options. I’m making positive choices that don’t support those industries.

Militant action against the meat industry doesn’t seem effective anyway. If it were, for sure by now, there would have been changes, right? The Vegan Society was founded in 1944. But humanity raises and kills more animals than ever.

Apparently, only half of one percent of the US population is vegan. So, the vegan campaign isn’t a resounding success. It might have something to do with their approach.

Vegans Have a Reputation For Being Jerks

Admit you’re a vegan, and everyone will have to feel bad because of your shiny, perfect example.

Guilt is a terrible motivator, and people don’t respond well to it. Some vegans become walking guilt trips that shove meat in your face while saying, “Bad human, bad human!”

All of you friendly, happy vegans out there need to become more visible. Because the word vegan doesn’t mean happy, well-adjusted person I’d like to be friends with. For most of society, it’s something cold, dark, and scary instead.

Meat Eaters and Vegans, Lay Off Me!

It’s none of your business if I decide to eat plant-based 97% of the time.

I don’t need to make this all or nothing. Health-wise, some animal products won’t hurt me and might even help me. But I don’t need them all the time.

I agree that animal cruelty and farm factory situations are terrible. Brutal, horrible things are going on in slaughterhouses, feedlots, and chicken coops. These inhuman acts shouldn’t happen. And I can see that raising fewer animals would be good for the environment, cut back on land usage, and require less freshwater.

I would love humanity to evolve and be healthier and less cruel to the creatures around us. But none of these things changed my food habits.

Guilt and Shame Aren’t Effective Food Motivators

I went to a plant-based whole food eating plan because it made sense to me. I saw others using it who were healthy, happy, and guilt-free.

Like most people, I rebel against anyone that tells me what to do using shame or guilt. So the approach of the plant-based crowd won me over without strife.

Lead by example and communicate in a friendly manner. That’s what it would take to change the way everyone sees vegans. The other approach isn’t working anyway.

If all we knew were vegans who were open, friendly, and inclusive, maybe society would hear their words.

Right now, if you aren’t a level five vegan, you’re looked down on by a certain portion of the vegan world. Even if you’re 99% compliant with their rules, you’re not good enough.

This kind of divisive, childish behavior limits the amount of change they will ever have in the world.

End Thoughts

I think everyone else should consider eating less meat and more plants. I do want to see an end to animal cruelty and factory farming.

But I won’t be in anyone’s face about it.

If this article has you all fired up, by all means, call me names. Just ask yourself what good it does to be harmful instead of harmless. Will insults change my mind or the world?

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I'm an author, yoga enthusiast, and meditation instructor. I spend a lot of time outdoors with activities like running, hiking and camping. My writing is all about the humorous side of life and personal growth, habits ,mindfulness, and outdoor adventures.

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