We are the vegans. You will be assimilated.
Perhaps that's a bit harsh, but we all should acknowledge that normally, we vegans are trying to get as many people to stop killing and exploiting animals as possible. In this push to do so, we sometimes forget that not everyone has the ability to go vegan. Some people have health problems, some people don't have access, some people don't have any control over what food they are provided.
Sometimes, we vegans can be really dismissive and angry when people attempt to tell us why they cannot be vegan. I've done this. I thought that people were just making up excuses or lying because they "don't really care about animals". This attitude can scare people away from doing what they can, associating with vegans, getting information from vegans or re-joining the movement after a lapse. I think that all of these things have negative consequences for the nonhuman animals.
I put a call out on tumblr and asked people who have been, want to be and/or currently are vegan about any times that they couldn't be, and what reasons they had. I've copied the responses below and kept all of them anonymous. You may not believe their stories or think that they have a legitimate reason, but I ask you to trust that these people know their own bodies and lives and situations better than you do.
I also ask that instead of blaming individuals who have tried their best, we try to fix the things that have caused them to not be able to be vegan. For example, show friends and family how easy it is to be vegan so that they are more supportive of children or other people in their care's choices. Or try to improve food access however we can by donating to local grassroots organisations that set up things like food gardens. Or organising deliveries of vegan food to people who can't leave their house or access vegan food. Or challenging attitudes that can influence a person's mental health (e.g. media representation of bodies in the case of eating disorders). Or donating to scientific research to help various biological problems. I'm sure there are many more ways that we can improve food access, alternative clothing and the treatment of each other in order to decrease the number of animals being killed and exploited.
From Veganfart on tumblr
In high school at age 16 my Dad made me quit my job and refused to buy me food. I lost a lot of weight and my mom became worried. i was worried. a little over a year into being vegan, I stopped. I ate a snickers out of desperation, and I never really liked those anyway. I nearly threw up it was so rich. I started to eat cheeses and whatever bread was in the house. Never meat again, no eggs, no milk. Pretty much just cheese since the only thing my dad bought was frozen pizza or lasagna. This happened in 2004 in the southeast United States.
It took me almost two years to be at a place where I not only wanted to but could financially afford to be vegan. My main deterrent honestly were militant vegans who told me things like “you were never vegan if you stopped” and “you will never be a vegan again, even if you eat vegan you don't get to use that word”. I finally said screw it and went for it. I've now been meat free for over ten years, and vegan for a majority of that. When I hear those sort of negative vegan comments from others I give it to them good. A person's veganism is their own choice, with their own reasons, and their own journey. To make it a black and white issue pushes others away. What good does that do for animals, for a persons health, for anything except your own ego?
Even if you don't have a reason and just fell off the wagon for giggles, it's okay. If you come back to it, that's what matters. What matters is the times you do devote yourself to the life. Because in those moments you are making a difference.
That's my opinion at least.
From Aliveagaintoday on tumblr
I stopped being a vegan during my pregnancy because my WIC checks wouldn't substitute the dairy and egg products (they did give me soy milk though) & I was too poor to not use them. I'm back to a vegan diet now and so is my 4 year old! :) I never did go back to eating meat though. Only eggs and cheeses, sometimes milk if they couldn't substitute for soy that month. No matter what happens, I don't think I could ever go back to eating meat.
I am in my first semester of away-from-home college and I’m having a horrible time finding a job (~20 applications, 1 rejection, 2 interviews) so I’m relying on my Mom and sister to buy food for me since I don’t have money and that means non-vegan food.
in regards to your "wannabe vegan" thing i want to be vegan and i have been for over a year except for a few days every couple of months when i have to stay with my parents because they disapprove and won't supply vegan food for me so i have to settle for vegetarian but im hoping when i go to uni in a few months time and am fully supporting myself then i will be able to finally be 100% vegan
Hello, I came across your post about ex vegans and I had an issue where I had to stop following a vegan diet because it was becoming dangerous to my health and I really want to go back!
So yeah I can't be vegan because I was diagnosed with anorexia a couple years ago and I'm supposed to stay away from monitoring the food I intake at all, even if it's a psuedo diet, like veganism. ummm I also have a clotting disorder and anemia which means I need to eat at least some red meat.
When I first started, I felt great. For the first 6 months things were really good but as time wore on my health began to deteriorate. I have a mental illness - part of that is disordered eating. Partially from a residual eating disorder as a teenager and partially from my medication destroying my appetite.
Without medication I would spiral out of control, so I couldn't stop taking it for my own wellbeing.
One night I had overdosed on my medication and went to hospital - Not by choice, but because on top of THOSE issues my body has trouble absorbing nutrients as well as processing them. (I'm STILL getting tests done to sort that out.)
They had found that I had lost so much weight from not being able to eat as much as I need to (and subsequently not getting enough calories) that not only was my BMI at 14.9 (The healthy range is around 20) but I had a protein deficiency. Something that when I was vegan, myself and many other vegans would tote around as being "IMPOSSIBLE" to get. "Only 5% of people can even GET THAT!" ... I was the 5% apparently.
I DO NOT blame veganism itself for my failure. It could have happened with any pattern of eating - and I agree with the principals of veganism. I don't feel like I can safely call myself an animal lover - but I do recommend and defend veganism quite regularly and I'm doing my best with the little amount of food I can eat and afford to gain weight back so I can go back to veganism without medical professionals threatening me with readmission to hospital for my disordered eating (It's not fun there. If I was readmitted I'd be eating non-vegan anyway.)
I try my hardest to cut out animal products where I can - I have almond milk in my cereals, try bread crumbs to top casseroles instead of parmesan, get tofu options instead of meat in noodles, nuttelex instead of butter, plain crisps instead of flavored ones, gluten free/dairy free/egg free pasta - that kind of thing.
I eventually plan to get back to veganism, but until then I am trying my best and encouraging those around me to use alternatives and cut out meat from their diets. Just because I can't fully "commit" doesn't mean I can't talk to others about it.
Have a story you want to share?
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