Living a vegan lifestyle is easy. Being a vegan in today's society is the hard part. In no way do I mean any disrespect to other minorities when I say this, but I now have a much greater understanding of the hardship that some people are going through in this world. Now a vegan is only like a thousandth of a percentage that some races or creeds of people have had to endure through the years, but that small taste that I have gotten has opened my eyes more than any speech or video on the subject of prejudice could ever do.

When I came out vegan, I was expecting many congratulatory statements from friends and relatives. "Good for you Tim" "You're the man" "Awesome". Wow was I wrong. I was immediately hit with harsh criticism and concern for my sanity. Sure I had some people say some of those good things, but for the most part I found myself having to answer insane questions and defend myself for going vegan. It was as if people wanted me to apologize for making this choice, as if it is wrong. So I answered what I could with the knowledge that I had gained by reading numerous books, articles, and studies on the health benefits, environmental impact, and deplorable treatment of animals. I had an answer for every question, but still they came at me with more questions...soon the questions started to become redundant and idiotic. I realized that some were just trying to get me to slip or say something "offensive" so they can call me out. As if I am doing this to challenge them or something.

After a while, I laid low...I made a post here and there about what I was eating or an article I found interesting, but for the most part I kept quiet. Soon, outings with friends became somewhat uncomfortable events. I had to answer many of the same questions as before, which I didn't mind, but by this time I was becoming more passionate about veganism and the movement. And once a person becomes passionate about something or someone, they want to tell the world. So I would tell everyone all about it when I was given a chance to express my beliefs. This "soapboxing" did not go over too well with many of them. I soon found myself knee deep in several drama episodes on various social outlets. It would usually begin with me making a post about something I read about, such as the treatment of dairy cows and how disgusting and unhealthy dairy is for humans. This would then turn into a long drawn out argument.. The more involved I got into the movement, the more I felt shunned. I found myself getting into arguments with my friends that I never would fight with. Rarely would others, except my girlfriend, take my side. I never once called anyone out or said that what they were eating was wrong. I simply posted articles that I found and expressed the joy I felt in eating this new way. I still feel that way too. Becoming a vegan is not something that can be thrust upon another individual. They must make that decision for themselves, however I do feel the need to speak on behalf of those that don't have voices. I will offer up the argument and showcase all the benefits of living animal free to anyone if I get the chance. On line I found more people just really wanted me to shut up about things. I guess when you show someone the truth, it can make some people feel guilty about their own choices and rather than change...they lash out and want you to apologize for making them feel that way.

The more I spoke about the subject, the more distant those around me became. Conversations became less frequent and some individuals even unfriended me online. I have since toned down my attitude around everyone, but the stigma still remains. From day one of coming out vegan, my world changed forever. I got a taste of what it feels like to be a minority and I hate that feeling. Is it enough for me to throw it all away and go back to the fold and pretend, like so many millions of others, that there is this magical place where hamburgers are made in the cleanest and most compassionate way possible? NO! My eyes have seen the truth, the horrors that man is capable of. Millions of animals die horrible, painful deaths every year so are bellies can grow a little larger. Those consuming dairy don't want to believe that they are drinking a toxic sludge full of blood, puss and an ungodly amount of chemicals and antibiotics. I have seen the truth, I am forever changed because of it. It is sad when people ignore me or unfriend me, but I'm not going to change my ways to suit anyone. If they can't understand and respect that I am simply trying to live as healthy and compassionately as possible, I really don't know where they should fit in my life at this point. Those that truly know and understand me, know that I do not have a hateful bone in my body. I treat everyone with respect and do my best to never judge people. Hence living compassionately. I think there are a lot of misguided and confused people out there, that really have no idea where their food comes from and I want to help them to understand the truth. For those that do know and don't want to be bothered or hate feeling uncomfortable/guilty, I will not apologize for my statements or your feelings. If you choose to ignore me that is your choice. If you come after me to try and get me to slip up, know that I have acquired quite a bit of knowledge on every aspect of the industry and I will answer you with the cold hard facts and truths.

Being a vegan is a complete reorder of your entire life. It was not something I just leapt into because my girlfriend wanted me to do it. This has been building for quite some time. I am enjoying all the healthy benefits of this change. I feel amazing. Mentally my mind is guilt free because I know that I am actively taking part in making the world a better place without harming other creatures. I'm loving life and living it to its fullest. Sharing in this venture with me is my girlfriend, Stephanie. We are both learning to shop, cook and live plant based. I am the more militant vegan between the two of us, but I respect her beliefs as much as she respects my own. We are happy and deeply committed to each other and to the movement. It just feels damn good and I am very proud to call myself a vegan! :-)

Namaste

Posted by Tim Cleary on Monday, February 27, 2012
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2 comments

  1. Tim,

    I have to say I really admire you and Steph for this lifestyle change. I am really glad that you post and blog because both of you are helping me and educating me. I know that I will never be vegan and probably never be a vegetarian either, but I am attempting a healthier eating lifestyle. The information that I gather from what you post does help me in this. My lunches are meat free currently and I'm looking into some meatless meals that I can convince my husband and 4-yr-old to eat. Thank you for your posts and I hope more people we support you rather than hinder you in your lifestyle.

    Thanks,
    Kristin

     
  2. Shaheen Says:
  3. I' really admire your transition to a vegan diet, I am vegetarian and don't know if I could ever make that change, but I won't say never. Good luck

     

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