Stop Apologizing for Being Vegan! 3 Tips to Help You Cope With the Critics

Olivia Ryan
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It can be difficult to be a vegan in a non-vegan environment. I mean, it’s easy when we have our online tribe, right? We give each other tips and hints, and constant support that makes us confident that we made the right choice. In non-vegan settings, however, it’s hard being the “different” one.

I don’t have many vegan friends in the real world, and no one in my family is vegan. My aunts especially have voiced their disagreement with my choices. The most common comments I get are:

  • “You must have low iron”
  • “So you’ll have just a salad?”
  • “How can you drink that green thing?”
  • “Why won’t you have a piece of my birthday cake?”
  • “Where do you get your protein?”

 
Despite these redundant comments, I don’t have a problem telling people I’m vegan. However, I noticed something recently about the way I tell people – I often phrase it as an apology for my veganism.
 

“Sorry, I’m vegan.”

 
Sound familiar? But wait. What the hell am I sorry for? I’m not sorry for being vegan, so why am I apologizing for it? Which brings me to my point: we should stop apologizing for being vegan! We’re proud of that choice and there’s nothing wrong with that.
 

Here are 3 Tips to Stop Apologizing For Being Vegan

 

1. Most People Won’t Bother to Understand . . . Move On!

A common reason for going vegan is non-violence, or Ahimsa. It’s one of the Yamas, and it means being kind, compassionate, and non-hurtful to yourself and those around you. While the principle is mainly focused on people, it also includes our environment.
 
As a vegan, we extend the principle of non-harming to animals. We definitely don’t need to apologize for that!
 
My opinion is that when you tell someone you’re vegan, they usually start questioning their own lifestyle, and that can make them uncomfortable. They try to convince themselves they could never be vegan, so they often defend that attitude by attacking you (the vegan) in one way or another. Don’t take it personally!
 
People won’t always understand your choices. Just say that you’re vegan when you need to say it, and stop caring about the opinions of others. When you stop being afraid of the comments you’ll get, you’ll own your decisions and stop apologizing for them.
 
 

2. It’s Not a Big Deal to Bring Your Own Food

At family gatherings and restaurants, the vegan is usually offered a salad while everyone eats a “complete” meal. There are often not many options for you. But since you consciously made this decision, you’re okay with that.
 
You’re not craving cheesy pizza or meat. However, the fact that you’re not eating what everyone else is can make other people uncomfortable. Especially if you’re at someone’s house, the host might feel like they are not welcoming you well. You want to make them feel better, so this situation leads you to that horrible sentence: “I’m sorry, I’m vegan.”
 
Forget that! Ensure the host knows how happy you are to be there, and that you’ve taken steps to ensure you’ve had enough to eat. For a restaurant gathering, check out the menu ahead of time and decide if you need to arrive with a full belly. For a house gathering, bring your own food for yourself or, better yet, to share!
 

 

3. Set Ground Rules

Saying you’re sorry that you’re vegan isn’t necessary. Even when sorry is just a part of your vocabulary, it still defies the purpose of being a vegan. Instead of trying to make other people more comfortable when being around you, you could simply set some ground rules.
 
For example, if discussion of meat makes you uncomfortable, make the request that people don’t discuss meat with you. Don’t worry – you won’t offend anyone. You’re just living your best life, just like everyone else is.
 
But trust me on this one: there’s no point in getting into heated discussions. If someone is genuinely interested in veganism, talk about it with them and maybe you’ll inspire them to try it. But if you’re dealing with aunts like mine, just ignore the comments. It helps keeps everyone civil!
 

Be Proud of Who You Are and Stop Apologizing For It!

Be who you are, and be proud of yourself. Whether other people will accept us or not is not up to us, so we should never alter our lives to please others. Our goal is to stay strong on this vegan journey.
 
Sometimes we just have to focus on our own contributions towards a kinder world, and we should definitely stop apologizing for them!

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Olivia Ryan

Olivia is an incurable optimist who always sees the glass as half-full. She likes nature, knows how to enjoy silence and is keen on writing for various websites as well as for Aussie writing service. Meet her on Facebook and Twitter.

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