The number of people becoming vegan around the world has been growing rapidly for several years. In some countries, the percentage of vegans is exploding. With this explosion has come a disproportionate increase in conflict and confusion around the topic. This blog will endeavour to shed some light on this contentious subject, by looking at the various internal and external factors behind why people become vegan - and how this reflects in their attitude and behaviour.
Thirty years ago, very few people knew what the word vegan meant. Today, the word is so common it is practically a household word. What the word represents has been the basis of many wars of words and clashes of intellects. However, these problems are mainly due to the fact that being vegan can mean very different things to different people.
To most people, veganism is not just a dietary choice. It is also a complete lifestyle, where they avoid using anything that is made using animal products, such as leather, silk, fur, and products tested on animals. They also avoid anything involving animals, such as zoos, horse racing, and even owning pets. Many of these choices are not hard to understand, but being able to define exactly why people turn vegan can help put the whole topic into perspective.
There are 10 main reasons why an individual will choose to be vegan:
1. Health Benefits - to improve overall health or eliminate the impact consuming animal products has on maintaining optimal health
2. Nutrition - understanding that a plant based diet is much better in terms of nutritional content
3. Avoidance of dis-ease - the fact that many animal products are laced with toxic chemicals, packed with artificial hormones, and full of harmful micro-organisms
4. Animal cruelty - preventing, reducing and eliminating the suffering of animals while on farms, during transportation (live export), and in abattoirs, zoos and domestic settings
5. Honouring the Oneness of Spirit - knowing that all living forms are the One Spirit, or the conscious awareness that all living beings are the Self in another form
6. Reverence for all Life - a religious reverence for all living creatures, honouring the fact that all living things are sentient beings
7. Environmental Conservation - the devastating impact of the animal industry is having on all the ecosystems around the world
8. Health Conditions - veganism is seen to support people who are seeking to cure a dis-ease, prevent allergies, lose weight, reduce the risk of heart ailments etc.
9. Social reasons - some people may inspired by their family, partner or friends to make the change, or they were born into an environment that supports the vegan diet/lifestyle
10. Financial reasons - people in some regions of the world may find a plant-based diet more affordable without the expenses of looking after animals, or processing, transporting and storing the products
Now that you are aware of these factors, you will be able to understand the hearts and minds of all vegans. You will also be able to discern the thoughts and feelings of most non-vegans. For example, when people ask why someone is vegan, they will usually frame their question around one or more of these factors, for example: “Are you vegan for health or spiritual reasons?” Whenever I am asked why I am vegan, I usually answer, “For every reason you could ever imagine.”
There are many factors that have influenced our individual perceptions, which then determine our Hierarchy of Values. We nearly all grow up to develop the beliefs purported in our culture. Addressing these often deeply ingrained beliefs can be extremely confronting when trying to understand the vegan perspective and approach to life. The biggest issue that most vegans realise is the complete lack of awareness that all living creatures are sentient beings. The inability to perceive this leaves most of humanity void of compassion for the animals. They may come in contact with pets and some wildlife, and feel all warm and fuzzy, but follow this experience with a meal containing animal products.
In my book The Nature of Life, I explain all the factors that make up an individual’s perspective of reality. The combinations between the Top-down and Bottom-up Perspective of Reality, together with The Conscious and Dualistic Perspective of Reality, lead to an infinite number of diverse theories and philosophies about life. This is why it would be almost impossible to find any two people who share the exact same beliefs about every facet of life. This fact carries over into the vegan community.
All of our core beliefs are based on our perspective of reality, which determines whether we are acting upon our reasoning, or consciously living our Truth. Reasoning is based on intellectual concepts and understandings, which means we can possibly develop stubborn opinions, or be easily swayed by the others’ opinions. Living consciously means you have a great sense of purpose, which supports a deep feeling of equanimity. Therefore, when vegans have expanded their consciousness to embrace all living creatures, they automatically develop a true and powerful sense of purpose. They can then consciously share this experience with all other vegans.
Many vegans become activists for animals rights and welfare, and do it in a remarkably eloquent and articulate way. There are many brilliant speakers and presenters who paint a very real and honest picture of the significant issues the world faces due to a non-vegan way of living. The internet is full of outstanding material produced by these warriors of Truth.
There are, of course, many egoic reasons why an individual will be vegan. These people are often the cause of all the conflict and confusion, because they are not coming from a place of genuine humility and love. There is a relatively small number of fundamentalists who insist on preaching to and badgering non-vegans. They are often just following the trend with a compensatory need to be ‘special’, or driven by a deeper sense of superiority. It is important everyone realises their obnoxious behaviour is equally repulsive to other vegans, as they give everyone else a bad name and taint the overall spirit of the movement.
There are some even more obnoxious ex-vegans who are full authoritarianism. It is based on their own negative experience while being vegetarian or vegan. Many proclaim they tried to be a vegan but got too sick or didn’t have any energy. They have little to no true understanding of health and proceed to aggressively deny that a vegan or vegetarian diet has any place. The stupid thing is that most practitioners are oblivious to the Truth as well. I will cover all the health aspects of a vegan diet and lifestyle in a future blog, but for now, we will continue revealing why some people struggle with the whole concept.
One of the biggest issues people face when exploring the vegan approach is the conflicting science supporting both sides. There are diabolically opposed views on nearly every topic within this subject. This can be extremely confusing and upsetting for people wanting to make an informed decision. There are the usual amounts of ignorance and arrogance on both sides of what is often an argument. However, when you consider all the evidence that is free of the biased information and propaganda from the underbelly of society - the medical/ pharmaceutical/ military/ industrial complex - the answers are immediately obvious, self-evident, undeniable, and indisputable. However, it seems very few are genuinely open and willing to get to the true heart of the matter.
It is essential to remember why most people lack genuine receptivity, and meet anything new with an unhealthy amount of skepticism. Nearly everyone is born into a culture that indoctrinates them with prejudice and bias - not just towards animals, but other races, cultures, and even classes within their own culture. Therefore, the hideous mindset that many have towards animals is very difficult to break, because it is so deeply embedded into their culture. They can’t ever be judged or blamed, because they simply don’t see any need to question this element of their reality.
This also explains a lot of the ignorance and arrogance within converts. It starts when they forget that they themselves, and all the vegans they know, have probably not always been vegan - and it was perhaps only a relatively short time ago they weren’t. Like most people, they may have never thought of it as being an issue until they were exposed to what triggered their awakening and the change to veganism.
I trust this blog has provided you with clarity around what being a vegan stands for. This topic is guaranteed to be an ongoing issue within our society. So, it is best that everyone puts aside all their prejudice and bias and look for ways of genuinely coming together as a race. Like I said, the answers are obvious to anyone who truly cares to look for them. But ultimately, we all need to start by embracing just one simple natural lore - Do No Harm.
Love and Light
Brian Gerard Schaefer :)
If you want to know more about how to live consciously, read my eBook THE NATURE OF LIFE: How to remain at Peace while living in the modern world. Click on the link below to purchase your copy now.
Brian Gerard Schaefer is an author and a self-educated wholistic natural therapist, specialising in kinesiology, myopractic, spiritual counselling, diet and nutrition. He presents seminars and workshops on healing, kinesiology, meditation and personal development.