Do you feel that choosing veganism is somewhat elitist?


Plant Muncher

So many people on the planet couldn't make the choice because they have to choose to eat or starve. I realize that choosing veganism for myself actually helps the world's food supply in so many ways not to mention the environment, fresh water savings, and a whole host of other benefits but my individual contribution aside, do you ever find it strange to be so picky about what you eat when so many people would just be happy to eat? Just curious.
Hi P.M.!

This is a great question and I will enjoy reading the responses of others.

For myself, I just started down this path and am still educating my self. I watched the Forks over Knives documentary and decided on the vegan way of eating due to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I am concerned about the factory farming and terrible treatment of animals as well but I admit that I began this for health reasons. I have not yet began to buy vegan clothes, shoes, etc.

As to your post....I don't know that I feel elitist, exactly, by choosing to be vegan. I do sometimes feel embarrassed to be so picky. I try not to be a bother or hassle to anyone while still maintaining my way of eating and I don't make a big deal about it or label myself as such, just to avoid any uncomfortable situations for me or my fellow diners. As you say, being vegan does help the world's food supply in numerous ways, so by choosing to be vegan, I think we are helping the situation which does not lead me to feel elitist.

Again, I'm rather new to this and still sorting out my feelings, perceptions, etc.
Thanks for your feedback Kaliopy. I swear that you are channeling me. I am continually surprised by how many people say that they decided to become vegan after watching some documentary on food (My son calls them vegan propaganda)... Maybe that is a question for another thread.

I too watched a couple of those documentary and came to the same conclusions you did back in January. I have been vegan ever since. I feel great and I am still learning. I don't wish to impact others with my food choice, more lead by example. It is easy on my household, my wife has been vegetarian her entire life and my youngest son is only home summers and is completely on board with eating anything I cook and is actually eager to try some of my more daring food experiments.

The reason for this question was because I have noticed that all the vegans I have ever met fall into the category of white, slightly more females than males, upper middle class, and educated. It sounds kind of elitist when you consider all the privilege that usually goes along with those characteristics.

I hope that there are more responses to consider. I may get some push-back on the "female as privileged" ideal. :)
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Hi PM,
I became vegan because of Dr. Michael Greger. He had lectures that were part of my nutrition curriculum and I couldn't get past all of the research, stats, and knowledge he had about animal products being bad for us. Cancer is very common in my family and I want to make sure that I am setting myself up for the healthiest lifestyle that will keep me on the planet the happiest and longest. I do know people who are "elitist" vegans and I was afraid to tell my friends I was vegan because of it. I work really hard to make people feel like I'm not judging them for their food choices or think I'm more "enlightened" because I'm vegan. I really want other people to become vegan so that they can experience all of the health benefits and realize how much cheaper their food choices can be.

I fall into your "female as privileged" ideal. But, I know plenty of people who are vegan that are not white, female, or upper middle class. I really hope my economic standing doesn't deter people from wanting to live a healthier life. I am a nutritionist and I post food recipes on my website and instagram that are affordable- $10 or less to make (with left over ingredients). I have never thought of being vegan as a privileged diet. I have always thought of it as a way to ensure everyone has food available, returning the environment to its proper state, and healing the global community of unnecessary diseases.
I spend a lot less on food now than I ever did as a carnivore or even as a vegetarian. In fact I spend less on food (and drink) than I did 20 years ago. So obviously I was much more elitist in the past.
I cook much more from raw ingredients - very little from factory produced "products". I eat out very little and when I go to the pub, it's normally for a cup of coffee. I don't trust restaurants. I want to see what goes into my food.