Why isn't everyone vegan?

Veganite

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Why isn't everyone vegan? I honestly ask myself this question sometimes.

I honestly believe people genuinely fear the unknown. My fear before becoming vegan was losing all those delicious foods I loved so much, but you know what, I love my vegan food way more. It was a slight learning curve for me, and still is for some things. More than anything it's taught me to come out of my culinary shell and try lots of new things....lots of new delicious things. Honestly, if I had known I would feel this good, and enjoy the food as much as I do, I probably would've gone vegan the first time I heard about it. In retrospect, it just seemed so extreme. Now I can't understand why more people don't give it a try.
 
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hopeful

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I think that may be exactly it - it seems "extreme" to a lot of people, and people seem to be afraid that the food will be "weird" or bland. I also think animal products have a somewhat addictive factor. I have heard people say things like, "I could be vegan, but I couldn't live without cheese," of whatever their favorite animal product is. I also have gone out to eat with my non-veggie mother a few times at vegan restaurants. The food has been so good that she has said things like, "With this food, I could be vegan!"
 

Emma JC

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Confusing messages in the media is one of the reasons. I just read today about another doctor promoting that the egg is the best nutrient dense capsule of food and most healthy thing you can eat. 3 years ago I would have said "yeah" and picked up another dozen eggs for the week. We can't expect people to just 'get it' when the messages they receive are so wrong and from most doctors they receive not nutritional input at all.

It takes time, exposure, watching someone set the example.... etc. I also watched a video yesterday from That Vegan Couple and they were at a protest and a very nice girl of about 17 or 18 stopped to give them some water and cups and to have a conversation. Over the course of the conversation Natasha commented that there was no need to drink cow's milk as there are so many plant milks available - the girl had never heard of plant milk, didn't know it existed. There is much work still to do and it is happening one video, one forum post, one example at a time.

Emma JC
 

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it just seemed so extreme.
A conversation in the workplace:

“I am told you are vegan.”

“Umm.”

“I don’t agree with any form of extremism.”

“Me too. Isn’t it shameful the way some people allow animals to be treated so terribly just for purposes of food when there is absolutely no reason to do so?”

Long pause.

“Umm.”
 

Emma JC

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good one!

Emma JC
 
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Nekodaiden

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For me personally, I was curious about it for a long time, but because of certain misconceptions and lack of knowledge in certain areas, I was afraid to completely give up animal products. That, and habit.

Speaking as a single person, I think it was much easier for me to give it a go, not only because of being single, but also because I watched my partner die young from what I now know is heavily attributable to her years of bad eating habits.

I can understand (if not agree) with people who have partners who aren't vegan who won't try it. Shared meals are part of most relationships, and often those wanting to change, or try it, are beset by issues relating to those relationships, as well as the temptation that can arise from them. It takes a strong person to be able to stand up to some personalities, and assert their absolute right to determine what they put into their bodies.
 

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Great comments!

The truth will set you free. I believe education is the key for this new millennia, and especially in this digital age, where agriculture can't hide the truth anymore. I must admit though, it's still a challenge to weed through all the fake news and rhetoric.
 

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walterbyrd

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Why isn't everyone vegan? I honestly ask myself this question sometimes.

I honestly believe people genuinely fear the unknown. My fear before becoming vegan was losing all those delicious foods I loved so much, but you know what, I love my vegan food way more. It was a slight learning curve for me, and still is for some things. More than anything it's taught me to come out of my culinary shell and try lots of new things....lots of new delicious things. Honestly, if I had known I would feel this good, and enjoy the food as much as I do, I probably would've gone vegan the first time I heard about it. In retrospect, it just seemed so extreme. Now I can't understand why more people don't give it a try.

IMO: a critical point that is often missed by vegans, and non-vegans, is the convenience factor, and the social factor.

I have been vegan for four years now. I don't miss eating animal products in the least. But, traveling can be a huge hassle. It can be *very* difficult to eat vegan, or even close to vegan when traveling.

Eating vegan at home is no problem at all. Eating away from home can be a real problem.

Gatherings of friends, family, or co-workers, can be difficult. I don't like having to constantly explain myself, and having to constantly have special food. Restaurants are especially difficult. It gets tiresome to have nothing but side dishes, while everybody looks at you, and wonders what is wrong with you. In my experience: very few restaurants have worthwhile vegan choices.

Some people will make all kinds of crazy assumptions you if you're vegan. Of course, practically all of those assumptions are wrong.

Sometimes I even have to listen to those idiotic arguments, like "if you were stranded on an island with a cow . . ."

Again, I think these are the biggest obstetrical to veganism. And for reason, everybody seems to overlook these issues.
 

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My friends’ medical conditions. There may well be other ailments I am unaware of - there almost certainly will be.
  1. High blood pressure
  2. Erectile dysfunction, heart disease
  3. Arthritis (hip replacement)
  4. Arthritis (knee replacement), heart problems, possible Alzheimer’s
  5. Hypertension
  6. Atrial fibrillation
  7. Prostate cancer
  8. Prostate cancer
  9. Arthritis
  10. Arthritis
  11. Diabetes
  12. Heart disease
  13. Arthritis
  14. Arthritis, asthma, anxiety
  15. Asthma
  16. Back pain, anxiety
  17. Heart disease, arthritis
  18. Crippling arthritis with constant severe pain
In my eighties, I have none of these diseases. My MD gives me a 1 in 100 chance of developing heart disease. Before I became vegan I had quite severe osteoarthritis in my hands, but now I’m completely clear of the disease. All of my friends/relatives have been informed of the positive benefits of a WFPB diet, but only one of these has (almost - he still admits to fish occasionally) gone plant-based. The great majority become uncomfortable if the subject is broached.

What to do?
 

Jamie in Chile

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The older you are the harder it is to change and the more stuck you are in your ways. Let's all of us (that aren't already in our 80s) try and remember this when older.

Also, admitting you made a terrible mistake ALL your life is worse than admitting you made a mistake for a small part of your adult life.

Perhaps it's better to try and convince older people to do vegan half of the time or something and if it works even more - step by step. That is at least good enough for the health benefits perhaps and is better than nothing.

Some of the stories about people going vegan in the latter part of their life are things like: "it was after my second heart attack, as my doctor talked to me about the fact that I would likely die if I ate steak again*, and I recalled the terrible horrifying pain that I began to consider veganism".

OK. Exaggerating a bit.
 
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Nekodaiden

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Among the reasons people won't consider, certain religious beliefs should be mentioned as a contributing factor. A Jewish person, for example may point to the passover lamb and the Talmudic traditions surrounding feasts, and a Christian may point out that in certain passages of the New Testament Jesus ate or provided fish. On the other hand, there are numerous verses that indicate Veganism is and was the preferred way (Genesis diet, Daniel's Diet, some passages in Isaiah and even the Last Supper where no animal products were on offer or Christ's driving out both the money changers and those with animals for sale). The point is, each group (within this particular religious tradition) is going to point to the verses that backs up their position and ignore the others.

Jew: "But the passover..."
Christian: "But Jesus ate/provided fish..." or "Paul taught this..."
Muslim: "But Mohamed taught..."

Is all some people need to ignore all the data on health/environment/sustainability etc and to consider Veganism some sort of "cult" because of it.
 
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You'd think the moral guidance of a supreme being would be a little more consistent.

Corporate control of the food supply is a huge factor. Corporations are legally obligated to maximize their profits and are perpetually in existential conflict with their competitors, which makes ethical behavior impossible for them. They make addictive, unhealthy food then turn around and fund research and advertising to convince us it's healthy, natural, normal, and the animals really don't mind. They lobby the government and buy politicians to secure tax breaks and subsidies and to escape financial responsibility for the environmental consequences, with the combined effect of passing the cost of animal products onto society at large and keeping the consumer's price artificially low compared to plant based foods.

Not to mention all the horrors of factory farming being the result of corporate cost-cutting.

Sure, 100+ years ago food corporations barely existed and most people produced their own food or bought it from within their community, and they still ate animal products. But not anywhere near the rate of modern society, and if they had the benefit of modern nutritional knowledge and the availability and variety of plant-based foods that we have I believe they would have eaten even less.

I believe people are inherently good...their morality doesn't have to be taught to them by society or religion or anything besides their own innate sense of right and wrong. But a lot of people's lives, like those of corporations, are a struggle to survive, and when the mass of civilization is either impoverished or trained to think they are for not having the latest corporate products the moral compass of society at large becomes skewed.
 

Veganite

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I believe people are inherently good.
I believe the same. I don't think a drug addict wakes up in the morning saying "Geez, I'm glad I'm a drug addict", anymore than someone addicted to meat and dairy consciously thinks about the impact they have on their health and the environment, including the animals that suffer as a direct result of the agriculture industry. It's been instilled into our culture and heritage for as long as we can remember. We're on the brink of change though. The time has come, and the truth is slowly getting out there.
 
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rogerjolly

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I don't think ..... someone addicted to meat and dairy consciously thinks about the impact they have on their health and the environment, including the animals that suffer as a direct result of the agriculture industry.
Very true. And many of those who do tend to dismiss their guilt feelings with moral and intellectual inertia. This attitude is neatly summed up by Simon & Garfunkle:

“A man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest”


Roger.
 

Veganite

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@rogerjolly

Too bad there wasn't an "I love it" rating, cause I love that quote. Good one!
 

Nekodaiden

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You'd think the moral guidance of a supreme being would be a little more consistent.
Indeed, if it's presumed that supreme being had a hand in writing a collection of literature (something I believe) but also kept it absolutely pure from corruption and human error and even outright lies (something I don't believe)

To take but one example: There's a whole lot of instructions on animal sacrifices in the Torah that Jeremiah says God didn't even command:

Jeremiah 7- 21Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. 25Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: 26Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

Just like there are contradictory passages in Gospels themselves, and especially between the teachings of Jesus and Paul.

I prefer to think that on some level they are meant to be there and to be recognized. Once something is recognized as something that can be this OR that, but certainly not both at the same time, then a choice has to be made on what to believe just for the simple sake of being intellectually honest.

(on your post) Excellent points on the corporate influence/factor and also how materialism plays a role.
 
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