Offbeat Academia: The vegan monologues

Next time you meet someone who’s vegan, keep a few basic things in mind.

I am from a new “meat-free hippie” generation. Rather, those were the words used – scarcely spoken and in a low voice – by my family and friends to describe everyone following the vegan diet, whether for health or animal rights reasons.

You’ve probably read all about how it starts – veganism that is – and the challenges faced by the people “suffering” from it. It’s true. A cause, like our well-being or a creature’s life, can push us to completely eliminate animal products from our diet. Although, I like to look at it as simplifying our eating habits instead of restricting them.

There are things you should know that a vegan may not be willing to admit. So hear me speak for the entire vegan culture as I relay to you my own dark secrets of this “conscious” lifestyle.
Foremost, like any strange species you may encounter, we are varied.

The first type of vegan who comes to mind is the health-nut. She should probably be the most respected because she accomplishes something most of us cannot: saving other lives while taking care of her own. Most likely, she eats only organic, or tries to. She likes fresh fruits and vegetables, maybe even sprouted grains (the rawer, the better, for your body). Besides meat, dairy and eggs, she doesn’t like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils or Oreos. She does enjoy hikes in the Northwestern part of the country, herbal teas and yoga.

On the other side of the spectrum of veganism is the junk-food vegan. She supplants the chicken and cheese with pretzels, potato chips, candy and soda. If you come over for dinner, she’ll entertain you with frozen Boca patties or burritos and oriental Ramen noodles on the side. Her claim: “I do it for the animals, not myself.” She buys grocery bags made from recycled materials but always forgets to bring them with her. Not one to save money, she prefers trips to 7-Eleven over a restaurant.

Finally, you have the righteous vegan. Her actual diet may fluctuate between the two previous types mentioned, but her politics are always the same: if you eat meat, you’re wrong. She has no tolerance for different opinions or lifestyles because what she is doing is the right thing. Don’t bother going out to dinner with her because you’ll lose your appetite after she spews random and arbitrary PETA facts or shows you pictures of pigs turned inside out. Despite her strong-headed opinions, however, she is the most likely to give in to meaty or milky delights when she’s feeling weak.

Now that you know the different kinds of vegans you may encounter, you will know how to handle any situation. We’re not all the same, and just because we share something does not mean we all like each other.

One major thing to remember about this cause: it’s a sacrifice. Not only do you have to believe in it, you have to act on it, and it affects different aspects of your life tremendously. This distinguishes it a great deal from other causes. For example, feminism only asks you to believe. You don’t necessarily have to hate men or stop shaving to be a part of it. You cannot call yourself a vegan unless you give up animal products (and that means clothing and food, too).

Therefore, one should not be incredibly judgmental if you see us breaking our “vows.” I’ll admit it, I indulge every now and then, usually after I overdraw my checking account or I find out my cat has gingivitis. So if you catch me, I’ll probably say something like, “Cheese is my vice. So what?” or “I’m not a vegan, just a person who eats vegan food sometimes.” We all do it, even if we are too virtuous to say so.

The last thing I want to say to all the omnivores out there is it’s easy to take a jab at someone rather than respect them. So, don’t tell me there’s cow blood in my black bean salad or brag about how tasty your stupid hamburger is – you’re not original. My uncle even thought of that one. It’s like the childhood Golden Rule: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I won’t say anything about your slab of cow flesh if you don’t say anything about my harmless grilled asparagus.

Sarah Sanders can be reached at


  1. “We all do it, even if we are too virtuous to say so.”
    No, as a matter of fact, I don’t. It’s something that at times drives my wife nuts, but I really don’t see non-vegan items as food anymore. It took me one day to go from eating anything—including all types of non-human flesh—to being 100% vegan 100% of the time, and I haven’t looked back. I advocate the cold-tofurkey approach to anyone interested in being vegan. Doing it gradually makes the things you loved to eat the most (ice cream, milk chocolate, eggs, etc.) seem that much greater. If you allow yourself to be disgusted by them, by what they actually are (pus-ridden frozen glandular excretions, despoiled chocolate, chicken periods, etc.) it becomes easy to not even want to eat them.

    As for the so-called vegan “health-nut,” most of these whom I have met became vegan not for the animals, but for supposed health benefits. I find that they are the least likely to stay vegan, or even to actually be vegan while calling themselves that—many eat honey (even though it is actually a very refined carbohydrate and will spike one’s blood sugar).

  2. Directed to the comment left by Ryan. I find it very hard to believe that you went 100% vegan and never looked back. The majority of my friends are vegan and although we try our best to eat little or no animal products it is inevitable. Do you prepare EVERYTHING you eat yourself? Because if you don’t you have assuredly eaten animal products. When your sick and dying grandmother bakes you a batch of cookies but doesn’t completely understand that veganism involves not using butter, do you throw them back in her face? I should hope not. On the day that you decided to go completely vegan did you throw out your leather belts and shoes and replace them with their petroleum-based counterparts (exchanging animal blood for arab blood). Would you rather eat an imported avocado dripping with oil over honey from a local apiary?
    My point is that there is a lot of gray area when it comes to veganism (and most everything for that matter). Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean it is completely washed free of guilt and just because something carries an animal product doesn’t mean it is useless. I try to maintain a mostly vegan lifestyle, but I also work on a situation to situation basis.
    “We all do it, even if we are too virtuous to say so.” I am not too virtuous to say that I occasionally will bend the ‘rules’. So Ryan, are you too virtuous to admit that maybe, while no one was looking, you took a nibble of cheese, sipped some milk or maybe, just maybe, fried an egg?

  3. I’m sorry, but this piece is horribly written, and quite frankly wrong. I am not a health nut, but I am not a junk food vegan. I’m a not a righteous vegan. I’m a normal person, who sometimes eats twizzlers and oreos, but eats a well balanced meal more times than not. I eat out, usually weekly. I think it is more ethical to be vegan, but I can understand it is not for everyone. I don’t eat cheesecake when I’m depressed and hope no one finds out. Does the occassional non-vegan item get past? Of course, I’m human. Do I eat them intentionally, despite knowing what’s in them? No.
    It’d be fine if this was just your take on your personal veganism, but you intentionally say that what you’ve observed is true for all vegans, that we all fall into 3 little boxes. Not cool. Not true.

  4. I think the “Steve Irwin” narration describing the 3 types of vegans was somewhat interesting.

    The self-righteous rant at the end seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the article. If I had to sum up your article in a few lines, it’d sound something like this:

    “So, here’s the 3 types of vegans: the healthnut, the junkfood inhaler, and the super-self righteous types. Oh, and by the way, WE’RE PEOPLE, TOO! RAAAAAAAAAAAAA! RESPECT MEEEEEEE!”

  5. The entire article seems very self-righteous and scathing. I am a meat eater. So what? I wasn’t raised to like a whole lot of foods, and I despise most all fruits and vegetables (due to texture, not taste).

    There has become a divide of snobbishness and elitism between vegans and meat-eaters. It is time we respect differences and let us do as we please.

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