Remember this article? As per numerous polite suggestions from my beloved omni friends, it was requested I write an antipodal article from the omni perspective. As a vegan, I, of course, do not think I say anything annoying, so I had to do some field research on this one. Here are some annoying things vegans say to omnivores, what they may be trying to convey, and what they should say instead.
Randomly telling someone the Gummi Bears they are eating are not vegan is offering unsolicited information, and the omni probably does not care because they already live an omnivore lifestyle (and they love gummy bears). Maybe you were just sharing a fun fact? Maybe you were trying to share something personal about yourself? Either way, you will catch more flies with agave syrup than you will with vinegar.
Vegan Rephrase: “What flavor is the white Gummy Bear? I was just curious because I actually do not eat Gummy Bears since they are not vegan.”
“Let’s go to Vegan Hut for dinner (again).”
While vegan restaurants probably suit your lifestyle perfectly, they can be a little limiting to an omnivore who is really craving a chicken caesar salad. This is not to say that omni friends/loved ones will not occasionally eat vegan cuisine (omnis may even end up loving baked seitan with a side of yucca mash and mushroom compote), but try finding an equilibrium and suggesting restaurants that serve an array of both omnivore and vegan dishes like Mexican food restaurants, Thai food restaurants, etc.
Vegan Rephrase: “You and I both love that Mexican/Thai/Chinese/Ethiopian/Japanese/Mediterranean/Etc. place around the corner. Would you want to go there for dinner?”
“That bloody steak looks disgusting.”
Some may argue that there is a delicate balance between sharing your beliefs with others, a sincere desire to influence change, and being a disruptive jerk. Omnis know meat comes from slaughtered animals – no need to remind them or interrupt a meal they are enjoying. Look away, enjoy your sesame tofu with vegetable fried rice, and be satisfied and proud that you are living vegan. Remember, a lifestyle change lasts longer when it is a person’s self-motivated decision rather than a product of guilt.
Vegan Rephrase: “I sometimes get uncomfortable with the sight of meat. I hope you are not offended, but I am going to sit over here instead. Let’s catch up over coffee later?”
“Your omelet has a soul.”
This often comes up in the vegan vs. vegetarian debate. Although the vegan policy on eggs is clear, you might want to consider egg-eating vegetarians as part of our meat-free family and grant them a seat at the breakfast table since, at the very least, they will not be eating bacon and sausage (which is two thirds of the battle). Go easy on your diet-like cousins.
Vegan Rephrase: “As a vegan, I do not eat eggs, but I am interested in hearing your take on the debate.”
“How can you drink that milkshake? You’ve stolen nourishment from a baby.”
You are passionate and zealous about your vegan lifestyle, but that does not mean you can realistically expect everyone around you to be vegan (at least not overnight) nor that you should isolate yourself from non-vegans. The bleeding heart card may work on some, but will make many not want to eat with you. Because eating is often a social and bonding activity, if you care to keep a congenial relationship with the dairy drinker, it’s best to pick your battles.
Vegan Rephrase: “As a vegan, I do not consume any dairy products, but I am interested in hearing your take on the debate.”
“I can’t eat that.”
While your devotion to your vegan lifestyle is admirable, you may unintentionally advertise it as fussy and onerous sometimes. If someone brings in a store-bought dairy and egg-filled white cake for a coworker’s birthday, just politely decline a piece; you won’t be the only one (for a plethora of reasons, e.g., dieting, diabetes, lactose intolerance) abstaining.
Vegan Rephrase: “Thank you for offering, but I’d prefer not to have any.”
“I’ll bring a vegan dish.”
They know. They invited you to the potluck and asked everyone to contribute something. Because you are vegan, they assume you will be bringing vegan food. Marketing it is redundant and unnecessary. Just seamlessly offer to bring a (vegan) dish as an ordinary potluck guest.
Vegan Rephrase: “Thanks for inviting me! I’m so excited!”
“I bet you didn’t know this was vegan.”
Maybe they did not, but who cares? It’s delicious, and they are gobbling it up. Revel in that!
Vegan Rephrase: Absolutely nothing!
As always, thank you for reading with an open mind and continuing to respect and coexist with your fellow man.