One of the most trying elements of being vegan doesn’t have anything to do with the diet or lifestyle. No, the most frustrating thing about being vegan is having to deal with people who eat meat. Most vegans can attest to being made fun of or being forced into ridiculous, belligerent arguments.
Not to mention, most people might now be very concerned about your protein intake.
Of course, to a certain degree, such behavior is to be expected. Historically, anyone steering away from social norms has been ridiculed or shunned to a certain degree. So, why should it be any different with people going on a plant-based diet?
For the longest time, vegans have been willing to accept this burden. It was enough to know that you were doing the right thing, so it was relatively simple to let the insults and jokes roll off of you. Now, however, things have taken an interesting turn.
How Certain Terms May Be Repelling Omnis
It is becoming increasingly important for the global population to cut down on their meat consumption. UN experts say that switching to a plant-based diet can have a positive impact on climate change. This means that convincing people to make a drastic diet change is more vital than ever before.
On the one hand, this task should be easier than it was several years ago. For one thing, a greater number of people can appreciate the health and climate benefits of a plant-based diet. For another, an increase in faux meat has made such a diet a great deal more palatable as well.
So, why are some people still balking at going vegan?
Well, a part of the problem could be the term “vegan” itself. Within the vegan community, this is a proud and noble title. To the rest of the world, however, this word can still hold a multitude of negative connotations.
One study showed that the term was associated with words such as restrictive, weak, faddist, and hippie. And, around 35 percent of consumers admitted that they found the word vegan unappealing. It also appears that this goes beyond just individuals.
Supermarkets discovered that once they removed words such as vegan and meat-free from labels, the sales went up. For instance, Sainsbury renamed their Meat-Free Sausage and Mash as Cumberland Spiced Veggie Sausages and Mash and enjoyed a 76 percent increase in sales!
What to Use Instead
These same experts found that “plant-based” is a far more acceptable term. This is true for a few different reasons. To begin with, plant-based entered the mainstream vernacular once vegetarianism and veganism became more popular.
As such, it is not associated with extreme lifestyles or limiting your diet. Rather, it is linked to new food trends and a healthier way of living. Thus, it can have a separate identity outside of veganism, one which isn’t seen as being too extreme.
On a similar note, plant-based is also seen as being more achievable. By its very definition, the focus here is to increase the number of plant-based foods while reducing your meat, dairy, and egg intake. Since it isn’t attached to an all or nothing approach, most people will adopt this diet more readily.
It also can’t be denied that plant-based is seen as being more inclusive as well. This is because it brings vegetarians, flexitarians, and vegans under one umbrella. And while this may not be a true representation, this movement makes it easier for people from all walks of life to get along.
Should You Let Go of the Term “Vegan”?
Absolutely not! Within the vegan community, most people relish being called vegan. It proves that you are dedicated to the betterment of animal lives and the world in general. Not to mention, it showcases that you have made a conscious decision to flout social norms.
So, you should proudly label yourself a vegan, particularly when you are with other vegans. This is an incredible thing to be. As such, there is no need to change this part of your identity in any way at all.
The only time you should consider using plant-based instead of vegan is when you’re talking to people who may be on the fence about making a dietary change. This is especially true if these individuals don’t seem committed enough to go vegan just yet.
In such a situation, using the term plant-based could provide a more palatable introduction to a vegetarian and vegan world. Or, at the very least, you can reframe how they think about such diets.
Once they have made that first leap, they may be open to becoming vegan. Even if they aren’t, you can feel proud of the fact that you have made a difference, regardless of how small it may feel.
Using plant-based instead of vegan could be useful in discussions or arguments as well. Since most Omnis associate vegan in a negative manner, switching the terminology up a bit could work in your favor.
So, there you have it! While there is no need to let go of the term vegan, it might be time for the vegan community to rebrand – at least a little. This is especially true at a time where many people are on the verge of adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.
There is no denying that making this occasional change can feel odd. However, you should consider the positive aspects of doing so. At the end of the day, does it matter what you call your diet or lifestyle? Of course not!
As a vegan, your main goal is to help animals and to reduce the level of cruelty in the world. So, if that means you use different terminology when dealing with non-vegans, then surely it isn’t too bad. Also, remember that you don’t have to do it all the time. After all, your main goal is to ensure a better world for animals and humans alike.
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