Why I don’t want to be vegan anymore

I know, I know. It might come as a shock to you.

I mean, I’ve built this whole blog around being a Chubby Vegan Mom.

It’s insane, right?

What am I going to be now? The Chubby Mom? It just doesn’t have the same ring to it …

Perhaps I should explain.

I’m not going to start eating meat again. I’m not going to start consuming dairy again. I’m not going to wear leather, go to the circus or use make-up that’s been tested on or made from animals.

In fact,  I’m actually not changing anything about my lifestyle at all.

The problem is, I don’t want to be a «vegan» anymore.

This post is hard for me to write. It’s confusing and it’s been something I’ve been sitting on for a while. I’ve perused dozens of my favorite veggie bloggers and read woe-filled tales of why they gave up their vegan lifestyle, why they just don’t want people to know they’re vegan anymore, why they call themselves plant-based and it’s just, well, embarrassing, quite frankly.

You see, there are a lot of considerate, flexible, wonderful vegans out there. We virtually hold hands, sing Kumbaya and roast vegan marshmallows together. Unfortunately, though, there is another group of «vegans» out there, and they seem to be louder, more in your face than the others.

It started with a seemingly innocent email inquisition about what type of almond milk I used. When I replied back that I used whatever kind was on sale — store brand, Silk, Almond Breeze — I unleashed upon myself a hurricane of preachiness. You see, the particular person emailing me wanted to take several emails to let me know what an irresponsible vegan I was, how could I purchase from Silk when they’re owned by a subsidiary of Dean Dairy and how I was everything that was wrong with the world and blah blah blah.

Yeah, super fun.

So I started googling this type of thing and came across a hoard of blogs about how vegans who eat Oreo’s aren’t vegan because of it’s sugar or enzymes or 19 other scenarios. Someone made a comment about how if their eating Oreo’s made them only 99.9% vegan then fine, so be it. So that started a barrage of other ignorant comments about how they might as well eat a slab of meat and drink a glass of milk because their inconsideration was the same no matter what.

One poster even said «how can you be 99.9% vegan? That’s like being 99.9% pregnant. You either are or you’re not.»

Really? Being vegan or not is like being pregnant? Um NO. That’s stupid. Sorry. Pregnancy is a yes or no issue. Either a human being comes out of your vagina or doesn’t. But being vegan? Well, it’s a lot trickier than that (and thank God because there would be a lot of confused vaginas out there if veganism were that simple).

You may or may not be familiar with the sugar battle. There are commercial sugars (or ones used in sauces, baked goods, sodas etc) that are sometimes processed on bone char. Bone char is basically what it sounds like, animal bones. So while the sugar may not have these ingredients, the money you spend is going to «support» establishments that use this as a refiner.

Sigh. BIG sigh.

You guys caught me. I’ve been living this second life where I go around being vegan 50-percent of the time, but the other 50-percent of the time I’m just guzzling pounds and pounds of sugar that I KNOW was made on bone char. Sometimes, I even sprinkle a little bit of «natural flavoring» on it just to really take in all the hidden animal ingredients I can.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m one human being. I’m one human being, who is also a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, a coach, an employee, a woman. I work 40 hours a week, I raise two children (with a fabulous husband), I give pitching lessons, I take my daughter to dance, I meal plan, I grocery shop, I cook, I clean, sometimes I bathe, sometimes I see my friends, sometimes I do crafts, sometimes I sit on the floor and hold my son and sometimes, sometimes, it’s absolutely exhausting trying to be good at so much.

So you know what? When I’m starving and I want something to eat and I’m too damn lazy to cook it, I’ll get some take out. I’ll get some seitan buffalo wings from a bar that is made with hot sauce that contains sugar that God knows where it was processed.

If that makes me 1% less vegan, then I’ll change my name to Chubby Vegan Mom (99% of the time). Seriously vegans. Get your head out of your asses. Step up off your high horse and quit trying to «catch» other vegans doing bad things. Do I go out of my way to find sugar processed on bone char? No, no I don’t. Do I source every grain of sugar that enters my body if I’m out an about, no, no I don’t.

Some of you might think what’s the point then? If you’re willing to overlook sugar, why not overlook dairy and fish and chicken? Here’s the thing. Being vegan isn’t a science. It’s not perfect, no matter how many of you *want* it to be.

I shop in a grocery store that sells meat and dairy. I purchase items from manufacturers that also produce non-vegan items because we don’t live in a perfect vegan world. You want to beat me over the head because I «support» brands that aren’t 100-percent vegan? Let me ask you where you purchased the shirt you’re wearing. Or the underwear. Or the sheets on your bed. Hopefully it was from a vegan retailer. And it was made by a vegan worker. And it was delivered by a vegan delivery boy on a bike. To your house, which is made of all vegan materials and was built by vegans.

Oh, wait, that’s too hard? You mean, I’m a jerk for giving my kids some vaccines or for eating some sugar that may or may not have been processed in a facility with animal products, but you driving a car, working for or living in a home that isn’t 100-percent vegan is OK? I’m afraid when it comes down to it, we’re all just pots calling the kettles black. Because, what? It’s easier to crap on me about sugar and it’s «too hard» to find a vegan house and job?

To me, being cruelty-free means doing the least harm you can. But you know what? Being those 19 million other things in life (like a mom and a wife and a friend) also necessitates that I don’t have all day to think about sugar. I don’t have the money to purchase all organic, made from hugs and kisses sugar all the time. Is it something I strive to do? Absolutely. Is it something that happens every minute of every day? No.

And if you want me to apologize for that, fine. I’m sorry. I’m not perfect. If you want to «take away» my vegan card, fine, go ahead.

Just remember this. YOU’RE the reason people think vegans are assholes. Those of you with the holier-than-tho attitudes do MORE harm to our cause than those of us who have some shitty sauce with sugar in it every now and then. You might not agree with me, but I’m right. My husband and I try our hardest to be nonjudgmental when it comes to food choices. If you want to eat meat, then that’s your right. But if you ask us why we’re vegan, we’ll tell you. And when we tell you, we’ll probably give you a delicious vegan cupcake to soak on those thoughts with. And by using this kind of attitude, this kind of approach, we have friends in our lives who went full-on vegan, ones who eat vegan when they’re out and about with us, ones who bring vegan food to our gatherings because they were excited to try their hand at it and ones who have adopted meatless Mondays simply to try and be healthier.

Now tell me again how your preachy, I’m-better-than-you-and-all-the-other-vegans attitude has fared for you so far?

Remember that old saying about the flies, honey and the vinegar? Well, it’s true in this case too.

You attract more flies with fake honey than you do with vinegar, even if my fake «vegan» honey has questionable sugar and your vinegar is made from perfect, vegan air.

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Why I don’t want to be vegan anymore: 108 комментариев

  1. Whew! You had me worried for a bit. Keep on keepin’ on. I am not yet vegan, but your blog encourages me. It encourages me because you are real, and present vegan-ism as something those of us with out million dollar budgets can do. It is senseless, to me anyway, to worry about every little thing. I like the do what you can approach. Thank You.

  2. Scared me with the opening sentence! I also say plant based because people assume I’m a «crazy vegan» otherwise. I do the best I can, and that’s all I can do. SMALL town, smaller budget and an omni husband. I’m the last person to judge someone!
    Just keep on being you because you are unique!

  3. Nicely done. I’ve found the «Whole foods plant based» crowd to be way more tolerant and inviting than the militant Vegans whose numbers are legion.

  4. I’m with you in the whole vegan thing. I’m just trying to get there but will never be perfect. Ignor those «other» vegans and just enjoy your own vegan life. Just love the blog…thanks

  5. Great job CVM! Veganism is about love, patience, understanding, acceptance, tolerance and connectedness. For all sentient beings whether they are animal or human. It
    is sad, ironic and quite frankly, down right
    embarrassing when someone forgets all that and intentionally chooses the path of judgement instead.

  6. My hubbs and I just had a twenty minute super annoyed conversation about this post. I am not going to go over the whole thing with you, but honestly, I can’t believe someone would attack you over silk.
    We have been vegan for about 13 years now, and while we try not to buy silk, we do eat oreos, and I don’t always bake with agave, and I certainly can’t afford to buy only clothes and things from vegan specific companies.

    It’s like you said, being vegan is about doing as little harm to animals as possible, the world isn’t perfect and neither are any of us.
    When I meet a vegetarian I don’t go off on them about how much of an asshole they are for drinking milk, do I wish they would go vegan? Of course, but I am also just happy they are trying, we are all out there TRYING to fight the good fight.

    Wether you call yourself vegan or plant based, I know you are out there, making the best choices you can for you, your family and the animals and for that I respect you and I thank you.

    Haters gonna hate.

  7. Your post brings up some interesting issues. I struggled for a while over white button mushrooms, which are grown on purchased (and trucked in) horse manure. I still struggle with that a bit. I struggle with medications (to take or not to take something, even over the counter, that I know was tested on animals). I learned today that homeopathic medication usually contain lactose (at least the sugar pill variety of homeopathic medications). Even riding a bicycle or walking on a sidewalk, after a rainstorm, there are worms and snails that I do my best to avoid, but can’t always. That said, my decision to become vegan was the best decision I’ve made in my life. I try to purchase goods and services from other vegans, but it is, so far, hard to do in our culture. I do try to support vegan restaurants as a priority when I dine out, as I do like to know the profits will go to someone who shares my values toward animals.
    I don’t think there is an «us» and a «them» type of vegan. I think it really is a spectrum, and we, ourselves, are on different places on the spectrum at different times of our lives. When we reflect on our interactions and the examples we set for others, hopefully we feel we have done the best we could, and that we can also learn from our weaknesses and mistakes.

  8. Great post. As years go by and I get older and wiser (older\x3dyes, wiser\x3dhopefully), I have become less and less tolerant of the vegan police. I’ve been vegan for 13+ years and I am at the point in my life in which I do not care why someone is vegan or if they consume gelatin capsules because the medicine that keeps them alive is not available without, I am just glad if someone is aware of the horrific conditions that animals endure daily and has made a conscious effort to help eliminate even some of that suffering. The Uber-Vegans most likely live their lives in shockingly unvegan ways such as driving cars and swatting the occasional mosquito. There are enough people in the real world who just don’t «get» veganism, we don’t need these divisions within the same community.

  9. It’s not you, it’s them. Carry on! 🙂 In all seriousness, we live in a non-vegan world. We didn’t create it but there are a ton of instances in which everyday items are created on the backs of animals, from stearic acid on car tires to animal-based glues in furniture. It is sad but it is not our fault and it is what we are trying to change. When people eat fewer animals, the industry won’t have all these micro-ingredients to dump everywhere and my hope is that people are actively creating cruelty-free alternatives that are affordable. For now, though, again, we live in a non-vegan world. I am sorry that you went through that but I think it is part of a general pattern of online nitpicking and one-upmanship that happens in such a pervasive way these days. Vegans do it. Feminists do it. Mothers do it to one another. Carry on with your loving, proud vegan ways and don’t let anyone tell you are or aren’t. Oh, except this: You are changing the world. You can take that to heart. 🙂

  10. This was such a refreshing post. I rarely read or comment on blogs, but my wife (@veganisyummy on twitter) had this open on our laptop. Well put. Keep fighting the good fight, and as my lovely wife would say: «Don’t let the bastards get ya down!»

  11. I don’t know why we let the holier-than-thou vegans keep the label and bully others into shedding it. I agree with what you wrote. If anyone wants to say that’s not vegan, let them. I would never give up the word I love so much that embodies such wonderful virtues. There is no committee that gets to «approve» our vegan-ness. I don’t remember filling out an application for «vegan status.» Let the people who want to judge everyone say what they want while being poor examples of compassion. I choose to ignore these people just as they ignore all the «non-vegan» things they participate in, starting with the computer they type their judgments onto.

  12. I can relate to pretty much every word of this post. I’ve been vegan for over 26 years and honestly as easy as the world has made it for people to become vegans — vegans haven’t made it any easier.

    I write a blog and wrote a cookbook about how to use vegan products to their full potential and there are actually amazon reviews for the book that criticize the book for using vegan products and I get at least email a month telling me I should be ashamed of myself for promoting the idea of eating meat by using mock meat and vegan cheeses in my recipes. I used to be able to laugh it off and see quippy emails with half jokes about how I was focused on saving real chickens first and then I would worry about saving the idea of chickens… but after nearly 5 years of blogging and writing and over 26 years in the animal rights movement — it has started to break my heart that rather than people rejoicing at how much easier it is to be vegan now than it was in 80s — when we had to make everything from scratch and a carton of almond milk would cost $8… there are still those who want to tear down our progress and see comment sections on blogs and amazon reviews as an opportunity to declare how much more vegan they are than everyone else.

    Someone I worked with the animal rights movement once told me in confidence that the worst thing to ever happen to animals is militant vegans who don’t understand how corporate outreach works and would rather be martyrs than to save animals lives by being inclusive and kind to others. I try to not believe it but then once a month I get that email telling me that my vegan chickn salad is killing more birds than Tyson and I remember that conversation.

    I hope you’ll keep your «vegan» because the world needs more sane, kind and reasonable vegans celebrating cruelty living. 🙂

  13. Loved this post! I absolutely agree. When things don’t go 100%, militant vegans and many non vegans are ready to jump in critically. Being involved with vegan organizations I have known people who disowned their families because they wouldn’t go vegan and another who banned family from coming to visit her because their baby drank a few bottles of dairy milk and she would not tolerate animal products being consumed in her house. Being vegan…or the 99.9% vegan you describe, is not that hard. It’s the people who agonize over every little thing who make it seem difficult and scare people away from even trying. People emulate those who they respect…people who are smart or fun or cool… not judgemental asses. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  14. You know the funniest part about those super-militant judgmental vegans? Almost every one of them smokes. Seriously, every fucking one. I’ve never met one who didn’t.

    Keep being awesome.

  15. Thank you for this — I love it! So well said!

    I recently heard a woman who runs a sanctuary for farmed animals get attacked because she dared take a painkiller! Her body was aching because it is a boatload of work to run a farm sanctuary, and I could not believe that her vegan values were being called in to question. Made me sick to my stomach!

  16. I would just like to say a genuine and sincere thank you to everyone who has commented about this post. Veganism is about compassion not competition. For those of you who ‘get it’, stay groovy my friends. For those of you who don’t, do me a favor, reach down grab your hair and yank your head out of your arse.

  17. With you 100% of the way. I too can’t get far enough away from the critical, «purist» crowd. We’re all human. We live in a terribly flawed world and cope as best we can. Please don’t let those who can’t accept that knock the wind out of your sails… The rest of us (99.9% vegans) have your back! 😉

  18. I think every vegan struggles with achieving the ideal in a world that does not make it easy. We should all value the effort that others make, and if they are on the path to compassion, be thankful for the steps they have already made.

  19. I think that the kind of vegan described here are really people who are trying to gain social standing by their activism. They don’t come from a place of compassion. They come from a place of wanting to dominate, and it shows. Its sad, but this is why I rarely use the word vegan to describe myself anymore. I’m not that perfect, and I don’t intend to harm myself in the quest to become perfect enough to earn that title, in their eyes.

  20. I totally get what your saying so we should just call ourselves the lazy vegans lol, any kind of veganism is the right path to a better everything 😉

  21. Indeed, «veganism» is a word to represent the concept of doing the least harm you can, with first not consuming direct animal products. I am a vegan in progress, I still eat honey with tea. As long as I know I am doing harm against other life forms and stealing what is theres and not mine, I know I am not living a fully integrated, consistent life in alignment with principles of truth.

    You can be «nonjugmental» as much as you want to believe, but I have an issue with a «right» you claim other people have.

    «My husband and I try our hardest to be nonjudgmental when it comes to food choices. If you want to eat meat, then that’s your right.»

    «We pick and choose to love some animals … and we say its our «personal choice» to eat others. But a personal choice is not a «personal choice» when others are harmed. It doesn’t have to be this way.»
    — Sarah Kiser

    Please look more into what rights are and are not. The «nonjudgmental» «choice» you validate other’s engaging in is not a «right». «Meat» is not simply a «food choice», there is a living, breathing, thinking, feeling animal, with eyes to see into their «soul» like any human animal.

    The «choice» to support, consent, or participate in harm, enslavement and murder of an innocent sentient being is not morally right, and hence is not a right.

    «When we take away the choice of another and then use that as license to hurt or kill, we are participating in an egregious act of cruelty — whether we do it ourselves or pay others to do it for us. We only tell ourselves that our personal choice is our own business — our own preference — so we can sleep soundly at night. A choice made from personal preference might be the color I paint my bathroom, the kind of car I buy, or the way I style my hair.But a personal choice to hurt someone else? Deconstructed, it comes out looking like an unpleasant credo to live by. Yet, because millions of people do live by it, billions of animals unnecessarily die by it — year in and year out.»
    — Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

    Good luck with the «nonjudgmental» illusion, everyone judges. Judgment is discernment, discernment is a tool of our intellect to be able to understand reality and make decisions in it. The key is, are you making accurate, correct, true judgments, discernments, evaluations, assessments? Or are you making inaccurate, incorrect, untrue ones?


  22. I always appreciate your kind words and sentiments Kim! I’m lucky to have an awesome support network, both at home and virtually! 🙂

  23. My husband and I have discussed the vegetarian thing before too and we always come to the same conclusion, everyone starts somewhere and every little bit counts! That’s so wonderful you’ve been vegan for so long!

  24. I LOVE the idea of it being a spectrum, that’s such a great way to put it. And you’re right, using the «us» and «them» type designations will only create a further gap. Thank you for making me think!

  25. Your last line sums up my feelings quite exactly! We have such an uphill battle often with others who do not understand veganism, we should show each other more kindness!

  26. Your post made me smile so much. And you’re so right about how frequently we try to one-up each other, hence the mommy wars. Perhaps I should write a book about the «Vegan wars?» Thank you for your kind words!

  27. You basically made my month with your comment! My husband bought me your book the day it was released. All of our friends are always drawn to it the most when they see our cookbooks! I’ve heard before of people being «against» the mock meat and cheeses, but I can’t wrap my brain around the small-mindedness. Mock products make cruelty-free living such an easier transition, not to mention we’ve used fake «chicken» strips in a few dishes to win over some omnivore friends. And I said almost verbatim to my husband about militant vegans being more detrimental than anything else. We were discussing how off-putting it makes the cruelty-free community seem. Thank you for taking the time to post. Having other vegans to look up to make it easier to take the punches as they come!

  28. I feel like it’s just a way for us to feel better about ourselves. It’s like «I’m a better vegan because I don’t take pain medicine.» Or, you’re not as good because you let your kid have an Oreo!» I guess all we can do is show support, respect and hope it rubs off on others! 🙂

  29. My husband and I actually talked about your comment. You’re so right on. Veganism should describe a desire to live a compassionate lifestyle. When we try to outdo each other and dominate, our message gets lost. Thanks for the food for thought!

  30. I appreciate your comment, Kris.My husband and I strive to create a household and family with an open mind. Do I think it would be absolutely wonderful if everyone in the world went vegan? Of course I do! But it’s simply not going to happen, for a myriad of reasons, some of them selfish ones like people not wanting to give up bacon or cheese, some of them tied to health or medical issues, some of them religion based. It’s not my place to judge them for their food choices. Just like I don’t particularly enjoy hearing the public’s opinion on how soy milk is going to pump my son full of estrogen or how veganism isn’t sustainable for my children, I’m not going to give others a piece of my mind unless they ask.

    Our nonjudgmental way is not an «illusion» when it comes to how we view veganism and omnivores. We have many individuals in our children’s lives who are not vegan. I refuse to teach my children that grandma and grandpa are bad or wrong because they choose to eat animals. Is it a decision I agree with? No, it’s not. Which is why we don’t eat animals. But we try to teach our children that everyone is different and just because someone does drink milk or eat a hamburger doesn’t make them a bad person. It just means they make different choices.

    And perhaps I should clarify the statement you have an issue with. I don’t in any way believe we have a right to consume animals, I actually disagree vehemently with the argument that animals were put on this earth for our needs. Or that we’re at the top of the food chain. But just because I believe something, doesn’t mean it’s truth.We do have a right to make our own choices about what we do or don’t put into our bodies. Just like I have the «right» to choose to be vegan, other individuals have the «right» to make their decision not to be.

  31. Thank you for sharing…in my 2 year journey towards this wonderful thing called veganism I have definitely gone through various positions on this topic. As of right now, I have settled on the answer as to how pure of a vegan is the correct amount veganism…well, it is as much of a vegan as I possibly can muster. In other words, I try to think about all my choices I make, especially consumer choices, and think of as many aspects of what I am supporting by purchasing the item. There are some things I don’t always know about the product. I just do the best I can. I just don’t think one can do any better than «The best I can»… Now, the person I become in 4 or 5 years might be able to do better than the me I am now…but that still will be the best he can! Again, thanks for sharing.

  32. I know exactly how you feel. Judgey vegan police are the reason non-vegans think we’re all arseholes, exactly like you said!

    There’s a facebook group I post on sometimes that basically tells people all the time that they’re not vegan, they just ‘avoid animal products’ because they eat oreos, or whatever else thing they’re slagging off that day.

  33. To quote the most compassionate vegan I know, Colleen Patrick Goodreau, «Before I was vegan, I was not.» We all find our own path to being vegan. Being vegan has always been about doing the best you can, not about being perfect, because we all know that perfection is unattainable. I also receive constant negative comments and reviews for all sorts of crazy things like using mock meat or too much soy. Honestly, I ignore them and keep doing my best to be a nonjudgmental, not holier than thou, friendly, compassionate, and kind vegan that leads by example. And you know what, sometimes I have oreos. Thanks for writing, but please consider keeping the vegan label, as we need more kind vegans to win over the masses with yummy food, instead of scaring them away with militant hatred. Especially when the some of the people they are scaring are already on the right team!

  34. If you were educated, I think you would see that sugar is not vegan and easily replaced by organic vegan sugar (which is not expensive these days, at Whole Foods): “Sugar companies purchase large quantities of bone char for several reasons, the first being the sheer size of their operations. Large commercial filter columns often measure 10 to 40 feet high and five to 20 feet wide. Each column, which can filter 30 gallons of sugar per minute for 120 hours at a time, may hold 70,000 pounds of char. If nine pounds of char is produced by one cow and 70,000 pounds are needed to fill a column, a simple math calculation reveals that the bones of almost 7,800 cattle are needed to produce the bone char for one commercial sugar filter. (We did not receive a verification of this estimate from another source.) Furthermore, each refining plant may have several large filter columns.” Source: http://gentleworld.org/keeping-animal-cruelty-out-of-sugar/

    Why support animal exploitation and cruelty, when you don’t have to? We need to drive a car, it’s a necessity for most of us — even though in the vulcanization of tires, stearic acid is used, which could be from both plant and animal sources. There’s no getting around it. We can’t help it. But if we can help something, then the vegan chooses the option that does not involve cruelty and exploitation and violent assault to animals.

  35. This post resonated with me in a big way, as I recently decided to stop calling myself a vegan for similar reasons. While on the one hand I’m sorry to hear that someone else is having the same frustrations with the «vegan police,» it is good to know there are other people out there who feel similarly. That «you can’t be 99.9% vegan» comment would have sent me into a rage. In fact, I’m kind of fuming about it just reading this. Things that have recently caused people to accuse me of not being a «real» vegan include getting a flu shot and drinking a glass of wine without verifying how it was produced. I have also been told my one year old daughter isn’t vegan because I breastfeed her. Enough is enough.

  36. Thanks for your comment and for the information, I am very aware of what bone char is, where it comes from and how it is used. You have to remember not everyone lives in a city with a Whole Foods or a large health food store. We have one, but the vegan sugar available is almost triple what the cost of «normal» sugar is. Sometimes I buy it in bulk from Amazon, but sometimes, my daughter has an unplanned birthday party at school for one of the kids in her class and I have to whip something up on the fly. I don’t have time to wait for it to be shipped.

    I try to do these things when I can, as much as I can, but as I stated in my post, I’m one human being. To assume attaining vegan sugar is easy and cheap for everyone isn’t realistic. I have a follower in Alaska that doesn’t have a health food store within 200 miles of her.

    Because commercial goods are produced in different facilities and through different distributors, some of the sugar used is perfectly safe, some of it isn’t. I refuse to lose sleep at night because I *might* have had a grain of sugar that could have been processed on bone char. If I’ve learned anything from writing this post, it’s that I refuse to let anyone else make me feel bad about my choice.

    Being vegan is a part of who I am, but it’s not everything I am. If we want to start criticizing other vegans because they don’t monitor every grain of sugar that enters their body, why stop there? Why not delve into where their coffee is coming from, what beer they’re drinking or the ingredients in their red wine. Instead of breaking each other down and asking these questions we should show more understanding and support.

  37. Oh Laura, the breastfeeding comment is such a sore subject for me. I remember hearing the same asinine comments about it as well. «Well humans are mammals.» Yes, we are mammals, but we’re mammals with the right to decide we want our bodies used as foods. We don’t just get shoved into a cage and hooked up to pumps day and night. I hate hearing that others are going through this, but it helps me feel better that I’m not some defiant, «poser» vegan.

  38. Butterflies: I have no problem with the fact that you drive, though I myself choose not to. Perhaps if you reflected a bit and acknowledged that driving is a choice, you would be less critical of other people’s choices. All us vegan/»plant-based» people are trying to live in ways that minimize cruelty, that doesn’t mean we all have to draw our lines in the exact same places you’ve drawn yours

  39. What a great insight. Not vegan or vegetarian (sometimes) but amazed how nasty people can get over a LABEL. Wow. Get over it. Way to stand your ground

  40. Awesome! I always say «veganism isn’t about perfection, it’s about doing the least amount of harm with the resources you have.» This article hit the nail on the head. Thank you!

  41. Oh my gosh! I just found your blog and I’m so happy that I did. I think I <3 you!

    100% THIS so much. I don't get much flak on being vegan enough, probably because I don't have the word in my blog name. Though I did get a question once when I was reviewing a pair of running shoes, asking if they were vegan. Fortunately, they were of man-made materials (and the poster didn't ask about the source of the glue).

    I still call myself vegan, but I have noticed the term "plant-based" creeping into my conversation and my writing more and more.

  42. if you want to eat Oreos, then eat them! It doesn’t make you a ‘cheating vegan’ or less of a vegan, as the point is always intent. I’m quite lucky in that being from the UK, bone char refined sugar is banned here, and as they have now done away with whey powder, UK oreos are now vegan. and they taste exactly the same as the US ones which have always had vegan ingredients (except for the chocolate covered ones) I buy shops own brand soya milk, or alpro soya. both of which are owned by a company that produces dairy. its buy that or have no milk alternative at all. I hate the taste of almond milk and hazelnuts are too expensive to use to make milk from. You should just be you and carry on being the best kind of vegan you can. xx

  43. Don’t let those loud and annoying 1% of vegans get you down! Most of us — like you — are simply doing our best, and supporting each other. I’ve been «soft-selling» my veganism for years now, and it is much more positive (and effective in bringing about change) than the obnoxious approach.

    As an aside: you’re not chubby at all. 🙂

  44. Wow!! Well said. I was a vegetarian for two years, recently getting back into it who gets a lot of shit because I’m not a vegan. I also get crap because I started eating meat again for a while. Isn’t doing something better than nothing?

  45. What a great post. Having worked professionally for a good number of years within the vegan and AR advocacy movement I am on one hand buoyed by the increase in interest in veganism whilst dismayed by the vegan police who, perversely, seem determined to undermine it. The truth is that the reason that meat consumption continues to fall in the US and UK is because a lot of people are eating less meat. This is a greater reason than people going vegan (although, thankfully, that is increasing, too). That’s not to say that veganism is not the ethical benchmark to strive for, but as vegans (or non-vegans) we should be welcoming this positive trend away from animal products and not attacking it.

    Almost every single day, the organisation I work for is criticised for not being vegan enough – even though everything we produce is vegan. However, we believe that the best way to create new vegans eventually, and to save the greater number of animals, you have to accept that people will meat-reduce or go vegetarian first. This should be met with encouragement and friendly advice – not vitriol. Some will go from meat eater to vegan overnight (usually because of philosophical reasons), but try talking about speciesism to a queue in MacDonald’s and they’ll ask you if it’s a new burger. This sudden absolutist approach will not change the masses. The world is NOT vegan if you want it.

    Seriously, what the overly preachy, self-righteous vegan police don’t seem to realise is that every single time they engage in a confrontational manner or attack someone for just being vegetarian or not being vegan enough they are damaging veganism and its ideals. The human response is to kick back and that usually means they don’t go further on their journey or they actually jack the whole lot in. In other words, negative veganism kills animals.

    I’ve been vegan for over a decade (I was vegetarian for 20 years before that), but I’d rather help create 100 vegetarians than 10 vegans. The simple reason it saves more animals – and those vegetarians are far more likely to be open to trying and going vegan.

    Lastly, as sad as it is, we exist so therefore we kill. Every time we leave the house we step on small bugs. Animals die when the crops we eat are harvested (although not as much as for meat-eaters and the crops grown to feed their animals). We are imperfect and we live in an imperfect world.

    Just imagine how quickly things would change for the better if every comment about only eating free-range eggs was met with a friendly suggestion rather than a machine gun attack of abuse? The sooner the vegan police realise the damage they are doing the better, but I suspect their attitude is less about saving animals and more about (as said in another comment) control.

  46. It’s funny you say that Angela, another poster actually commented on how she used to pass judgement on «just» vegetarians, but how as we’ve been in our lifestyles a little longer we start to see how important every step anyone makes is, whether they’re full-on vegan, flexitarian or just practices Meatless Monday! All we can do is what fits for our lifestyles, educate and do the best we can. Keep going and be confident every bite you take makes a difference 😉

  47. What an absolutely great way to put it — «soft-selling!» That’s exactly what it is, and it’s the way you get people to listen. Not by berating those already fighting the good fight! And thank you for your side note, some of it is a joke that speaks to how everyone assumes vegans are waif-like and skinny and some of it is because I seem to add a little extra padding in the winter 😉

  48. Isn’t it amazing what is allowed in certain countries and not others? It amazes me that when it comes to «what’s good for us» that more countries aren’t in line with each other. Thanks for the sentiment 🙂

  49. I have started doing the same thing when I comment on certain things. It helps that we actually do eat a lot more plants now than we did when I first went vegan! 😉 There are some days it can feel so overwhelming to try and be the «flawless» vegan.

    And I love that you found my blog because now that you linked to yours I have a new one to read myself! Always looking for more blogs 🙂

  50. You are so absolutely right on the money. Everyone has to start somewhere. I met my husband when he was already six or seven years deep into his veganism. I was a pescetarian when we met. I had no idea about the horror of the dairy industry or anything like that. I didn’t truly *think* about fish in a bigger sense. He never once forced me into going vegan. He was incredibly understanding of where I was in my compassionate journey. And then eventually one day, while I was looking for a recipe to make something special for him, I stumbled across the horrors of the dairy industry. I knew then, that for me, I needed to go vegan. It was something that happened when I decided it needed to, not because he beat me over the head with his opinion.

    And the free-range eggs comment certainly resonates with me. I’ve had a few friends ask if there are less-cruel methods of purchasing dairy or eggs, etc, and they’re shocked to learn that free-range and cage-free doesn’t exactly mean what it says. We live in a world that tries to shield people from the cruelty behind their food. It makes it hard for individuals who don’t go searching for the answers, or who can’t stomach the slaughterhouse videos, to fully understand what goes into the creation of their hamburger.

  51. I have some friends who are very strict vegans like you described. They may seem annoying sometime. But I think I know why they are like that.

    I think the hardest part for me becoming a vegan is that I get a lot of info and pics about the suffering of animals being sent to me. I am constantly shocked and saddened by how such cruelty could exist in this day and age, and that consumers are completely obliviant to it. I can also see why some of my vegan friends want to do something about it. Once a year, some may do some leafleting and so on. But frustrated that the suffering continues. They voice the frustration sometimes, and may sound militant or something. But they are really kind, of course, and would not wish harm even on a fly. They are just hurt, feeling too much for the animals. They also want to pass on every single bit of info to others such as how sugars may not be completely vegan, etc.

    By the way, I love your post. It is right on. But I just want to share my experience that many of those strict or annoying vegans are not holier-than-thou or something like that. But rather that they are hurting for the animals, and try to do all they can to help them. Please excuse their tactlessness.

    I am fortunate in that my friends never ‘preach’ to me like what you have experienced. Perhaps people ‘preach’ to you more because you are a great writer and have a good following. Thank you for doing what you are doing.

  52. I came to your blog via another vegan blog that I follow. I am new here, but just subscribed to your blog because of your rant post regarding being «vegan.» I am not fully «vegan» yet, but my husband & I try to eat only plant based when we can. We do not buy any animal products in the home & make a special effort to not eat any when we are out in public as well, but living in a tiny non-vegan-friendly community has made that very hard. I fully respect what you have gone through, since we are not strictly vegan, we get asked a lot of questions about what we DO eat & how we cook. My family hasn’t embraced our new lifestyle that began just over a year ago when my husband had a massive heart attack. They are making baby steps, and I give them credit for that. Thank you for your post & your honesty. It’s difficult for one that is an experienced vegan, much less those of us who are just beginning to learn this new lifestyle & trying our best not to harm any animals or humans in the process.

  53. I love your post. I identify myself as a vegan, but often shy away from labeling myself as so, because I don’t want people to assume I will judge them, or preach at them, or …basically be the people you describe above. Everyone is free to make their own choices — and limiting my consumption of animal products and therefore animal suffering as much as possible is my choice. I won’t ever judge some one else for choosing differently. Thanks for such a great post 🙂

  54. I breastfed my daughter for almost 2 years (we are vegan) and the only people who ever gave me any crap about it not being vegan were omnivores who were just trying to start arguments. Screw that. A mammal’s milk is meant for its own babies! Its own being the key part of that. When I tell my daughter why we don’t drink cow milk I tell her it’s because cow milk is only for baby cows. Any vegan who would give you crap about breastfeeding is incredibly ignorant about what’s best for babies (of any species).

  55. Absolutely fabulous post- first time I have seen your blog and I will be back. Been moving more and more into vegetarian eating and using vegan recipes but realize why I have been somewhat secretive about it- I don’t want the to be part of or a target for the Militant Vegans! Keep up the great writing!

  56. EXACTLY! I’m a new vegan and I hesitate to even call myself vegan because I don’t want people to think I’m one of ‘those’ vegans. I’m a mom and pregnant and I can’t make it be too hard on us. My daughters class had a valentine’s party and she ate a rice krispie. Did part of me cringe? Yes. But I was raised a Jehovah’s Witness and I remember bawling a whole day because I had ‘sinned’ and eaten a Halloween rice krispy at school. My kids won’t be afraid of vegan sins. I just want to teach them compassion and health. They can be human too and hopefully someday she’ll decide on her own to pass on the rice krispy. For now I won’t worry about it.

  57. You are so right on the money! I don’t think all those sour hateful vegans don’t realize how much they’re hurting the cause. Veganism comes from the art of doing no harm, and I think that many people forget that means also with your words as well. Russell Simmons made an announcement on twitter telling vegans to stop being so hateful too. Maybe someday they will learn.

  58. Amanda!

    This post was pretty spectacular…and you have come a long way since reading my terrible journal entries freshman year of college! Keep up the great work and you inspire me to keep my blog and writing going…take care!

  59. I’m sure that you probably won’t see this comment, but I just wanted to let you know that your post is fantastic. If more people worried more about themselves and being good people, instead of being superior and looking for «flaws» in others, the world would be a much nicer place. Carry on with your bad self! I’m with you 🙂

  60. You Rock! I am not vegan. Far from it. But I support doing as little harm as possible. I ride a bike and wear leather to protect me and my children. But I purchase second hand. And have tried to go with Kevlar as much as possible.
    Stand up for yourself an love who you are!
    People attack others because they don’t want to be attacked. I feel sorry for those always living on the offensive and fighting to be defensive. I just live to try to do as little detrimental impact as possible. We are off grid. That is my contribution. When I have to drive I have a diesel for winter and a bike and sidecar for summer.
    But doing harm is not just being cruel to animals, it is imposing your values on other human beings in a way that makes them feel less than you. Stepping on others to feel better about yourself (in my opinion) is cruel.
    I think you are fabulous! You set an example that seems real and attainable.
    I respect your choices and will continue to read you!!!! You Rock!!!!!

  61. Thank you..Im a fairly new vegan and it took me 49 years to get here..I work in a food hall,and struggle sometimes with the irony,and probable hypocrasy of that,but I need my wages to live..Im good at my job,and I like my colleagues and customers.,,I was angry at the start and tried to »spread the word» too much,but have come to a balance ,I hope,of only answering questions when asked..and trying to be kind to everyone.Its sad when people know, but still don’t care..but I can’t change that.Ive just accepted Im in the minority,but Im ok with that,and happy in my own head….mostly! sigh….keep calm and carry on…spreading the word…in a whisper..:) xx

  62. It can take family a while to come around. I think when I first announced I was going vegan they had to get over that shock. Then when we were pregnant we had to make sure I wasn’t hurting the fetus. THEN when we had the baby, had to make sure we were doing the best thing for the child. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle, but that feeling when I make something DELICIOUS and they ask «is that vegan?» makes it worthwhile!

  63. I’ve done the exact same thing! When looking for a preschool for our daughter we shied away from saying «vegan,» we simply informed them we didn’t eat XXXXXX. Finally one of the women caught on and stated «oh, you’re vegans?» And we kind of chuckled and said «yeah … will that be an issue?» And they were surprisingly welcoming. (Turns out that woman had a vegan family member, so she was used to us). It seems like when I don’t expect understanding or accommodation there’s plenty, but when I think there might be some I get berated!

  64. So far, because our kids are so young, I’ve been able to diffuse these situations by making vegan goodies for her. The other parents and her teachers have been super prepared and let me know ahead of time, it’s gone WAY smoother than I could have ever pictured. I know when the kids get older, however, they’re going to be at a friends house or exchanging lunches at school and then we’ll have our hands full. One day at a time and the best we can. Ultimately it will be their path to trek!

  65. I absolutely LOVE what you said. Doing no harm with your words can be JUST as important, especially when you’re a «spokesperson» for a way of life!

  66. OH the good old days. Hey your journal entries were pretty exciting, lol, compared to the other things going on around our campus! Just make sure you keep up you writing after baby girl arrives, it’ll help you keep a piece of you (and you sanity!!) 😉

  67. You’re so right! I think sometimes we forget that we all start in a different place. Some people are raised with this kind of awareness, others don’t discover it for themselves until much later. If we stopped trying to compare our journey to everyone else’s we’d probably be able to resist the urge to outdo each other! Thanks for the support, Nicki! 🙂

  68. I think it’s awesome that you’re so aware of your footprint in other ways! If we all just do the best we can imagine how much better off we’d be (ourselves, the animals and the environment). Thanks for weighing in 🙂

  69. My husband has always said if we shut our lives to only vegan things we’d be left with basically nothing and a handful of friends. It’s about finding the right balance in life I suppose. I started off feeling combative when family and friends weren’t welcoming to my new life, but I’ve found the less I try to «force» things on them and the more I show them how normal we can make it, the better I make it look. It doesn’t have to be impossible, just take baby steps! 🙂

  70. I had the breastfeeding comment as well from a few people, mainly non-vegans who just wanted to be argumentative but even from a vegan or two. I also had a huge, emotional debate with a few people on a vegan message board after having my 1st set of twins who told me how I wasn’t vegan because I had children, even though I was raising them vegan. She had a few followers who viciously attacked me for having children. I can not imagine how any potential vegans would even consider going vegan after reading attacks on nursing, birth, sugar usage etc.

  71. I, too, have seen the vegan argument against kids. I’ve received a few nasty emails about the fact that we chose to give some vaccinations to our children. I’ve also received a few snide remarks from parents for NOT giving our children every.single.vaccine. Sometimes it feels like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I wish that all vegans, parents, (enter some other group here) were confident enough in their decisions and open-minded enough to realize not everyone has to do it the same way and what works for one family may not work for another. Sigh.

  72. Thank you for this article. I hope you don’t stop calling yourself a vegan because of people who have degraded it’s meaning and ethos. There have always been (and, sadly always will be) those people who help create negative stereotypes and groups. I know at the moment I feel ashamed at times to be an Australian, when our country is turning it’s back on refugees. I am ashamed that our government is so backward as to oppose marriage equality. People who are citizens of nations, members of groups / societies / religions / interest groups, can seriously injure their cause / group / nation / community, by being arrogant, intolerant, violent and abusive. But these individuals should never be given the power to corrupt what is good and what is right. I believe that veganism is about treading gently on this planet, and treating all earthlings with compassion and justice. And some vegans forget to show that same consideration to others.

    I hope you can continue to be proud not only in *being* vegan, but in calling yourself one. Peace!

    Vegan Ben

  73. I also hesitate to label myself as vegan. When someone needs a real answer regarding my diet because they are trying to feed me, ha, I say «we are pretty close to vegan». There are just so many variables and I have enough trouble living my own life, let alone listing what does and does not make me vegan. It is definitely one of the most tricky labels to align with for a variety of reasons….such a spectrum. Just stumbled across your blog, looking forward to looking at it more later when the kids are asleep. 🙂

  74. We need to support each other and not be jerks about it. The person that emailed could have talked about Silk in an informative way…but as you said, «YOU’RE the reason people think vegans are assholes.»

    Well played not-Chubby Vegan Mom.

  75. Everyone draws a line. I eat sugar. I can’t imagine going out to eat and inquiring about all the dairy and eggs (which can be mind blowing enough sometimes to non-vegan servers), and then also inquiring about whether they happened to put a tablespoon of non-organic tomato sauce in my bean burger?, or is there a teaspoon of sugar in the vinaigrette on my salad?, and do they only use organic sugar?, is my non-dairy-non-egg-containing marinara sauce *also* organic?, uh-oh better not use the ketchup on the table on my vegan fries, since it’s not organic. Basically if I really wanted to «be vegan» I would get a salad with plain vinegar. And sure, I could do that. Sometimes I see someone mention exactly that and I think that must be nice, person who lives in NYC, with half a dozen vegan/organic restaurants, all at your fingertips. Who knows, maybe they would get the vinegar salad if they lived where I live. But how nice that they’ll never have to find out. And they draw their own lines. They only buy plants, but does their grocery store sell animal products? Then they should get everything from a farmers market (nonexistent where I live), but they better make sure they only sell plants, and they don’t use manure, and if they use any commercial products in their gardening, make sure the company they buy from doesn’t sell manure. And make all their own clothes, or buy them only from vegan clothing companies, and make sure those companies don’t purchase any fabric or thread from companies that also sell silk fabrics or wool yarn, and make sure the cotton was grown veganically in the first place. And then I’ve read that a number of crops rely on bees being transported to them to force pollinate the fields, so they should remove all of those plants from their diet…

    The bottom line is I went vegan because I felt a moral impulse to act on my moral concern about killing and hurting animals. I felt something tug at me, from my own core of moral values, that said, this is wrong, you shouldn’t do this. And that’s how I feel about buying animal products. But I just don’t feel that about sugar. And I’m not vegan to appease some set of commandments sent down from some Vegan On High, I’m vegan because listening to my own moral values beholds me to it. It has nothing to do with what other people feel is wrong. It has to do with what I feel, deep down, is wrong. And I just don’t feel that way about sugar. I just don’t. Maybe I’ll feel differently someday, and if so I’ll change my ways accordingly.

    It’s kind of weird because I consider myself abolitionist vegan rather than welfarist in terms of promotional strategies, so for example I do disagree with AR organizations actively spending their dollars and time to promote vegetarianism. If some person goes vegetarian first instead of going vegan (first of all it’s probably because peta or farm sanctuary told them they should), that’s fine but I don’t think what people *do* should be used to define the moral standard. The moral standard should be defined by morality. If people decide on their own that they want to go vegan but wish to do so in a stepwise manner, that’s fine, but that’s their decision. It should never be an official policy of an AR organization to actively promote any kind of animal consumption (which all the large orgs do). In fact eggs cause more deaths per calorie than beef or pork, so if someone really wanted to make a meaningful first step, they would cut out chicken, fish, and eggs, and stick to only beef and pork if they really want to minimize deaths caused by their food choices.

    But anyway, oh if those abolitionist vegans saw me eating vinaigrette on my salad! I’m in a no-man’s land, I don’t think either «camp» would take me. You can’t please everyone. And that’s fine with me. And living a lifestyle in which you can honestly say to yourself, the things I do are fine with me, is kind of what veganism’s all about.

  76. LOVE THIS! I just ignore those vegan police jerks. But yea, there are so many of them out there. One interesting thing I’ve found (mostly on my personal FB page) is that many who criticize the things I eat as not being vegan enough aren’t even vegan themselves! I can remember one argument I got into with a guy on Facebook where he was saying the food I ate at a local vegan restaurant wasn’t good enough because it was fried vegan comfort food and not healthy organic raw sprouted whatever. Man, F them.

  77. Thanks soooo much for posting this online! It really sums up how I’ve felt about the vegan movement for years. I think being vegan is about kindness & compassion — which means people shouldn’t unkindly nitpick or shame their fellow vegans to despair! All it does is alienate us even farther & dissuade others from trying vegetarianism. It should be about focusing on the positive: oh, how cool, you’ve reduced meat, dairy, eggs, etc. from your diet and you do xyz for animals — and not, OMG you call yourself vegan & you ate that!!

  78. In the 90 comments, it might have being said. I am new at this and from what I have noticed, when you stay open, you never get in trouble with anyone. The only problem I have are with the non-vegan. They are the ones who challenge, probably because they feel really guilty about there life style. I also think that some vegan might have become challenging amongst themselves because of them.

  79. I can only applaud what you’e saying ! some vegans exerce pressure on others, and think they are superior, giving people lessons ! We are just human beings and we have lives, we can’t just think about «vegans ways to live»… We are aware and we try to do our best and that’s what is really important…
    ( sorry fo my very bad english)

  80. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and appreciate this post. You talk about a lot of things I’ve been thinking about lately (after 6-7 years of being vegan), and it feels great to relate with what you’ve been experiencing on so many levels. I read something else recently where the writer talked about this pervasive notion that if you’re not 100% vegan, then you have disavowed the whole thing — that if you’re not 100%, you’re 0%, and you love factory farms and hate animals. It’s crazy and has really opened my mind. So thank you, and I’m right there with you that «it’s absolutely exhausting trying to be good at so much.» I’m thinking about these things more than ever, and it’s comforting to read that others have been too.

  81. I have a feeling we read the same thing Dennis! I read something similar that caused my entire rant. That notion of 100% or nothing creates the superiority complexes and makes others think that’s how we all are. It’s terrible. As long as we keep doing the best we can, we’re doing our part!

  82. i think cruelty-free means attitude wise as well. if someone is making a choice in their lifestyle to be vegan or rather any choice then it should be respected. someone who goes out of their way to make you feel small or lesser of a person because you don’t follow their way, that person isn’t cruelty-free. they are being cruel to you. the same way we know animals feel physical pain, humans inflict emotional pain on each other. being vegan isn’t like a chemical formula, there is no 100% vegan eating plan for every person. as you said we don’t like in a perfect vegan world. sorry to hear you had such a bad experience

  83. i can’t believe that someone is upset that you breastfeed. what should you do?? give your baby formula?? what if it’s not vegan?!?! why should you deny your child breast milk?? in my mind someone who tells me not to breastfeed because its not vegan, is someone who is asking me to intentionally deny my child food. i’m not going to deny my child what’s natural and given willingly. seriously that’s so silly. breastfeeding is a natural part of motherhood, even within the animal kingdom. all female mammals breastfeed their young. i don’t understand how someone can even try to label that type of intense mother-child nurturing as vegan or not. its natural, its the reason why we have breasts. not for men too look at but to feed our children.

  84. I know this a late comment but THANK YOU FOR VACCINATING YOUR KIDS HALLELUJAH AND PRAISE JESUS. Ugh I am so sick of crazo vegans denigrating modern medical miracles because if some «it’s not natural» horseshit. Pertussis is all natural, but trust me, you don’t want it.

    Stop giving the rest of us a bad name, fundie -vegans!

  85. BRILLIANT!!!!! I feel the same way, and am not calling myself vegan anymore either. Yesterday at work (whole foods) my coworker, a very preachy vegan, though quite new to veganism, inquired about my husbands dietary habits (eats mostly vegan, but not even a vegetarian, and is totally fine with me) and when i answered her that he does eat meat, she called him a pussy. I am fyming over this, and done with veganism, and all the level 5 crazy preachy vegans that makes the rest of the population hate us by giving us a bad name. So right on, we will be our own people, no labels!!!

  86. I seriously think that many—sure, not all, but more than a few—of the hyper-critical vegans are actually people who have an interest in a world without vegans. This could be marketers or other workers in the meat or dairy industries or just people who can’t cope with the fact that vegans exist. Before writing me off as a conspiracy theorist or tinfoil hat type (I’m really not!), consider the impact that things like fake news have had on the Internet lately. If there is fake news, you’d better count on there also being fake people out there.

    Again, yes, of course, there are the hyper anal vegans who embrace veganism as some kind of status thing. But I suspect there are also completely made up identities out there to fan that fire and make the whole movement seem unappealing to anyone on the fence or not totally freed from the social brainwashing yet.

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