Written by Cara Burdon
I’ve been vegan for almost 5 years now, and whilst I’ve faced criticism and ignorant comments, I’ve persevered. Unfortunatley, veganism is not accessible to everyone and I understand this. I’m not one of those vegans, those that the media prefers to focus on. I don’t deem it necessary to constantly project my views onto others with an aura of dignified supremacy, because I understand that everyone is entitled to live their lives independently. Frequently I feel as though the media vilifies vegans, whether it due to their conflict with meat-eaters, or that targeting a smaller community stirs up a reaction, however they often neglect to mention how much some meat-eaters enjoy to demean those on a plant based diet. A poignant figure is demonstrated in 'The Vegan Society' publication in 2021, declaring that 1 in 5 Brits will incorporate vegan dishes into their Christmas dinner, indicating that this phenomenon is certainly gaining popularity.
Personally, I view veganism as an opportunity to reduce my carbon footprint, reduce animal cruelty, and improve my personal health, therefore why wouldn’t I embrace it? Even if this logic isn't always respected...
Veganism is a relatively new phenomenon, arriving in mainstream vocabulary around the late 2010s, with 'The Economist' declaring the 2019s the ‘Year of Vegan’. Given it’s recent entrance onto the social stage, it's only natural that my family members are confused and sometimes inexplicably angered, by my decision not to eat animal products. Around Christmas time, when the Turkey crown takes centre stage of all the festivities, these arguably unnecessary reactions is always enhanced.
Photo Credits : healthyhappylife.com (their recipe is found below)
There’s a well-acknowledged sociological trend in which humans tend to treat something as abject when they perceive it as foreign or ‘other’ - anomalous to the social norm at a given time. We can see this trend come into play here with vegans in 2022. When family members perceive my decision not to eat meat in the festive season as non-conforming with the social norm or even Christmas tradition, their instinct is to reject my belief and to criticise it. During the festive season I have grown accustomed to more disrespect than I feel is justified.
Whilst eating my vegan-friendly Christmas dinner, after hours of cooking and preparation, I frequently recieve many unwarranted comments; instead of ‘Bon appetit’ I'm told ‘I’d hate to eat that’ or ‘What a sad Christmas dinner!’ Naturally, the meal I was so looking forward to quickly loses its appeal.
I don't find respectful questions about my choice of veganism frustrating, it's only natural to be curious when presented with a new phenomenon, however I refuse to accept the notion that people have the right to criticise my veganism. So next time you think about criticising your vegan friend or family member at Christmas time, check yourself first. Let everyone enjoy the festivities how they please, welcome variety on the Christmas table, and maybe even taste some vegan dishes - you'll never know until you try!
See below a recipe from www.healthyhappylife.com to make an exciting and festive Christmas dish that everyone is sure to love !