How Can You Tell A Vegan Is A Vegan? They Will Tell You!

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by Kari

On social media, below vegan food posts, you will often find someone who isn’t vegan saying something like, “How do you know a vegan is a vegan? Because they will tell you!”

This seems to have become a go-to comment as part of the trolling that’s been happening on social media pages or accounts dedicated to veganism in some way.

But this idea that vegans are always being vocal about being vegan doesn’t quite capture what’s really going on. It may feel like vegans are constantly expressing their preferences, but they usually aren’t doing it out of righteousness. There are other reasons they need to express that they are vegan.

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The truth is, while a few vegans are quite vocal about their lifestyle because they feel so strongly about their lifestyle and want others to feel that strongly too, many vegans choose to keep their food and lifestyle choices to themselves or only share in places dedicated to vegan topics.

Ironically, non-vegan trolls come to pages and accounts specifically dedicated to vegan food or other vegan topics in order to be hateful or express their disgust.

When Eating Out, Vegans Have To Say Something

Unless we are at a vegan restaurant or party, this is something we can’t get around as vegans. When we are at a restaurant or a party where vegan options are few and far between, we often have to mention our vegan diet.

It’s not that we enjoy the spotlight and want everyone to know that we are vegan, it’s just that we want the food the way we prefer it, just like anyone else who has food preferences.

If we don’t speak up clearly about our preferences, the waitress, cook, or host will not understand what works for us and what doesn’t, and that’s when problems arise, such as having to return food or refuse food.

And vegans have learned to be very clear and vocal about their preferences, because often people have a difficult time grasping that they can’t just eat anything.

For example, a guy I know works with a group of people who are constantly bringing food into the office or going out for lunch. It’s a mandatory part of work for this office, whether it’s for team building or important meetings. He is the only vegan in the group, and while he would rather just avoid the meals altogether, he can’t. He has worked at his job for 5 years, and they still can’t understand that he doesn’t eat dairy or meat. He now tells them that he doesn’t want anything when they order food in, but they still buy him food he can’t eat and then they get mad at him when he refuses and tells them (for the hundredth time) that he doesn’t eat dairy or meat. In other words, they feel like he’s constantly telling them that he’s vegan, but in reality he’s just constantly having to clarify to try to help them understand what he eats and doesn’t eat. When ordering at a restaurant, it’s easier. He can quickly pick a plant based option and order it without a lot of effort. But they still mock him for not eating meat.

During group meals, you will hear a vegan mention that they are vegan or that they don’t eat meat or dairy because they have to clarify what they want to eat or not eat, not because they want you to know that they are vegan.

Some People Are Vegan For Health Reasons And Must Mention What They Eat

Sometimes the act of mentioning a vegan diet is simply a matter of self-defense against possible health issues that can arise from consuming animal products—for example, digestive problems or allergic reactions.

It’s not uncommon for people who have allergies or issues with meat or dairy to feel the need to justify their choices, as if they are defending their character instead of just stating a dietary preference. Of course, to everyone else this just feels like they are trying to push their way of eating, but that’s not the case.

In reality, they’re often trying to avoid the awkward situation of being served a meal they cannot eat, or trying to pre-empt the discomfort of declining a dish that was made for them out of kindness. Each mention of their dietary choice comes from a need for practicality, not pretentiousness.

Vegans Can’t Just Go With The Flow

When you don’t eat certain foods, it’s harder to just go with the flow. This is one of the harder parts of being a vegan, but it’s a fact of choosing to eat this way.

For instance, you can’t just grab a sample of something at the farmers market or try a bite of your friend’s food without checking if it meets your dietary standards. You literally have to ask what is in it before you can try it.

Without mentioning that they don’t eat dairy or meat, vegans run the risk accidentally consuming animal products and breaking their own moral code – or in the case of vegans for health, they could cause themselves to get sick.

Bringing up their dietary choices (even if it’s for the hundredth time) also helps to remind others not to forget about their dietary choice when preparing meals or going out for dinner as well. This way disappointment can be avoided when someone makes a meal with dairy or meat for someone who doesn’t eat those things.

Veganism Is A Part Of A Bigger Picture

Being vegan goes beyond just avoiding animal products in food. It’s a lifestyle choice that extends to clothing, beauty products, and even forms of entertainment.

Many vegans aim to reduce their carbon footprint and lessen their impact on the environment. And they also don’t want to support products that contribute to animal cruelty or exploitation. This can include leather, fur, wool, and other materials made from animals.

Many vegans also make a conscious effort to support companies and brands that align with their values, whether it’s through purchasing from small businesses or choosing cruelty-free and vegan options.

It’s not just about what you eat, but also the impact of your choices on the world around us.

And, yes, vegans often have to be vocal about this too. They won’t just buy any product out there. There are certain things that prevent a vegan from buying something, and they can’t find those things out unless they ask.

Moreover, if you ask them why they are not buying something, they can’t explain it to you without telling you that they don’t support buying those kinds of things. They have to be vocal about it or stand there and say nothing, which is never an option because someone who will buy anything doesn’t get it and will often relentlessly ask what’s going on until the vegan explains. Ironically, after this pestering, the non-vegan usually gets annoyed that the vegan is mentioning (again) their preferences.

It’s Hard To Get What You Want Without Being Vocal

My hope is that non-vegans will start to understand this. If you have preferences, you can’t just order or buy anything, you have to ask questions and clarify what you do or don’t want in order to get it. This doesn’t mean that you are trying to showboat your lifestyle. It just means you are trying to stick to your preferences and need more information before you can make choices.

Eating with non-vegan friends or family can be difficult as there may not always be vegan options available. Again, this is where speaking up helps. If you tell people what you want, then you avoid getting things that you don’t want. It’s that simple.

Vegans also understand that change doesn’t happen overnight and are open to educating others about their lifestyle choices in a respectful manner. But most people don’t want to hear about their lifestyle in the slightest, and vegans know it, so despite what others think, they don’t actively search out a situation where they need to be vocal about their lifestyle.

In the end, when you encounter a vegan trying to explain their preferences for the sake of getting what they want, try to understand where they’re coming from and respect their choices. If you don’t want to hear about their lifestyle, don’t ask or mention it. I guarantee that most vegans will be happy to not have to explain things further past what they need to in order to live the lifestyle they prefer.

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