Friday, April 20, 2012

3 Reasons Why Some Vegans Are Boiling Mad at Me

No vegans were harmed in the filming of this picture.
Maybe you've seen the announcement I posted a few days ago, about my new webinar, "The Occasional Vegan." I've enjoyed a very positive response for the most part, but slightly less than 100% from the vegan community.

I'm used to explaining my position on food, my vegan diet, and the eco-ethical reasons why I think it's a good idea for people to start getting their head around the idea that animal products are not sustainable as a staple for billions of people. And I'm used to the resistance I pick up from people who sense that I might be expecting them to immediately stop eating animal products as I have.

It doesn't come up too often, but when it does, it's hard for me to hold back my views on the disgustingly heartless practice of factory farming, which in itself is ample reason for many people to swear off animal products forever. I do understand that this alone isn't enough for the majority of people, however, because I was one of them. I had the same semi-conscious blinders in place that kept me from having to really look at the reality of where my food came from, and, hardest to bear, what living creatures--every bit as warm, cute, and lovable as my dogs--had to endure in order for me to eat their flesh and body fluids.

What's entirely new to me is explaining my position to vegans. It seems my approach in the webinar (all too tolerant of people who aren't ready to jump in with both feet) has put some of them off. One in particular had some fairly harsh words for my endeavors. Oh well.

The purpose of the webinar is essentially to offer people a viable alternative to the standard American diet that is sickening and killing people by the millions. My thought was to do this in an environment free of judgment, coercion, or anything else that might inhibit their chances of appreciating the pleasure that comes with good food from healthy plant-based sources. Think compassion for the human animal. 

So I've decided to have a free conference call tomorrow for anyone who's interested in this topic.

All are welcome!

3 Reasons Why Some Vegans Are Boiling Mad at Chef Alan
Saturday, April 21st at 9:05am PDT / 12:05pm EDT / 16:05 UTC
Attend via Phone or Web. No registrations required.



  1. I think your approach is admirable, and far more likely to have a favorable impact than anger and dogmatism. I'd rather see someone gradually adopt a plant-based diet, than be turned off by the fear that a vegan diet is too hard or unsatisfying. Or that vegans are weird and angry. I believe Mark Bittman has had a huge impact with his "vegan until dinner" approach.

    I think your eco-ethical-health approach is balanced, and gives people multiple reasons to consider a dietary change. Your willingness to accept people where they are, and encourage them to move forward, will win over people that angry vegans will probably never reach.

  2. What a beautiful gift of prose for a guy like me to receive. Thank you!

  3. I think it is very important to encourage people to be MORE vegan, or be as vegan as they can be, and not be judgmental of anyone who isn't doing it 100%. The fact is, eating more vegan is helpful. It decreases suffering and unsustainable practices. The more people like you and me and others can show that you can eat better than you ever ate before by going vegan, the more people will adopt this style of eating.

    I sometimes don't get along with other vegans because of this single-minded focus on animals many of them seem to have. I care for animals, but honestly, most people will never be convinced that there's anything wrong with eating them, or even anything wrong with factory farming. Even I don't think that, on its face, there is anything immoral about eating eggs or honey or even a Thanksgiving turkey your family raised and cooked. But there is something the matter with how we get our food, and how people treat meat as a staple instead of something you eat occasionally, and honor for its rarity, because it requires more resources to raise or hunt.

    I have an open-door policy with food. I love to cook for people, I invite all my friends over to eat after we hang out at a bar in the middle of the night so they won't go to a diner and eat eggs and bacon. And no one ever leaves dissatisfied. People know that if I feed them, they're going to eat very, very well. This is how you convince people to eat vegan. The way to people's hearts is through their stomachs first, and THEN through their brains. It is definitely important to let people know about the environmental damage, health risks, and grossly negligent suffering caused by factory farming -- AFTER they've enjoyed some vegan food.

    It is a success to even get some people to give up meat now and then, and I'll take every success I can manage.

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