Vegan FAQs

This page contains a number of questions that vegans are often asked. The answers provided often pull from other sources but reflect the opinions of just one vegan. There are no-doubt many vegans who disagree with the answers given below (but they are wrong).

Where do you get your protein?
If you were on a deserted island…?
Veganism seems really restrictive. How do you deal with all the rules?
I could never be vegan, because I love cheese too much!
Are your pets vegan? I mean, they don’t have morals like we humans do!
Is your husband a vegan? Veganism is only for women, right?!
Do you think animals are equal to humans?
What’s your favorite cookbook?
Why do you always post crap on Facebook about being vegan?
When and why did you go vegan?
Will you help me move toward a vegan diet?

Where do you get your protein?
Protein is really easy to get. As long as you’re getting enough calories, you’re probably getting enough protein. A slight breeze can carry a piece of dirt into your mouth, and you’d get all the protein you need for the day.* As Colleen Patrick-Goudreau says, we’ve all heard of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, but none of us in the developed world have heard of kwashiorkor. That’s the scientific name for protein deficiency, and it’s not a problem we see in the U.S. If you want a really long answer, read what a registered dietitian says.
*That part isn’t true.
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If you were on a deserted island…?
Let me stop you right there. If I needed to eat animals or animal products to thrive or stay alive, I would do so. If it meant keeping myself alive, I would eat a cow, a chicken, ten dogs or the cutest duckling (don’t judge). But I don’t need to, so I don’t.
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Veganism seems really restrictive. How do you deal with all the rules?
Veganism is seen as restrictive because it’s not common (yet). In a way, asking if veganism is too restrictive is like asking if not being able to kick puppies is too restrictive. It is not a heroic act; in fact, it is more so an inaction- an abstinence from hurting animals. For me, being vegan is a means to that end: trying not to hurt animals. It’s not about rules; it’s about what is going to help me avoid hurting animals.

I choose not to eat animals, so that I can sleep soundly (after checking Facebook) knowing I don’t contribute to their suffering and death. So, it doesn’t feel like a rule that some outside force has handed down to me; it feels like what it is: a choice I make. There’s no High Vegan Council, watching over me and making judgments.* It’s like asking someone who likes to wear pants how they live with the restriction of not being able to wear shorts. They don’t have that restriction. Go read this excellent article.
*And if there is (but there’s not), I wouldn’t tell you.
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I could never be vegan, because I love cheese too much!
Then be vegan except for cheese. Doy.
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Are your pets vegan? I mean, they don’t have morals like we humans do!
I share my home with a dog and a cat: a Black Mouth Cur (yes, she’s Southern, but she’s vegan and her politics are super liberal) and a “domestic short hair” (inside joke for animal rescue nerds). My dog, the nearly-nine-year-old Dakota, has been eating a vegan diet for almost as long as I have (or… seven times as long?) and she’s alive and well. In fact, people often ask me how old my “puppy” is while she’s barking and lunging wildly at them in an effort to get petted, so I guess she’s experiencing that increased energy that vegans are always bragging about. Dogs are opportunistic omnivores (i.e. beggars) like us, so they can thrive on a vegan diet as long as their food has the vitamins, minerals and fat they need. Sidney the cat, on the other hand, is a carnivore. He needs taurine from food, because his body does not produce it. So, he gets fed animal products. And he has the stinky mouth to prove it.
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Is your husband a vegan? Veganism is only for women, right?!
My husband became a vegetarian about three years after I did, because of some things he read in Fast Food Nation. He eats mostly vegan at home.
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Do you think animals are equal to humans?
Yes and no. People often forget that we are animals (primates). We came about in the same way that dolphins and dogs and donkeys did: by evolution. However, it’s pretty obvious we have larger brains than most other animals. We have developed sophisticated languages, art for the sake of it and complicated ethical theories (like veganism – hey!).

According to Vegan Outreach, some lady I’ve never heard of named Brigid Brophy once said, “I don’t hold animals superior or even equal to humans. The whole case for behaving decently to animals rests on the fact that we are the superior species. We are the species uniquely capable of imagination, rationality and moral choice – and that is precisely why we are under an obligation to recognize and respect the rights of animals.”

To me, equality of intelligence is not relevant to the question of whether or not we should eat animals. For me, what is relevant are the following considerations: Is it harmful? (yes- to us, to animals and to the earth) and Do we have to do it in order to survive or be healthy? (no). Jeremy Bentham (he was a philosopher) said in an interview with GoodReads (lol jk), “The question is not, ‘Can they reason?’ nor, ‘Can they talk?’ but ‘Can they suffer?'”

What’s your favorite cookbook?
Nobody ever asks this, but I wanted to include it. I have two favorites: “Isa Does It” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and “The Vegan Table” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I also use the websites VegWeb and Fat Free Vegan Kitchen a lot.
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Why do you always post crap on Facebook about being vegan?
I live in a society in which my morals (or, I would argue, the real-world applications of my morals) are different from those of the vast majority of people. Something that I see as a horrible cruelty is not only socially accepted but celebrated all around me. Think of it like this: what if you lived in a society in which almost everyone around you thought it was perfectly acceptable to beat women, kick puppies, eat babies or spit on the elderly – and they did so at least three times a day? You would feel the need to speak out against it. And the people around you would think you were weird, extreme, abnormal and preachy. Would you be those things? Would you be wrong?
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When and why did you go vegan?
I became a vegetarian in 2006, when I decided that “because it won’t change anything if I stop eating them” was a really stupid reason to keep eating animals. I felt like a hypocrite for calling myself an animal lover and then shoving chicken parts into my mouth. So I stopped. It helped a lot that I had a friend with an animal rights blog, where I learned a lot about what happens to animals before they become food.

When I was a vegetarian, I swore I’d never go vegan, because I didn’t want to be one of those crazy, extreme people. Thanks to the aforementioned friend, though, I kept learning about what happens to animals, expanding my knowledge to include facts like veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry and male chicks are thrown in garbage cans (alive) because they’re not useful to egg operations.

The final push came from Rory Freedman, author of Skinny Bitch, at a conference hosted by the Humane Society of the United States. I was impressed by her presentation and went to talk with her after it. I told her I’d love to become vegan but I lived in a place where that wouldn’t be convenient. She said so what. Basically, she asked me what gives me the right to decide that inconvenience is a good enough reason to cause harm to animals. I didn’t have a good answer. I became vegan-ish in about January 2009. I allowed myself a few exceptions (including Dominoes cheese pizzas – for real), but after a couple months I didn’t want them anymore.
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Will you help me move toward a vegan diet?
Abso-friggin-lutely. Since people are usually starting with the Standard American Diet of meat as the centerpiece of the plate, it’s sometimes a process to go vegan and helps to have a friend who’s been there and done that. When I was transitioning, I would text my friend from grocery stores and ask if things were vegan or not (mostly candy – don’t judge). Please text me and I’ll do my best.
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3 thoughts on “Vegan FAQs

  1. Last night I randomly read the Huffington Post article “Top 20 Reasons to be Vegan” (or something like that). And now this. Y’all have me thinkin’…..

  2. Ok so veganism, not my thing. I’m nice to my cat though and I wouldn’t eat her, though I often threaten to when she misbehaves. Still all the kudos in the world to your blog. Just about all vegans I know are completely nuts and it is great to read an intelligent rational approach to the topic. Who knows one of these days I might even try a meatless Monday, by which I mean I skip lunch and have cheese pizza for dinner.

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