We don’t often talk about the times we made mistakes as vegans.
That’s because it sounds so serious. Like we went out and killed a pig with our bare hands just because we felt like it.
Also, because we know we will be judged. After all, how could we be so careless to allow for this to happen? Are we not careful? Do we not want to make good decisions? How dare we be human in a world that wants vegans to fail?
The truth is, mistakes happen and just because one is vegan, it doesn’t mean we know everything and will never do something that we find immoral and unethical unknowingly. (I wrote about something along these lines here.)
With that being said, I want to go on and tell you about 3 times I made a mistake as a vegan (and an activist) and what I have learnt from them.
- I wasn’t careful when reading the ingredients as a new vegan.
A few months into my new plant-based lifestyle, I found out that the apple pie I was buying from the local store isn’t vegan. I was sure that it was, but I later by coincidence saw that extra ingredient (eggs) that I probably subconsciously overlooked the first time. Needless to say, I now read everything three times and even then I sometimes don’t buy the product if I am not sure everything is vegan-friendly.
- I trusted people who said something was vegan when in reality it wasn’t.
About 6 months ago – yes, well into my fifth year as a vegan – I learnt that women at the store I used to go to to buy breadsticks from were lying to me. You see, in 2014 I asked them twice, on different occasions, if the breadsticks I loved to eat so much were vegan and they all said they were. Turns out, luck was my friend in this case as well, as I stumbled upon their website and read the ingredients. I was eating something with milk in it this whole freaking time! I wrote a letter to the company and said that they are lucky I am not allergic to dairy because if I were, they would surely kill me with their continuous lies. I don’t trust anyone now, I’m serious.
- I spent time talking about animal rights to people who were quietly mocking me.
I like to think I am good at figuring people out but sometimes I love someone too much to have my eyes open. There were many times where I spent hours debating animal rights with someone who was giving me the most stupid excuses, laughing at my face when I tried to debunk them with logic, and only later realizing I was a fool for thinking they were open-minded. I don’t do that anymore. Maybe I am wrong, but I refuse to spend time with people who aren’t honest about their intentions when discussing animal rights and veganism.
I will be honest, guys. It’s very hard to admit that I was eating breadsticks with dairy this whole time while working my ass off as an activist and speaking up about animal rights.
Knowing that people who should tell you the truth were dishonest about something important (and even deadly if someone is allergic), makes you wonder if it was your fault this whole time.
Maybe I should have pressed harder and asked them more times and maybe I should read every list of ingredients and not trust a single word without proof.
But I am a human being. Sometimes I trust people and I believe they are honest. I am also careless sometimes and do things I regret. It’s not like I did these mistakes intentionally but most of the time we think we have to be perfect.
So often we get attacked by the vegan police for admitting our humanity. It’s what makes people think we are a cult. Sometimes even I look around and feel ashamed of how crazy some vegans can be about this lifestyle.
The sooner we can remind everyone that everyone makes mistakes and that we are only humans who are trying our best in a very flawed world, the sooner we stop these maniacs who think you are not vegan the second you eat an animal product by mistake.
I won’t stand for that and that’s why I am coming clean about the mistakes I made in the past. Because I am sure I will make more of them in my life because as I said a million times, I am only human.