5 vegans you meet when you go vegan

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Like most communities, the vegan community is one that can seem quite homogenous from the outside, but once you’re a part of it you start to realise just how diverse the different people in that community are. It probably goes without saying that vegans get a pretty bad rap and are viewed quite stereotypically by the ‘outside world’, but funnily enough once you’ve been vegan for a little while and had a few weeks of exposure to other vegans, you start to notice types.

After two years of being vegan and interacting with a variety of different vegans online, I’ve started to be able to class a lot of us into different categories, and thought I’d share some of those with you today! As usual, there’s been a few wee controversies in the vegan world over the past few days, resulting in certain subgroups of veganism turning on the others, and as much as it sucks to see people who support your ethical and moral beliefs be complete and utter bellends, sometimes you just have to step back and laugh.

So, in the interest of looking on the bright side and learning to poke fun at ourselves, here are five types of vegan you meet after you’ve made the switch!

The Raw Yogi

For those of us who are super into food, one type of vegan is very quick and easy to identify – the Raw Yogi. Although there’s more to vegan food than acai bowls and colourful, vibrant salads and fresh vegetables, the Raw Yogi’s diet is almost exclusively these kinds of food and, as the name suggests, most of what they eat is raw, earthy goodness. There isn’t anything bad about that in and of itself, but for the rest of us mere mortals munching on our vegan chocolate chip cookies it seems a bit daunting and unobtainable.  Plus, they give omnis a skewed idea of what vegans actually want to eat - it’s thanks to the Raw Yogis that the rest of us have to suffer menu after menu of raw cheesecake as a dessert option instead of proper junk food puddings!

The next level Raw Yogi vegan doesn’t just eat raw of course, but embraces part of the hippy-style stereotype that non-vegans often assign to the movement. They’re chilled out, they practice yoga, they meditate, they probably own a few pieces of jewellery with a hamsa on ‘em and may or may not dabble in Buddhism and/or some forms of appropriation from ‘exotic’, ‘enlightened’ cultures in the Far East.

The Know-It-All Nutritionist

Sadly, it’s not just non-vegans who feel the need to quiz vegans when it comes to nutrition. The Know-It-All Nutritionist is that vegan we all know and love who is super into ‘clean eating’ and, while they may not have exclusively gone vegan because of the health benefits, just loves to preach what a positive impact a healthy vegan diet can have on you. This isn’t a problem until they decide to impart their wisdom onto others uninvited; it’s the Know-It-All Nutritionist who you’ll often see getting into spats with other vegans over their love of processed foods and refined sugars, let alone lambasting omnivores for eating cheese.

Some of us just want to sit and eat our Oreos and pizzas in peace, others expect all vegans to be model representations of pristine, vegan health and assign far too much value to nutritional content of snacks and meals than is really recommended. Oh, and while many, many types of vegan can be guilty of fat-shaming, it’s most likely to be the Know-It-All Nutritionist, because haven’t you seen What The Health, don’t you know you’re killing yourself with meat and dairy and a wholefoods vegan diet could save your life?!

The Anarchist

We’ve probably all encountered the Anarchist on many, many occasions. You know the type – they’re the ones who are vegan for the animals, but to them, the animals are everything. And I mean everything. They’re the people who get into Twitter arguments with vegetarians and omnivores at the drop of the hat, who post graphic images of slaughterhouses and animal abuse on the social media feeds and who loudly equate animal agriculture to rape, slavery and yes, even the Holocaust. Goes without saying that such comparisons are problematic at best, but good luck calling them out without getting your head bitten off.

They might mean well at their core, but the Anarchist creates such an offensive, intimidating and unobtainable image of veganism that it’s just down right off-putting, and they do a great job of alienating not just omnivores but other vegans, too. To them, there’s a standard of veganism you’re expected to meet, and if, for example, you buy from cruelty free brands with animal testing parent companies, or choose to buy vegan products from food brands that aren’t 100% ethical, then you’re you’re not a real vegan and should be ashamed of yourself.

The #Goals

A favourite of bloggers, social media and magazines alike, the #Goals vegan is everything we aspire to be and more. They seem to live a picturesque life in either a beautiful modern or shabby chic apartment, grow their own herbs and plants and they’re slim, effortlessly beautiful and fashionable. All of their clothing (or at least what they choose to show us) is ethically sourced, and most of the time they live a zero waste, minimalist lifestyle with a classy monochrome capsule wardrobe and collections of upcycled kilner and mason jars filled with all their kitchen perishables lining their shelves.

Putting it simply, these folks are the vegans that make veganism fashionable to your average person.  The #Goals is the vegan ideal brought to life and their artfully arranged marble flat lays and food photography put the rest of us to shame. Of course, for most of us mere mortals their way of living isn’t actually achievable, and while their carefully curated blogs and social media platforms are gorgeous to look at and full of aesthetic inspiration, their content can encourage us to doubt ourselves and believe we’re somehow not ethical enough to really call ourselves vegan.

The Tesco Vegan 

Named so because ‘every little helps’, the Tesco Vegan is seen as realistic, inclusive and approachable by some or a slacker and a cop-out animal abuse apologist by others. Unlike the Animal Anarchist who is very much all-or-nothing, the Tesco Vegan believes that even small changes like giving up dairy milk in our cereals or simply reducing our consumption of meat will make a positive difference, even if we don’t all go vegan. They’re the vegan that, rather than trying to scare their omnivorous friends with gory photos or health statistics, simply leads by quiet example and lets questions be asked without judgement. While this might be seen as a great thing by omnivores who’re tired of feeling attacked by vegans, other vegans would argue that coddling ‘carnists’ and making them feel less guilty for still contributing to animal abuse and environmental destruction is foolish and counter-productive.

Although I’d definitely class myself as one of these, whether or not the Tesco Vegan’s approach actually makes a difference remains to be seen, but they pride themselves on their positive advocacy and the impact they can make by being intersectional and inclusive rather than frightening and exclusionary.

So, if you’re vegan, what type are you? Got any others that I might’ve missed?

1 comment

  1. This really tickled me. I've just gone vegan in the last week, though I've eaten about 75% vegan for a while now. I've seen all of these 'types' and I definitely aspire to be the Tesco vegan because ramming something down someone's throat is NEVER going to end well. The best approach is to be compassionate and helpful. For me, seeing people going hardline on people and telling them they weren't trying hard enough if they weren't fully vegan was off-putting and offensive to be honest.

    Rosie | www.girlinawe.com

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