Vegan Advice #5 (Xmas edition)

I got more questions asked, that I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything from my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion though. The last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the following questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?’. As it’s almost Xmas, I thought of doing a Xmas edition of the Vegan Advice article. They aren’t per se Xmas related though, but recently I get these sort of questions a lot and I’m sure more vegans get these too: ‘Would you buy non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you accept non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?’. Here we go..

Would you buy non vegan things as a present?
No! Very simple and straight forward. I used to do it in the very beginning, but very soon I realised that it doesn’t make sense to spend my money on non vegan things. There are actually 3 reasons. First of all, I do not want a non vegan brand to get my support through buying it. Second, my biggest wish is for the whole world to go vegan. Giving other people non vegan things doesn’t only make them doubt about how serious veganism is for me and in general, but it also tells them it’s kind of ok that they still want products that involve cruelty and/or environmental damage. Third..I really like to show them that vegan things aren’t that weird, disgusting or hard to find. Giving vegan gifts is a nice way to show people how nice and positive veganism is.

Would you accept non vegan things as a present?
No! This is sometimes really hard and I understand that you might think ‘it doesn’t matter anymore now, because it has already been purchased’. But as I said at the first question as well, about other people thinking it’s kind of ok, this is the same for accepting non vegan gifts. People won’t take my decision to live a vegan lifestyle serious, but even worse is that if I would tell them it’s ok, they might do it again. If it’s about food, then it can also make me ill as I haven’t been consuming non vegan foods and drinks for years now. I think it also comes down to principles. It’s my principal that I do not want to be involved with non vegan things. It’s hard sometimes, because there are occasions people tried hard to get me something and then I have to disappoint them. But what helps me is thinking in this way: what if I had an allergy? I couldn’t accept it then, so why would I accept it if my reason is to consciously make the world a better place?

Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?
This is quite a hot topic. I know that a lot of people are struggling with this. A lot of people are the only vegan in their family and this makes it really hard, because you want to enjoy the Xmas dinner with your family, but then you have to sit at the table whilst there are people eating and complimenting the dead animals on the table. Personally I can’t do this. Luckily almost my whole family is vegan or vegetarian and we are having 100% vegan Xmas dinners for the last couple of years. I feel very lucky. If this wasn’t the case then I would not attend the Xmas dinner. I know that is quite radical, but I just can’t do it. I rather miss out (even though I love Xmas so much!), than to feel incredibly sad and have the feeling I want to cry the whole time. It would feel like torture to me. So how do you deal with this if you aren’t as lucky as I am? If you can’t bare it, then I suggest looking for like minded people (I’m sure they can’t be that hard to find) and organise a Xmas pot luck. I hope everybody will have a good Xmas though!

Do you agree with me or do you see it in a different way? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

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Vegan Advice #3

It has been a while since I posted a Vegan Advice article. Lately I have been asked a few questions again and I thought it might be helpful to write about it. For more understanding. I write from my own point of view and so my answers are coming from the way I look at things. The last time I posted a Vegan Advice, it was about ‘Where do I get my protein from?’, ‘Can I eat the eggs from my own chickens?’ and ‘Do cows have to be milked?’. This time I’d like to talk about ‘Why is horse riding wrong?’, ‘Do you respect that some people are not vegan?’ and ‘Why is honey not vegan?’. If you get these questions too, just send the link to the people who do. It’ll save you a lot of repeating!

Why is horse riding wrong?
When I was a child, I was definitely part of the crazy-about-horses-club. I was really crazy about horses. Collected everything what was horse related and I took riding lessons too. Since my first lesson when I was around 10/11, I ride horses for years. I still love horses a lot. I think they’re incredible animals. But the love I feel has sightly changed since I became vegan. I don’t only love them, I respect them too. Respect means that you let them live their life and look after them in a way they are most happy. Though, riding horses means you need to train them. In a lot of cases it means you have to train them to be wearing a saddle and a bridle, with a metal bit in their delicate mouth. It’s forcing them to get used to something unnatural. And for what? For people’s pleasure. Without thinking it through, I can actually say that it’s lovely to ride horses. The idea of being on top of such a majestic animal, going fast, the wind in your hair, it feel amazing.. But now, realising what we’re actually doing to them it’s not that enjoyable for me anymore. It’s weird I didn’t think of this before. It’s cuz we grow up with it being ‘normal’. Now what is the real reason for riding a horse? Because if you really really love horses, you wouldn’t do this to them. You would just take care of them and love them. I think it’s the feeling of controlling an animal like a horse. Making it do things you want it to do. Making it walk and run with weird unnatural movements, just because you can. Making it jump whilst you’re on it (or not on it). You are in control. What is naturally a nice feeling. Because not being in control you can feel lost. What makes it logic that being in control makes you feel good. Simple. I think admitting this to yourself is hard if it comes to horse riding. Because you want to justify the riding. What I understand as a former horse rider. I do not actually have something against sitting on a horse’s back and then make it walk or anything. But it has to be with nothing but your body (no saddles, no bridals, nothing..) and mutual respect. If you create a bond and the horse lets you sit on him/her, because it trusts you, I think it’s a beautiful thing. I think if you start training it to do things it actually doesn’t want to and/or to win prices, you’re loving the horse for the wrong reasons. Just because a horse is capable of doing things, doesn’t mean it should. I say this out of my own experiences. I dare to admit that I loved horse riding because of the feeling it gave me. It was selfish of me. I wasn’t always thinking about the horse itself. Though I love horses and I always have (and I always will), I just wasn’t thinking about the horse’s feelings.

Do you respect that some people are not vegan?
A lot of times omnivores (mostly the ones who are close to me) have told me that I should respect their eating choices. ‘I respect you’re vegan, so I expect you to respect me eating meat or drinking a glass of milk’. For me it’s very simple: I don’t. This doesn’t mean I don’t respect the person itself. I can have respect for a lot of other good things this person does. I simply do not respect what some people choose to eat. Because their choice has victims. This is why I can’t respect it. People are often rather flabbergasted that I can’t respect this. ‘It’s my own choice of what to eat and what not to eat’. True. And omnivores are choosing to involve cruelty on their plate. It’s a choice I can not respect. Because the cow or the pig on their plate did not have a choice. Does this mean that I can’t be close to people who eat meat? No it doesn’t. I do find it very hard though, I have to admit that. I’d be lying if I said I don’t. I find it especially hard when I truly love those people. Seeing or knowing that the people I love so deeply eat or use innocent animals, is something what literally makes my chest hurt. Them then asking to respect that, is beyond hurt. It makes me very sad.

Why is honey not vegan?
‘You also don’t eat honey?’ How many vegans had this questions before? I figure a lot are raising their hands now. Because a bee is just an insect. Doesn’t it go a little far? A lot of people think it’s extreme to also not use honey. I have to admit that honey is also the last thing for me to give up. Not that I was a big consumer, but it’s used as an ingredient quite a lot. I just wasn’t aware of why it wasn’t exactly vegan, until I did a little research. So then why is honey not vegan? First of all, very simple, because it comes from an animal. I didn’t realise at first, but taking honey isn’t only cruel, it’s also very stupid. Without bees we will die. How? Bees are the reason we can grow food. They are responsible for pollination, what fertilises the plants, so it will grow new plants. Without pollination nothing will grow. With 7 billion people and a lottttttt more animals on this planet, it’s quite necessary to grow food. There are a lot of mouths to feed. This for me is the very clear and super important reason not to use honey. Taking the honey from the bees can be very stressful for bees. Bees are very intelligent insects and are getting stressed very quickly. Also, bees don’t make honey so people can enjoy it. Bees make honey for themselves. Though, instead of having it for themselves, humans came up with the idea to give them sugar water. They are mostly allowed to keep some of the honey, just enough for them not to die. This to me sounds totally unfair. Honey is for bees, not for humans. This is all apart from that there are actual bee farms, what involves a lot of cruelty and death. Honey is very easy to replace. Use any syrup: agave, date, rice, golden.. Because I think instead of taking honey from bees, we should respect and honour them. They are the reason you’re able to have a yummy salad for lunch!

Did you already know the answers to these questions or did you learn something? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X