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Don’t be left unprepared.
Gone are the days when vegans were only spotted at meditation retreats, holistic healing centres, and animal sanctuaries.
The vegan movement is undergoing rapid growth.
This means you are not safe, anywhere. Your first encounter could take place in your own neighbourhood or workplace, on an athletic field, even in a Walmart parking lot.
Here are 3 tips to ensure your interactions are pleasant and productive.
Tip #1: Ask them about animals.
When searching for a suitable conversation topic, remember that vegans love animals. They love them so much that they do not eat them, or use them in any way.
But a vegan’s love for animals means much more than just not eating them or exploiting them, it means that vegans are actively invested in every aspect of animal welfare.
Here’s an illustrative tale:
Two months ago, Quacky tragically suffered a serious in-flight collision that left his cranium exposed and rendered him wingless and paralyzed.
His flock left him for dead.
But luckily for Quacky, a concerned vegan came to his aid.
Today Quack proudly wears the protective wig his rescuer fashioned for him out of unbleached, GMO-free corn silk. It keeps his cranium warm and safe on their twice-daily walks to the pond.
Vegans are always on the lookout for suffering.
No sentient being is too small to escape the vigilance of a vegan.
This troubled praying mantis was spotted in an open-air market, atop a cantaloupe, choking on a cigarette. A keen-eyed and compassionate vegan immediately bought the melon and ushered the now grateful insect to a 12-step cessation program.
The likelihood that your vegan has had a similar encounter with a member of the animal kingdom is high. Share these vignettes, and ask with genuine interest if your vegan has a similar story to share.
#2 Do not, under any circumstances, ask where they obtain their protein.
Protein is a highly sensitive and sometimes triggering topic for vegans.
Vegans do not consume protein.
This is because all protein sources in the entire world are derived from animals.
Therefore, vegans eat only grass, twigs, leaves, and zygomorphic flowers.
For example, here’s a typical vegan entrée, Dandelions in a Tepid Water Broth. The dandelions are cultivated in a special, sentient-being-free greenhouse. The moss beneath the frying pan is part of the meal. Just before serving, it’s clipped with tiny scissors and consumed fresh so as to maintain its high chlorophyll content, which is known to mitigate vegan’s typically sallow appearance.
Note — and we almost didn’t include this as it is highly controversial — but a tiny subset of vegans do extend their diets to include fruit, vegetables, grains, chickpeas, and other legumes.
Proceed cautiously if you decide to broach this territory. It is not advisable to put a vegan in a defensive position.
#3. Do not confuse veganism with plant-based eating.
This is very upsetting. Like referring to Canadians as Americans.
Vegans consume only grass, twigs, leaves, and zygomorphic flowers.
Plant-based eaters consume only grass, twigs, leaves, and zygomorphic flowers.
BUT, plant-based eaters do it for health reasons. Vegans do it because they LOVE animals. See item #2. A Venn diagram is in the works to help with this difficult concept.
The following is an important bonus tip.
Bonus Tip: Vegans are always hungry.
You can understand why.
But this again is a tricky topic, especially for a first encounter. Remember that vegans are kind and loving people. They have taken the high road with their diets in an effort to save all of humanity.
Unfortunately the side effect is that any given vegan whom you encounter is not only likely to be hungry, but potentially, dangerously hangry.
If you encounter a hangry vegan, give them breathing room. If you’re outside, look around for some zygomorphic flowers, fresh foliage, or even some dry twigs or brush. If you can do it without turning your back on the vegan, gather some up and offer it to them, with outstretched arms.
Let them feed.
Keep breathing. Vegans are kind and loving people who would never intentionally harm anything.
And, keep your fingers out of the way.
Credits: All images, except Dandelions in Tepid Water Broth, are cropped and manipulated versions of photographs by Ryan McGuire, generously shared via Gratisography. Dandelions in Tepid Water is my own picture taken from this recipe for Zucchini and Green Pea Fritters. The scissors in the image are cropped from a photograph by Anton Darius, shared via Unsplash.
This recipe is great for feeding hangry vegans. There are lots more great ideas here too, for eaters of all stripes, including 5 menus that allow you to share an entire meal with your compassionate friends.
You should stay awhile and look around!
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