A Call For An End To Vegan Elitism

A Call For An End To Vegan Elitism

Meat or no meat, you do you and me do me.
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Let it go for the record that I do not care what you eat or how you eat it. As someone who simultaneously desires ham salad, the curry chicken salad from Whole Foods, and salmon sashimi at any given moment, I don’t intend to or desire to sway anybody’s preferences. I also would like it to go for the record that I in no way consider myself in some way void of the privilege (however or whatever you see privilege to be). I am whiter than white and in college and getting paid too much to scoop ice cream, and I am grateful to be where I am.

That being said: As someone who spends a good amount of time on the internet, I happen to be under constant exposure to a wide array of Facebook posts about politics and news and the weather—to euphemise—all of which I have, with time, become completely numb to. There, however, is one particular post, or genre of posts, that so often comes up on my timeline of things that always seems to rub me in one wrong way or another. Perhaps it is because I work in a place that attracts a lot of vegans or perhaps because I live in a neighborhood which lives to serve vegans, but I am constantly surrounded and perennially irritated by vegan propaganda.

That is not to say that I am irritated by vegans as a whole; I know and admire many veggie-loving men and women and will do nothing to discredit the energy they put into maintaining an animal-free diet. Veganism, as it stands alone, without its signifiers, is essentially a diet. However, vegan propaganda and vegan rhetoric and the vegan ego (the vego), all drive me to a point of insanity which is soon to be verging on “no return.” What I am calling for is an end not to you eating your plant-based diet, but rather for an end to the pressuring Facebook posts and subtle snubs towards me and my fellow meat-eaters (though admittedly, I do steer clear of red meat under most circumstances— we’ll get there later).

I do not think that meat-industry shame videos are by any means effective in spreading veganism. It is unfortunate what happens to animals in big farms; as a child my mother had me watch "Food Inc." so yes I’ve seen the pigs get pushed over by the giant metal barrier and it was, yes, terrifying. I have not been desensitized to the cruelties of animals; I don’t think most people live their lives happily eating red meat completely unaware of the cruelties that are performed on a grand, industrial level to animals. However, so often the first person to feel the pain of a decrease in meat sales is not Perdue or Alico, Inc. It is instead the small farmers, who live off the land they sew and have done so for their entire lives, and perhaps came from a long line of farmers. These are not the farmers that have giant metal barriers to throw pigs on their sides or force cows into treacherous conditions.

Instead, the promotional work done to bring “awareness” only starts small, and hurts humans who feel perhaps more than the cattle, who live to support their families. Monsanto will continue to live on and thrive, its workers committing suicide at alarming rates, while you protest small farmers and eat soy cheese that a young boy in India worked at a slave wage to help produce. Unless you’re buying small, from a small market where you know that what you’re eating is from point A and only traveled so far to get to point B, you’re feeding into the cruelty; perhaps not of cows or chickens, but of humans.

If you are in the top 1% of vegans who is able to buy local and go completely farm-to-table, you should be able to recognize that you are, yes, above many. Above so many of the hard-working individuals in this world who will circumstantially never be able to provide for themselves with such luxuries. You are among the top percentage of people in this country who, not only had access to such things but who can afford to use them. If you live in a food desert like 23.5 million people in America, a ‘“vegan lifestyle” might include Crisco on bread, paired with store-brand Oreos and a tall glass of juice from concentrate.

It is not easy to be vegan, as incredible as that may sound. For so many, milk and eggs may serve as an affordable form of protein for them or for their families that can’t be replaced with something plant-based and sustainable. If you can afford seitan instead of chicken and are still be able to get that extra protein despite subbing high-protein chicken for high-gluten-and-not-much-else seitan, you are, by comparison, pretty lucky.

Now you may be asking, me, privilege Queen: Well, what’s your GD excuse? It is that I love the people around me. I recently went on vacation with my family and, had I been a vegan, would have had to excuse myself from every single dinner we had that night. I would have had to stare my great grandparents in the eyes and say “I can’t eat this salmon, sorry.” I would have had to assert myself to someone who was old enough to at least felt the depression, and would recognize the salmon before them as something earned, something to be grateful for. The thought of that absolutely terrifies me.

For so many people, they don’t know any different. Regardless of what they can’t afford on a monetary level, you couldn’t even begin to explain a quinoa burger to someone who grew up on beef, or who grew up eating a Sunday roast and who takes pride in being able to put proteins on their table for their family more than once a week. Generationally and regionally, veganism is sometimes just not possible.

My undying love for cheese aside, I could easily live a life of tempeh and chick’n, of quinoa bowls and cauliflower alfredo. I don’t eat red meat because I love cows and I often don’t drink milk because I have, with age, become lactose intolerant. But I love and accept my family and friends who eat meat because they always have and my family and friends who get queasy just thinking about dairy. Also, I have owned many a fish in my life and can say with great confidence that they couldn’t be less sentient—sorry.

Live long, eat well, eat meat or eat meat substitute, and prosper, but don’t be too in-your-face about it, please.

Cover Image Credit: silviarita / Pixabay

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9 Things All Mexican Food Addicts Know All Too Well

Don't come between me and my Mexican food.
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In the city I grew up in, there is a Mexican restaurant just about every five miles. They are the after school hangouts and first date go-to's for most of the kids here, especially the high school girls.

I know the servers at my favorite one know my order almost every time I go in there (at least once a week). However, a lot of people apparently get tired of eating Mexican food about twice a week... but I sure don't. If you are a Mexican food addict like me, I am sure you know at least a few of these yourself.

1. Cheese dip tastes like heaven and you have to have it.

That amazing creamy white cheese dip put on a perfectly salted chip is enough to make your day better. Forget the actual food---we'd be content living off of cheese dip and chips for the rest of our lives. Our restaurant trip is not complete without an order of it and if you are lucky enough to get your favorite waiter, maybe even get a large bowl for the night.

SEE ALSO: An Ode To Queso, My First And True Love

2. You never have to look at the menu.



We know when we decide to go what we are having and it is probably the exact same plate we order each time. I am sure the servers laugh after I order some days because there is only three things I rotate between. My burrito is always my go-to, unless I am feeling fancy.

3. Some of the servers know who you are when you walk in the door.

Either by first name or by order they know us. You are the ones that they tell to pick your own seat and already have your drink order placed by the time you sit down.

4. Your boyfriend/ girlfriend puts you on Mexican restaurant restriction on date night.


You drag them there so much, they get tired of eating there. So much so, they flat out say no when you ask to go there on date night. I mean, how does someone get tired of Mexican food to begin with though?

SEE ALSO: The Perfect Skin Color For A Mexican?

5. You can hum some of the songs that come on.

We may not know what they are saying in the song, but we know the song---trust us. We are in there so much we remember them. Don't ask any questions when we start humming.

6. You "have" a parking spot.

Do not park in my parking spot that is not actually my parking spot, but is my parking spot. Got it? Just do not do it. That starts my meal bad when you take my normal spot.

7. You used to hangout there all the time after school.

It was the hangout spot. Forget the nasty school lunch--- everyone goes to eat Mexican after school. It's the cool thing to do and it started your addiction.

8. You always want to introduce new people to your favorite restaurant.

Oh, you aced that exam? Let's go eat at this amazing Mexican restaurant I love! We always want to find people to go there to eat with so we always introduce new people to it.

9. People always pick on you about your addiction.


Yes, I love Mexican food. Go ahead and tag me in all the memes on Facebook about tacos. As long as I have my Mexican food, I am fine with that.

All in all, we LOVE our Mexican food and our go-to restaurants--- so here is your warning. Don't come between me and my Mexican food.

Cover Image Credit: jenaroundtheworld

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7 Southern Food Staples To Savor This Holiday Season

Fried chicken? Yes. Mashed potatoes? Yes. Peach cobbler? Heck to the yes.

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Someone told me the other day they had never had banana pudding. Recovering from a mini heart attack, I realized not everyone on Alabama's campus is necessarily from the South. Culturing other students about traditional Southern foods, I made a list of seven go-to dishes to enjoy with friends and family over the holiday break. These beloved classics have been passed down for generations and will satisfy any craving for comfort food. Get ready to crack open the recipe books. I hope you have an empty stomach.

Chicken 'n Dumplings

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Old fashioned chicken and dumplings is my one of my favorite meals during the fall and winter months. Simmer chicken, onion, carrots, and celery over the stove and bring to a boil. Use flour, baking powder, and salt for the dumpling mixture then add chicken broth to make a biscuit dough. Cut the dough into one-inch pieces and drop them into the soup and cook until even. This recipe will not disappoint.

Sweet Potato Casserole

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Topped with brown sugar, marshmallows, and chopped pecans, you can't go wrong with traditional sweet potato casserole. Mash the sweet potatoes and other ingredients in a large mixing bowl until even, then fold a cup of pecans. Place the potato mixture into a baking dish coated in cooking spray. Top layers with marshmallows and enjoy!

Classic Cornbread

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Cornbread is a must to any family dinner in the South. Put a cast-iron skillet into the oven and heat to 450 degrees. Stir cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add in wet ingredients for a thick buttermilk mixture. Pour the mixture into the hot skillet and bake until edges are brown.

Baked Potato Soup

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Everyone loves a good soup recipe to keep warm from the cold weather. Some soups can take hours to make and have tons of ingredients, but baked potato soup can be quickly put together in a matter of minutes. Simply put, combine flour and milk and cook over medium heat until thickened. Add potatoes, bacon, onions, cheese, and sour cream to the mixture and stir until the soup is thoroughly heated.

Breakfast Biscuits and Gravy

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Sunday morning breakfast calls for two items on the menu: buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. You can't go wrong with this Southern staple as a family favorite. Under one exception, NEVER use grocery store biscuit dough or cheap sausage. Gravy recipes take a while to master, so make sure you practice the recipe so the consistency is just right.

Southern Pecan Pie

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When it comes down to making the Thanksgiving menu, no Southern momma will skip on the pie. We love desserts in the South, and you better believe there will be pecan pie on the table. Just make sure to get a piece before it's all gone! The dense combination of butter, sugar, corn syrup, and eggs calls for a sugary custard topped with roasted pecans. Mmmm... I wish I could have some now.

Grandma's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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OK, OK. Maybe you don't have to be a Southerner to enjoy a classic chocolate chip cookie, but it's no doubt that Grandma's are the best. Whether it's Christmas Eve or a lazy Saturday in July, chocolate chip cookies are a favorite among all. Bake some sweet treats with friends or family and cuddle up for a movie night-in this holiday season.

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