Believe it or not, there are plenty of vegans who are not pushy about their lifestyle and dietary choices. And yet those vegans who aren't pushy are attacked just like those who are "asking for it." It's really quite annoying. Living a vegan lifestyle is extremely important to those doing it (obviously, it takes dedication and willpower) and those "pushy" ones are just trying to get others to understand their point of view; but I also understand that people will react rather violently when their lifestyle is challenged. But that also doesn't give anyone the right to look down their noses at all vegans because of the actions of a few. Vegans will continue spreading their message, but you can't assume everyone will take the more aggressive approach (like the lovely vegan queen Freelee pictured above). The aggressive approach works on many, many people, as Freelee has changed the lives of thousands including my own, but gentler approaches work as well, but are often overshadowed by the drama brought along with harsher approaches. Naturally, everyone assumes all vegans do is shove their lifestyle down other peoples throats. And that's not the case.
Personally, I've been verbally attacked and talked down to for my diet change. I've had people throw outdated "facts" about the possible downsides of a plant-based diet, and I've also been told multiple times that I'm going to hurt or kill myself from not consuming any animal products because our bodies "need" them (if that were true, no vegan/plant based diet would be sustainable, and we'd all be dead). Of course, any diet can have downsides if you're not ensuring the proper intake of nutrients, so really, don't bother. There are plenty of non-vegans and non-vegetarians who are also malnourished, but they would never think to check because they're assuming they're getting all the essential nutrients. After eight months, I probably know what I'm doing, and no one has any place to say what I'm doing is wrong. I did research for an entire month before making the change, and I wish I'd been introduced to the lifestyle sooner!
Veganism is important to me. It changed my life forever. It changed my perspective; it woke me up. I called myself an animal lover for so long, yet I ate said beloved animals every day and used products tested on them without a second thought. Since I've made the change, I haven't tried to shove it down anyone's throat, but instead showed them how much I thrived on this lifestyle and answered any questions I was approached with. With my actions, I've made an impact on the lives of those around me, and inspired them to feed their body healthier options and make more ethical choices when shopping.
Instead of trying to discourage a healthy diet change (or lifestyle change) with "facts" that aren't facts at all, try being supportive. Or maybe showing results instead of spewing biased "facts." After making the huge diet change, I got rid of my chronic IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is not curable by the way, and I feel fantastic. My body is fueled better now. I have no stomach pains. I'm no longer constantly worried about the next time I'll be sick (which was almost a daily occurrence). My skin has cleared up, my nails and hair are stronger, my body is energetic and I'm not malnourished in the slightest. To prove it to myself that I was as healthy as I felt, I took a blood test, you know, just to be sure. And guess what? Everything came back exactly right. So where are your "facts" now?
I'd like to reiterate that it's not OK to judge an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. Yes, there are going to be those stereotypical vegans that only talk about veganism and always say "meat is murder." But there are also those that don't push their lifestyle onto others. And we shouldn't be criticized or attacked on the sole basis of lifestyle choices that differ from your own. Many times, a plant-based diet is the cure for people's problems. But a vegan/plant-based diet has so many benefits not just for yourself, but for the animals, the environment and the planet as a whole. Who are you to judge all around beneficial choices? So enjoy your burger. And I'll enjoy my fruit platter. But don't bully me for eating an "un-American" diet.