How not to be a douche to your vegan friends

- Learn what vegan means: no meat, no milk, no eggs, nothing that came from an animal. Sometimes I’ll ask, “is this item vegan?” and be told “it’s gluten-free.” Special diets are not interchangeable.

- Don’t tell us “You should try this restaurant, they have awesome salad.” Vegans aren’t rabbits who gnaw on raw carrots all day. We want filling fare, just like you do. For the record, a proper vegan meal consists of grains, vegetables, and protein.

- if I bring baked goods into the office, don’t send an email to warn everyone that they are vegan. You’re implicitly implying my cookies are crappy, and that’s just rude. Vegan dishes are not inferior to their omni counterparts by default.

- Don’t eat all the hummus at the party, if it’s the only vegan option and there are lots of things you can eat.

- If you’re planning a food event and want vegans to come (or our attendance is required because mandatory company fun), ask for our input. Some types of cuisine and activities are challenging for folks with dietary restrictions. I’m happy to help you make more accommodating choices.

- Stop asking me why I became vegan. I’m tired of discussing my with non-veg folks. Most of the time, people who ask for my rationale are waiting for their turn to speak so they can justify their dietary choices. Really, I don’t give a fuck. Diet is just as personal as religion. I don’t believe in policing other peoples’ food choices. Don’t project your guilt onto me by assuming I’m judging you.

- While we’re on the subject of things not to ask, the following questions should be banned: “So what do you eat, anyway?” “How do you get your protein?” “Isn’t it hard to make sure you’re eating healthily?” I realize you’re probably asking out of curiosity and not malice. However, it’s not my job to educate you. The info is readily available for the truly curious.

- If you tried being vegan for three weeks but gave up because you just couldn’t live without cheese, your story is irrelevant to my interests.

- Even the most conscientious vegan sometimes consumes animal products by accident. One time, I ate a few bites of potstickers that were labeled vegan, before realizing they contained actual chicken. Unintentionally consuming food that violates your beliefs is upsetting in a way that’s hard to explain to omnivores. If this happens when you’re around, let me be upset: trying to minimize my feelings is unhelpful.

- Don’t grill my veg burger in the same spot where animal products were grilled. Meat juice is gross.

- Listen to and respect my no. I have this interaction regularly:

PERSON: Have some milk chocolate!

Me: No thanks.

PERSON: C’mon, it’s super tasty!

Me: It’s not vegan, but thanks anyway.

PERSON: Oh, I forgot. I feel bad.

I don’t understand what’s so difficult about accepting “no” the first time around. There are no winners in that game where you’re supposed to pretend-refuse the first time someone offers.

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