Veganism is a Privilege & Other Thoughts

13 comments

It’s time to ruffle some feathers! I am going to talk about the “p” word, so if you are triggered by topics about privilege, then this is your warning. Before I dive into what I want to talk about, I just need to give a little disclaimer. I am vegan and I love this lifestyle and I am not bashing or gossiping about anyone specifically. Moving on…

When I was a new vegan, I would get really annoyed when people said that it was too hard and too expensive and all those other excuses. I used to think that any person regardless of economic status could adopt a vegan lifestyle. This is only true to an extent. Sometimes we live in a bubble. We unintentionally judge and assume that everyone has the same access to food, transportation, etc. At my grocery store, whole plant foods end up being less expensive in the long run. My area also has farmer’s markets and community gardens. However, someone living in a food dessert might only have access to convenience stores. Convenience stores typically only carry packaged foods and maybe apples or bananas at a much higher price. People that experience food insecurity usually have to drive more than 30 minutes to get to a decent grocery store. If someone doesn’t have reliable transportation then it is much harder to find fresher foods and it can get expensive for them.

Someone that is living at, below, or barely above the poverty line will not even be thinking about the ethicality of their food. Someone who is struggling to pay rent or make car payments or struggling financially in any way, will be more concerned with meeting their basic needs. There is something called, “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”.

https_culcrameshv.files.wordpress.com201407maslow-hierarchy-of-needs-motivation-theory
This is not my photo. I could not find the original website. 

Someone who is not meeting their physiological and safety needs will have trouble with the other categories: belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. I consider ethical/lifestyle choices to be in the “self-actualization” category. I think before we say that “anyone could do this”, we need to realize that basic needs come before privileges like traveling and plant-based living. There have been periods of time in which I haven’t had as much financial stability, however I still had access to necessary resources and a supportive family. I am privileged and I reluctantly consider traveling, minimalism, and veganism/plant-based diets privileges. It is totally possible to do these acts on a budget, but these are primarily things that mainly middle class and upper class individuals enjoy.

It was hard for me to accept that I am privileged because I always work hard for what I want. But the idea of privilege just means that you were born into a better position in society, it is not discrediting hard work. I think the vegan community (including myself) needs to not only fight for animal rights, but also advocate for healthier markets in low-income areas and other programs that improve food security. This is how we can make veganism and ethical food choices accessible and more mainstream. Stigmatizing someone because they can’t drive an hour to a grocery store and pay for tempeh is not the way to spread the vegan message.

Of course there will always be those people who make excuses even though they have all the resources they could possibly need and want, I am not talking about these individuals. Unfortunately, some people will never be receptive to the vegan message. But we still need to work towards making fresh food diets accessible and mainstream so that veganism isn’t a luxury that only some people can partake in. Thank you and I am sorry if I have offended you! This is just my opinion on the “privileged vegans” topic.

*Just so you know: all photos taken by me (unless stated otherwise), if you want to use them please credit me. Thanks for visiting my blog! This post is NOT sponsored, however I am affiliated with iHerb and Amazon and I do earn a small commission if you decide to use my links. Check out my Shop page for more info. Thanks again for reading!

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13 comments on “Veganism is a Privilege & Other Thoughts”

  1. Love this post! It’s non-judgmental vegans like you that are more likely to make an impact on non-vegans.

    I’m not yet a vegan, but I try to be plant-based mostly. Having vegans AND non-vegans judging me for being neither here nor there definitely doesn’t help my journey at all. But eventually we learn to only take in the constructive criticisms and ignore the hate. 🙂

    Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this post! As a fellow vegan in a very privileged area, I agree with your points. It’s easy to take for granted that we have easy access to fresh food and produce year-round. I have found, though, that I spend a lot less in food than my friends in this area. Veggies, beans, and grains in bulk (when you can get them!) can be super affordable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Kaley! (: really enjoyed reading this! I have definitely found that i tend to spend more money since going vegan, but that is because i buy things like seitan, tempeh, and shop at small independent stores that specialise in world foods. I also buy cruelty-free, vegan toiletries and household products which are much more expensive. But i think if i were to stick to the food basics and buy whole foods and make things from scratch, then it could be a hell of a lot cheaper. Economically speaking, meat is a luxury . But it think you’re right in your point that not everybody has access to fresh, raw vegetable produce and that exaccerbates the problem – it’s the scourge of this country,, horrible over-processed unhealthy packaged food. Living in the mediterranean countries it would be SO easy to live vegan even if relatively poor, because almost everybody has access to locally sourced fruit and vegetables at a much lower price (no import costs).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for commenting! Like I said in my post, it is very possible to be on a budget. Avoiding vegan junk food helps. I eat mostly whole foods and I don’t spend too much money. But I focused more on food deserts which are a major problem in the United States and I would consider these an institutional concern (not an individual flaw). It’s possible for people living in poverty to be plant-based, but they are less likely to because they need to fulfill other needs first. I agree with you, in some countries it might be more accessible. Overall, I would consider being vegan a privilege. Although not all vegans are privileged in the traditional sense. I feel lucky to be able to make ethical decisions about my food and lifestyle. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

      Like

  4. I agree yeah, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs definitely makes some sense from a psychological perspective in extreme circumstances. I just find it unsettling to accept that morality is considered in the top category, it almost suggests that poverty is the cause of all bad actions in the world. That just makes me a bit sad 😦 peace x

    Liked by 2 people

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