The Angry Vegan Phase: When It Happens, Why It Happens, and How To Deal With It

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Almost every person who has become vegan has had an angry vegan phase.  It’s an incredibly common phenomenon that typically occurs in the first few months of the transition from a carnist life to a plant-based one.

People go vegan for health reasons, for the environment (to decrease their carbon footprint), for the animals, or for all of the above.  Any of the initial reasons that cause someone to stop consuming animal products often evolve into a much more complex foundation of reasons that drives their veganism to a deeper level.

Becoming vegan is, as most vegans would describe, quite a spiritual experience.  You recognize the magnitude of life outside yourself and humankind.  Your world is essentially flipped upside down and you now see everything through a different lens.

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The moment you make the connection between cherishing life and destroying it, a burger and the innocent animal it came from, the lack of difference between your dog and a pig, eating meat and the destruction of the planet, or a multitude of health problems and meat/dairy/poultry/etc. consumption, your mind, body and spirit are expectedly shaken to the core.

The angry vegan phase can manifest in different ways, mostly because becoming vegan isn’t just a diet change, it’s a major paradigm shift of how one views society.  Some people feel total outrage for having been lied to up until that point.  Others feel the weight of the issue at hand and wonder how to face the truth.  Many feel an intense heart-breaking resentment at the sources that have made it systemically acceptable (even encouraged) to eat animal products.

WHEN IT HAPPENS

Similar to the phases of loss, I believe the anger phase comes after the denial phase, but also after a sadness phase.  Most people already know it’s immoral to kill and eat an innocent animal, yet it’s the norm to live in denial of the pain and suffering animals experience for human benefit.  Once someone starts waking up to that denial and confronts it head on, the sadness sets in as the reality of the situation is recognized.  After some time of digesting the truth, anger starts to make itself apparent.

Why did my parents raise me to think it’s okay to eat meat?  Why didn’t my school teach me that the food pyramid is a disguised roadmap for suffering, torture, death, health problems, disease, cancer, global warming, and the destruction of many natural habitats?  Why aren’t news channels talking about this issue constantly and shedding light on the truth every single day?  Why do corporations make billions of dollars on animal farming without any care of their impact on the planet?  Why aren’t doctors prescribing a vegan diet to people dying of animal-product-induced illnesses?  How is it okay that pharmaceutical companies get rich on animal-product-derived cancers?

I’ve asked myself and other vegans so many of these questions before with sincere anger in my heart.  This injustice is packaged as acceptable, standard, and normal and vegans are the ones seeing it through a clear lens despite the majority of people around them.

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WHY IT HAPPENS

Confronting a subject that totally shatters all you know is inevitably going to rock your mental landscape.Recognizing that you once contributed to the pain and suffering of sentient beings that consciously know they don’t want to die is a hard pill to swallow.Understanding that you’ve been ultimately poisoning your body for years suddenly sobers up your idea of health.Lastly, knowing that the planet is being destroyed for the sake of cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and Doritos is never going to sit right with you.

HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

Going vegan and having this reaction is normal.  Any life-changing lesson is going to take you on rollercoaster of emotional upheaval.  The anger will come and go as your vegan journey continues, but there are ways to channel it so that it can turned into something productive.

HERE ARE MY RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH THE ANGRY VEGAN PHASE:

  • Get involved in an outreach group (Anonymous for the Voiceless is a great one) so that you can talk to more people about what you’ve learned and help them have the same realizations as you.

  • Talk to other vegans.  Being around likeminded people may help you feel accepted and normal.

  • Recognize the positive impact you are having by going vegan.  You are saving approximately 18 acres of land from being destroyed, 8+ animals’ lives per month, 100+ animals’ lives per year, 300+ animals’ lives per three years, and yourself from endless health issues induced by the consumption of animal products.

  • Learn, learn, learn.  Keep learning about why being vegan will save the planet, save many species from going extinct, and save the health of so many unhealthy humans.  Plus, when a meat-eater takes your veganism on in a debate, you’ll feel empowered with non-arguable facts that can't be denied from any angle.

  • Write about it.  One of the reasons I started this blog was because of the angry vegan phase.  I needed people to hear about the idea that changed my life and saved so many others.

  • Practice kindness everyday.  If you can recognize and accept your anger, then turn it into kindness, people will notice and be positively impacted by that.

  • Lead by example.  Don’t just preach about being vegan (no one really likes a preachy vegan), live your morals openly and don’t be afraid to be different.  If you cook, wear, order, consume vegan, plant-based products, people will notice.  When your health inevitably gets better, people will notice.  When you start eating kick ass, flavor-filled lunches in the crew room at work, people will notice.  Being healthy and proudly embracing your moral compass will rub off on other people.  They’ll start asking questions and you can open up the conversation about veganism.

The angry vegan phase is special.  It means you’re alive, conscious, and ready to live your best life for yourself, animalkind, humankind, and the planet.  It means the vegan message has changed you and you are sitting on the side of humanity that people will call crazy.  Only crazy people change the world, so don’t be afraid to be the minority and stand up for what you believe.  Let that anger fuel you and the change you are going to make in this world.

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If you have other recommendations or experiences with the angry vegan phase, please share below.  What did you do when you made the connection and felt the anger rising in you?  How did it manifest and what did you do with it?  Tell me in the comments below!

Kelsey PowellComment