Just as we cannot avoid stereotypes that come along with being conservative, we also cannot avoid those that come along with being vegan, or worse – both. Why not embrace it?

At this point in the ‘woke’-ness of the 21st century, we have surely all been around a few vegans at some point and observed their seemingly painful sacrifices or admired their self-discipline. My recent return to the vegan lifestyle has been nothing short of both. The latter in particular is the most fun component. Vegans are consistently challenging ourselves to uphold some sort of moral standard on an unpopular path. Staying alert to our bodies, training ourselves, and observing the way we perform daily tasks is one of the highest pleasures. Anyone who has ever tried strict diets or sports has experienced this; a vegan lifestyle is no different. Whereas most diets have a tentative start and end date, being a conservative vegan is a lifestyle choice all in its own category.

Why can’t we just be whatever we are?

In the incredibly intriguing age of Trump, one of my least favorite acts on behalf of the Right has been that of individuals claiming others who are not X or Y, do not belong to the ‘group.’ For example, individuals who say that pro-choicers are not welcome in the conservative movement are playing the games of the other side. I am as pro-life as they can get and excluding people from said group based on a sole opinion is the complete opposite of what conservatives want to embrace. The same argument follows for conservative vegans, a rarity all of their own, sometimes in extreme cases even a traitor to both the vegan and conservative community.

In my experience, various conservatives have been quite loud, and sometimes even rude, about letting me know my choice to consume plants is incorrect or outright dumb. Surely, one cannot be both! Perhaps, however, this is the greatest strong suit of the Right; our idiosyncratic blend of lifestyles and choices all uniting for a freer, more unique society. By living out these two crazy, by society’s standards, lifestyles, you may just find yourself trendy in completely opposite social realms. The vegans will think your morals do not align with theirs of the Left, while the conservatives will think you have your morals all out of whack. This always leads to some interesting conversations.

Aside from this dichotomy of stereotypes, there are some undeniable health benefits that are worth mentioning. Already in my switch back to veganism, my sleep and overall energy has been better, my skin has improved, and perhaps most importantly, my sporty side has seen an uptick in potential. One does not have to look far to find data on the benefits of a plant-based diet. I challenge you to look for these for yourself and give it a try! After all, what’s the fun of a boring, old routine?

Again, in the age of Trump, we know society has not been the nicest to those unfit for the status quo. We are used to a culture that attacks our character as opposed to our reasons for believing something. Exactly who, however, is telling us that we cannot boldly live out our conservative values while simultaneously making our own lifestyle decisions? Like anything, we need to know what we are talking about, let alone believing in. This is what conservatives respect – someone who passionately understands their opinions and can attest to them.

If anything, you should give veganism a try, just for the sake of the experience. It teaches discipline and is an exciting challenge. Along the way, you might just realize you want to stick with it, but do not go bashing the idea of a plant-based diet before you have tried it yourself. Nobody likes someone who judges without experience! For all of those out there that think conservative vegans do not and cannot exist: Hello, nice to meet you.

Kelly H
CONTRIBUTOR