Veg(can’t): Reality hinders the idealistic vegan lifestyle

If you have been on a social media platform or watched a popular Youtuber’s account recently, you have probably encountered some sort of promotion of veganism. Celebrities cutting animal products out of their lifestyle has been a huge trend, persuading others to join the cause. This influence has been very effective by portraying veganism as a completely beneficial life choice that is good for you, animals, and the environment through “aesthetically pleasing” pictures displaying fruit in tropical areas. Don’t get me wrong: I agree with all the causes to turn vegan, but it’s simply not practical for the everyday person.

Let’s face it: you can’t escape the animal product industry. Whether it’s meat, dairy, or even leather products, you have to go out of your way to fulfill a vegan lifestyle. Consumers face pressure from major corporations to buy cheaper animal products everywhere–people face these advertisements while driving, watching TV, going online. If you go out with your friends to popular locations like In-N-Out, Sumo, or even Starbucks, it will be hard to find choices that fall in the vegan spectrum. It is especially hard to be vegan in large group parties or outings where the host usually makes a main dish containing meat, forcing you to have to ask for a special meal just for you. When all your peers are eating the same meat product, it’s uncomfortable to create a hassle about your dietary restrictions. Even I admit taking part in staring at that person who makes a fuss for needing a different meal because they don’t want to eat meat.

Veganism is great for celebrities and the upper middle class, but it is a hard goal to accomplish for the less fortunate on a day to day basis. When you are living on a limited wage, your main concern isn’t how to save animals, it’s how to get enough food to be full on a budget. Why would you get a couple of cucumbers when you can get a Big Mac for the same price? Especially if you care about the environment and are choosing foods without GMOs (genetically modified organisms), you are looking at an almost double in your grocery bill. Fast food may contain animal products, but it’s cheap, easy, and perfect for the busy working class. Vegan products aren’t cheap, and if you want to avoid the time and hassle of preparing a meal, it costs even more for pre-made food.

All in all, maintaining a no-animal product lifestyle is idealistic but not for the majority of the population. In plain text, it’s expensive and you have to go out of your way to be able to get vegan products. Of course, if you have the money, time, and enough self-determination, you should definitely take part in the change of your diet. The betterment of the food industry on the environment and animals will have to wait for the day the vegan industry can compete with major food brands.