I’m Not Judging You!

judge_others

Who likes being judged? I certainly don’t! That’s why I try hard not to judge others.

I may be vegan, but I don’t judge those who aren’t. Who am I to judge anyway – I ate meat and dairy for most of my life. Even if I did judge others, what good would it do? I’d only alienate people and make them less likely to consider veganism.

Still, I often get the sense that others think I’m judging them about what they eat. I don’t know what I’m doing that makes people feel this way. I recently read something, however; that makes sense to me.

“There is comfort in familiarity and complacency, and a vegan approach rattles the status quo. It is always unsettling for people to have their worldview challenged and a vegan’s mere presence can do just that.”

– From The Vegan Sourcebook by Joanne Stepaniak and Carol J. Adams

This is interesting. Do some people feel uncomfortable or that I’m judging them by the mere fact that I’m vegan?

Photo courtesy of gnvcingenieros.com.

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About celestedimilla

Hey there. I’m Celeste, California girl, writer, psychotherapist and burgeoning plant-based foodie.
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46 Responses to I’m Not Judging You!

  1. I know for certain some people feel judged as soon as they learn I don’t eat animal products. Maybe my enthusiasm (“You should eat this way! It’s GREAT!!) is sometimes at fault, but I suspect that there are guilt feelings coloring how non-vegans hear what I’m saying.

  2. Well I dot see you as judgmental but very supportive on the other hand. And you have actually encouraged me to sub some of my dairy use to non dairy. I have started using soy and almond milk someone’s. skipping eggs in baking and reading more about plant based diet.
    You Rock Celeste!
    Anyways, I believe I am what I am and I am still learning. What others think is their business :).

  3. I meant don’t not dot … Lol

  4. uberdish says:

    Great quote! I must remember that one. It’s truly amazing how diet can be such a sensitive topic – one that seems to elicit the greatest emotions.

  5. Wild Juggler says:

    I’m a vegan and I really do not care what non-vegans think. I don’t judge meat-eaters, and I do not go out of my way to offend them either. Yet some of them are offended anyway. Tough. I don’t have to feel guilty for eating healthier, for not eating animals.

    If people say something false about veganism, I have no problem correcting them. If they start the conversation, there is nothing wrong with responding with the actual facts about veganism, and explaining why you became vegan. I can’t control other people’s emotions. There are even some non-vegans(and vegans) out there who are angry about everything and may lash out at vegans, among other targets, but this doesn’t mean we should hide the fact that we are vegan. There are also some meat-eaters who love to bait vegans, by talking about how much they love steak, just to get a reaction from us and then they can claim “you vegans are crazy and trying to convert everyone!”. This can sometimes cross the line into harassment.

    There are of course vegans out there who are antogonistic and judgmental, but in my experience these people are a minority.

    • What a thoughtful comment! I think and act much the same as you on most occasions. I just find it curious when people seem to get mad simply because I tell them I’m vegan. This quote helps me to make sense of this behavior. And you are so right about people being out there who are angry and lash out at anyone and everyone. I used to be roommates with such a person. So much drama over the smallest things. So glad I’ve moved on from that! Have a great weekend! Celeste 🙂

  6. omlit says:

    Sooo true. You are expected to defend your position as if a simple choice somehow defines you. and people think it takes all your effort and concentration like your some shaolin monk. So they make miserable jokes about how feeble and pale you must be when they can see the opposite is true. I think its guilt.

    • Thanks for reading and for your comment omlet! You know what’s funny, I once had a guy suffering from type II diabetes tell me that he heard that veganism wasn’t healthy. I said, “you mean I might get type II diabetes?” Maybe I was being rude, I don’t know, but he hasn’t mentioned anything about it to me since. Celeste 🙂

  7. junefit says:

    I think years ago before more people heard about the cruelty to animals that are raised and slaughtered for food, many considered vegans just weird. Now, I myself perceive some feel a tad guilty and therefore defensive sround vegans. Some dont want to know exactly what agribusiness does, yet some just dont care. Those that dont care do not view animals the way we do. An example of the not caring, is one former friend remarked that “that is what they are raised for” when I mentioned that 9 billion animals are slaughtered each year for food. Wecan only hope to serve as role models, spread the word gently, and mostly point out the harm to human health, and the planets, and beyond that the cruelty in the process.

    • Wonderful comment! I’ve never had anyone use the justification that animals are raised for food with me. I’ve heard others talk about this argument, however. It’s a flimsy argument, for sure, but I just don’t think that most people question eating animals. It’s what they’ve always done and what everyone they know does. Few people question the norm. Although, like you say, more people are becoming aware of the cruelty to animals and maybe this is changing. I hope it is! I love your attitude of “spreading the word gently”. It may not work fast, but I do believe that it will work in the long run. Celeste 🙂

  8. I agree with this! I try to never come off as judge-y but sometimes just the mere mention of me being brings up the other person’s own internal issues about the topic. That’s probably why they get defensive and feel as if they are judged.

  9. Ani says:

    Great point. I don’t think it is our place to judge what is best for each other. I am a vegetarian but I live with people that aren’t and that’s totally fine with me!!

  10. Sofia says:

    I’m not and I don’t judge! At the same time I worry if I’m around vegan people that I am being judged..

  11. tattipenguin says:

    I’m vegetarian and a lot of people act like I’m judging them all the time. I’m really not – I gave up meat because I wasn’t eating it anyway. Now I am more interested in the ethical side of my choices, but wouldn’t judge someone because they do eat meat – everyone is free to make their own choices so I just tell people that I enjoy eating the way I do! 🙂

    • Yep – that’s the feeling I get too. That people are always assuming that I’m judging them. I’m trying to remember if I felt judged by vegans and vegetarians before I made the switch. I really don’t remember. Thanks for your comment! Celeste 🙂

  12. ediblevie says:

    I don’t “judge” people about their eating habits – although most people think I judge their eating because I am a Holistic Nutritionist. I do confess, though, that I may analyze people’s groceries at the grocery store tehe… I think people have been misinformed and are not educated as to what they are eating and believe that certain foods are under the guise of healthy… when they are, in fact, not. This goes for anyone who has different dietary food habits – whether you are a vegan, paleo, raw foodist or a fast food addict! The true (and IMO, more real) issue is that there are bad foods hiding under any food umbrella (whether it’s pesticides, GMO, antibiotics, fillers or what have you). For me, it’s not about the kind of eater you are, just know what you are eating and its impact on this beautiful earth and what is is contributing (or taking away from) to your health. 🙂 And when you come across a person or people who DO react to someone’s dietary habits, it’s been my experience that it is likely because they are grossly misinformed and do not understand why a person has decided to explore whatever diet they are exploring. Conversely, I also come across people who are exploring the diet because of a trend of fad (i.e. gluten free diets) and not based on any real truth – and again it goes back to not being educated or being misguided when it comes to the diet.

    Great question Celeste! Hope you have a great weekend!

    • Hey Kasia!

      I guess you have a similar issue to dentists. I used to work next to a dentist office and got to know the dentist and he told me that people often felt uncomfortable eating sugary foods around him. He told me he didn’t care what people ate and even gave chocolate to me for Christmas.

      Anyway, I believe that you are absolutely right that people are misinformed about healthy eating. Before I went to a healthy cooking class at Whole Foods Market that taught me about a plant-based diet, I thought I was eating healthfully. My normal diet consisted of lots of unrefined carbs, Lean Cuisine frozen meals, frozen vegetables with melted cheese and lots and lots of coffee! I look back now, and I was clueless!

      I don’t always make healthy choices now, but at least I know when I’m eating healthfully and when I’m not. And I try to limit the not to once-in-a-while.

      Wonderful comment – always great to hear from you! Celeste 🙂

  13. lizziefit says:

    I am with you 100%. The last thing I want to do is make anyone feel uncomfortable ever! I try my best to approach it in a way that shows I understand/have been on the other side but to be honest, usually I am the one getting judged. My skin can only get thicker from here 😉

    • Hey Lizzie! I can’t believe anyone would judge you for the way you eat girlfriend – you look like the picture of health. For anyone reading this comment, here’s a link to a photo of Lizzie: http://lizziefit.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/fit-friday-dont-forget-to-stretch/. Would you judge her for how she ate?

      Still, I hear you. I’ve been judged for the way I eat too. I guess anyone in the minority is gonna get judged once in a while.

      Thanks for your comment! Celeste 🙂

      • lizziefit says:

        And that’s just the thing. We are the minority and people are shaken by the idea that there is another way to live their life. When guilt sets in its human nature to immediately want to justify our cause.

        There’s also the stereotype that vegans feel they are superior to others which is crazy because the reason we are vegan is because we don’t feel superior to anyone, including animals.

        ..And thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 You’re too sweet! Keep the awesome posts comin!

  14. januaryrowe says:

    So often I think we respond to others based on previous experience. Honestly I was once verbally attacked by a vegan (before I even really knew anything about it) because I was eating meat. It totalllllly turned me off for a long time until my own journey led me to investigate it. This happens to me as a Christian often too. I think myself to be kind and understanding but if someone else has had a negative experience with another Christian then I might be pre-judged to be the same way. Oh how complicated is the human heart and mind!
    As always, I so appreciate your balance of wonderful recipes and thoughtful insight. 🙂

    • What a thoughtful comment January! Being verbally attacked would have turned me off too!! I guess some vegans do judge, which makes sense since we’re human. You make a really good point with the pre-judgment’s we make. I suppose all of us pre-judge others and get pre-judged sometimes. To be honest, before going vegan I pre-judged vegans as “weird”. Now I worry that others are going to pre-judge me as “weird”. Celeste 🙂

  15. natarunmore says:

    I get this feeling too, sometimes. But I do my best to sound open and completely ok with whatever they are doing. People take what they eat really personally.. its so much a part of culture.. you can tell them you’re exercising more, meditating, etc. and they think it’s great.. but when you talk about food, it’s a whole different story.

    • Hey Natalie! I really like what you say about people taking what they eat really personally. I don’t think about that much, but you’re so right. Like you say, it’s a big part of culture and tradition and no one wants you messing with that. Great comment! Celeste 🙂

  16. I love this post! And totally understand where you’re coming from. A good friend of mine and her husband went vegan shortly after I did – and whenever I’m with her and she “cheats” she apologizes to me. I am not judging her, and I always tell her there’s no need to say “sorry.” I think a lot of people believe you have to be all or nothing. 100% vegan all the time, or a carnivore. I think there has to be room for acceptance at all levels because food is so tied to our culture, to our memories and life experiences, that a fundamental shift in the way we eat is scary for some people. And even those of us who have chosen the vegan road sometimes hit a bump (or a chocolate chip cookie) and I think it’s important for all of us to support each other and welcome each other – to show that ALL vegans aren’t going to yell at you if you eat a piece of meat.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment Jamie! And I have to laugh, because my husband and I have friends who do the same thing as your friend. In fact, this couple calls themselves “The Cheating Vegans.” This couple went vegan before my husband and I did, but they’ve always “cheated” to a greater or lesser degree. Now that my husband and I are vegan, they seem uncomfortable and apologize when they’re not eating vegan. We certainly don’t judge them, but they judge themselves when we’re around.

      I really like what you say about “room for acceptance at all levels”. Besides, even the most careful vegan in the world can’t possibly avoid all animal products. I’ve heard that even car tires have animal products in them. Should vegans not drive? I’m with you on support and welcome! Thanks for your comment! Celeste 🙂

  17. sophiazerg says:

    Hey Celeste,
    I’ve never felt you are judgemental. I think you use your blog as a really great vehicle to bring attention and knowledge to the subject of veganism. I, however have definitely been judged, mostly by people with unhealthy eating habits. It has really crushed me, but the more I discuss it with supportive family and friends, I truly realize it has nothing to do with my choices, but rather a reflection on how unhappy they are with theirs.

  18. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been treated this way Sophia. I’ve certainly had people make comments, but nothing really harsh. I will say that the neighborhood we live in is very social and our neighbors get together a lot. We used to get invited to cookouts and parties all the time. We’ve noticed, however; that we don’t get invited anymore. I was feeling bad about this, but my husband thinks it’s because people don’t know what to cook for us or that they don’t want to go the extra mile to make something “special” for us. I’m more hurt than disappointed, because honestly, neither my husband and I are big party people.

    Anyway, I’ve taken something about you and made it about me! How selfish of me!! I am glad that you have supportive family and friends that have helped you to deal with this Sophia. Have a wonderful weekend chica! Celeste 🙂

    • sophiazerg says:

      Hey Celeste! Not at all, I like to hear your stories as well. It’s too bad about the neighbors. 😦
      It can be very hurtful, that’s for sure, but we get over it from the immense support from the people who really matter!
      Keep on trucking! Haha.
      Sophia 🙂

  19. Hi Celeste,
    Thanks for the find and follow!
    I’m glad you found me, because I love this post of yours.
    I’ve done the vegetarian lifestyle off and on and always feel better when I do. I end up switching back to meat because it is so convenient, and I need to find a way to get over that.
    To answer the question in your post, “No.” No, I don’t feel judged for what’s on my plate based on your food lifestyle choice. If I were feeling judged, it would be my personal issue because I’m not practicing vegetarianism right now.
    Nice to meet you!
    Vanessa

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment and follow Vanessa! So glad you like this post. I did the vegetarian thing on and off a few times in the past too. You’re right, meat is soooo convenient!! Still, I’ve gotten used to being vegan now and I don’t think I’m ever going back. I think I’ve stuck with it this time for two reasons: I got involved with the vegan community and I learned how to cook this way. To be honest, now that I know how to cook vegan, my husband and I eat way better now than we did when we were eating meat and dairy.

      I’m so glad to hear that you don’t feel judged by vegans. I love what you say about how it would be a “personal issue” if you did feel judged.

      Anyway, I’m so glad we’ve connected! I look forward to getting to know you better!! Celeste 🙂

  20. I have the worst poker face on this planet. When I find something unappetizing, you can see it all over my face. This was true even before I was vegan and just healthy. If I saw fat dripping off a piece of meat, I’d make an “Ew” face and still do now when it comes to health and being vegan. I just don’t make comments and/or look away when I’m eating with others now.

    The same holds true though if you look terrible in a skirt, my face will say it all. Hah. I’m surprised people hang around me ever.

    • Hey Janice! I think I could give you a run for your money on the worst poker face. You can always tell what I’m thinking too!! It’s nice that people still like us anyway. Thanks for your comment – I appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

  21. gabrielle157 says:

    It’s funny to be reminded how people react to veganism/vegetarianism in different ways… I went from being in some very accepting communities of vegetarianism (living near Burlington, Vermont and then at Tufts University) to living in Santiago, where there is little knowledge about what it means to not eat meat. Hence menus that have “vegetarian salads with chicken” in them xD . Also people are quick to judge you, often quite vocally. I’ve often been told that I should see a doctor, because I clearly am doing something terrible to my body… haha, I don’t think it would even cross their minds that I could judge them.

    • I used to live in Burlington, Vermont too! I did an internship there for a year. I wasn’t vegan at the time, but it did seem to be a veg-friendly place. The most non-vegan place I’ve lived is Iowa, a state that takes pride in it’s corn-fed beef. I was vegetarian for part of my time there, and people thought I was strange and teased me a bit. It doesn’t sound nearly as bad as Santiago, however. It sounds like a tough place to be vegan/vegetarian. Is it tough for you to handle the comments and judgment, or are you able to take it in stride?

  22. I think the term stirs up guilt. Not necessarily the “owner’ thereof. Kinda like: the game and the player…don’t “hate the playah”…you know what I mean–not that verb of course.

    I like to feel guilty! The retro Catholic in me, I suspect, so no probs either way. 🙂

    have a great, animal advocate day, dearie. 🙂

    • Haha – I’m a retro Catholic too!! I went to Catholic school and everything. Talk about guilt and shame – oh my have I got issues with that!!

      You’re probably right about the term stirring up guilt. I try to remember now how I used to respond to vegans before I made the switch, but I don’t really remember (I didn’t have much experience around vegans). I do know that when I first went vegan I thought about going to a vegan meetup group, but hesitated because I didn’t know if I’d be judged for wearing leather shoes (I also worried that everyone would be weird!). I finally went, and no one cared what shoes I was wearing, and some of the people were strange, but most were just normal folks.

      Thanks for your comment – I appreciate it! Celeste 🙂

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