Are you a vegan Debbie Downer?

I know I certainly have been one at times. Take this quiz and find out if you, too, are coming off as a dum-ta-dum-daaaaaaaaaa… a vegan Debbie Downer.

Here are some questions:

1) Do you think it’s fine to talk about climate change, water pollution and/or factory farms at a dinner party?

2) Do think it’s fine to talk about “the obesity epidemic” or “the Type 2 diabetes epidemic” at a dinner party?

3) Have you ever started crying in the meat department of a grocery store?

4) Do you read the whole New York Times news section every day?

5) Have you ever told everybody at a wedding you’re not going to eat the cake because it has eggs and butter in it?

6) Have you ever posted graphic pictures of farm animal cruelty on your Facebook?

7) Have you ever told your children that Chucky Cheese was demonic and they weren’t
allowed to attend any birthday parties there?

8) Have you ever shown “Earthlings” to your party guests? Or have you ever said “If you really loved animals, you’d watch ‘Earthlings’ ”?

9) Have you ever tried to scare or guilt trip someone out of eating something you know is bad?

10) Have you read Gail Eisnitz’s book, “Slaughterhouse” and tried to tell people about it?

11) Do you sadly talk about world hunger or animal suffering to people standing in the grocery checkout?

12) Do you think about what it’s like on a factory farm at night when you should be sleeping?

One “yes” to any of these things could toss you into the Debbie Downer vegan camp. I’m not saying these are wrong things to do!

It’s just that if you want to do them, you’ve got to pull it off in a way that doesn’t send all pre-vegans running and screaming from the room.

Contrary to popular opinion, being a bummer doesn’t help animals and it doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help the health and welfare of the people you love and it doesn’t help the planet. If you’re following the “if animals are suffering, I’m suffering too” theme, you might want to rethink that.

New vegans are especially prone to slipping into the Debbie Downer syndrome. The information about the animals, public health, the environment and hunger is devastating. Finding out the world is not what you thought it was fucks with your brain and fucks with your soul.

It’s like you had no idea the house was on fire and now you do know you’ve got to tell everybody! Surely they’ll run out of the house and call the fire department. Surely once they’re aware, they’ll go vegan on the spot.

I was one of those go-vegan-on-the-spot people. Stumbling out of the theater after seeing “Food Inc.” that was it for me. No more animal foods. Then I read the “China Study,” which only cemented my commitment. I thought all I had to do was tell people what I’d found out and they’d instantly go vegan too.

Wrong. It’s also devastating to find out most people including people you really care about don’t want to go vegan, at least not now.

The situation around animal foods is depressing, but there are things you can do, things you must do if you want to better the situation for yourself, animals and the rest of us. Some stuff that sort of works:

* Take up jogging or some other vigorous exercise and try not to wreck your knees or your feet.

* To learn how to act in social situations, study the Japanese tea ceremony.

* Donate yourself to a vegan or animal rights group.

* Read Carol Adams’ book, “Living Amongst Meat Eaters.”

* Repeat to yourself: “Eating a boatload of potato chips and dark chocolate doesn’t fix anything.”

* Be nice.

* If you can’t be nice, start your own blog and call it “Son of Vicious Vegan” or “Vicious Vegan 2” or maybe even “The Vegan Pain in the Ass.”

As vegans who want to change things, it’s so important for us to be happy. Why would a carnist want to go vegan when he sees how miserable veganism seems to be for you? Veganism really is wonderful. It feels good on so many levels. It is OK to enjoy it!

A word about climate change: Currently, I’ve found that there’s now a code for “I’m scared shitless about global warming” and it’s “God, the weather’s gotten weird.” That’s all anyone seems to be able to handle right now.

Whoa. Time to go to the gym.

— A Vicious Vegan blog post —


  1. You wrote: “It’s like you had no idea the house was on fire and now you do know you’ve got to tell everybody! Surely they’ll run out of the house and call the fire department. Surely once they’re aware, they’ll go vegan on the spot.”

    That’s an amusingly superlative and uncannily accurate description of the experience many of us have upon first waking up to veganism. Well done…and thank you.

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