Five Drawbacks to Being a Vegan

Patti Breitman | 04/18/13

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Read More: drawbacks, humor, patti breitman, vegan

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What do vegans complain about when they are among themselves?  I thought it was time to go public with the private thoughts of many vegans.

Bathroom Blues

Whereas most people we know can flip through a magazine or check their email while on the toilet, vegan food is so high in fiber, we don’t spend enough time in the bathroom to get any reading done.  Despite going sometimes two or more times a day, we are on and off the seat in no time, and there is no reading in the john for us.  Also, we spend more than non-vegans on toilet paper, which we use at a rate that would shock the people who keep laxatives in their medicine cabinet.  You might say we are number one at number two. But it’s not something we can talk about in polite company.

No Second Helpings

At gatherings where food is served family style and non-vegans are in the majority, the vegan dishes are always among the most popular.  Hence, when we go back for another serving of the vegan lasagna, the salad that doesn’t have cheese in it, or the vegan brownies, they are invariably gone.  We would love to take another helping at the pot luck dinners and picnic lunches, but the vegan food seldom lasts as long as the meat and dairy offerings.  If you are reading this, please bring a vegan dish to your next event.

Stuck in the Middle

Statistically, vegans are more slender than our meat eating friends. So when five people ride in one car, we are usually designated as the middle passenger in the back seat. We don’t mind too, too much. But just once in a while we would like to ride shotgun.   Drivers: Please dig out that middle seat belt for us before we are cheek to cheek with the other two passengers.


Vegans have too many options when we buy milk.  We have to decide if we want almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, rice/soy combinations, coconut milk or hemp milk. And as if that’s not enough, we have to choose among vanilla, chocolate, original, no sugar added or enriched. So while our hearts are breaking for the cows and their babies, we are sometimes befuddled by the variety of non dairy milks that leave us breathless with indecision.

Hearing Confession

When people know that we are vegan, they feel compelled to tell us what they ate at their most recent meal.  Frequently, vegans are thrust into the role of confessor as friends confide in us, “I hardly ever eat red meat any more,” or “I thought of you last night;  I had the most wonderful salad with my dinner. Oops, I did eat fish.”   And while we try hard to be supportive of any move toward more conscious eating, we really wish these people would imitate us rather than confess to us.  I suppose it’s a good thing that others seek our approval and our blessing, as it probably means that they think we’re on the right path.  But we want to tell these people: It’s a wide enough path for everyone!  Join us!

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Author Patti Breitman’s next book, co-authored with Carol J. Adams, and Virginia Messina, is Never Too Late To Go Vegan; The Over 50 Guide to Adopting and Thriving On a Plant Based Diet (to be published in January, 2014, The Experiment publishing company).


11 Comments | Leave a comment


You forgot a couple!

Not only do perfect strangers confess to their meat-eating habits, they find it necessary to apologize and sometimes PROMISE they'll do better.

While I appreciate that they are aware that they aren't following the healthiest, most humane lifestyle, I am NOT their priest or their doctor! (I love informing curious people about vegetarianism/veganism if they want to know, but I really don't see why they should feel guilty in my presence!)

The other issue is the omnivores who say, "Oh, I tried being a vegetarian, but I got really sick, so went back to eating meat." (Makes me want to scream!) They don't ever consider the possibilities that 1. They were going to get sick anyway--maybe even MUCH sicker than if they'd been meat-eaters when it happened; or 2. That they weren't following a HEALTHY veg diet. (Twinkies *good riddance* & potato chips are technically vegetarian, but hardly healthy!)

Clever article, ALMOST completely accurate!


I agree with a lot of what you say, except twinkies contain lard, etc.--not vegetarian at all.


"We are #1 at #2."

Who said vegans don't have a sense of humor.

BTW, my #2s are faster than most #2s #1.


Love this article and all the comments! I agree that we use far too much toilet paper in our country. My husband and I have never used TP for voiding. Rags work well for this and the toilet doesn't need flushing unless it's "brown" then it goes down. I like the idea of the bidet which is cleansing as well as eliminating TP.

Drawback to being Vegan? After 30 years of being one my list is long but here's a short one; always getting a diatribe about how someone hates vegetables especially ..... and they just couldn't possibly be limited to just eating veggies. These are also usually people who don't like to read and profess to adore all animals.


I've a few comments to make, before I go back to my daily affairs. It annoys me, that the word vegetarian is used to describe someone that "only" eats plant foods. It occurs to me, that, taking the usual 21 meals of the week, if I eat 20 meals consisting solely of plant foods, and I eat 1 meal consisting of animal foods, I'm not alllowed to call myself a vegetarian. But, if I eat 20 animal based meals, and one solely plant based meal, shouldn't I not be able to call myself a carnivore? This is silly. Of course I'm a carnivore if I eat 20 meat meals, and one plant meal. And, it should be just as obvious, that if I eat 20 plant based meals, and one animal based meal, I should be able to call myself a vegetarian. It doesn't matter to me, that such a view upsets vegetarian cults. What matters to me, is that "I" am able to use the word vegetarian to mean what it means to me, and to anyone else that shares my view. I'm willing to wager that, for people that want to see the consumption of plant foods sharply increase, my approach makes more sense, whereas, for people that want to maintain a sense of religious purity, the other definition of vegetarian will suffice. I've seen arguments supporting "pure" vegetarianism, and I've seen arguments supporting the consumption of a meat based diet. If you think you can persuade people that a plant based diet is superior to a meat based diet, good luck.
Once and for all, my view is, that if you eat a diet such that most of your meals are animal based, you're a carnivore. If you eat a diet where animal foods and plant foods are consumed on a roughly equal basis, you're an omnivore (or, a rarely used term, an "amphivore"). But, if you consume a mostly or entirely plant based diet, I consider you a vegetarian. I want to see a world where profits for a few, don't determine our food choices. Science, personal and family interests, our chosen healers and nutritionists, should make those food choices. I also believe, that if we're left to make our own best food choices, plant foods will become, more and more, the predominant foods in our diets. I eat about 8% of my diet in animal foods. I do that because I think it best for my health. As I said in a previous post, my choices remain subject to change, if someone can show me a better way.


it is very good to see this so i did not forget this seen


it is very good to see this so i did not forget this seen


Love this article


Great read. Yes there are disadvantages but sometimes you have to think about the benefits too. (that's what helps me avoid my only temptation: red meat)


Been tampering with the idea of becoming a vegan for quite some time now - I started off a heavy meat eater and then a vegetarian - I think the next hurdle will be the toughest

Thanks for the info and great article


Good article... One thing though...I am not the skinny vegan. Sometimes other people wonder if I am a cheating vegan. I guess too many nuts and starch... lol

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