Dear Vegans, Hunters:

Months ago my wife told me about an Instagram crush of hers, @domzthompson. This is no big deal. I mean, I have Instagram crushes of my own (ahem…@robinnyc, @shebaturk, @shalaneflanagan…), so I can’t hate on my wife for possessing similar, let’s say, “admiration” for a social media personality of her own. However, when she showed me a picture of this guy, I was like, “Damn, baby. You went IN on this one!” The dude was ridiculously handsome, ripped, swoll, fast, strong, he had eyes that even another (straight) dude would notice, and to top it all off he was a compassionate outspoken vegan. And, while the man and husband in me had to hate just a tad, for his physical ridiculousness, on sheer principle alone, the plant-based athlete in me was intrigued. The dude was obviously a beast; a beast with compassion. And he didn’t seem to give a flying fuck who knew about it. Long story short, I came to kinda dig the dude myself, not for all the same reasons as my wife, but dig him nonetheless.

As I became a follower of his on social media, I found his message to be compelling, refreshing, and quite admirable in the machismo-centric space of athletics. My wife and I bought some EAT WHAT ELEPHANTS EAT T’s from his website Crazies and Weirdos and proudly donned them around the city, as well as on the bayou in Thibodaux and Houma. As a man who was raised in a machismo-centric environment (I know to some this may come off corny), it’s comforting to see an exemplary beast-of-a-man show compassion, wear it on his sleeve, and be willing to be different for it. And, much the same way Rich Roll’s example compelled me to embrace my plantpoweredness, and go on the offense for it, Dom’s example has made me feel more comfortable about embracing the innate compassion, and empathy we are born with as humans for other sentient beings; it’s ok to empathize with a crying, hurting, confused, abused, soul, even if it’s not human. And I submit that this tact is more manly than taking the “fuck dat deer’s, pig’s, cow’s, chicken’s, duck’s, rabbit’s feelings” path of least resistance in the world of “manly” men.

Listen Vegans, don’t get it twisted here. I’m not putting down or vilifying my bayou brethren who still hunt. I understand how hard it is to go against all we’ve known for our whole lives. I understand that to a coonass, cajun, Louisianan hunting is a way of life passed down from generation to generation. It is not a collection of heartless country bumpkins getting their jollies from “torturing” and “murdering.” It is a group of salt-of-the-earth nature lovers perpetuating a model of camaraderie, respect for nature, and the serious act of taking a life for the percieved greater good of providing “food” for your family and other loved ones. I have come to understand that eating animals, and therefore the act of taking their lives, is not only unnecessary but actively harmful to our bodies. Those who have yet to discover this, or even who have discovered this but struggle with change, are not evil. They are people I know, love, live among, befriend, communicate with regularly, and yes, understand and want to help.

With all that said, Hunters, I am a voice for change. That may sound grandiose and self-important. I get that. But for those who know me, who have hunted with me, who “Q’d it up” on the regular with me, you know how big the changes in my life have been, and you have seen first-hand, in person over the years as these changes have manifested themselves physically. Yes, I have lost weight, but that is the least of what I’m talking about, if at all. I couldn’t care less how ascetically “pleasing” you are, or how thin, fit, lean you look. Although, those things are a side effect of health, real health. But they can also be an indicator of biological manipulation via contrived macronutrient controls and unnatural, unsustainable practices. What I mean is, the aforementioned things can be achieved through sheer manipulative force (calorie restriction, unnatural macronutrient attention and manipulation, pharmaceutical appetite suppression, etc…), or unhealthy practices and habits (cocaine habit, heroin habit, smoking crack, severe alcoholism, abusing pharmaceuticals, etc…); OR, they can be achieved by truly understanding that diseased, overweight, depressed, unhappy, stressed, and tired are not the natural default for the magnificent organism called the human being, AND, by leveraging the multiverse of informational resources in this day and age, give understanding what is natural and proven as a path to default health and vitality for the human being a real shot, coupled with pragmatic implementation and gradual but permanent lifestyle change (natural human diet: plants. natural human movement: covering distance with bipedal locomotion). I know, I know, that’s a mouth-full. Read it twice if you have to. I’m probably lacking the necessary animal-derived brain protein to put it in a more concise, digestible way. But, I swear, I gave it my best shot.

My point is this: Yes, vegans can come off as “too much” to hunters. And, yes, hunters can seem heartless and cruel from the outside looking in. But, in the end, all I want is to articulate, in the best way I can, why both sides have respective “good” to be lauded and supported. And, to truly give my people an avenue to default health and vitality via plants, without being considered or feeling like a sellout, turncoat, pussy, etc…

And, I’d like to add one thing here. Of all the ways humans use animals for food, even though the idea itself is evolutionarily incorrect for the human organism, hunting for “food” is by far the most inline with the anti-suffering values of your average vegan. But, hunters, let’s think about doing our nature-loving in a different way. Nature, of which our bodies and minds are a part, will thank us.

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