For choosing to live in a way that positively affects the environment, our health, and the life quality of other creatures, vegans seem to get a lot of hate. I am all for a good vegan joke or two (my family calls me the 'bean-eating nerd') but there are plenty of occasions when I just get sick and tired of the comments. I brush off the light-hearted jokes, but what happens when someone approaches me with a list of ways that my diet negatively impacts the earth and animals, or how I don't make a impact at all and the industry will never change? What do I do when a forced smile is not enough to let the conversation pass? In Person: Answering these questions or comments aggressively or trying to shame the other party for their own lifestyle choices is not going to get us anywhere. The best approach I've seen is simply reminding people that this is your CHOICE. Your friends choose to eat meat, while you choose not to consume any animal products. You are not trying to convert anyone or make anyone feel badly about their own food choices, you are just trying to lead your life in the way that you see fit. Don't fight their 'facts' about veganism's effect on health or the environment. It is still your choice and it has little to no effect on the other person. Keep pushing the point that it is your body and your choice, just as much as it is their body and their choice to eat what they want. I often don't even bring animals into it -- animals rights is important to me, but it doesn't seem to sway the kinds of people who berate my lifestyle. Most importantly, try to end the discussion on a light note. It doesn't do anyone any good to walk away upset or angry. Online: Don't answer. Unless you think this is a serious person who is genuinely curious about your lifestyle and it is in the appropriate context, it is not worth your time to defend yourself. The people who take time out of their day to write "I just ate venison from a deer I shot myself" on a Vegan forum or Facebook page are just looking for an argument. They're not worth your energy. Don't even give them a second thought. Just remember that your life is your life, and you have the right to live it how you want. As does everyone else.