I know you have been there….whether you are new to a plant-based lifestyle or have been a vegan for years, at some point you have had to look into the face of a friend who just simply can’t understand why you can’t just be a team player and eat meat like “everyone else”.
In fact, I bet if you are honest before you made the switch, veganism was akin to someone being from another planet. I know it was for me! I asked all of the silly questions. I am embarrassed to admit I even asked more than one vegan family member where they got their protein from! It’s the truth peeps and I am certainly not proud of it. While it amazes me that this was once me, it does help me extend patience to my carnivorous friends. Here are some tips for navigating the discussion:
- Don’t get defensive and take it personally when someone doesn’t understand or agree with your decision to pursue a vegan lifestyle.
- Do your research and get prepared to give the facts! You know the kind of questions people always ask. Where do you get your protein (news flash, spinach has protein), How’s your vitamin b12 (It is just fine thanks).
- Listen to their objections without interrupting before responding. This can be hard on friends. They have lovely memories of dinners out and gatherings at each other’s homes that they now feel are in jeopardy. Just wait until you wow them with your vegan chef skills! Make sure they know that you are NOT judging them and their decision to eat meat will not hurt your relationship.
- Understand negative reactions are often displaced guilt. Many kind people love their dogs and cats and try to pretend what is on their plate is completely different. They tell themselves that this kind of animal (cow, pig, fish, chicken) is ok to eat and not worthy of love. All the while a voice is nagging at them somewhere in their mind telling them otherwise.
- Make sure they understand you are committed and this isn’t a whim. Then move on. Talk about other things you both enjoy and love about each other. When questions come up in the future respond with kindness and clarity. You may be planting a seed that will take some time to sprout.
In closing, I give you this. You know dear reader that you have the courage of your convictions and are making a healthy choice for your mind and body. When your friends see your glowing skin and trim physique they will understand why you have chosen this lifestyle. You have made a choice that is both kind to you, other little earthlings and the planet itself.
Hearts and Hugs, Shawntelle