Food Blog • Vegan Recipes • Animal Stories
So, first things first. Know who you are and what you are trying to do. What I mean by that is that if you are not clear, how would you expect anyone else to understand? So here are a few things to consider and think about.
We haven't really had a chance to talk about this yet. These are two very different things. Being Vegan is a lifestyle and way that you cary yourself. Plant-Based it what you eat for a particular reason. Most people who choose to be plant-based are doing it for their health. Sure some are doing it for animals or the planet, but most people choose plant-based for their health. The reason why is that a Vegan is not just a food choice, but the way you live. A Vegan doesn't take, eat or use anything from an animal to live their life. We live our lives without hurting anyone else to live it. We only buy food that is plant-based, we only buy clothing that is not made from animals skin or fur, we only use personal care products that are made without animal ingredients and that are not tested on animals, we capture and rehome and don't kill insects, etc. So first thing is that you need to know who you are.
Knowing how you will make your transition will help you be able to explain it to your loved ones. Having an idea about the process and how you will get the things that are essential for you to live a healthy life. Make sure that you have some resources to share if asked, so that you come off credible.
Family can be so supportive and I wish that for you. However, a lot of families are not. Most of the time is comes from pure and caring places. Many times it comes from lack of knowledge and other times it is just poking fun at you for being different from the way they were brought up.
I think the most important thing is to remain calm and know your facts, especially about how you will get calcium and protein and other vitamins and minerals. They don't know that they, if they are on the standard American diet, that they get far less of those things than you will.
If you have family that is supportive and is just interested, try a video or book to inform them. If they are not supportive, try to keep to yourself about it and only share with people who are. If you are under age and are dependent on your family, try to get them to make things for you or just eliminate the things you can't eat. But don't be rude to the people who are providing for you. See if you can find a way to introduce your family to foods and recipes they might also like. The funny thing is, a lot of the food they already eat is probably accidentally plant-based, or could be with small modifications.
Friends can be tricky, but as with family, they can be supportive or not. Here is my best advise for friends. First, try to explain what you are doing and see if they can get behind it or join you. Heck, bring them out to The Gentle Barn and let us work on them. Next, if they are not too sure, try to watch a video with them or introduce them to a book and see if that helps and bring them to an amazing restaurant or make them a Vegan meal, but make sure the meal is just like what they eat, like Beyond Meat or the like. Last, if they are not willing to understand and support you...THEY ARE NOT GOOD FRIENDS AND MOVE ON TO NEW ONES! Find people to bring into your life who love you and respect you for who you are and the choices you make.
Ok, so here is the place you get to shine. DON'T ASK before you go to a party, "Is it ok if I bring something Vegan?" or "What would you like me to bring?" JUST BRING IT! Make or buy the most amazing plant-based dish you can and set it out there. I can promise you, with 99% certainty, that your dish will be the hit of the party and will be the first thing gone. DO NOT TELL ANYONE THAT IT IS VEGAN UNLESS THEY ASK!!!!!
Ok that is the secret. Don't talk about it too much, just live your life and teach by example. If someone ever says "I don't eat that Vegan crap!" Say, "Well I don't eat dead animals!" Which one sounds more offensive? "I made a salad and used a vegan delicious dressing and everyone ate it and found out it was a Vegan dressing." or "I made a chili that looked Vegan, loaded it with pork and it has a meat base and everyone ate it and found out it was meat based." You decide!
Please try to research where you are going first and try to recommend a place good for everyone and for the love of god, know what you are going to order, before you get there. Don't be the one who asks 5,000 questions and upsets everyone at the table including the server. Save that for clarity, "I would like to have the pasta with marinara sauce please, I understand that it is Vegan, with no meat or dairy RIGHT? and please make sure there is no cheese on it"
Please don't sit at the table and tell everyone what is wrong with their food. If you know that Uncle Dave is going to order a big stinky fish, sit next to Aunt Rose with her nice salad! Also compromise with your family, "If we go to this restaurant this time, would you be willing to go to one I choose next time?"
Did I mention that you should know your facts?!