One of the biggest questions I get asked is: “How do I deal with unsupportive family members in regards to my vegan diet?”
First off let me say, I am sorry you are dealing with unsupportive family members and just know whether it’s a family member or a friend, it happens to almost everyone.
I know when I first went vegan, I had my share of unsupportive family members who thought I had lost my mind and that I was following an unhealthy diet. I had friends make fun of me and crack wise bacon jokes.
It’s not fun dealing with unsupportive family members and friends, so today I want to arm you with some tips in dealing with these kinds of issues.
Issues such as:
“Mmmm I love bacon! How can you live without bacon?”
“Where do you get your protein?”
“You need iron! How are you going to get your iron if you don’t eat red meat?”
“I don’t know how you can give up cheese?”
“God put animals on the earth for us to eat!”
“Plants have feelings too!”
“I tried being vegan once and got really sick! It’s bad for you! You could die of malnutrition!”
So if you find yourself amongst conversations that are unsupportive of your vegan lifestyle, here are some tips to help you when it comes to responding.
Don’t get defensive: It’s easy for us to get defensive because some of us are sick of hearing over and over the same criticisms.
Instead of being defensive be informative.
Give the facts such as:
“I am thriving on my vegan diet and have never felt better in my life.
I am also against animal cruelty and torture brought on by the meat and dairy industry.
I know that by following a vegan lifestyle I am making a difference.
Did you know that raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than cars and trucks combined in the world?
I choose not to be a part of the problem but instead the solution.
Also did you know that 70% of the grain grown is used to feed livestock for human consumption. Imagine how many people we could feed that grain too!
I am also vegan because just one person on a plant-based diet for a year can cut our carbon footprint by 50% compared to a year of eating as an omnivore.
By me being vegan statistics show I am saving 200 animals a year.
Finally if you read books like the China Study you will know that being vegan increases energy levels and your immune response.
Digestion is improved due to eating higher fiber and lower fat foods plus a plant based diet contains no cholesterol. I also now have a lower risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and various different cancers.”
As you can see if you stick with the facts there isn’t much your unsupportive family members or friend can say, but they could possibly be quite intrigued on going vegan themselves.
I think most people who are not supportive of the vegan lifestyle are really just basically uneducated and don’t really know what kinds of foods you can and can’t eat.
It’s not all salad and veggies like most meat eaters think.
We love Thug Kitchen or The Oh She Glows cookbook. Some of our best dinners have come from those books and yes our non vegan friends have been blown away by the variety of food and dishes we vegans eat.
Sit them down: If all else fails and the lack of support really bothers you then have a sit down meeting. Try going to a neutral place like a coffee shop or favorite quiet place and share your feelings.
Help them understand that not everyone is going to agree with everyone’s choices and this is what makes us so unique.
Share how you support them in their decisions and you would like for them to support you too.
Because…bottom line is you are making a difference whether they see it or not.
You are saving the animals, the people and the environment by choosing to be vegan!
In the meantime if these tips don’t work for you just know that time makes a difference.
Please also consider joining our support community HERE and surround yourself with people who think like you and are on the same journey.
If you continue to walk the walk and talk the talk, your vegan journey will be the norm in their eyes. They will eventually respect you for your life long commitment.
Develop thick skin and know when we do things that are considered not normal in society, we will always have critics.
Keep the faith, do your part, and hope that one day, VEGANISM will be the new normal and the way of life.