Nobody wants to be a preachy vegan. In fact many myths among our carnivorous and omnivorous peers (not to mention the press who are quite keen to maintain the status quo) would paint a picture of us as quasi-religious zealots trying to get friends and family to join our ‘weird cult’. The fact is that while many of us would like to see more people adapt to a plant based lifestyle, it’s usually born of a desire to see the long term environmental damage caused by animal agriculture mitigated and eventually reversed. It’s not a product of some pathological need to feel superior to others. Thus, when a friend or family member expresses curiosity or even interest in ditching meat and dairy for a plant based lifestyle, it’s important to box clever and steer clear of succumbing to those unfortunate stereotypes.
While there’s little or no truth in the assumption that we won’t rest until everybody’s a vegan, it’s still important to remember the unfortunate mentality that pervades among many and subtly introduce them to the myriad benefits of veganism rather than getting on our moral high horses.
Make them something delicious
Even if they’re omnivorous, most people are open to trying plant based meals. We find that winning people over to plant based diets is best done by showing them that they won’t have to make any concessions where taste and variety are concerned. The chances are they can enjoy a vegan version of their favorite dishes like chilli, lasagne or even a ‘cheese’ burger, but it’s also important not to encourage them to lean too heavily on processed meat substitutes. Different people will respond better to different approaches but often we find that a delicious meal is a delicious meal and if that can be attained without using animal products few people will respond negatively to that. And hey, if you need some new recipes, you know where we are!
Bust some vegan myths
We’ve all heard it a million times before, “but where do you get your protein?”. One of the greatest vegan myths is that a plant based diet is protein deficient. Bust this myth wide open to anyone who’ll listen… All protein comes from plants! No animal in the world can convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into the amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins. Plus, the human body’s protein needs aren’t as robust as the late Dr Atkins and his ilk would have you believe. Human milk is the ultimate food for a growing human child yet it only contains 1% protein. That’s less than cows, dogs, bears, donkeys and even rats.
Show them how easy it is
Many people assume that switching to a plant based diet will involve overhauling their whole lives. While it’s true they may have to check the packaging a little more regularly at the supermarket, a vegan diet doesn’t come with the disruption many expect. With more vegan substitutes for meat, eggs and dairy products available than ever, designed to facilitate a transitional period for long-time carnivores it’s actually never been easier to be vegan.
Lead by example
Not only are vegans choosing not to contribute to the environmental destruction caused by animal agriculture, they tend to be healthier too. When your friends see you lose weight, get a little more color in your cheeks and have more energy, they’re likely to wonder what your secret is. It’s always better to lead by example than fall into that preachy stereotype.