Dealing With Non-Vegan Loved Ones

Family and friends are the people we hold close to our hearts. The struggle that many Vegans face is often rejection from their loved ones. Because food is just such an integral part of our lives, that our food preference and dietary requirements becomes a huge consideration on deciding where to eat. I admit that Vegan food is pretty expensive and not readily available, especially in Asian countries. It’s kind of ironic that the ones we love are the ones that have the hardest time accepting us. Personally, my parents found it strange that I wasn’t ordering my favourite sashimi, steak and chicken rice. What more I no longer ordered desserts, a must-have for me after every family dinner on Saturdays. Despite the fact it took 1 month for them to find out, opening up to them was the hardest. It’s always the why question that gets me. At that point of time, I was still pretty fresh into Veganism hence I wasn’t really knowledgeable in that aspect. My mum was the one that flipped. I had a huge argument with my parents and I just broke down and cried because I thought as parents, they should give me their full support. As for my friends, I am glad that none of them shun me away or thought that I was weird. They are super supportive of me and accepted my life-changing decision to become a Vegan. It’s because of them that’s why is born.

Firstly, we have to understand that whenever our loved ones discourage us from going Vegan, they are still operating out of love. It’s conventional to eat meat in this day and age and in this world where we are constantly inundated with advertising gimmicks, it is only natural to believe what they say. Oh how meat gives you protein, and milk helps you build strong bones. We’ve been hearing these for years and our loved ones are just concerned that we won’t be getting enough protein or have weaker bones. Hence, it is crucial to first understand that they still love us.

Secondly, is not to push it. One fine day, I decided to sit down and talk to my parents about why I’m Vegan in hopes for them to see where I’m coming from and hopefully go Vegan as well. However, to no avail, we got into a huge argument. It was partly my fault because I had little control of my emotions. I wanted to show them a video of how animals were being slaughtered but they were all too afraid to watch it. I was then reminded of Gary Yourofsky’s quote ‘if its not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach’. Ever since that argument, I’ve learnt that it’s best to only speak to them about this if they are open to it. If we were to insist our beliefs onto them, we will come off as too pushy or preachy. This is what I feel is the greatest struggle for all Vegans. Finally we’re exposed to the truth, the behind the scenes of how meat goes from farm to fridge and we are so eager to share it with our loved ones. Yes, we should still share but I believe we shouldn’t overdo it because more often than not people would shut off from that idea.

Thirdly, what works best is for you to be a living testimony. Our beloved friends and family are concerned about our health, but we believe the Vegan lifestyle is the most sustainable and healthiest one on the planet. The best way is to live it. People would be more likely to buy into you when they see that it’s working for you. Oh Nicole your skin is now glowing and your acne just vanished! Wow you’ve lost so much weight! All these are what my friends have said to me and because they’ve seen results happening to me right before their eyes, they are more receptive towards Veganism and some even willing to give Veganism a shot.

The whole point is never to give up on what you truly believe in no matter what others say. Sure, we have to be open to hear what they say, however, know that we have been exposed to whatever that has been happening behind closed doors while our loved ones probably haven’t. It is tough initially, but I promise you that once you’re walking the talk, people will start to notice and you’ll soon be their inspiration to live a healthier and more compassionate life.

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