Ways To Help Your Friend Transition Comfortably Into The Vegan Lifestyle
For many moving into a vegan diet and a vegan lifestyle is a piece of cake. We seamlessly transition due to beliefs and realizations that completely change our view of the world. Becoming vegan and understanding certain ways of life comes naturally, and the entire transfer can happen overnight with very few temptations in terms of heading back.
For other people, it can take a while – especially if someone has many miles on the clock. Life is all about the habits we get into and, if you’re completely ingrained in a certain lifestyle for decades, then it can be difficult to change.
As someone who has been a vegan for a long time, it’s always nice to see a friend attempt to make the change into this way of living – even if it’s just for a month or so in order for them to experience the mental, physical and social changes. When you transition, an awful lot changes in your life – it’s like a new era for you, so you need to make sure that you’re in a good place. As a friend watching it happen, helping out as much as possible can help them have a positive experience.
Many people attempt this move, but they head back to what they’re used to and what they’re comfortable with. Oftentimes this is due to lack of support. If you can usher them along and teach them a thing or two, then you’ll be making things a lot smoother for them and increasing the chances of them staying in this particular habit.
Helping another person with this kind of thing can’t be easy if you’ve never really done it before – it’s like many things in that it takes practice and experience. Here are a few things you can do to help a friend or family member transition comfortably into the vegan lifestyle:
Educate Them As Much As You Can
As someone who has experience and knowledge in this department, it’s only right that you impart a little wisdom. It's one reason we're so active and open about being vegan on this website, on social media, and on YouTube.
One of the reasons why people stay in certain bubbles or in certain lifestyles is that they don’t know that much about any other way of living. We, as people, like to stick to what we’re comfortable with – if a new idea sounds a little awkward, then we’ll stick with where we are.
First, lead by example. Just go about your vegan life and share when it makes sense. The more people see how you eat and live the easier it looks.
Let your friend know that you're happy to answer any questions they have. They will probably have at least a few questions. What might seem like second nature to you can be eye-opening for them. Don't be pushy, just let them know you're there for them.
One thing I like to do is to take people on a supermarket tour and show them all the vegan options. People don't realize that there's vegan mayo, some peanuts have gelatin in them, and some products they're used to are already vegan.
Cook Wonderful Meals For Them
If they appreciate a lovely vegan meal, then they’re going to be more inclined to try more. There are so many heart-healthy choices around, so you’ll never have to worry about making a bad meal!
By no means do you have to be the next best chef on the block; a simple dinner would suffice. Something as lovely as vegan oatmeal from Umami Girl would do a great job. A lot of people worry that vegan meals just aren’t as tasty – prove that it’s a myth and get them on board!
Point Them In The Right Direction In Terms Of Places To Eat!
If you can’t cook for them or don’t want to – or just don’t have the time – then you can always point them towards good restaurants.
It's getting much easier to find vegan options in restaurants but the best way to find an awesome spot is to use Happy Cow. There might be an all-vegan spot close by! It's also wonderful for finding food options when traveling.
Don’t Talk Down To Them Or Patronize
One of the things that make people hate vegans or view veganism in a negative light is the way in which some talk about it. Sometimes people feel like you are preaching to them or judging them. Don’t patronize and don’t force people to change.
If someone is interested, then that’s great. When people ask sincere questions about veganism, try to answer in a straightforward and non-judgmental way. It helps to have some suggestions for where they can learn more like a book or documentary that you like or an especially good online resource.
There will be people just trying to start an argument with you, especially online. It’s very easy to become frustrated with ignorant comments, and it’s very annoying when someone says something somewhat derogatory, but don’t sink to a new low and keep your cool. Just try to answer the honest questions and ignore the trolls.
About the Author
vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.