Handling Reactions After Announcing You're Vegan
Updated: Dec 16, 2019
When you transition to becoming vegan or plant-based, it seems to come with resistance amongst those we are closest to. Although it may not be intentional, your loved ones may have some strong reactions to the lifestyle that you have chosen. Every person has their own experience with this, with tips and tricks that they find work best to navigate through these uncomfortable times. Today we are going to share with you some tips we find helpful when handling the reactions of your loved ones after telling them you are Vegan or Plant-Based.
Share your reasoning for choosing this lifestyle
Of course you do not HAVE to "explain" yourself for going vegan, but it is still very helpful to share your reasoning to your family and friends. If they are important to you, then it seems fair to share with them why you chose to transition to veganism. Whether it is for health reasons (you don't have to disclose what specific health issue), for animal cruelty, or for environmental reasons, understanding the reasoning behind someone's decision makes it easier to accept. They may still have questions that need answering, concerns that need addressing, and possibly misunderstood judgement, but these things can be addressed over time, even when you're one on one with someone. Since a lot of people are still new to the idea of veganism and being plant-based, it may also help to educate them on what veganism really is, what it means, and why some people choose that lifestyle (i.e the benefits).
Talk about what this means for your relationship now
Yes, what you eat now is different from before. But guess what? You are still the same person. You used to watch the show Friends together before? I'm betting that you still do. You used to go to hockey games on the weekends? Well you do that still, but before you go, you have a plant-based soup to keep you warm (we offer a variety of soups: https://littlegreenforks.com/menu/#/menu), while your friend may have a hot dog at the game. Your food experiences may be different now, which might cause concern and worry for your relationships. However, if you share with them that you are still the same person with some new found values, they will hopefully understand and let go of their worry or resistance. There are so many more ways to connect with someone than just with food. This will help you be more creative in the times you do spend with your friends and family.
You may also have some new procedures before you go to spend time with family. For instance, if it is a dinner at your aunts house and she doesn't cook plant-based food, then it is best to eat before hand or bring your own food. Another idea is to share with your aunt a plant-based recipe or prepare it yourself and bring for everyone to share. By being able to share recipes with your loved ones and cook plant-based food for them, you are showing that being vegan allows you to have a well balanced diet and is not bland and boring, but rather colorful and nutritious.
Express your desire for support
Having the support of your friends and family can make all the difference when you are transitioning your lifestyle. Explain to your loved ones that you would really appreciate their support while you start this new chapter of your life. During this transition, you will be able to identify those that are supportive, and those that are not. It is best to let go of the opinions of those that still choose to judge your decision to eat plant-based. It may even result in some loss of friendships, which although is unfortunate, is also a part of life. The hope is that after a while, most of your loved ones will adjust to the idea of you being plant-based. The bigger hope is that your example of being plant-based will encourage some of your friends and family to make the transition themselves.
Overall, you shouldn't let the reactions of friends and family deter you from fully transitioning to being vegan or plant-based. You should be proud of your choices and just be confident in your decisions. If you continue to live this way, you will become an example for them. They will see all of the positive things that come along with you being vegan, and after a while, will hopefully either get used to it or even transition themselves.
Photo credit below: