If you are reading this post, it is very likely that you turned vegan recently. Or maybe you are interested in a plant-based diet and want to know more about the odds. No matter, why you are here: Let me share, how to deal with non-vegans, who bully you or try to convince you, that you are wrong!
Always remember: You made an important decision, you already saved a lot of animals (check out, how many!), you are less likely, to suffer certain illnesses (check here) and most likely, you explore dishes, you never even imagined to try! While others try to offend you with words, you try to improve the world with actions!
Most important rule ever: Stay calm! Don’t get overly emotional! Maybe you just watched Earthlings, made some serious life changes and think about being a vegan all day long. You are surprised, that other people are ignorant, that the industry systematically kills animals and that the state seems to support this practice. Even if you are very angry or upset: Stay calm! You need to be focussed, if you want to discuss with other people and for sure you don’t wanna be the “hysteric” vegan. Besides that: Stress, anger and anxiety are not good for your body and for your mind!
Get your facts straight! How much protein do we need per day and how high is your intake? Why is it bullshit, that cows gonna disappear, if the planet turns vegan? Why is it strange to drink another animals milk and what are the disadvantages of cows milk? Why do animals in Europe eat GMO crops? Why are you ok with owning a pet (or why are you against it?)? Research about the things, people ask and don’t get offended! Even, if they seem to tease you or bully you, in the end they are just curious and don’t want to admit it! Maybe you are the vegan ambassador of your family or company for some time. So be it! Accept it and help other people, to get their facts straight!
Learn how to cook and invite your friends from time to time. Don’t even tell them, that the dish is vegan! In my case, I share a flat with three other vegans and we don’t even mention vegan food, if family members or friends have dinner with us. We invite people to share FOOD with us. That’s about it. Just ask your friends, if they have any kind of intolerance (nuts, wheat etc..) and don’t discuss the fact, that you serve vegan food! You are the host and people need to respect your choices! If they don’t respect your choices, they don’t respect you! It doesn’t matter, if we talk about your mother in law, who is already hard to handle. You gonna serve delicious veggies, healthy legumes and maybe some home-made cake. What is the problem?
Be prepared! There is a very nice way, to avoid awkward situations at the restaurant, the wedding or the business lunch. Remember, that a lot of places still don’t offer vegan options and get yourself prepared! Meaning: If I have to go to a restaurant, a meeting or whatever occasion, I just call them before. I explain, what I eat and what I can not eat and usually the staff is very helpful! In eight years of being a vegan I had less then five bad experiences (one time, the waiter confused a dish, another time, they did not understand, that cheese is not vegan…etc). And even, if you accidentally eat cheese or milk: It is not nice, but it is also not the end of the world! Stay calm, talk to the staff, explain your point and ask for a refund! If you have to go to a bbq or another party at a friends, just bring your own stuff! I even went to bbqs and took my own small grill with me. Maybe people gonna joke about you, but honestly: The joke might seem funny once or twice. After a while, they just gonna give up!
Don’t get bullied! I worked with people of all ages and professions. A lot of them tag me on pictures of a steak, ask me repeatedly, if I want to try the ham today or they tell me, how much I am missing out. Most of the time, I just laugh with them. The juicy steak? Yeah, you are talking about the seitan steak right?. Missing out? Nope, I am super happy with my options. Words are just words. Don’t get offended! In my experience, most bullies went vegetarian or vegan after they had a health issue, put a lot of extra kilos or had another life changing experience. Remind yourself, that every nasty conversation with a bully is your chance, to show your compassionate and reflected views on life, food and our planet! Fellow vegan out there, always remember: Time works in your favor!
If you are very angry, upset or feel depressed, take a deep breath. Remember, why you made a very important choice, that will help the animals, the planet and future humans. Remind yourself, that bullies are often just insecure or confused. A mentally healthy person, who feels good about their own decisions, does not bully others! Don’t focus on your weakness or on things, that are speculative. Yes, plants may have feelings and maybe the food you just had, contained traces of milk. So what? You don’t need to proof yourself to anyone and you don’t need to be the most vegan human on earth. Try to do your best, eat vegan, eat local, eat GMO free and see your vegan life as a long journey!
Be kind, let other people try your food and give them time! Even, if you just made a bad experience with a family member, your spouse or a friend , remember that things gonna be much brighter in a month, a year or in five years from now! I have seen big changes happening and I am very positive, that we all can look forward to a vegan future!
Helpful links and materials for vegans and anybody interested:
Earthlings (be aware, that this is brutal stuff)
I am Julia, vegan by heart, traveler and minimalist based in beautiful Portugal. I love simple but delicious food, ashtanga, skating, surfing and having a nice conversation over snacks and a glass of wine. I am blogging about vegan food, my minimalist journey, life hacks and my experiences as a traveler.