So you are ‘the only vegan in the village’ how do you deal with it? How do you get people to take you seriously and respect your decision? How do you live at peace despite your differences? How do you still eat when all around you are eating animal products? Here are our tips and hints!
How to be the only vegan in your circle! It is difficult when you are the ‘odd one out’ but if you are respectful and educate others about your choices then you will be able to co-exist without too much turmoil.
I remember when I was about 17 the doctor suggesting I cut out all meat products to see if it would help my painful joints. My mum bought in a large pack of veggie burgers and basically, I had what everyone else ate except a veggie burger … so roast, no meat a veggie burger, stew, and rice… dry rice and a veggie burger, spag bol… spaghetti pasta and a veggie burger, no sauce just dry. The experiment didn’t last I didn’t have the conviction that it would help so I didn’t defend the process! So…
Remember your why!
If you aren’t committed and settled in your why you can’t expect others to take you seriously! I am a terrible ‘people pleaser’, I don’t like to upset or make anyone feel uncomfortable and I will set aside my own thoughts and feelings so as not to ‘rock the boat’. My husband, once he makes a decision, it’s final and it is up to you to negotiate around it if you aren’t happy with it, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect others then he stands his ground! It isn’t that he won’t ever change his mind he is very open to growth but if at the moment this is his stance then that’s it! He will happily defend his choices and discuss but he won’t be wishy-washy… I can come across as wishy-washy and that’s when it gets difficult as people don’t know where they are with you!
Don’t be wishy-washy, stand your ground and have your why firmly in your heart and mind at all times to draw on when things get uncomfortable, and they will indeed get uncomfortable!
Educate but don’t preach!
Nothing gets our backs up as much as being preached at! Remember you are challenging deep-seated traditions and beliefs! Don’t shy away from having discussions just remember to not attack, educate people and help them challenge their own thoughts and habits.
Point out truths and point to excellent documentaries and books where people can investigate further! Expect to be challenged and for people to be defensive but don’t be defensive yourself! When you are promoting a kind, peaceful, non-violent lifestyle its a little contradictory to then act out of anger!
But be passionate, our reasons for choosing this lifestyle fills us with such compassion, regret, pain and a finite peace with our decision, so it is ok to be passionate! People get passionate at their belief all humans regardless of sexuality/colour/race/size/ability should be equal and that passion has led to positive magnificent change that was fiercely fought against by some!
Passion is awesome and powerful so be passionate!
It is not ok for people to treat you badly because they don’t agree with your decision to be vegan!
It’s ok for them to engage in a passionate discussion if you are both up for it at that time. Let’s face sometimes we are too tired too ill too fed up to engage and we should be allowed to say and so should our non-vegan counterparts! There doesn’t always have to be the vegan discussion!
It is not ok to attack the character of someone just because we have opposing views!
Sometimes I am ok with ‘banter’ and sometimes I am not and that is ok as long as I am clear! And this works vice versa. It’s ok to say not today guys I am tired, I am feeling down or whatever!
I am ok with ‘banter’ but don’t mock me and gang up on me! Its ok the odd ‘joke’ but I have my limit usually when I am not allowed to banter back! I often find meat eaters will get so angry if you dish out the banter but all their vegan jokes are hilarious and therefore you must just take it!
Set your boundaries and expect others to honour them. Just like any boundary, we set its personal to us and others don’t need to understand it to be respectful! Of course, remember your meat-eating loved ones can also have boundaries and might not enjoy your ‘do you want cow juice in your coffee’ or ‘would you like a salad with your animal carcass?’ comments either!
Have answers ready!
If you are in the mood for a good convo about veganism have some answers ready! It can be daunting if you are the focus of everyone’s attention and they are demanding answers! So have some fun facts you can pull out easily and the answers to common questions. ‘Where do you get your protein, calcium etc’ ‘free range is good right?’
There will be some people who you love but they won’t ever understand or want to understand your choices! I have a gorgeous uncle who is a farmer and at family bar-b-q’s we are the butt of all his jokes but I would find it hard to challenge him… so I don’t I just smile and wait for it to pass or I change the subject or just walk away! I love him and have massive respect for him, and I can’t see him being open to a proper discussion so I leave him to it!
If we are visiting we always offer to take our own food! We will take enough so others can try it too!
If people come to us we try to wow them with super tasty foods!
We usually provide lots of options so everyone can find something they love!
Don’t be the angry vegan, stand up for yourself but remain respectful and passionate not angry! Stand your ground in a positive educating way!
Don’t let every conversation be about veganism it is just one aspect of your life! I find asking others about their lives and plans deflect nicely from the fact that I have, shockingly, decided to be a compassionate, loving, thoughtful vegan!!!!