I always enjoy when conversations via social media give me the chance to answer more fully in a blog post. Sometimes the 140 character limit of Twitter are just too restrictive for a proper answer …
The topic also fits in well with my overall philosophy of why I share the way I do about items I describe around a Vegan Athlete Diet.
But first, a short bit of background.
The topic came up around Thanksgiving celebrations. I mentioned that I’m (still) the lone vegan, let alone vegetarian in my family for Thanksgiving. Honestly, it’s not something I even think about now unless asked about it. Someone asked if I gave the family some remarks or reminders about what they were really eating.
The answer was, No.
As passionate and excited as I am about all the earth-conscious, vegan things I do daily in my life, I don’t go into preach or pressure mode with anyone for a number of reasons. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian yourself, you may have chosen a very different approach when talking with others which is fine.
I prefer to present practical information or tips to someone IF they ask me specifically about it OR if they’re discussing a personal challenges or obstacles I know might be helped with some plant-based solutions.
I don’t feel that pressuring or preaching really honors them as an individual or creates an environment for them to choose for themselves. I know how I feel when someone keeps pressuring me or pushing me without hearing or listening to me. I quietly disengage and stop trying to have a discussion at that point because it’s become a monologue instead.
If you have to put a lot of energy into pressuring someone to make a different choice at an event where there is resistance, you’ll likely have to do the same thing the next time. And the next time.
Also, for some the idea of going from a meat-eating, dairy-consuming human to a TOTAL vegan in one step sounds way too daunting or scary. If someone has the chance to choose some vegan nutrition changes for themselves, experience how it helps them, how it “feels” on them, then that’s a real, relevant experience for them about what’s possible. It’s no longer just what someone else has said. No perfection or total commitment required.
So, that’s how I approach things: I live by example, I share the specific ways a Vegan Athlete Diet has helped me over the years when asked and I share tips or options regularly for people to “try on” when it makes sense. I know all these baby steps I take to directly help and educate others with will compound over time.