So, I've got the secret guys. This is a big deal.
I haven't EVER bragged about converting before. It's something I've kept pretty tight-lipped about because I don't want to sound like a dick. BUT I have got a pretty decent track record of converting people and that's something to be proud of (perhaps even shout from the rooftops?!) If all vegans could successfully convert a few friends, we would be on a fast track to a much greener, healthier and more logical future!
My first conversion was my divine, beautiful, incredible mother. The greatest woman on the planet.
Initially I think she was concerned. There was an awkward phase where I would make a plate of vegetables for myself and give everyone else in the house salmon, you know, to keep the peace. But there were many evenings where I had to share information and talk about my feelings. Mum was there for me. She let me wail about the horrible truths swarming around my mind. My poor mother was forced to learn about meat and dairy because she was a phenomenal parent and there for her daughter in a confusing time.
I vaguely remember our first conversation about her stopping eating meat and then she went completely vegan.
I'm so lucky.
I got lucky with Mum because I wasn't very delicate in my first year of veganism. I was verging on Preachy. I wanted to tell everyone what was happening to chickens at that very second. "You need to know about the chicken beaks getting cut off!! Oh my god do you know what's happening to cute little piglets?!?"
I was traumatised to begin with. It's normal. It's understandable. Going vegan; you come out of the Matrix and take in the real world.
And the real world fucking sucks.
BUT, if you want to convert anyone, it's imperative to get out of this stage so you can talk to people without mentioning slaughter and veal and the like. Vegans should be normal people who just happen to not eat animals. Any ethical vegan understands how hard it is being constantly aware of the suffering happening every second, but, I promise, if you can manage to put this aside most of the time and enjoy your life; it will help save animals.
Most people aren't assholes who don't care about anything, they legitimately have reasons to not be vegan, which I've kindly listed below to debunk....
Why People DON'T Want to Go Vegan
1) Because they don't think there's anything wrong with eating meat
2) Because they love the way meat and cheese taste
3) Because they don't want to become a weird, crazy, preachy, asshole Vegan
4) Because they don't want to be a weak, anaemic pussy
5) Because they don't think veganism is necessary
6) Because they think it will take over their life
7) Because they think they should care more about children in Africa than animals
8) They knew someone who failed on a vegan diet
9) They still live at home and have someone else cooking for them
10) They think it will be expensive
11) They think it's too extreme
12) They're emotionless psychopaths
13) They have backyard hens
14) They believe they are sourcing ethical animal products
Have I missed anything? Probably.
When I enter a conversation with someone who is not vegan but wants to talk about it, either antagonistically or kindly, I first establish what of the above barriers stop them from being vegan. It's usually the first one. Even if they know about factory farming, they still think overall, eating meat is okay.
Once I've established the WHY, I figure out what they need to hear. Do they need evidence and research? Do they need compassion? Do they need good old logic and carefree chats? Trust me, there's something for everyone.
I'm going to start with a basic guide ... the following three things should be applied at all times (if you care about animals and want to save their lives anyway....)
I know this can be hard sometimes... I still struggle with it. Sometimes I want to yell at people for their ignorance, but it never works. Inner peace, confidence and relaxation truly is the best way. But, this comes with time.
One of the secrets to my converting is this relaxation. I don't wear veganism on my sleeve. It's a part of my life, it doesn't TAKE OVER my life.
Some meat eaters worry that being vegan would completely take over; take over their shopping, their relationships, their health! And this is simply not true. Maybe at the start, as making any change can be overwhelming, but in time, it's simply a choice in the moment. It's an immediate choice to put broccoli in your basket instead of beef or to say "hummus" in a restaurant instead of "halloumi".
In time, you'll honestly see it is that simple.
Be an example. Prove veganism doesn't take over your life. Have a colourful, varied existence! Talk about all kinds of things, not just food and animal rights. I'm sure we all know people who are obsessed with one cause or religion or diet... don't do this with veganism. Show that you are still the same person, just with different values and more awareness of the world around you.
Don't ALWAYS Talk About It
I set myself a fun experiment years ago - to never be the one to bring up veganism in a conversation UNLESS it's necessary.
It's necessary in obvious circumstances - someone offers me a biscuit, talking to a waiter or telling someone about myself. Apart from these circumstances, I try to never bring it up. That may ruffle some feathers, but it's my personal preference. I don't wear veganism on my sleeve and still; everyone who knows me knows that I'm a vegan.
It's INCREDIBLE how often I end up talking about it. I highly recommend trying this experiment for yourself. Try not bringing veganism up unless it's necessary and see if people start asking you more questions.
People ask me all the time why I went vegan, how I feel, what I eat for breakfast, what I think of various industries .... I truly believe this is because of my relaxed, carefree attitude. People know they won't be met with judgement, militant ideas or overwhelming passion. They will be met with logic, reason and relaxed conversation.
DO. NOT. FUCKING. PREACH!
1) Make non-vegans believe going vegan will turn them into assholes
2) Make non-vegans stubborn and more set in their animal-hurting ways
3) Make veganism seem like a cult or religion
4) Usually do not seem at peace with their decision. Which can look suspicious.
So, for all these reasons and more - try to just be comfortable, content and RELAXED about your vegan stance. It's far more infectious and assuring to any non-vegans out there.
I have an entire post about this you can read here - How To Spread The Vegan Word Without Being a Preachy Asshole. Please read! ;)
Make AMAZING Food!
The way to EVERYONE'S heart is through their stomaches. Make a feast, invite friends over, buy a bottle of organic vegan wine and show off how good this food can be.
It's a MYTH that vegan foods are deficient. it's a MYTH you cannot be an athlete and vegan. It's a MYTH you have to supplement protein and iron. Spend a bit of time researching and you will see that everything you need (apart from b12) is in plant foods and it's a BETTER source of your minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Also - the food can be fucking delicious. Even salad is delicious if it's made well. Focus on whole foods, eat enough, eat often, eat well. Be merry.
And yeah, get all your friends around for dinner to show them how good it can be. I have a post about this too ;) - Hosting the Perfect Vegan Dinner Party
Be the EVIDENCE. Be the Proof.
This is possibly the MOST IMPORTANT point.
Be a healthy vegan. Be an example. Have energy, eat enough, exercise, be happy ... If anyone tries to use any of the above arguments - the BEST way to combat it is if YOU are evidence their argument is wrong. I still have friends tell me they couldn't be healthy as a vegan when I am sitting right there at the same table; EVIDENCE that they can be.
I do not buy into any of this "one diet doesn't suit all" bollocks. That is utter crap. Yes, we all need different calories, yes we all need different amounts of protein and carbs and fats, that's fine, but it's NONSENSE and has been DISPROVEN by science countless times that human beings need meat or dairy.
ANYONE CAN BE VEGAN. Say it with me - ANYONE CAN BE VEGAN.
"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes"
SNAP. Read the full shabang here - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864
And... Why? Why Convert?
So, why even write an article like this? Why convert people to something they don't want to do? Is veganism REALLY that important?
Animal enslavement is horrible; even meat eaters acknowledge this. Factory farms are inevitable while there is high demand for animal products and the animal's welfare will never be a priority in industrial-sized farms.
We MUST reduce demand. This is step one.
Eating animals is linked with various health issues, it's depleting the environment at an alarming rate and - IT'S CRUEL. Eating living, sentient, thinking, feeling, intelligent beings when we have ZERO need to is insane. It's insane, greedy and illogical.
Meat tastes good. We've always done it.
These aren't excuses. They are reasons why people do, but they do not stand up to:
Meat is bad for your health. Diabetes rates have increased 60% in the last decade. Our planet is dying and factory farming is the leading cause. Even Al Gore has gone vegan! Come the fuck on people. But, most importantly, breading innocent, intelligent animals, simply to cram them in tiny cages, stuff them with drugs and then cut them up into pieces so that human beings can eat chicken nuggets is insane.
Take your blinders off. Learn the truth and be appropriately horrified.
And, for any vegans reading - understand that your message is best delivered with positivity, understanding, compassion and relaxation.
Make delicious food, try not to preach your message; be a logical, healthy, happy vegan and watch your friends slowly ask you more and more questions. When I see someone doing something positive, I will naturally start to wonder about it. I will begin doing my own research and making up my own mind.
All my incredible friends who have gone vegan in the last few years made life-long, ethical changes and I can't see any going back. They went into it with sound mind, educated and carefree. This is much easier to achieve when you have a chilled-out vegan to inspire you.
That's what I have learned anyway ;) My mum is superior. Not all will be like her.
How To Spread The Vegan Word Without Being a Preachy A***hole
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