In reality the name of this post should be Getting Started: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Of course that isn’t a very positive outlook on my rapid transition to veganism. It actually started last year when I had been in college for about a month when suddenly all my friends’ parents went vegan back at home. All did it for health reasons, yet if you had met the group you would’ve been shocked. One father was, and still is, an avid hunter. But the group had come to the realization that their diets heavy in animal byproducts was increasing their chances for heart attack exponentially. It was when my own father decided to try the vegan fad that I also converted too.
Of course, the adult group lasted about a month but even in that short amount of time the change was incredible. Their cholesterol plummeted, they all lost significant weight, and each felt healthier than they had in a long time. I managed to stick with it for about two months, long enough to experience a vegan Thanksgiving, but once Christmas break rolled around I had called it quits as well.
Looking back I’m still not sure why I stopped. It may have been the stress of coming home to a completely carnivorous home or my cravings for Nutella had just become too strong. Yet I do realize I was in a completely different mindset back then as opposed to now. Last year I had gone vegan mostly as a weight loss plan (although to be clear it did not help me lose weight), and I saw it as a passing diet, not a life change. This time I decided to go vegan for life. Getting rid of a deadline makes it that much easier to maintain this lifestyle.
So one day in June I decided it was time to try again. One day I was eating anything I wanted, the next day I had made a vegan bread pudding for my parent’s anniversary. I don’t believe that anyone else could have as easy as a transition as I did. My parents were supportive and put up with my random requests for groceries, most of which are still sitting in my pantry (but more on that in a later post). But back to what I first said about the title of this post. My friends and extended family really struggled with my change. It was almost as if I was asking them to do the same, yet I told everyone up front that I felt no disgust towards people who weren’t vegan and I didn’t expect anyone to do it with me. But nevertheless people seemed to get frustrated just in the fact that I had to ask the waitress if there was dairy in the salad dressings.
All I can say on this is that people will eventually get used to it. You might become the “vegan friend” but as long as you make it clear that whatever burden they believe being vegan is, you carry yourself alone, people begin to feel less upset about it. The best advice I can give is to just stick with it no matter what. Inevitably people will get used to it, begin to support you, and I’ve found now people actually want to try my vegan food.
Just last night my friend tried a vegan Italian sausage, which did not go over so well with her. But she also had the banana bread and loved it. Patience is and always will be a virtue.