Managing Non-Vegan Friends When You Go Plant-Based
We humans are social creatures. The roots go way back to when we moved in packs as a means to increase our likelihood of survival from predators in the wild, and that sentiment has not been lost – today we still seek belonging and approval from those around us.
But another immense part of our identities is our food. We’re brought up on comfort food that becomes familiar and nostalgic, and it’s often been said that trying to convince someone to change their diet is harder than trying to change their religion.
Here’s where an inherent obstacle comes when many go through the transition to a plant-based diet. Because not everyone will be doing the same, it’s common to feel disheartened or tempted by the food choices of friends and family. Indeed, studies have even confirmed that people on a vegan diet are more likely to quit when they’re surrounded by people who aren’t vegan, who constantly question their decision.
But when the feeling strikes, we have a few tips to help manage your friends and overcome the urge to quit:
- Know your why. Why did you want to change your diet? It could be for your health, the environment, the animals, or any number of unique, personal reasons.
- Understand that your diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even one plant-based/vegan meal is better than none at all, and just because you indulge in your favourite comfort food or relapse at a dinner party, doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel.
- The better you feel, the more motivated you’ll become, and the stronger you’ll stand against any naysayers.
- For the most part, there will be a vegan option at a restaurant if you’re out socialising with your friends – it’s one of the great things about the growth of the plant-powered movement. If you’re feeling anxious about being “difficult” at dinner plans, get creative and think about doing things other than just eating together, such as going to a museum, cinema or gig.
- When faced with questions about your decision, one of the most effective responses is to let them know you’re feeling good, because no one can argue with that. You could also focus the conversation on things other than food and diet, and avoid talking about it during meal times (because banging on about the negative effects of dairy while your friends work their way through a cheese board can get grating).
Now, go fill up your social calendar!
This article is taken from our 28 days of plant power email series, a collection of content to support the transition to a plant-based diet. Sign up for free here.