Time for a little tough love here.
In my last post, I talked about how important it was to be aware of the media and magazines you let into your life.
Today, I’m talking about the people you let into your life.
Your friends need to be supportive of you. Of you in general, AND your choice to be vegan.
Otherwise, they are not your friends.
Notice, I did not say your friends needed to be vegetarian or vegan. It would be fantastic if they were, but, being realistic, most of them probably are not.
But they do need to be respectful of your decision to be vegan.
I know I am tremendously fortunate that my partner/best friend is vegan!
And I am lucky to have a few good vegan friends. And I am blessed that I meet many more vegans, vegetarians, and veg-curious through the VegCharlotte meetup group that I run!
But I am also fortunate in that I have a number of omnivore friends that are very supportive of me.
Just a few of many examples:
- Vicky, one of my BFFs. She has severe gluten intolerance and perhaps that’s made her more sensitive to my food restrictions. Whatever, if we meet in a restaurant she always makes sure there is veggie food for me, and if we have dinner at her house she always calls to double-check the menu with me.
- Martin, who also happens to be a hunter. 😦 . He’s quite a chef and several years ago we both went Thanksgiving food shopping together! He was one of the first people to “like” my VegCharlotte Facebook page, often comments on posts, and sends me pictures of his quite impressive vegetable garden.
- Heather, one of my friends from elementary school. We don’t see each other too much anymore aside from Facebook posts, but she did show up to hang out with me at Charlotte’s very first VegFest.
- John, who also showed up at VegFest and comes to our vegan potlucks.
- Michael, an omnivore gourmand. Whenever we’ve hung out with him, he’s made sure the restaurant has had veggie choices for us, and once or twice has told me he’s eaten a veggie meal “in my honor.” When I was involved in an argument on a vegetarian’s restaurant’s FB page about why they served non-friendly vegan wines and beers, he totally backed me up with lots of stats on the vegan beer thing.
- Jenna, Erica, Crystal … we went on a road trip to Tybee Island together, and wherever we ate they were ALL checking that there was something veggie I could eat!
Take a look at your inner circle …
Are your friends supportive?
Do they treat your choice to be vegan with respect?
Recently, one of my friends (who is pre-diabetic) decided to go vegan. She asked my advice, and I gave her my usual … Educate yourself; check out these web resources; here’s a list of books and movies you need to check out.
She seemed appreciative … but then posted her intent to go vegan on Facebook.
And her friends went wild.
“Veganism is TOO HARD!” (From people who have never tried veganism.)
“Forget veganism … eat organic chicken, eggs, and milk! That’s BETTER for you! Soy is EVIL … it has all those HORMONES and GMOs!”
“I read a WHOLE BOOK on nutrition!”
“It’s just TOO HARD!”
Does that sound like your friends?
There are a number of reasons why your friends may not be supportive…
- Your veganism makes them feel threatened. I’m not going into the reasons why; others have already written reams on that. But still. Most people … women especially … do occasionally feel threatened or jealous of their friends … especially when their friend gets married, has a baby, lands a spectacular job, becomes super-fit. Be honest … you’ve probably felt threatened a time or two by your girlfriends. But what did you do? I’m guessing, you didn’t tell them to get a divorce or quit their job or dump their baby at the orphanage. You probably did everything you could to prevent showing you felt threatened and instead tried to act … and feel … HAPPY for them. And eventually … you got over it, because you loved them. Right? And if they are indeed your friend, they should do the same for you.
- Your friends don’t know much about veganism. Remember, there is a lot of faulty information out there and insidious advertising – even in women’s health and fitness magazines. They may have read ONE WHOLE BOOK on nutrition, but chances are all your vegan friends have read MANY books – and if you’re educating yourself, you’re reading a lot of books, too. Your job is to educate THEM. If not on the benefits of veganism, then at least educate them that you are smart enough to make your own food and nutritional choices. Your friends ought to give you that much credit.
- Your friends have a low opinion of you. “It’s TOO HARD!” We know veganism is not impossible because so very many people today are vegan. Sure, it presents challenges at times – especially when eating out – but it is 100% doable. If someone tells you not to become vegan because “IT’S TOO HARD!” that just means they don’t think YOU can do it. Do you NEED friends like that?
In summary, if someone is your friend …they WILL support you in this.
If you are passionate about this as many vegans are, your true friends will support you, even if they, themselves, don’t quite understand your passion. You don’t always agree with your friends, but you do support what they are passionate about, right? And if you are doing this for health reasons … your true friends will support that, too. Right?
What it all comes down to … It is YOUR choice what you decide to put in YOUR mouth and YOUR body. If your friends ain’t down with that … THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.