How to be an effective plant-based communicator & vegan role model (5 rules to get anti-vegans to listen)

Diana J. Smith

Look the part. If you are overweight, people may dismiss a vegan diet as healthy because excess body fat is a sign of ill health.  Many people choose unhealthy diets, like ketogenic diets because they want to lose weight and still eat fatty foods. It’s best to share the fact that you are vegan when you slim.

Slim people can discourage non-vegans to stop eating meat if vegans look disheveled, wear torn or dirty clothes, or have stained teeth. We don’t want to give the impression that vegans are poor, vegan food is expensive, or high carb diets cause tooth decay or an unsightly smile.

Act the part. If you are vegan, that means you don’t consume dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs…ever. If you cannot follow your own advice, how can you expect other people to? By giving excuses like, “There weren’t any vegan foods to eat at the wedding/work meeting/restaurant/event…,” etc., that paints the picture that eating a vegan exclusive diet is difficult and pins you as a hypocrite. Don’t be a hypocrite. People hate hypocrites.

Either eat before you go somewhere that may not have vegan options, bring food with you, or call ahead to see if the chef can make a vegan dish or side for you. Bring a banana, apple, box of raisins, granola, and fruit and nut bars wherever you go, which can satisfy a hunger craving easily and successfully. Being hungry is perfectly okay, you’re not going to die, lose muscle or harm your health if you skip a meal or eat later.

Keep fruit, nuts and seeds with you wherever you go. Just because you are hungry and there are no vegan options at a work event or gathering, doesn’t give you permission to eat animal products. You will not die or harm yourself if you miss a meal.

Be kind, courteous and respectful. Be kind, compassionate, courteous, and respectful to not just animals, and the planet, but also to other human beings. Most people haven’t been vegan since birth so remember back when you weren’t vegan; you probably didn’t know that animal milk and animal protein was harmful. How would you have felt if someone mocked you and made you feel bad for eating food everyone around you eats. We don’t want to be stereotyped as angry, condescending, know-it-all vegans.

Don’t tell people what to do. While it’s tempting to tell people not to eat animal products, no one likes being told what to do. Bossing people around usually backfires. Think back to when you were a teenager and your parents told you not to drink soda or smoke pot, it probably made you want to do those “bad things” which made you rebel, because rebels are often admired. Doing “bad” things sometimes makes people feel good.

Share stories. Instead of telling people what to eat and what not to eat, tell them why you decided to become vegan, what benefits you gained from giving up animal products. Also share stories of people you know that switched from a meat-centered diet to one solely of plants. No one can refute your experience or someone else’s.  

What convinced me to go vegan was after watching the movie, The Game Changers, and learning that animal protein is harmful, and that vegans can be muscular and strong. I share the fact that my total cholesterol went from 201 to an average of 150, my blood sugar A1c went from 10.1 to under 6, my bodyfat percentage went from 25% to 16%, and I reduced my insulin resistance, when I gave up animal products and focused on plant-based, nutrient rich whole foods.

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