Many of you who shared your struggles with me inspired me to write this post, so I’m sending special thanks to those individuals.


If you are currently vegan, I’m sure there was at least one time when you were at a social gathering and someone made fun of you. Am I right?

I have a couple of friends and acquaintances who are either vegan, but it took them a long time to voice that out, or have been struggling to make the switch because of outside pressure.

So I will try to help you overcome those issues and hopefully influence you to feel comfortable when speaking out about your dietary preferences and your way of living – a vegan lifestyle.

All the advice comes from my personal experience, books, and articles that I have read, my education, and a lot of communication with fellow vegans and non-vegans.

It’s all up to you.

I wanted to put this as the last paragraph, but it should actually come first.

Everything you do, and all your decisions are entirely up to you. You decide to go vegan by yourself. Even though someone else may influence you, the last person that has a say is you.

You can watch as many documentaries, as many talks, read as many books but no one else can make the decision but yourself. You are also someone who should stand firmly behind it. If you are unsure about it, if you question it, you will easily be back to your old habits as soon as someone asks you a wrong question.

Tell me, if you decide to get rid of that nasty habit – smoking, and someone comes up to you and says – “but smoking is good for you, why did you stop?” Would you believe them? Would you go back to smoking or would you stay firmly behind your decision because you know it’s not good for you?

Being unclear and unsure about your decision will make it easier for other people to question your choice and steer you in another direction.

Non-vegan family and friends

People don’t like to face the fact that they are wrong, especially about their own choices. Some would say that your close friends and family only want the best for you but if they don’t know enough about your choice, they are unable to claim if the choice harms you or not. The solution is to try explaining why you decided on this lifestyle change. What is the reason behind it? Was it your health? Was it animal rights? Enviroment?

I’ve said this multiple times and I will say it again, you cannot choose your family but you can choose your friends. This might hurt a little but in my personal opinion, if your friends are not ready to respect your choice I wouldn’t be so confident in calling them friends.

I understand if you feel like you should please others or want to be liked (we are all humans), but remember, this should start with yourself. If you don’t like or respect your own decision, how could other people respect you?

Another very important thing to keep in mind is that mockery, judgment and inability to understand other people’s choices are called emotional immaturity. It is all coming from their own way of living and feeling attacked by your choice. Most people are well aware of what is happening behind the closed doors of animal industries, and the health and environmental effects that they cause. The truth is they are not ready to face it. Some people are just too comfortable where they’re at and they see making the change more as a hassle than something good. They will rather judge you than make changes in their lives.

My story

My mother was devasted when I broke the news of going vegan. Eastern European mothers’ love language is cooking and preparing food. And that was also the case with my mother. As I was living abroad, whenever I would come back home she would prepare my favourite dishes. But since going vegan, she was disappointed and lost because she thought she wouldn’t be able to do it anymore.

Fast forward a year, and my mother makes the most delicious vegan strudel, vegan sarma, vegan bolognese, lasagne and the tastiest baked goods. My sister also turned vegan shortly after I did.

As I said, you never know who you will inspire.

Your non-vegan partner

This is a tricky one. Or at least that’s what people think.

Eating out, date nights, gifts, experiences such as zoo visits, horse riding, dolphin watching or other animal exploitation activities all come into consideration when there is a vegan in a relationship. It seems challenging but if you truly respect and care about the person, none of those will be an issue.

Your partner is a person who should support you in your decisions, no matter their lifestyle and dietary choices. You should not feel less valuable, ashamed or not good enough if your diets and lifestyles don’t match.

If you decide to turn vegan long down the relationship lane, have a proper chat with your partner. Let them understand where you’re coming from, what it means to you and what they can do for you to make the journey easier. You are in this together.

My story

When I met my previous partner neither of us was vegan at the time. I decided to go vegan a couple of years into the relationship. Never forced him to change his diet or criticised him, but I did influence him silently. I led by example. I would cook vegan meals, I would share what I read, and what I learnt, and eventually, he realised on his own it was a better choice for him and the both of us.

Don’t preach. Stay true to yourself and lead by example.

Social events and gatherings

Social events or gatherings can sometimes even be “worse” than family or friends. There is an odd tendency for humans to be liked by strangers more than our own families or people who are close to us.

We want to present ourselves in a perfect light, with minimal flaws, but we also expect to be liked for being authentic. But tell me, if you are hiding and following the herd, how can you show your most authentic self?

People often pretend to be someone else in order to be liked. To make things clear, you cannot be liked by everyone. And the sooner you realise that, the better. Make your decision clear, stand behind it and feel good about it.

If someone doesn’t like your hair, would you immediately change it or would you realise that people have preferences? I’m not focusing on looks here, I’m talking about feeling attacked about your choice and immediately trying to change it for someone else.

Holidays

Vegan Christmas, what? Does that even exist? It certainly does. And it is one of the most challenging times of the year for vegans. Not because of food but because of non-vegan families, non-vegan Christmas dinners, and arguments over the table. My advice is to, again, educate yourself on all things vegan, stand firmly behind your choice and try to inspire someone instead of getting annoyed. If anyone starts an argument, politely refuse to engage and ask to move the discussion to after dinner or another time. Explain that holidays are supposed to be for bonding, and not arguing or questioning someone else’s dietary or lifestyle choices.

Social media

Social media is a spicy place to be. A lot of unreliable information sources, unhealed users, misinformation and hate. That is one side. The other side is education, positivity, creativity and advice.

If you are trying to introduce your vegan lifestyle to your followers, explain why you decided to make the switch. But remember, you do not have to justify yourself to people you don’t even know personally and are just a view on your story, a like or a comment. There is no need for you to share but in case you decide to do it, go for it. You never know who is watching and who you will inspire.

What can I do to feel more confident in my choice?

One of the biggest advice I can give you is to stay true to yourself.

Find your why – always keep coming back to the reason why you decided to make the switch, even if you are just trying it out.

Read, listen, educate yourself – about all things vegan. Whenever someone decides to question your choice, you will have an answer for them. You will most likely start feeling more confident as you will have more knowledge than before. You will be better informed about what’s being hidden from us (dairy farming, fish farming, animal abuse in general) and about the health issues that the consumption of animal products brings with it.

Trust in your choice – You never know who you will inspire. I wouldn’t consider myself as a preachy vegan, or as someone who will loudly say I am vegan unless there is a need for it or I’m being asked about it. Sometimes I wish I did voice it more but I feel comfortable leading by example. People will more likely feel inspired by you and will try to adopt your way of living if you are confident in your choice and know what you are doing.

Even if you absolutely don’t have a clue what you’re doing, that is also okay. I’m here to help.

I inspired many people to try a vegan diet and to go, and stay vegan. Some of them have been vegans for years now and I cannot express my happiness enough.

So this is your reminder to continue your vegan journey and be an inspiration to many. Instead of falling back to your old habits try to be the change in this world.

Resources and useful links: Peta.org, Nutritionfacts.org, Plantbasednews.org, Vegnews.com


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