Note: this post has been updated in June 2020.
Anytime you embark on a life change, it will come with some form of resistance. The most powerful form is that of your family and friends. When choosing a plant-based diet, in a meat-eating world, it can be especially difficult for family and friends to understand. We are told from an early age that we need to drink milk and eat meat to get our protein. You need these things to be healthy. At some point, you have to deal with family and friends.
Do not say anything
One way for dealing with friends and family is to simply not announce to them or anyone that you’re “on a diet”. Just simply start eating how you want to eat, and remember to bring your own when you’re not sure something will be offered that you want to eat. It’s not rude to bring your own food; it is rude to demand others change to accommodate you though. If someone does have a problem just briefly explain that you’re trying to take care of your health and this is how you’re going to do it.
The plan of not saying anything, and just doing it, is a good one because it takes the pressure off if you make choices alternative to what you planned to do. No one can judge you if they don’t know about it. Plus, it will give you time to become more committed to the change without everyone suddenly becoming a nutritionist overnight while they stuff a big fat burger with cheese down their throat.
Tell one supportive friend
While you don’t want to make a huge announcement, find someone who you know will be supportive of your choices, and even join you on the journey. If you do not have family and friends right now who can fill this role, consider finding a local Meet Up group where you can be exposed to new people who want to live a plant-based lifestyle.
A friend can help you, whether they live close or far away when you have problems or questions. If you can find someone who is a little more experienced than you, who has stuck to a diet for a while and seen success, that is even better. If you cannot find someone like this, you might want to consider hiring a plant-based diet nutrition coach.
You can find many online that will help you via Skype and phone. If you have the funds, you can even hire someone to come to your home and clean out your fridge and get you started on the right path. The point is to find some support to help you along the way when things get hard. Our minds are so hard-wired with “basic” nutrition information given to us from elementary school, TV and our parents that it can be difficult to overcome.
Finally, a terrific way of dealing with friends and family when questions come up, and if you start losing weight or eating vegan they will notice eventually and have questions is to be ready for their questions. Recommend books, websites, and other information to your friends and family that will help them understand why you are making the change in your diet that you are. Thankfully today, a whole food plant-based diet is becoming more popular which will make it that much easier for you to deal with your friends and family.
Now is the time to act for your health
Science confirms that a diet rich in whole, plant-based foods can help you live to the fullest. In fact, a growing number of physicians advocate a completely plant-based diet for many of their patients who suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Check out these great sources Plant-Based Nutrition, 2E (Idiot’s Guides),
The Forks over Knifes, a simple plan that focuses on hearty comfort foods and does not involve portion control or worrying about obtaining single nutrients like protein and calcium.
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