Oct. 30, 2011
Related to yesterdays post, Plant-Based Meals for Meat Eaters, I wanted to address another common question: How to get your partner, or parent, or child -- or best friend, on board with a plant-based (vegan) diet.
In my experiences, I've had 0 converts when I pushed or tried preach to someone why they should adopt a plant-based (vegan) diet.
I'm of the persuasion you can lead the horse to water but you cannot make him drink.
So how, then, do you get them involved and inspired to make a change?
1. lead by example
2. spark a curiosity
3. answer questions and educate
4. feed them really good food
Back when I first changed my diet, I brought muffins into work and no one would try them because the 'office vegan' had made them... I remember trying to hand one off and someone said "sorry no, I'm not adventurous enough." The next week I brought in a banana bread (the one from the happy herbivore cookbook) and left it in the common area.
By lunch, the bread was gone and I sent out an office-wide email sharing the recipe. No one could believe that they'd eaten (and liked!) vegan food---and something that was also fat-free and healthy. Everyone's attitude changed that day and anytime I brought something in, everyone happily tried it.
I also sparked a curiosity.My coworkers started asking me questions, started scoping out what I was eating. This gave me the opportunity to kindly inform them why I did what I did (and they always found it interesting and convincing) and help create a positive image about this lifestyle.
By the time I left that job, one girl had committed to eating vegetarian until dinner and many of my other coworkers were regularly eating vegan and vegetarian meals on their own -- taking my recipes home to their families and asking me to bring more food in to the office. Such a change from refusing the muffins!
Know this: If you've having a great time, are happy and really enjoying what you are doing (eating), chances are it will spark a curiosity -- and once that seed is planted, you can nurture it.
I was talking to a friend recently who is now vegetarian (eating mostly vegan) and she said that seeing me, and some other friends, going nuts over our meals at restaurants, that she started asking for a bite to see what the fuss was all about, and she discovered, hey the food is pretty good! and then she'd ask us questions about what we ate and how we lived and why we did what we did, which we'd always answer... and the information motivated her even more... all of those experience together, eventually motivated her to make a change.
Remember: It's a marathon.... slow and steady.
Lead by example. Educate (but don't preach) and Feed them.
For the love of muffins, feed them. and every time they try something, thank them.
Another good tip: (This was left in the comments yesterday) -- offer up bite-size samples, that way they are only committing to a bite and most people will try one bite of anything if you offer it with a smile!
The first step in sparking change happens with one tasty bite!