Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
Veganism is becoming more and more common every day. There are various reasons for people to become vegan. Many vegans see it as their responsibility to persuade non-vegans into their lifestyle.
Some vegans tend to approach non-vegans rather aggressively by telling them they are murderers for eating animal products. Unfortunately, vegans’ attacking approach of trying to convince others to change their eating behaviours can backfire. People following vegans on social media that post pictures and talk about how terrible you are for eating meat, stop interacting with the vegan before they even think of listening to their message.
Additionally, non-vegans’ opinions towards vegans are rather negative. This can make other vegans feel uncomfortable talking about being vegan. A negative view towards veganism makes non-vegans question vegans who then have to explain themselves.
Here are six steps to keep in mind when trying to persuade non-vegans.
1. Be understanding
Before you start talking about how much you love the vegan lifestyle and that everyone should live vegan, remember that it is hard for people to give up the eating behaviours they’ve had all their life. Most of grow up eating meat and being told that it is healthy. It is hard for people to believe and understand that we don’t need animal products to have a balanced diet and survive.
Things that happen in our first four years as a child are the things that stay with us as adults. These are the things that shape us. That’s why it’s hard for people to change how they eat. It’s like changing our religion, values and beliefs.
So, when talking to someone who isn’t a vegan, keep in mind that it is hard for people to adjust and change so abruptly.
2. Explain rather than complain
When I see posts from vegan accounts and pages the messages are often telling non-vegans how bad they are for eating animal products. Because of that people ignore the bigger message that’s behind the image.
A better way of approaching people to become vegan is by explaining not only why veganism is good but also how it can be done properly. Many people have concerns about a vegan lifestyle because they have a lack of information. Explanations about the vegan lifestyle can help more than aggressive messages.
3. Be helpful
Besides explaining to people why you are vegan in an understanding way you can give them tips on how to be vegan. Often people don’t know how to be vegan and where to get their proteins from.
There is the misconception that vegans only eat salad. This is simply not true. But how should non-vegans know that if they never see or hear what it means to be vegan?
In accordance with being helpful: Pick up Limes, Rainbow Plant Life and Avant Garde Vegan are three of my favourite vegan food YouTubers. All their recipes are 100% vegan, diverse and can be as easy or difficult as you want them to be. Even when you’re not vegan you will find a recipe that will make your day.
4. Be patient
As mentioned before, it is hard for people to change the food they have been eating since they were a child. Often people are vegetarian before they become vegan or give up dairy before they give up eggs.
Vegan messages are often saying that having a meat-free Monday or being vegetarian is just as bad as eating animal products every day. This gives the impression that small efforts are not being appreciated.
Instead, the vegan community can give people the time they need to get used to different foods by slowly starting new habits. After meat-free Monday they might follow a meat-free Tuesday, Wednesday etc.
It is hard to become vegan overnight. Be patient and give people the time they need to adjust. Encouraging efforts even when they are small makes it easier for people to keep trying and tells them that they are on the right path.
5. Don’t judge
If someone is vegan, be kind to them. I once made an egg sandwich for my kids and posted me flipping the egg on Instagram. The first comment I got was from a vegan saying “So, you’re not vegan”. Comments like this take the fun out of being vegan.
Veganism varies for different people. Some only eat vegan, others eat wholefood vegan while others follow a vegan lifestyle. This includes not buying products that were tested on animals, not wearing leather and so on.
People following a proper vegan lifestyle shouldn’t judge people who only eat vegan. Maybe someone has only started their vegan journey and isn’t as informed yet. Knowing what product on the market is vegan and how to get those requires a lot of time and research.
6. Be an example
Human beings want to be like the people they admire. At the moment, these people are not vegan. The vegan community has a reputation of being angry and aggressive as well as thinking that they are better. Obviously, this is not true for every vegan. Unfortunately though, these are the adjectives that come to one’s mind when thinking of vegans.
Vegans should show that veganism is good. You can explain and give tips as much as you want but this has to be followed by a good example. Show people all the benefits of being vegan. Show them that you are still strong, that you can still exercise and still get all your protein.
Being a good example and demonstrating all the benefits without showing off is the best advertisement for veganism.
Veganism is not about trying to make people who eat animal products feel bad. It is about doing something good for yourself and the environment.
We don’t like people knocking on our door and trying to persuade us of their religion. It is the same with veganism.
It is okay to talk to non-vegans about veganism and bring it closer to them. It is not okay to insult people because of their food behaviours.
Are you vegan? If so, how do you talk about it with non-vegans?
Let us know in the comments.