If you’re passionate about eating a whole-food, plant-based diet because it’s excellent for your health and your waistline, you’d likely want to encourage your friends and family to jump on board and join you on the plant-based journey, as well.
It makes sense to want to help those you love. You’d like them to have the same improved energy, health, and overall wellness that you do. Or, you want to make a difference in the world and know that going plant-based is environmentally sustainable and animal-friendly, too. There are many things to love about a plant-based lifestyle.
It’s worth reaching out to them and sharing your vegan plant-based passion. Just imagine the sense of community you’ll feel when you share meat and dairy-free meals with your loved ones.
Unfortunately, dietary differences can sometimes cause friction. We’ve all heard those snarky remarks about the “birdseed” or “rabbit food” we eat. But take hope — the odds are good that your home and social life will be more relaxed when you’re all on the same “plate.”
To reduce stress and feel good that you’re sharing the vegan plant-based lifestyle, discover 11 suggestions for gently but effectively coaxing your family, friends, and even co-workers into trying a whole food plant-based diet filled with delicious flavors and an abundance of nutrition.
Tips for Sharing Your Vegan Plant-Based Lifestyle
1. Lead by Example
You’re more powerful than you think! When your friends and family see how well you’re doing on a plant-based diet, they’ll take notice because they want the same health and wellness for themselves. Positive changes influence others more than you might expect, or at the very least, your experience will make them more receptive and curious.
2. Stay Cool
Always remember to stay calm. If you get tense or upset, it’s unlikely anyone will receive your message. If triggered emotionally, take a deep breath or switch the topic.
Your relationships matter; as wonderful as a vegan plant-based diet is, we don’t want to compromise our connection with those who matter most. Nothing good will come from the interaction once it gets heated. It’s best not to discuss diet while you’re eating — people have a right to enjoy their food in peace, and the last thing they want is to hear a lecture!
3. Listen Well
Be aware that simply telling someone you don’t eat meat or dairy can create a cascade of feelings in the other person, even making them feel defensive about how they eat. It’s important to pay attention to how others are reacting to you. Keep in mind that timing is everything. Ensure that the other person is available and has at least some receptivity.
You can always plant a thought and pick up the thread at another more opportune moment. Use your intuition, and my advice would be to err on the side of harmony.
4. Be Prepared
Do your homework and think through what you want to say. Have some quick facts and “talking points” to overcome the objections that others will inevitably make as you advocate a vegan plant-based diet. Being ready with answers backed by solid research will help you feel more confident.
People unfamiliar with a whole-food, plant-based diet may have some misunderstandings, some of which are common. Follow the links below for more information on these topics:
- “You can’t possibly be getting enough protein.”
- “You’re missing important nutrients, aren’t you?”
- “I heard soy was bad for you.”
- “Aren’t you hungry all the time?”
If you’re the kind of person who likes to write things down, you can even put your talking points on index cards and use them to practice. Ask yourself questions your friends might ask and practice the answers out loud. Doing this will form a strong memory for the material.
5. Keep It Positive
Choose uplifting words and focus on the many documented benefits of plant foods, such as having more energy, losing weight, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing or even reversing chronic illness, rather than the dangers of eating meat and dairy. Tru not to bring up the negative aspects of someone’s diet unless they’re interested.
Having fun and laughing is contagious.
6. Show Interest
Most people love it when you show interest in them! A great way to do that is by asking questions, which will give you important information on what’s holding them back from considering this lifestyle change.
Check-in questions: Are you worried that a plant-based diet will –
- Affect the people around you?
- Be too hard?
- Deprive you of the proper nutrition or enough protein?
If you know what has them stuck, you’ll be able to respond knowledgeably while politely overcoming their objections one by one.
7. Share Vegan Plant-Based Success Stories
Many people have successfully improved their health and overall well-being on a vegan plant-based diet. Weight loss is very common. Many people reduce symptoms or outright eliminate chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, acne, and depression. You’ll find lots of these inspiring personal tales at Forks Over Knives.
8. Good and Good For You
While it’s important to describe the health benefits of a whole-food vegan plant-based diet, people are naturally curious about how the food tastes. They’ll be wondering whether plant-based recipes will be hard to make or if they’ll be tasty. After all, if it’s not delicious, it’ll be hard to get anyone to stick with it.
Let people know how pleasantly surprised you were that fresh, healthy, vegan, plant-based food could be so satisfying. If you describe a delicious cashew mac and cheese, a tasty veggie lasagna, or a burrito loaded with crisp veggies, they’ll start imagining how that dish might be enjoyable.
Better yet, compile a list of your favorite plant-based recipes to share, easy ones preferably, and include some beautiful food photos. There’s nothing like the sight of food, and we really do eat with our eyes first.
9. Share Books
Some people are readers for whom a good book can have a more significant impact than anything you say about a vegan plant-based diet. A list of your favorite easy-to-read vegan plant-based books can be a great resource. I have a book list on my Complete Resources page that you can reference, but you may already have some you know and love. It’s great if a book has recipes to help someone get going immediately.
You can also loan books out or give them as gifts. I’ve gifted plant-based books to my friends for special occasions, and those books have always been appreciated. My cookbook, The Everything Plant-Based Meal Prep Cookbook, might be a good choice. 😉
10. Invite Them for a Home-Cooked Meal
Most people love a home-cooked meal, and serving your friends or family a vegan plant-based meal that looks and tastes delicious is a surefire way to seal the deal. Your best bet is to create dishes familiar to them, dishes such as vegan burgers, pizza, pasta, soups, and salads, for example. See my article “Meatless Makeovers and Dairy-Free Delights” for help with these easy conversions.
11. Watch Documentaries Together
Make a fun evening of it! After you’ve served a delicious plant-based meal with friends or family, watch an insightful plant-based documentary with them. There are many good films, including The Game Changers, which is quite inspirational!! You can view it on Netflix.
However, I recommend staying away from films that focus on animal cruelty. While it’s an important topic worthy of attention and consideration, it could be too intense for a beginner just starting to look for a healthier diet.
May the Vegan Plant-Based Force Be with You
Don’t be shy about sharing your enthusiasm for vegan plant-based living. I hope you’ll try out some of these suggestions and that they work for you. Remember, you’re sharing your plant-based lifestyle because you care about other people and want the best for them.
I’d love to hear how it goes, so please be in touch. Your feedback can help us spread the word about the benefits and the joys of a whole food vegan, plant-based diet.
Good luck, and have fun!