I recently read a blog post by Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore. (On a side note, if you're interested in veganism and enjoy a great blog, be sure to sign up for her newsletters!) Reading this post reminded me of myself during my first couple of months as a vegan. I was slightly pushy. Okay, I was more than slightly pushy -- maybe even annoyingly pushy. I do apologize to anyone and everyone for this. I wasn't disapproving of everyone's else meal choices as much as I was frustrated and saddened with the overall food situation of America.
Again, I'm already sounding preachy. I feel like I was in on this little secret of how terrible the food really was for our bodies and upset that others didn't quite see it yet or even want to believe it. I felt like the crazy person in the room that was trying to convince others of the information that I'd read or watched. I had hoped that I wasn't coming off this way, but I do know that I was now. Since the two-month mark, I feel I've greatly improved in this arena.
Here's a few things I have learned:
1. Change can't be forced. My attitude towards food in the first couple of months was pretty harsh. I kept thinking, "Why would anyone want to slowly kill themselves with food?!" I've since learned that I can only take control of my own health and be a silent motivator. People are put off by overbearing vegans who are snappy. I now strive to be open and informative when asked. I don't try to give unwanted information since this method does not work.
2. Not everyone wants to think about where their bacon came from. Most people (even me over six months ago!) will happily eat their crispy strips of bacon, sunny-side up eggs and a tall glass of cow's milk before thinking twice about it. Even I was blocking out animal rights when I first decided to become a vegan. When you Google "vegan", undoubtedly you will find some things that are uneasy to watch or hard to read about animals being "processed" for us to consume. It's not easy, but definitely beneficial to know where your food really comes from, good or bad.
3. I am not a doctor. However, I do have a vegan doctor who is monitoring my health very closely. I've read several books, watched countless documentaries, researched lectures from the top doctors in veganism and strive to learn as much as I possibly can about the topic. I definitely didn't do that when I was consuming fast food or gorging on chocolate! My bloodwork recently proved that yes, what I am doing is making a huge difference. With a drop of 80 points in my total cholesterol, and all of my numbers well within the healthy range (some in optimal), I know I can trust Dr. Linda Carney with my health!
4. People are just curious. When you consider that only 1% of the US population is vegan, you begin to understand why people are confused and often misinformed about this lifestyle. As friends, family and coworkers saw me with more energy and less of my "extra" pounds, I was suddenly bombarded with many questions which I tried to honestly and intelligently answer.
5. Inspiration happens when the preaching stops. A funny thing happened after I got off of my high horse. People started responding positively to my change. There seemed to be less hostility towards my new lifestyle and more genuine interest. Coworkers were noticing, friends were making the switch and even my mom started to be more receptive. To date, I've inspired five people (that I know of). I'm not attacking anything anyone else does, but I am trying to support something that can be a phenomenal benefit to everyone's health!
Moral of the story: LEAD BY EXAMPLE!