Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Vegan Diet 101: Naysayers Gonna Naysay

When you're in the midst of making a huge lifestyle change, the last thing you need are friends and family making you feel uncomfortable about your choice. When I decided to begin my journey, there were naysayers from the beginning. This is why I tried to conceal my plant-based diet for as long as I could. But why?! Well, for starters, I didn't want to deal with the barrage of questions that I faced on a daily basis or the lack of support from some of the closest people I had in my life.

In my experience, almost every question or discussion I had with a naysayer stemmed from what appeared to be them trying to disprove my lifestyle. Why? My diet was not in line with theirs, and in turn, their diet must be "wrong" or "flawed". I felt that the probes into my diet were nothing more than questions that were meant to make me feel like throwing my hands into the air and saying, "I QUIT!"

I'll let you in on a little secret: in the beginning, there were many times when faced with naysayers that I really did just want to quit. When people began to make comments about my lack of animal protein, the risk of malnutrition and asking me hypothetical questions ("Okay, but what if you hit a deer with a car... Would you eat it?!"), I seriously considered just tossing in the towel. This is why I started documenting the plant-based lifestyle on The Little Red Journal.

I'm here to tell you that you don't have to listen to them. Well, maybe physically, but don't ever let that get stuck in your head, affect your progress, or cause you to go omnivore again. The results that you will see in time will be more than enough to put their concerns or bashing to rest. Knowing that I am awful at making life-changing decisions, I purposefully did not visit my hometown for four months after announcing my change (and I certainly didn't blog about it much). The amount of criticism I received early on discouraged me from visiting.

I wanted to recreate LRJ to be a place where anyone interested in learning more about a plant-based lifestyle or vegans alike could find resources, hope, and encouragement that I didn't fully receive. Sometimes it comes from strangers we've never met in real life (Shout out to Happy Herbivore, Engine 2 Diet, Dr. Colin T. Campbell, Chef AJ and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn). We all need support and even if it doesn't come from your immediate surroundings, know that they are many people out there going through the same thing and plenty of people looking to help you transition or continue improving your health.

Kelsey is a passionate vegan living in Houston, Texas, spreading the word about the benefits of eating a healthy, plant-based diet. She's also a minimalist enthusiast, a self-proclaimed financial guru of her household, and founder of The Little Red Journal.