As my knowledge of veganism expands, I want to share all the new information that I find with my family and friends. I've found that that can be difficult at times depending on who I'm talking to; some people just aren't ready to face what their food really is and what it's doing to their bodies. I've found some ways to share without being pushy, though, and it's strengthened a couple of my relationships.
My mother has always been a big advocate of eating tons of fruit and vegetables and getting exercise, but she was skeptical when I told her that I was giving up milk and eggs from my vegetarian diet. She was worried that I would become a fanatic or that I was being brainwashed by other fanatics. Just six months ago, we couldn't talk about the ethical reasons why I was choosing veganism, and she was afraid that I was going to make myself ill. Gradually she began to listen to what I had to say. She understands that I've done tons of reading and has started coming to me for health advice after seeing the huge improvements in my own health. I've been able to point her to resources written by doctors who advocate a strict vegetarian diet. The biggest news of all is that lately she has started to really listen openly to the idea of not consuming animal products and has gone out looking for books by those doctors. She drinks soy milk and is actively looking for tofu recipes. It's definitely a start.
One of my best friends from my childhood thought that our friendship and our road trip in September were going to be a bust because I'd adopted a strict vegetarian diet and had started making changes in my lifestyle toward veganism. Now we bond over discussions about nutrition, health, and animal rights (even though she rarely agrees with me on the last one) all of the time. She listens to my reasons for not consuming animal products and goes out of her way to help me find food that I can eat when we go out.
I think my most powerful tool for sharing has been through my friends' and family's stomachs. They constantly tell me how astonished they are at how wonderful vegan food can be. It also lets them see that it's really not that hard to live as a vegan and enjoy food.
Ideally, I would be most happy if everyone I knew and cared about understood and shared my line of thinking and way of living. I understand that that just isn't going to happen, so I rejoice in the little changes I see around me and continue to try to lead by example.
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