What’s harder than becoming vegan and giving up good ole’ meat? Dealing with the herds of non-vegans who just absolutely need to give me their opinion on why being vegan is not the way.
Coming out of the “vegan closet” can be rough. Well, it can be more annoying, really. On one hand, you want to tell everyone you meet that you’re a vegan because you’re super proud of that accomplishment. On the other hand, you just know that there’s going to be some backlash coming your way. Here’s what happened when I announced that I’m vegan.
Friends and Family
Most likely, the first people to learn that you’re a new vegan are your close friends and family. We all hope that they’d be happy for you and congratulate you because you’re doing something amazing for yourself, animals, and the planet. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Well, at least not in my family.
See, my family’s diet has always revolved around meat. Meat is at the center of every event. As Pacific Islanders, it’s just part of the culture. At every fiesta, we had the roasted pig, fried chicken, grilled fish, and so forth. A plate of food just simply could not be served without some form of meat (my mom would get mad at me if I got a plate of rice but no meat...the plate looked empty to her). So, when I told my family about becoming vegan, I had less than favorable results. Some laughed. Some told me that it was just a fad and I’d grow out of it soon enough. Some even argued with me, giving me all their reasons why a vegan diet just didn’t make sense. Only a few actually supported me. Then there are my friends, my “bros”. My friends all gave me their longest lectures filled with “bro science”, telling me that there’s no way I can have any gains in the gym as a vegan and that I need more protein. Ridiculous.
So have you ever seen those memes that claim vegans just have to tell everyone and anyone that their vegan? Well, it’s true. While standing in line at the grocery store on a few occasions, I’ve fed into the urge to tell people about my new lifestyle. A few of those times I’ve gotten into lengthy discussions about the vegan diet and why they believed it’s not healthy. However, most people just didn’t really care. They’d acknowledge me of course and tell me “congrats” or “oh, that’s nice”, but most just didn’t really have an opinion on it. They simply proceeded to living their life, waiting to checkout their groceries so they can go home. This brought me to a very important realization that really helped me own my new lifestyle and stop worrying about others’ opinions. Do you know what happens when someone has an opinion about you? Do you know what occurs when someone talks negatively about you behind your back? What happens when someone has a different opinion than yours? NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. The world doesn’t stop, the sky doesn’t fall, a rain cloud doesn’t form over your head…nothing actually happens. When you really realize this, as a vegan (or just in your everyday life), you stop caring so much about what people think about you or what opinions they have. You start to just enjoy living the way you want to live, as a happy and healthy vegan who doesn’t hurt animals or others.
Feel safe knowing you have all the answers!
So that’s it. The real key to coming out the vegan closet is to just own it and do it, because it makes you happy. But for those of you who might be hoping for a little help and support along the way, you’re in luck! If you’re ever looking for a sense of community and belonging, look no further than your phone, specifically Instagram. Instagram has a HUGE community of vegans who are happy to chat, support you, give you advice and great recipes, and so much more. How do you find them? Easy. Simply search the hashtag #vegansofinstagram or #vegan and you’ll find a ton of other vegans from all over the world sharing stories about their vegan lifestyle. From there, it’s all up to you. You can follow them, send them a message, comment on and like a few of their posts, etc. I know social media has a bad wrap about some things, but it’s been an amazing way for me to find the support and community I need.
Be vegan. Be proud.