There is nothing worse than angry vegans. We’ve all heard of them. The high of their horse, holier than you, “my shit smells like roses due to my milk coming from an almond” type of vegan. These vegans earned plant-based eating a lousy name that many refuse to identify their own as vegans. The term is often considered rigid or restrictive, or even a buzzword. I’ve been vegan for the last five years, and I believe I may have discovered some beneficial ways to eat a plant-based diet and not be ostracized by your loved ones and friends.
I tell this story frequently, and I always pre-game (eat beforehand) everything. If we’re not going to a vegan place or an establishment where I’m aware of vegan alternatives, I’m eating ahead of time or carrying a snack. Putting the responsibility on yourself rather than your group of friends will make both of them feel better. This applies to tours (I carry a bar) as well as Christmas (BYO-Vegan cheese ball) or having a get-together with friends at an eatery (stash snacks in your bag and eat some small food before heading out).
Do not force the idea on anybody
I’m sure that you’re passionate about animals and the earth. I am too. However, imposing that enthusiasm on others and obsessing about it isn’t the most attractive appearance. If you know someone interested in more about veganism, let them know! It’s not too late to provide them with some information and options for introductions that aren’t overly experimental or snarky. If you’re passionate about something and believe that it’s an alternative to eating isn’t a guarantee that everyone will be able to agree with you. Suppose someone is acting rude and threatening you or asking questions about the truth that veganism is a good thing. In that case, it’s beneficial to have some information regarding the environmental impacts of the standard American diet. This diet is now widespread in many countries, instead of an organic one, to rebuke those based on research and not emotion. It’s a good rule of thumb that if someone doesn’t want to discuss it, then leave it.
Be honest when you’re wrong
Information is emerging every day, and we’ve discovered that vegan does not necessarily mean free of cruelty. It’s okay to acknowledge that you won’t have all the facts; however, based on our information, this is an informed choice you’ve made for yourself.
Recognize your right
There are many methods to eat a low-cost vegan diet that is low-cost and affordable (bananas Oats, rice, and beans are all cheap staples -Tons of YouTube videos and the best ways to eat low-cost vegan). It’s an honor to have the resources and ability to eat an all-plant diet. Many people cannot afford to follow an all-plant diet. Be aware that the decision you make to follow this diet comes from the perspective of privilege, and not every person is capable of making the same choices.
Find the accidentally vegan
Whether it’s a Japanese restaurant or a bag of Oreo cookies, there are a variety of vegan food options. These are excellent starter foods or restaurants to enjoy with family and friends. These vegan-friendly foods are much more common and loved by everyone, so it’s an all-win.
In the Philippines, we have some accidentally vegan filipino food.
Reinvent your favorites
This is particularly important during the time of Christmas, don’t be afraid to “veganize” some of your favorite foods that are traditionally not vegan. I’ve completely revamped my favorite staples (sauces, bread, and meat substitutes) and also found simple substitutes or modifications to some of my favorite dishes (replacing butter with oil or vegan butter, using flax as eggs, cheese substitutes that are dairy-free dairy with plant-based milk, etc.). Recently I’ve been looking through some recipes and substituting pork with Omni pork strips. Plant-based eating doesn’t mean that you must abandon your traditional food habits. You can reinvent them to fit your personal preferences.
There are many plant-based options in the Philippines nowadays that you might want to check.
Let your family and friends into
The fact that you have jumped into cold turkey doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in it. If they are interested in one of the foods you consume (“Oh it smells great” “what is that?”) Try giving them a small tasting! It’s something I’ve done with roommates as well as my family because I’m a proud chef and cook, but frequently it will alter their view about what vegan cuisine actually is and tastes like. Vegan junk food is the most accessible gateway drug but don’t be shy about trying the lentil bolognese recipe or a well-seasoned scramble of tofu. When they realize that vegan food isn’t just grass or cardboard with no flavor and weeds, they’ll be more likely to go to a vegan eatery or restaurant. You can be their guide to veganism.
No one is perfect
Support them if you know someone who wants to try eating plant-based but isn’t committed to it fully. Vegans are too wrapped in this notion of being perfect and having all their activities being vegan, and if they can live up to their ideals, they’re afraid of trying it out. Whatever people want to do, be it meatless Monday, a single vegetarian meal per week, or cutting the red meat from their diet, is fantastic! It’s not an all-or-nothing thing to be celebrated. Any steps that people take towards an increasingly plant-based way of eating.
Learn to dine out like a pro
I am a Filipino and meat is always a thing here in the Philippines. It’s the same for restaurants as well. I’ve learned the art of preparing a vegan meal at the steakhouse, but you too can. I’d recommend taking your less adventurous friends and family members out to restaurants that aren’t vegan to let them enjoy their usual meals and you (with your well-developed self-confidence) can make adjustments that will make you feel happy too. Alternatives to the traditional eateries include:
- Asian: veggie sushi rolls, veggie or tofu curry
- Italian: pasta with marinara sauce basil, arrabiata, and pesto (no cheese, ensure whether the pasta is free of eggs)
- Steakhouse: tons of side dishes Mix and match lots of vegan grains, sides, or maybe baked potatoes
- Mexican: dishes made of vegetables (no cheese or sour cream)
- American fast food: Veggie Burger (check for eggs and cheese) fries (check on the type of oil they are using)
- If the restaurant doesn’t have any options, talk with your waiter I’ve had amazing vegetable dishes that were cooked at the moment.
You might want to check out some vegan restaurants in the Philippines.
If you’re a brand new vegan or a veteran, or just curious about the plant world I hope this information can help you understand how the diet and lifestyle of a vegan can be addressed. Moving away towards a more balanced lifestyle fit into my life has made me so much happier, and the social events concerning food are delightful. I hope that it can do the same for you.
You might want to buy the book How to be vegan and keep your friends.