You came here looking for me to tell you how to convince your family to go vegan, huh? Well, I have good news… and I have bad news. The good news is, all hope is not lost – anyone can go vegan at any time! The “bad” news is, becoming a vegan has to be a personal choice that each individual makes so you can’t really talk anyone into it. I know for me at least, when I decided I wanted to be a vegan, there was no stopping me! At the same time, if someone had tried to force me to go vegan, I would’ve resisted 100%.
How to Convince Your Family to Go Vegan
Show, don’t tell. Veganism is such a personal journey for each individual, that the best way to “convince” your family or friends to go vegan is to lead by example. Don’t complain about how “difficult” it is to be vegan, or how there’s no food at this restaurant or that grocery store. Keep a positive outlook and show others how much your life has changed – for the better – since you made the transition ourself.
Cook for them. Vegan food, when done right, is absolutely delicious. Sometimes when people think of vegans, they think we’re eating kale all the time. My big ol’ ass is proof that I eat way more than kale, but some people need more convincing than others! Cook vegan meals for your carnivorous family at least one night a week. Don’t make it a big “to do” or announce that it’s vegan, just make it is damn good. I recommend starting with something like vegan mac and cheese, and adding some type of meat alternative to dress it up a bit.
Talk about your “why”. Talk to your family about your reasons for going vegan rather than thinking about how to convince them to go vegan with you. Whether it’s for the animals (yay!), your health, or both – let them know. Don’t be one of those vegans that talks about it constantly, but having an honest conversation about what made you change your entire life (because, let’s face it, veganism isn’t just a “diet”) can change some minds.
Keep it positive. Rather than talking about negativity surrounding the meat and dairy industries, talk about the positive things you love about being vegan. Whether you’ve been a vegan for a few weeks or many years, surely you have stories to tell. I love talking about saving money by going vegan on a budget, and of course the health benefits of being vegan: my chronic constipation was literally cured during the first week of switching to a plant-based diet. I had been vegetarian for 6 years prior, but giving up dairy is what fixed my digestive issues.
Meet them where they’re at. If your family or friends are asking about veganism, meet them where they’re at. Encourage them for eating a meatless meal or questioning ingredient labels. One thing I’ve noticed that drives me crazy is when vegans judge vegetarians. Or they roll their eyes at Meatless Mondays. Or they act like you have to be perfect to be a vegan. Being a vegan isn’t about being perfect, at least not to me: it’s about taking steps in the right direction, towards peace and respect for all living beings.
Watch documentaries. If your family is interested in veganism, have them watch a few of the not-so-harsh documentaries like Vegucated, What the Health, and Cowspiracy. While the Earthlings documentary may convince them to become vegan, I don’t think that it’s a documentary anyone should watch until they’re ready.
Compromise. Raising a family that is divided over anything (religion, veganism, etc) can be tough. One way I’ve found that works well with many families is to compromise: if you’re vegan, and you do most of the cooking, offer to do meals with meat 3 days a week and vegan meals 4 days a week. Alternatively, you could cook vegan meals and meal prep grilled chicken for the week so your spouse can add the meat to their dishes if they choose. There are many ways to compromise – make sure it’s fair for everyone, without compromising your values.
Always be calm, respectful, and compassionate when discussing veganism with your family and friends. The last thing you want to do is push them away!
At the end of the day, you can’t make anyone go vegan. You can’t even talk them into it, really. Veganism is a path they’re going to have to discover on their own, but you can gently nudge them in the right direction from time to time. The most important thing to remember is that you’ve gotta reserve judgment. Being a judgy, bitchy vegan and talking down to people is one of the worst things you can do! I was turned off from the mere idea of veganism for so many years because of how snotty I always noticed vegans acting. Even in vegan groups, the bickering and belittling is constant. The best thing you can do for the animals is lead by example; love yourself and you will glow! Everyone will be asking what your secret is before long.