How to Start Eating Plants, part 3 of 3

1) “I could never go vegan, I love cheese too much.” (read part 1)

2) “I could never go vegan, I work out.” (read part 2)

3) “I tried going vegan, but I got too sick. It’s not for me.”

"I tried going vegan, but I got too sick. It's not for me." This excuse is a tough one. Hidden within it are an individual's judgments, fears and possibly most significantly, emotions. This is when, as a vegan, I think it best to take a big step back, say, "that's a shame you experienced that" and move on. When someone has attached emotion to anything, no amount of science will inspire them to think otherwise. Instead, as a vegan, lead by example. Make great food and share, be active, social. Everyone wants to belong, human nature is social - even us more awkward and introverted types. Transitioning to vegan means you are possibly throwing a proverbial wrench into all social situations you are familiar with, including holidays. Thanksgiving without turkey!? Impossible! Summer grilling without steaks!? Pearl clutching! The fact is the turkey has nothing to do with what makes Thanksgiving special, nor steak to backyard summer gatherings. Those moments are about the people one is surrounded by, the food itself is secondary, at best. But we attach the idea of food to emotional times and memories: turkey=family at Thanksgiving, steak=friends in summer.

This is a short post because an individual's emotional connection to anything is their responsibility, and being curious without fear or judgement is also their responsibility. So what is a vegan to do!? We want everyone to eat plants, save the whales... If a vegan wasn't raised vegan and made the choice later, why? And, what did you think about vegans before? From personal experience, I remember a time in college when I made peppers and steak for dinner and brought left overs for lunch the next day. A vegetarian classmate was sitting next to me and I commented that peppers and steak was my favorite since I was a kid. Then I said, "I could never be vegetarian, I mean, look at this, doesn't it look delicious?" She continued eating her lunch, stopped to look at my food, then at me, "no, it doesn't." I thought for sure my peppers and steak was going to bring her back to the realm of real food. I was confused. One day we went for lunch together and she introduced me to Govinda's - a Hari Krishna restaurant (vegetarian). Their menu that day had moussaka as the main dish. I assumed it was going to be inedible, moussaka is an amazing Greek dish filled with meat! Well, to assume makes an ass out of u and me. I was astounded. It was vegetarian and I loved it. I found myself eating at Govinda's at least once a week after that. It still took time for me to deconstruct my wall of judgement about food and health. But, remembering back to those times reinforces my present patience. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink." That was over 20 years ago, and today I've evolved to a fully functioning plant eater. So when someone says they've tried going vegan but it made them sick, I don't disagree. It probably did. The mind is a powerful thing: some blush when someone they fancy speaks to them, some vomit before public speaking - whether or not they eat meat.

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