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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been veg*n for over six months now and am pretty comfortable with it. However, each time I dine at someone else's home has been a huge clusterf***...

Clusterf*** the first: I went over to a friend's house to swim and catch up. It didn't occur to me to mention that I'd become veg*n while at university because I didn't know that her mum would be serving an elaborate lunch; I had just assumed we'd graze like usual. So all of a sudden, I was sitting at a table being offered a series of dishes which all contained meat. I got really nervous and apologised for not mentioning that I don't eat meat. While attempting to do some damage control by picking bacon bits out of a salad, the questions began.

"Why don't you eat meat?"

Still nervous, my mind imploded and I began rambling incoherently and shakily about meat's inefficiencies, aiming for what I hoped to be an uncontroversial environment-centred response. It failed miserably so I let my voice trail off and continued picking out bacon bits.

"You are taking vitamins, aren't you? And what about protein?"

I answered "No vitamins, and I get enough protein" unable to explain that vitamins and protein are both readily available in plants. I received looks that said "Oh, you poor, malnurished, misguided idiot" from my friend's parents and snide remarks from my friends.

Although I'm getting better at tactfully letting hosts that I'm veg*n, and can hold my own when explaining my choice to not eat animals to one or two people at a time, I still freeze up when put on the spot in front of a crowd.

This is where you socially capable, and practiced ambassadors for veg*nism come in: What can I do to show that I am well-informed, and to plant seeds, instead of seeming like some wishy-washy fool?
 

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When they ask me why, if I don't feel like getting into a debate I just say PTSD and that's usually the end of it


But if I do give any description, it's always the non-confrontational type. I simply say I believe it's what is best for me, and that I have no desire to judge or change anyone else, and everyone has to make their own choices. Past that, I just do my best to set an example. I find this tactic to be far more effective than getting into a debate and creating a typical us vs. them situation. It also helps to be very well versed in regards to nutrition. If you use a lot of big words they don't understand, they usually just assume you're right.
 

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Practice, practice practice!


This is the kind of situation we ALL have to deal with, and pretty much everyone has those awkward times at first where you stumble on your words and don't know what to say, so don't worry you're not alone.

You've already learned that it's good to mention you don't eat meat when going to social gatherings, lol. You don't have to make a big deal of it or anything, just say it super casual and if you don't feel like going into a giant explanation just smile and change the subject. The same rule applies if someone just puts meat in front of you, politely decline and remember you don't HAVE to defend yourself and answer a bunch of questions if you don't want to.

I've found that the more relaxed you are the more relaxed other people will be, if you seem nervous or troubled when you talk about being veg*n people pick up on that and it leaves a bad impression and makes them more likely to attack you, even if the REASON you seem troubled is because of them and their reactions.


So try to make eye contact and smile as much as possible, it gets easier the more you do it. If you seem like you're enjoying yourself and you aren't bothered about the food people will usually follow along. Remember, social gatherings are about having fun and hanging out with your friends! Keep the focus on having a good time, not on you and your beliefs.

And if you do get into a situation where you want to answer questions or debate people it helps to research a bunch first and have some basic answers memorized. Being able to list off the top of your head good plant based sources of protein, iron, calcium, etc. is definitely useful in these situations, so are basic facts about factory farming and animal cruelty.

Knowledge really IS power, especially since a lot of people who will criticize your diet actually have very little education about nutrition themselves. If you actually know what you're talking about and can easily explain how you stay healthy and why you don't need to kill animals people are usually flabbergasted and don't know what to say back.

Example: If someone ever tells you that there are vital nutrients in meat you can't find anywhere else ask them exactly what those vital nutrients are. Then enjoy watching their face change colours!
 

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I get pretty fed up with it as well. If you are going over to a friends place, bring some food that you can eat, especially when going to a potluck dinner or lunch. If they start attacking you about your choices don't let it get to you. If I get verbally attacked over being a Vegan, I tell them I'm not trying to turn them into one so what's the problem. I respect your decision to be an omni, so respect my choice to be Vegan. You are not alone in your frustration with omnis, we've all had to deal with them, and while it can be very frustrating, don't let them get the better of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the help. Eye contact and an insane amount of nutritional information at the ready will be put into practice
 

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You just have to be confident and well informed. Maybe pick up a book like "Becoming Vegan", which has tons of information about vegan nutrition. Also, try not to be rude or snarky. I know it's really hard when you're being bombarded with judgmental, ignorant questions, but it is a must when dealing with family and friends.
 
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