Friday, January 6, 2012

How Do You Deal With This Stuff?

The old image above - so dear to my heart! (Photo © Joanna Wilson)
First of all, check out the new and improved design for the blog! From all of the beautiful transitioning I'm experiencing this month, I am really starting to live by the notion that change is good. Really, really, really good. I hope you like it! 

Alrighty - below is an interaction I had with a KMIV supporter, friend, and fellow blogger, Britt Losacco of Gluten-Free in the City. I want to share it on here because I've answered this question (or a versions of this question) many times before, but each time, it reminds me how important all of these words bear repeating. 

Enjoy! 

Britt wrote:

I just wanted to share that my plant-based x-mas dinner was a massive success. Everyone loved every bit of it and felt full and completely satisfied. They couldn't stop raving!

I also wanted to ask your advice, though...or maybe I just need to vent.... (Forewarning: this got long.)

I got into a conversation with my dad and brother on the day we left and it got into protein combining. I KNOW that you can get more than enough protein on a vegan diet...I just didn't have enough knowledge handy to argue the protein combining thing effectively at that point in time. A little research after the conversation told me that, as I thought, if you're eating a varied, whole-foods, plant-based diet, you're going to get enough protein and that complementary proteins don't need to be eaten at the same time (or even in the same day) to be synthesized properly. Not to mention how over-hyped our need for protein is, and that, with the rate at which my hair and nails have been growing since going plant-based, I'm clearly getting enough of the stuff!

My dad also said that he saw an episode of The Dr. Oz Show where Dr. Oz was sort of skeptical about veganism and had people on who were arguing whether it was good or not. It struck me as odd because he's always promoted veganism positively and has asked people to eat that way to reverse major health conditions. Now, the only episode on eating vegan I can find (aside from Rocco the cowboy -an obvious major success) is the episode he did with the guys from Forks Over Knives where he's saying repeatedly through the entire show that eating vegan can "save your life."

I'm extraordinarily frustrated. My instinct is to turn around and send an e-mail with links to everything I found and say "See?!" I know that's not the right thing to do, though, and it will ultimately be counterproductive. I don't want to beat my family over the head with this stuff and scare them away from it altogether. I know the best way to make them curious and help them learn is to show them how amazing this way of living is by being a positive example. My dad feels terrible and is eating 1-lb burgers and massive t-bone steaks... and I feel better than I have in my life.

It's just hard. I know I'm fighting against a regional culture where the main food groups are beef, cheese, & beer, where people drink "pop" with every meal, and think nothing of cruising through a drive-thru multiple times a day... and I also know that, even feeling somewhere inside like I've been a closet vegan my whole life and not wanting to admit it, it took me a couple years and starts and stops and trials before really owning that this is what makes me feel best. If it was hard for me, I can only imagine how impossible (and even wrong) that way of life would seem to them.

So, I guess my question, if there's a question in any of this, is how have you dealt with this stuff? How do you resist the temptation to INFORM EVERYONE!!!! because you know how good and right it feels, and the way it impacts one's health is just so amazing--reverse/prevent cancer and heart disease! (Maybe talking through it with someone who understands is enough? I already feel better after writing this....) And the animal rights/enivronmental/political aspects of everything haven't even been touched on with my family...so there's that can of worms as well. How do you let people know how incredible this is without scaring them away? Without arguing when you know that what you're saying is right?

I wrote back:

I totally hear you girl. When I first officially went vegan three years ago, I wanted to shout it to the hilltops! I was so excited by the discoveries I had made and so humbled by all of the information I'd learned about the horrors of what we do to animals that I felt every person needed to know what I had learned. And in the process of learning how to live vegan completely, I lost a few fans, ruffled some family feathers, and alienated my husband a bit. All par for the course, though. Because even though things started a bit rocky, many of those fans came back and told me that they're vegan now, nearly all of my family is vegan or vegetarian, and my hubby is vegan as well. So, with time and practice, living vegan has been a shining example to others of a life well lived.

In terms of your journey, here's what I think - the first thing I'd suggest you purchase is a beautiful book by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau called the Vegan's Daily Companion. It touches on so many points you made here in your email and gives beautiful suggestions of how to live in a world where others are often offended or just plain shut down by witnessing your compassionate, healthy choices.

The second thing I think you should do is visit a great website - www.pcrm.org - which stands for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. There you'll find everything you need about the benefits of a plant-based diet, and all sourced by doctors. 

Finally, I'm almost finished a phenomenal book that answers nearly every question about healthy plant-based living, and I highly recommend it - Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. From reading CSD, I learned that if I'm eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet, I don't need to worry about protein combining or even how much protein I'm getting. Cool stuff!

If finances allow, a great gift to send the naysayers in your family would be the DVD of Forks Over Knives - you could wrap it in pretty paper with a card that says how much this documentary moved you and just keep the message as positive as possible.

Oftentimes, the people who ask you the questions and get defensive are those who are deep down the most curious. Again, Colleen's book is a lifesaver for learning how to handle them. 

At the very least (especially in finances are tight), do as much internet research as you can. Education is power, and by informing yourself of every answer you can think of, you won't be left stumped when someone asks you about living vegan. A lot of times, the questions are very similar - how do you get your protein? what about calcium? aren't we supposed to eat animals? if we stopped eating animals, what would we do with all of them? etc, etc, etc... 

For me, the longer I've been doing this, the more it has become my faith. I live my life by three pillars: love, kindness, and compassion. Since going vegan is all about compassion (towards ourselves and our fellow beings), it should definitely extend to the human beings in our lives. So patience, openness, and a positive outlook are key.

Just know that your light - your positive, vegan lifestyle burning bright for all to see - will be enough to create positive change in others. Just keep living in the way that pleases you, keep informing yourself of new information, find as many ways to celebrate living vegan as possible, and if you need to, use your beautiful blog as an outlet for all of this, if you haven't already. You already have a captive audience who love your journey. Keep educating them as you go, and you'll be happily surprised by how many will support your changes and growth.

And most importantly, connect with other vegans if you haven't already! You're in NYC, yes? If so, there is an amazing group of activists you should look into meeting - Farm Sanctuary's Activist Team. Just go to their website and look up info about it. They have monthly meetings, parties, volunteer sessions, all kinds of wonderful stuff. Meetup.org is also a FABULOUS place to find vegan-friendly social events like the famous Vegan Drinks in NYC.
I hope that you'll continue to celebrate your lifestyle choice and pay it forward by helping those who want to know more about living vegan. And of course, I am always here if you need anything. Just remember - you are doing something AMAZING with your life by living vegan every day - celebrate and honor that!

I hope you had a fabulous New Year! Here's to a compassionate, beautiful, growth-filled 2012!

Have a question for this vegan blogger? Feel free to email me at kissmyvegan@gmail.com.

10 comments:

Suburban Snow White said...

Super topic!

Myra Wolf said...

I love the new "do"....and I remember well the beginning of your awareness journey. I was stuck! I had no clue how to cook for you. Swirls of cabbage, beans, tofu packages all sped around in my head and I hit PANIC!
I felt like I would fall to pieces as the mommy cook. The cook all my family loved to have in the kitchen!. I mean, I was the best cook in the world to my kids! I admit...it was not until THIS CHRISTMAS I felt I had a shopping list and menu's! I felt like mommy cook like the old days...with one beautiful blessing. It was made without harming any living creature and was the best Christmas Eve dinner I ever had. I love you sweet pea! xo

Angela said...

"For me, the longer I've been doing this, the more it has become my faith. I live my life by three pillars: love, kindness, and compassion. Since going vegan is all about compassion (towards ourselves and our fellow beings), it should definitely extend to the human beings in our lives. So patience, openness, and a positive outlook are key." -COULDN'T AGREE MORE!

This gave me chills, Lindsay! Keep up the compassion :)

Jenny* said...

I like your blog so much! Very nice new design**
Greetings from germany, Jenny*
www.nur-gesunde-sachen.de

Princess and the Peace said...

A beautiful post. Something I can definitely relate to. I hadn't heard of Crazy, Sexy Diet so I'm looking forward to checking that one out. I agree that having knowledge at your fingertips helps you confidently engage in a positive way with curious (or otherwise) non-vegans.

Oh - and love the new look!

Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

The blog looks great! Keep working your magic!!

Veggie Burgher said...

Great post. And I want to get that book Crazy Sexy Diet!

Kathy D said...

This is the first time I have visited your blog and I assure you it isn't the last!

I just returned from a lunch date where this subject of being a vegan, and living in a non-vegan world, was the topic. I too want to "save" everyone, but the reality is so many don't want to be saved!! I will say example is key, but I am so saddened by the number of sick people in my life who could have restored health so easily with food and lifestyle changes, yet they opt for pills. That was me once too and I am so grateful to the person who opened a door for me, and even more grateful that I chose to walk through that door! My health is restored and my life is amazing. I do work hard at trying to open doors and always will!

I LOVE the book Crazy Sexy Diet as well as the movie, Crazy Sexy Cancer. I have used the book as a gift several times, and recently ordered several copies of Vegucated. Networking with other vegan friends is wonderful and a great source of support for me, and I also have a great group of raw foodies (I am high raw) that are all amazing people that I have come to love.

I didn't mean to just ramble on. The point here is I loved this post and I plan to share it on my own blog, as well as on Facebook. It is very helpful for us vegans to read it, maybe even more than once! I also wanted to thank you for your efforts in creating such an inspiring and educational blog as well.

I'll be back! Keep up the good work!

Lindsay said...

Aw Kathy, thank you so much! Your words mean so much to me, and I hope you'll be a regular part of the KMIV family! xo

renae said...

This was such a great post and so helpful. I had the exact same problem when my father and step-mother came over for dinner a few weeks back. There were so many things that I wanted to say but couldn't form my thoughts the way I wanted to and didn't want to get in a big argument and basically the entire thing made me feel so awful that I decided I would just keep my new lifestyle choice from them and vowed to never discus it again. But then my husband said, "So you'll never eat in front of them again?" Oh. Right. Ugh. Anyway, thanks so much for this post, so helpful!