It’s easy to become frustrated with family and friends who don’t seem to care about the way that animals suffer on factory farms. Just remember that the transition from eating meat to being vegetarian is a gradual process for most and that setting a good example is the best encouragement. Here are some helpful ways—in addition to leading by example—to convince loved ones to go vegan:
1. Motivation is key!
Let them know that going vegan is the best thing they can do for their health, for animals, and for the environment. Remember, pictures are more powerful than words, so help them paint a picture of what animals go through. I used to leave around factory farm footage so that they could see them on their own. Pushing your loved ones could put them on the defensive.
2. Plenty of options
Let them know that vegetarianism is a great way to explore a variety of different kinds of food! Give them a list of local stores and restaurants that sell vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly food.
3. Find easy alternatives to animal products.
To show them how easy the transition to a vegetarian lifestyle can be, prepare mock-meat dishes for them, and check out the many dairy alternatives at the supermarket, such as soy cheese and milk made of nuts, soy, or rice.
4. Buy them a vegan recipe book!
Head to the nearest library or bookstore to check out the selection of vegetarian cookbooks! Try a new recipe or check out creative ways that people have veganized old favorites.
5. Ask them to join you when meeting other vegetarians.
Being surrounded by others who share the same passions and lifestyles will make it easier for your loved one to go vegan. Check out the events offered by vegetarian and vegan societies in your area.
6. Dispel those myths!
Being informed about all the facts will give them the power to refute others who challenge their new lifestyle as well as make them more willing to stick to it. Maybe leave a PETA vegetarian/vegan starter kit around or other materials.
7. Keep plenty of vegan snacks on hand.
It is easy to be tempted to reach out for a favorite food item containing animal ingredients when hunger strikes! Stock up on Oreos (they’re vegan!), graham crackers, popcorn, and other yummy vegan munchies!
8. Start with Meat-Free Monday.
Try asking family and friends to stick to a vegetarian diet for a day (or a week, or whatever you think they’d agree to) in lieu of giving you material gifts for birthdays and other holidays.
9. Make it fun and interesting.
If they’re finding the lifestyle change a chore, try to make it fun! Whip up a vegetarian meal with them or spend the weekend visiting new vegetarian restaurants and checking out cruelty-free stores.
10. Be gentle and patient
As hard as it may be to watch your loved ones continue to support animal suffering, try to give them time. They may change their minds as they ponder what they have learned and may gradually be influenced by your example. Try not to let it get you down.
You can also encourage your friends and family to take a leap of faith and take our Pledge to Be Veg! Got any fun stories about getting loved ones to ditch the meat habit? Or any helpful tips we didn’t cover? Post comments below!
By Ashley Fruno