Vegans Take Heart: You Do More Than You Know

vegans take heart

When you’re passionately vegan, it’s easy to become disheartened by what you see around you. Yes, you’re avoiding all forms of animal exploitation, but so many people are still contributing to it. You can control your own actions, but not other people’s. And you sometimes start to wonder if you’re really making a difference.

I’ve been there too, but I know this feeling is an illusion. The truth is, it’s impossible not to have an impact on the people around you with your choices.

It sometimes upsets me that my family and some of my friends still eat animal products. But it’s important to keep things in perspective. No, they may not all be vegan. But many of them have made significant changes, and it’s clear that I’ve at least influenced those decisions.

For example, I’ve introduced my family to a lot of vegan recipes, since we all like to eat together. When I’m home, we have vegan meals most nights. They’ve enjoyed some of the recipes so much that they’ll probably make them even when I’m not around. And my mum has learnt new tricks like using flaxseeds instead of egg in baking, and using nutritional yeast to add flavour to various dishes. She’s also discovered that she gets far fewer headaches when she limits dairy. I’d like to think that I’m at least partially responsible!

Likewise, a close vegetarian friend of mine switched to organic milk and eggs after talking to me about welfare standards. (In the UK, organic products have to meet higher welfare standards.) Obviously this is not ideal, as animals still suffer and are exploited to produce organic products. However, it shows that she’s thought about it and is willing to change her actions. She also tried veganism for a month, learning new recipes and trying new products. Though she didn’t stay vegan, the experience will undoubtedly continue to influence the way she eats. Additionally, organic products are often more expensive, so she likely eats fewer animal products as a result. She also insists that her parents buy organic when she’s home, which may make them think too. Every change creates a ripple effect.

Every time a loved one sees you eating delicious-looking vegan food, it will change their perceptions of what being vegan is. If you’re healthy and thriving on a vegan diet, people will notice. When people see how effortlessly you live vegan, they may realise it’s not as inconvenient and unattainable as they imagined.

Of course, there are two sides to every every coin. If you were to be rude, pushy and judgemental, it might turn those around you away from veganism. Likewise if you were to complain about how difficult it is to be vegan. But I’ve met very few vegans who do either of those things.

Even if your loved ones don’t seem receptive to veganism, you’re still probably planting seeds. Some people who seem downright hostile towards vegans do change, sometimes many years later. No-one is a lost cause.

If you still feel frustrated, try taking part in some activism. It’s very powerful to see someone make the connection as they watch slaughterhouse footage for the first time. I think everyone should take part in activism if they can. But if you can’t, or don’t feel comfortable doing so, rest assured that you’re still having a huge impact.

Have you influenced the people in your life without meaning to? Do you ever worry that you’re not doing enough? Let me know in the comments.

vegans take heart




5 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Leading by example, showing patience, and being non-confrontational is an effective way of making changes to those around us. It works. But it gets frustrating, which is why I appreciate this post so much.

    1. You’re spot on, I definitely agree that those are the most effective ways of creating change. But there are always people who do their best to test our patience!

  2. It’s frustrating to be called militant, judgmental, etc. when all I do is say the word vegan. People attack me, jump down my throat, put words in my mouth and don’t let me get a word in edgewise, and then talk about how militant and aggressive I am.

    It’s so disheartening. I know I am none of those things, but in being frank with others and not reassuring them that eating meat is okay, it’s a personal journey, etc., I get called all those things. If you say anything that others don’t wish to hear, and if you are uncompromising in your principles, be prepared to be called these things.

    1. Anyone speaking out for what they believe in meets resistance – feminists, gay rights activists and so on. Since the vast majority of people still eat animal products, there are a lot of people to resist us! I’ve been called militant too, no matter how hard I try to be tactful. It is difficult, but I like to think that for every person that calls us names, at least one other is positively influenced by what we’re doing. The world is changing, slowly but surely.

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