Game Theory: The Science of Decision-Making
How to Explain a Decision to Become a Vegan
Explaining why you have become a vegan can become daunting. Many people don't even know what "vegan" means. If they ask you, you may have to explain your dietary preferences, what you can and can't eat, nutritive value, and your personal reasons for becoming vegan. Here are some tips to help you explain your lifestyle.
Come up with some responses to common questions that people ask.Here are some well-tested responses:
- If someone has issues pertaining to the amount of protein in a vegan diet, remember that all vegetables and grains contain a full complement of amino acids, which are easier for the body to process than globular animal proteins.
- If people ask you what eat, say: Vegan food. Falafel pitas, pasta, bean chili, cheese-less pizza, roasted potatoes and other foods. Remind them that not all vegans eat tofu, although a lot of vegans do.
- If people ask you about lack of vitamin B12, tell them that while vitamin B12 is most commonly found in eggs, milk and meat, it can also be found in almost all breakfast cereals, soya milk, yogurt, and vitamin tablets. It can also be naturally consumed in fresh organic vegetables that have been through minimal processing. Remember that vitamin B12 only needs to be 're-stocked' in your body once every 30 years.
- If people ask you if you get enough nutrition, say that with the amount of nutrient-dense food a vegan consumes to maintain their body weight, most vegans get more nutrition than meat-eaters.
- If people ask you if you have an eating disorder, remember that unless the answer is yes, the answer is no. Not all food-based decisions are about weight, and make it clear why you became a vegan.
Ask yourself why became a vegan in the first place.Common reasons are health, concern for animal welfare, financial benefits (yes, being a vegan is cheaper than eating animal products if done properly), and to lose weight. Becoming vegan is a tough decision at first, but after a while, it just becomes a habit.
Don't lose sight of the progress you have made by becoming vegan.Think about the animals that would otherwise be dead or in pain, how your organs and arteries are working better,the extra years you will live,the common increase in concentration,and the vegan businesses you have supported. Give yourself credit, and let that happiness cheer you up when people make negative comments.
Know that the majority of people are visual learners, so imagining real-life situations can be a good way to bridge the gap between your lifestyles.You could:
- Describe your favorite vegan foods. Also, remind the curious that junk food such as many chips, Oreos, and coke are vegan.
- Tell people about how you became vegan. It usually doesn't happen overnight, so tell them about what you went through, and acknowledge that, in time, it becomes easy to stick to regular habits.
- If you want to get graphic, you can show people YouTube videos of animal slaughter-houses, dairy farms, and hen-houses. Be aware that this can be very graphic and disturbing. Moreover, it is not something that all vegans think is an appropriate way to explain their veganism, and that's just fine too.
Know that some people think that all vegans push their beliefs on non-vegans, judge them, and have a "holier than thou" attitude.While you have found something that you believe in and are happy with, understand that all people eat differently, so show them that you're okay with that. If you cannot accept a non-vegan, you cannot expect them to accept you as a vegan. If someone teases you with meat or animal products, just ignore them, or tell them that it's insensitive and that they should be more respectful and considerate. It's also a good idea to talk to people who support you, and to avoid discussing it with those who don't.
How do I become vegan without anyone knowing?
- Remember that you will be in a minority in most places, and it's not realistic to change all the people around you, but it is realistic and important to be comfortable with yourself.
- Try to make your argument airtight. If all you eat is potato chips, it will be difficult to convince people that your diet is healthy. Make sure that you are not overeating, and vary your diet to get all the micro-nutrients you require.
- Make sure that you're not in it for the wrong reasons. It has to beyourdecision, and regardless of what your partner/friend/parent says, you have to be sure you're making this decision for you and you alone. Just because your friend is vegan, that is no reason to imitate them. It also should not be used to cover up an eating disorder, which requires professional help and guidance. If you suspect you have orthorexia, seek a professional councilor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or local GP.
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