How to Be a Vegan Without Being a Douche. Whether you made the decision for your health, that of the environment or to be kinder to your animal friends, becoming vegan is a huge life choice. And when you make any big decisions, the first thing most people want to do is talk about it to their friends and family — especially if it’s good news.
As much as you may want to make a “veganism” announcement post or text all your friends with photos of the delicious vegan dinners you make every night, you must hold back, for the sake of the reputations of vegans everywhere. Nothing is worse than a braggy, annoying vegan who just can’t let go of the idea that not everyone is going to conform to the ways of their newfound plant-based diet.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to become a vegan without simultaneously becoming a douche. How, you ask? In a few simple steps. Here are five things to avoid doing, so you can go vegan without annoying everyone you know for the rest of time:
Your friends don’t want to hear about how gross their food looks right before they eat it — just like you don’t want to hear about how “pointless” it is to go vegan. If your friends and family have been kind enough to accept your new lifestyle choices, remember to be respectful and do the same for them.
If the conversation of your veganism does come up with the people close to you, find a way to talk about it without putting them down or criticizing their own dietary choices. Being vegan is a personal choice, and one that takes incredible determination, commitment and willpower. Judging either side of the equation would yield no results. Instead, both groups should be trying to learn from one another.
About 99 percent of the time, people don’t care what you eat and what you don’t eat – vegan or not. Just because you’re going vegan doesn’t mean everyone is suddenly interested in the nutritional breakdown of your caloric intake — or their own.
When you’re sticking to a strict diet, such as veganism, you need to take responsibility for making sure you get the nutrients you’re missing out on, such as calcium and protein. And while it’s great that you have all this newfound knowledge, your non-vegan friends probably don’t care that a serving of tofu gives you 200mg of calcium — or that the steak and potatoes they ate totaled more than 1,000 calories.
Get one thing clear — when you’re the lone vegan in a group of five or more omnivores, you don’t get to force everyone else to go to the exclusively vegan restaurant and pay $20 for a sandwich. You are the one who decided to take up a special diet, so you should be the one to adapt to the crowd.
Now, this isn’t to say you should be forced to eat a burger every time you go out either. If you have a decent friend group, they should be willing to choose a mainstream restaurant that also has a few vegan options for you.
If you offer to bring brownies to your friend’s Super Bowl party, don’t let everyone bite into them before you announce that they’re vegan. No one likes this braggy nature of, “look what I can do,” that you embody when you pull these tricks. If you’re friends know you are a vegan – then they know that you prepare vegan food. It’s safe to assume they will already know that the brownies you bring are vegan.
There are two types of people — open-minded folks and closed-minded ones. If you’re surrounded by narrow-minded people who won’t be able to see your point of view no matter how you describe it, don’t waste your breath. You’re only going to come off as annoying and overly persistent to win an argument.
On the other hand, it’s okay to get into a heated debate if both parties are willing to listen to the other’s perspective. It’s educational and healthy to learn about others’ beliefs in the right setting and with the right audience. Make sure you are aware of those factors before getting into a discussion, though.
The best advice given on the topic of not becoming a douchebag vegan is to stay true to the activities and interests you enjoyed before making this lifestyle choice, whether that’s crafting and painting, running and cycling or relaxing and watching movies.
Also, remember that you can’t force people into caring about the Earth — and you can’t guilt them into it, either. People genuinely connected to the environment and their bodies will automatically care. Eventually, they’ll make the same change you did. Give people time to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, for both their good and the good of our planet.
Just don’t act like a vegan douchebag while you wait for them to come around.