Friday, February 24, 2012

You Are a Vegan? Why Do You Look So...Normal??

One time I was doing a Dirty Vegan Foods event and I was approach by a gentleman who looked quite confused. His wife was trailing behind him. I thought he was probably going to ask me where the ATM or restroom was located. To my dismay, he wanted to ask me about my veganism. He said, "You are vegan?". I replied, "Yep!". He asked me how long I have been vegan. I answered, "About a decade.". This man looked thoroughly confused. He then proceeded to say, " look so, so, healthy. You have color in your face, your eyes look bright, your hair is shiny and bouncy, and you are not skin and bones!". So to break the ice I said, "Well I am an Italian vegan...I don't particularly shy away from food", and we laughed. Now after breaking the ice, I knew there would be questions. I answered all his burning questions about veganism. Where do we get our protein from? Lentils, tofu, beans, soy products, quinoa, nuts, seeds, and many vegetables contain high amounts of protein, such as peas. I told him how I practically slather all my food in Braggs Liquid Aminos, which contains 16 out of the 20 essential amino acids that your body needs to function well. I told him that I take a daily vegan multi-vitamin, although I don't have to, all my food is nutrient rich and my vegan milks are enriched with vitamins and minerals. He was an overweight man and so was his wife, and they couldn't believe that our vegan sweets could taste so delicious and be cholesterol, trans-fat, preservative, and artificial free. They wanted to know more about my lifestyle and were now interested in veganism for their own lives.

I am glad that I met that man and his wife. I'm happy to have answered their questions in a non-defensive manner, even though he came off a little unwilling. Being approachable is something that being vegan for a long time has taught me. See, at first I was a vegan warrior...I still am, but in a different way. I used to approach people in a defensive way like, "Do you know what you are eating right now, that is a dead baby chicken, are you out of your mind?!?! Murderer!!!". And guess how many people I turned vegetarian back then. You guessed it. Zero. Now, everyone I meet wants to be vegan. I lead by example now. But I never withhold the information and facts. I tell it like it is; statistics ready to slip off my tongue at any moment, but I have learned a special way to approach the issue and answer people's questions. I notice that people approach me rather defensively, and not the other way around (you know the old stereotype about how us vegans supposedly act), and I always manage to change their mind and make a new friend. No matter who they are, people want to be that beautiful, happy, healthy person. Since becoming vegan, I am all those things. I float around with happiness in my heart and it radiates out. Every problem or issue is minor when it used to seem so major. I can sleep at night knowing I did a good day's work and didn't contribute to another's misery. I attribute this feeling of peace to my veganism. I no longer consume an animal or an animal's products, in which that animal was held against his or her will, abused, tortured, and then killed. That animal either fought for it's life or was too sick and weak to do so. That animal was most certainly scared and didn't deserve this life. That animal was a child to a mother.

Before I was living a plant-based lifestyle, I would often be sad, or anxious, or upset, or even mad...for no reason at all. Do I think that was directly affected by my diet? Absolutely. As I was transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, I paid attention to what I ate and how I lived my life. I also paid attention to how I felt and what happened in my world. Back when I even ate a little honey, I felt frenzied and on edge. When I became full vegan in everything that I did, I sat back afterwards and realized that I felt better. I became vegan for the animals, and the bees, and the bugs...then my heart and soul became happy and light. If I didn't believe in karma, I sure believe in it now. Karma has affected me first hand and I get some good karma returned to me regularly.

I was able to have a really nice and pleasant conversation with that reluctant man and his wife and completely change their minds about veganism. In a not-preachy-whatsoever way, I was able to convince them to consider a plant-based lifestyle, just by chatting and by them observing ME. So YOU should lead by example too. If you are a nasty vegan, people will think veganism is mean and nasty too. If you are an open and welcoming vegan, people will be drawn to you and the vegan lifestyle. So give it a try; try to infect everyone you meet with happiness and positive vibes! They may just go vegan!

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