Advice regarding dealing with friends and family


Nov 2, 2018
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Los Angeles
Hey there everybody,

I'm a long-time reader of this awesome forum, however this is my first post, so nice to meet you all officially!

I'll get straight to the point/question.

After a slow transition (I'm an avid backpacker, outdoorsman, etc, so feeling satiated and physiologically fueled on a vegan diet was initially a challenge, however some experimentation with vitamins has cleared that up!) from being a life-long omnivore, about five months ago I successfully, enthusiastically, and wholeheartedly made the complete transition to a vegan lifestyle, encompassing what I eat, but also things like consumer goods etc. I'm really being vigilant in tracing the sourcing and/or production origins of the products I purchase, as well as the ethical/environmental record of the companies I support which has produced the foreseen result of changing a lot of the things in my pantry/closet/bathroom/kitchen!

I finally made the switch (as I imagine many of you did) after reading Singer, Bekoff, Francione, etc and just being unable to "close the door", so to speak, on the knowledge I had gained. The issue is so clean cut, so obvious, so ethically apparent that making the transition was one I made with pleasure, happiness, and a passionate sense of advocacy.

And that brings me to my question:

How have you guys, as a community, dealt with the issue of having "woken up" while those close around you haven't?

My wife (and our soon-to-be-born son), our friends, and many members of our family aren't, shall we say, fervent carnivores, but they do, however, share a sort of epicurean, culinary approach to eating meat and animal products, and do so regularly. They use all the classic "food chain", "biological naturalism", "species destiny" arguments that so many ill-thought-out defenders of meat eating espouse. They're all politically motivated, liberal, environmentally sensitive, recycling, empathetic, compassionate, quality human beings, but this is clearly a major blind spot for them and, now that I've woken up to the reality of the situation and made life changes accordingly, I find it very difficult to just stand by while a BBQ, dinner party, pizza night, or dining out is happening with seeming abandon. It's so grating now to see people shoving dead flesh into their mouths with a smile on their face.

Love my wife, love my family, love our friends, and don't feel like the "Screaming Evangelist" role is going to convince them to change their ways (and would, most likely, entrench them further), so I'm curious how/if any of you might have solved or approached this issue. I'm sure I'm not alone in having to deal with this problem, so just interested what you all think about how to slowly convert those around you to a more ethically enlightened lifestyle, while also dealing with their complicity in the animal rights issue until/if they do.

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Welcome! Nice first post.

I'll try to collect my thoughts on this a little later, but for now I would say if you feel a need to convert others you should consider activism and joining an animal rights organization. You can spend time around like-minded folk immediately instead of converting your friends and family one by one, and learn how people respond to different approaches without risk of blowback in your personal relationships.

Tomorrow is International Cube Day and there's an event in LA.
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Hey @Sax , thanks for the reply! To your point, I'm actually currently studying to become an Environmental/Animal Rights lawyer, in the hopes that, whether it be in my generation or in the next, I'll lend a hand (however small) toward a future where animals, as well as the natural world, are both legally defended more than they currently are in our country, so my activism muscles are well flexed! But yeah, your point is well taken, as hanging with some other vegans would likely satiate that nagging frustration to tell people to wake up, as well as help with techniques and tactics to perhaps one day get some of my inner circle to join me in living a better life. One can hope! Thanks!

-- Oh, and great profile pic! Where's the summit? Has a Rockies feel, but I could also go South America. Nice!
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Wow, that's awesome!

The summit is Mt. Formidable in the North Cascades.
If they are persuaded by science and health, consider introducing them to whole-food plant-based diet.
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my main experience with family members not getting the point is with my mom. most or all of my family members still eat animal products, but my mom is the one i've actively spent the most time showing the truth to. i believe she is either incapable of understanding anything about veganism and plant based health, or she simply doesn't care enough to try understanding, and i don't think she will ever change. there are some people in the world are simply incapable of doing what is right, or don't care enough to bother with it. people like that might be rare. in most cases maybe change just takes a long time.
It often does take a great deal of time - I believe I first started learning back in the nineties and played hit and miss a number of times over the years, gradually changing habits as the years passed. Was exposed to Dr Esselstyn on PBS around 2011 or so and we stuck to it for a couple of months and then life once again was allowed to get in the way. It wasn't until we listened to Dr McDougall on CoastToCoastAM in October of 2016 that is all came together for us. Some people like to diss Dr McDougall but for me he is a hero as he is able to present a whole food plant based lifestyle that sounds appealing and easily doable and tasty and presents it in a way that makes sense.

My point is that it often does take many exposures to the information to make it stick and to make it make sense for each person and so you can't take it personally if the time is not right for your mom.

Emma JC