Hello Sweet Readers!
Let me introduce myself! I am publicly known as Ms Vegan Manners but my full name is Vivienne De La Choux. You, Sweet Readers, may call me Vivi! (In case you aren’t sure about that, let me ease your discomfort by explaining you would pronounce that “vee vee.”)
Today I’d like to talk to you about the awkward situation in which we find our desire to impart our vegan wisdom on another for whom we care is met with resistance, rebuttal and downright rudeness.
First may I say, Sweet Readers, that the subject of how one eats and what food one chooses can very quickly become controversial and even political. You might consider this before deciding to tell your co-workers, dear friends and family that they are incorrect in their food choices. My oh my! That can become a heated argument faster than you can say, “tofutti!”
Think for a moment about all the scuttlebutt surrounding GMO’s, animal rights, local organic vs factory farming! As you certainly well know, food—being a core component of staying alive—is a subject that is much protected and defended by vested interests. Is your beloved “student” really ready to hear that corn on the cob is probably not a good idea unless it’s organic? Or that cheapest possible price for their weekly groceries is not necessarily the most economical in the long run?
And besides, we all know what an emotional subject food can be and it can be a medical subject as well. So many of us are turning to food choices and dietary education so we might remain healthy and active in our lives. And bless them, there are those who are successfully recovering from serious illness by changing their eating habits.
And then there are the weight-loss diets. Let’s not even go there! Do Not, Sweet Readers, Do Not open the door to the topic of diet at your next luncheon or business brunch where there may be Paleos and McDougall enthusiasts together in the same room!
The answer to all these dilemmas lies in simply having good manners and setting a good example. By this I mean, in your personal relations and social interchanges, you consider the viewpoint and feelings of the other person as well as helpfully and politely assert your own when the time is right.
Accentuate the positive, as they say!
Most of the time, when people learn you are vegan, they have questions and you sometimes find you are answering the same questions over and over again. Realize, Sweet Readers, that the questioners are mainly curious probably because they have already heard elsewhere or realized themselves that their own eating habits are sorely lacking or possibly harmful to them.
This is the time when you should assume the best about these questions and try to answer them in the best way possible. What is obvious and common knowledge to you, may not be for the innocent questioner. Don’t take these questions as an invalidation of your lifestyle.
Here are a few more tips about discussing your vegan eating habits:
1. You are not required to entertain snide comments from anyone about the type of food you eat. Just smile and walk away or if you must converse with this person, try changing the subject. Letting yourself be pulled into an argument with such people will only pull you down.
2. When going to social functions where there may not be many good food choices for you, eat ahead of time. After all, Sweet Readers, aren’t we in much better moods when we’re well-fed? You will be less likely to feel un-accommodated if you are not starving. Instead, enjoy the party and make new friends! This is not the right time to let your host or hostess know that the food they are serving their guests is unhealthy, not supportive of environmental well-being or wrought with evil intentions to kill off the pet cow.
3. When hosting guests yourself, be thoughtful in your menu planning. Either ask someone else to bring non-vegan food if you yourself will not prepare it, or choose some dishes that could be very satisfying for anyone whether they are vegan or not. And this brings me to the next point which is very important . . .
4. For goodness sake learn to cook! There are thousands of cookbooks and blogs such as this one centered upon vegan and whole foods cooking and there are even a few vegan or vegetarian television cooking shows you can watch. The more you invest in learning how to prepare tasty food, the better off you and your friends and family will be. A wise cooking teacher once said to me that the most delicious food in the world will also be the most healthy.
Just remember, Sweet Readers, good manners will take you very far in whatever you are seeking to do and a very good teacher is one who not only has good manners her/his self but who also teaches others to be mannerly as well.
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