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 Post subject: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda...
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:35 pm 
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Hello PPK boards! I used to post here all of the time when I was a new, timid vegan. And then I got good at it, and distracted by life, and lost touch with PPKers... But the PPK boards had a lot to do with keeping me on the straight and narrow when I first started out and I even made a wee friend or two along the way so thanks and all that.

I'm writing as a former canuck in scotland (for nearly 8 years!) as I am now a canuck in canuckland. I came back to my hometown of Vancouver in September 2011 and, about a year ago, met a wonderful omni guy. When we met he'd recently lost a bunch of weight - 50 lbs - almost entirely from devoting himself to running and extremely long-distance walking. But he had the dietary tastes of a 9 year old. For dinner he was quite happy to eat a box of crackers, followed by chocolate caramel chex mix for dessert - all washed down with coke zero.

I tried extremely hard not to give him a hard time about eating meat and/or eating poorly. I just tried to lead by example and occasionally try to get him to try new foods. I started out by always keeping tofutti cuties in the freezer but soon he was eating tofu and kale on the regular.

I have fallen in love with this guy. We've moved in together. And completely without any pressure from me, he went vegan a few months ago. I am STOKED.

I've met his family and they are really wonderful people. They are generous and warm and I feel really lucky to have them in my life as an extended family now...

Anyway... Here is the question.

There is quite a few health problems in his family. Diabetes (type II) and cancer are the two biggies. He has that new vegan 'OMG I NEED TO TELL EVERYONE THIS STUFF RIGHT NOW!' thing going on (remember that?). He has been telling everyone with ears that he has likely dodged a bullet with diabetes (which is all over his family tree like white on rice) and has felt frustrated that his message hasn't been immediately embraced by his family.

I am an 'ethical vegan' (hate that term) first, but in the last few years I have done a little bit of light research by reading books by Campbell, Essylstein (both of them), Barnard and Fuhrman. At this point I am completely convinced that eating a wholefoods, plant based diet is capable in many instances of reversing heart disease and diabetes. I also think it goes a LOOOONG way in preventing A LOT of kinds of cancers and tonnes of other BAD STUFF. I have become WAY less of an oreo-vegan and am now leaning much more towards being a collards-vegan. I feel great. (I still eat oreos, mind.)

It's a tricky subject to bring up with family, and I'd appreciate any tips. I can be really shy, and I can't help but be afraid of offending someone with a gift of Crazy Sexy Cancer or a copy of the the China Study or sending on the netflix link to watch Forks Over Knives...

I've tried before with my mom, who has frequent problems with her cholesterol. I bought her Engine 2 (and a few others) but they were mostly ignored. I don't bring it up really anymore because it falls on deaf ears and I think people need to make their own choices. But it's really hard to see people you love, knowingly and unknowingly, make decisions that you think are destroying their health... especially when they're already suffering.

I'd be really grateful if anyone has any pearls of wisdom. Thanks, guys.

x

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:55 pm 
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Here's how it went with my parents:

Spring 2012, we went vegan, and mom is happy that it's helped me with my gallbladder disease but still doesn't think it's something she could do because she loves milk and eggs.

Thanksgiving 2012, mom asks me for vegan cookie recipes to make at Thanksgiving and is excited for our vegan stuffed pumpkin main dish, which turned out delicious. She also helped me veganize all but one dish (and no one was the wiser!). The cookie recipe was one of Isa's recipes in the Forks Over Knives cookbook. She looked through the cookbook and put it on her Christmas list.

Christmas 2012, dad gets mom the cookbook she asked for...she reads the information in the front...they come to our house to visit in January and she asks to watch Forks Over Knives. We watched it, and she bought some more plant-based cookbooks for her Kindle app on the iPad. They've been eating mostly plant-based since they went home. (Dad is pretty much along for the ride at this point but is enjoying the recipes.)

I am so proud of them for making this lifestyle change. I think it has to happen in its own time though. Sharing the recipes and the yummy foods really seems to help. So perhaps share a recipe from the Forks Over Knives cookbook, or another plant-strong recipe? Wait til they love it and THEN tell them how wonderful it was for them. ;) Food is a good gateway, IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:57 pm 
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Thanks, karichelle!

karichelle wrote:
Food is a good gateway, IMO.


With my boyfriend, Tofutti Cuties were ABSOLUTELY the gateway.

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:59 pm 
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I've been vegan 18 years. The only effective way I've gotten people to eat more vegan food is by cooking amazing things and sharing them with friends and family. Then they ask for recipes, then cookbooks. I agree with Karichelle that it has to happen over time. No one wants to preached to about food and lifestyle choices--vegans, of all people, know that. Delicious food is the best way to get people to eat better. And some people, no matter how hard we try to woo them with kale and fauxstess, will never change their diets. And that's their choice and we who love them need to respect that too.

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:04 pm 
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GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
congrats on things going well.

i don't have much wisdom per se but some things learned by experience.

as you know, people have to be ready to do it on their own terms, on their own time.
i think there is a value in saying to people, you know, this diet might *make you feel better* (and yes, i used the word diet. you might have to start the way the person is most likely to hear you); if you're interested, i'd be happy to show you a few things. It's upsetting to hear the words "cure" or "prevent" when sometimes your genetic or whatever lottery is up; sometimes veganism helps and sometimes it doesn't. It's not likely to make things worse, but that's usually not the issue. But nobody dislikes "maybe feeling better" which is free of judgmental language.
I think the danger is in making people feel bad about their current choices. The line between being well meaning and being a religious zealot may sometimes be hard to determine.

Your guy friend will figure this all out on his own time too.

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But it's really hard to see people you love, knowingly and unknowingly, make decisions that you think are destroying their health... especially when they're already suffering.
it really, really is, and i can say that from my own experience watching my father's cancer progress. But it is their decision and their choice. You can help if they want, but ultimately it's their call. Hard as that may be to bear.

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:34 pm 
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My family is also plagued by diet-related health problems. I've given my dad cookbooks before to help lower his cholesterol and they just get tossed in a corner. My grandmother died of colon cancer, which was attributed to her lifestyle, and it impacted the way by dad eats by 0%. Truthfully, my parents don't really care that much about their health if it involves any extra effort on their part (if they can't pour it out of a can or a box it's too much effort). My family would not be receptive to the Crazy Sexy franchise or the China Study or books by any of the vegan health personalities. My experience has been that more people are turned off by those books than converted by them, either because they're perceived as preachy, are too new age-y, make grandiose health claims, or are too restrictive (no oil, no sugar, low salt). I mean, maybe your family would be receptive, but unless they've actually expressed an interest in those types of books I think you'd be wasting your time and money.

It sucks but the best thing I can say is try to live by example, be a joyful vegan, and accept that you can only do so much. Whenever I visit my family or my SO's family I make meals for them and I always try to make something easy, healthy, and delicious. Then I get a bunch of emails from them asking for the recipes so I feel like the message is getting through a little. I also have friended my SO's fam on facebook so they get to see all my pretty food porn. I think that makes plant-based eating more approachable.

Honestly, the info is out there for them if they want it and it sounds like you've at least made them aware (and I'm sure they were already aware to some extent) that eating plants = part of a healthy lifestyle. Anything beyond that really has to be initiated by them. I'm not trying to be a bummer or anything, I've just been frustrated for 10 years. It breaks my heart to see my mom get ailment after ailment and basically fall apart. Not all of it is because of what she puts in her body--she also doesn't exercise and is extremely depressed--but it's part of the problem. But, I've stopped making her health my burden to bear.

Lots of hugs (and empathy) to you!

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:12 pm 
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You are all fantastic!! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:59 am 
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I just bought Eat To Live last week and it boggles my mind. I have been a vegan for almost 7 years now and I still learned new stuff and will change my diet - well, I am changing it already. Just imagine how all that new info must hit an omni who's been eating meat and potatoes all his life! My parents too would benefit greatly from all this information, but I dont think they will ever be prevailed on to try to change their ways one tiny bit. My dad's got arthrosis really bad and was told to cut out meat a lot, especially red meat. Well, they just dont care - my mom keeps on cooking as she always has and my dad doesnt complain. People just have to make their own choices.


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 Post subject: Re: Introducing Family & Friends to Plantstrong Propoganda..
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:23 pm 
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i agree with alot of people here that the best way to present this lifestyle as a positive (and also secretly healthy) thing is cooking delicious food and sharing it.

if you try to be in peoples' faces trying to change their eating habits and lecturing them on nutrition they're just gonna role their eyes and ignore you.

i was vegetarian for i think 17ish years before i went vegan and no one gave a damn. i went vegan and all of a sudden both my mom and my aunt went vegetarian. i dont know if it was because i developed a huge interest in cooking and baking or stuff i taught them but there you go.

if people show in interest in learning then you can definitely talk it up and recommend books and stuff.

people are really hesitant to change old habits even if they know they are bad. the best way to present new habits is making them look easy and beneficial.

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