Par Origins (Vol III): An Inclusive Movement
I've made a point of being the type of vegan non-vegans can feel comfortable inviting to dinner. So much so, that I'm starting to stray away from the term vegan. Its connotations are aptly negative because of the politics and judgement running rampant through the larger plant-based community.
It really boils down to the basic human condition - empathy. I wasn't raised vegan. It was a choice for my health. My motivation for a diet upheaval came with urgency, daily education and a tonne of fear triggered by my family's medical history. I may not have made the change but for the combination of those factors. So I empathize when friends, readers, and strangers tell me they would love to try a plant-based diet but aren't sure if they could. A decision to commit to what seems like an impossible task, depending on where you live and who you live with, isn't one most people can wrap their minds around without consistent education and coaching. That's a point I never want to forget.
I wear this empathy like a badge when I share a meal with my friends, when I plan FoodPar experiences, and when I need to forgive myself for sliding along the scale into junk food vegan territory. My people need to extend their lives. I feel very strongly about this, I lost my mother to cancer in 2001. She was too young. I thought I was doomed to the same fate until I met my husband. Those factors are a great case for being a "preachy vegan" when interacting with the people I love. But I choose empathy. I choose to invite my friends over for dinner, share recipes when they request it, move my career in a direction of sharing a plant-based lifestyle through stories and social events.
Let's advocate for inclusive dining. It goes both ways. When we're thoughtful and kind to each other, sharing a meal becomes the joy it should be.
I created the Plant-based + Social guide from my experience with the social aspect of transitioning. Keep your social life in tact when you adopt a plant-based lifestyle.
Read it here. Feel free to share your own tips for keeping your friends close as a new vegan in our comments section.