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Humans, like elephants, dolphins, and dogs, are social animals. (Yep, we’re animals; weird when we stop and think about it, huh?)
We crave and need interaction and support.
When we go vegetarian or vegan for whatever reason – animals, the Earth, our health – that need doesn’t go away.
But it might seem like there are fewer people to provide that necessary support at first.
After all, not everyone who’s close to us will understand the big viewpoint shift we just experienced:
- the one that happens when you look at a hamburger and suddenly see a cow
- when you look at a pork chop and see factory farm sludge running into a river
- when you look at fried chicken and see fat building up in arteries
They don’t see that. They only see a hamburger, a pork chop, and a piece of fried chicken.
It can be a little hard for our family to get used to the idea sometimes, and it might take a bit for them to fully accept what your change means.
But when they do, they’ll love and respect you even more for standing up for what you believe in and for doing something about it!
In the meantime while our closest loved ones get to that point, it’s necessary to build your team of Super Veg Support Heroes.
Super Veg Support Heroes – your team that cheers you on and helps you in your veg journey – come in many forms, from friends who aren’t vegan but are interested in trying out new recipes with you to new vegetarian/vegan friends that you make (I’ll tell you my tips on how to find them in a moment) who can share their fave veg products and tips with you.
It’s important to build a community of support for yourself when you make any change, and going veg is no different.
Here’s how my Super Veg Support Heroes team came together:
– My Mom was a Super Veg Support Hero right from the start. She had been vegetarian for a number of years before I made the leap, and just look what showed up in the mail when I told her I had decided to go veg:
It was so fun to open the mailbox and see this home-made card bursting with love and support!
– When I went vegan, I searched for clubs or groups I could join that would put me in contact with like-minded people, and I found Charleston Veggies & Vegans. This group has led me to many wonderful friendships with an instant bond – our love for veg food!
– Like I mentioned in my post With a Little Help from My Friends, many of my friends started trying out vegan recipes to bring to get-togethers and they’d send me links to stories about veganism in the news. They cheered me on and raved about whatever new thing I tried to cook or bake. Super Veg Support Heroes for sure.
Were there people who looked at me like I was crazy when I told them I went vegan? Sure thing. But because I surrounded myself with support, that didn’t faze me one bit.
my tips for building your own team of Super Veg Support Heroes:
1. Find a vegetarian/vegan group in your area.
There are tons of them out there, getting together for potlucks and other activities all the time – don’t let them have all the fun without you! Google “vegetarian (your city here) group” or Facebook it.
Also search Meetup.com for veg groups. There’s even a thing called Vegan Drinks that organizes happy hours for veg heads in cities all over the world! Who knew?!
2. Hit the interwebs!
Virtual communities of veggies and vegans abound. Find them on Facebook, Twitter (check out who I follow for some ideas), and Forums like The Kind Life.
3. Get your yoga on!
There’s something about yoga studios that attracts the veggies. It just might be their concept of Ahimsa (non-violence) that draws us to them.
And Jivamukti Yoga, a particular kind that focuses on compassion, really emphasizes going vegetarian or vegan as a way to manifest Ahimsa in our lives.
Don’t be intimidated by it either – you don’t have to be able to twist yourself into a pretzel to go to a yoga class. I go to the beginner’s yoga all the time, and everyone is super open and nice.
See if there’s a Jivamukti yoga studio near you! You’ll meet great people, plus it’s kind of fun to try to stand on your head.
4. Go to conferences and/or festivals!
Where can you find hundreds of people who passionately care about the exact same things you do? Conferences! There are all sorts, including the one that I’d love to go, the annual Animals Rights Conference. You’ll make tons of great friends and have a blast learning more about your cause. Festivals, like Vegfest, held in cities around the world, are another great place to meet your Super Veg Support Heroes that you can keep in touch with from afar.
5. Make Your Next Vacation a Veg Vacation!
Did you know there are tours of places designed especially for vegetarians and vegans? VegNews Magazine offers them to places like Thailand, Bali, Mexico, and India, and there’s even a Vegetarian Vacations guide. It’s a guarantee you’ll meet veg friends.
You can also go to stay at animal friendly places like Farm Sanctuary’s guest houses and make new friends and supporters of all species!
6. Last but certainly not least, reach out to your family and friends
They can’t support you if you don’t tell them what you’re doing and why. Reach out to your family members and good friends; you never know which ones will jump right up and try out vegetarian and vegan foods with you!
To Not Going It Alone!
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