‘You are still.. uh.. vegan?’
It’s 2015. I remember that one moment vividly:
I just bumped into an old friend of mine at the pool. We both haven’t seen each other in a loooong time..
‘Still vegan? Oh wow.. I just never knew that one could be so fit as a vegan.’ – he continued.
He scrambled to say the right words – but he couldn’t find them. It’s an interesting thing to witness when the expectations of a person do not match up with the actual reality.
Or in other words: Me being in shape on a vegan diet basically broke his brain..
Just as going vegan for the animals broke my brain a few months ago at that time:
When I went vegan, I expected support. Instead, I received a truckload of never-ending, passive aggressive comments:
- ‘You? Vegan? Ha! Where do you think you’ll get your protein from?’
- ‘Now you went FULL crazy!’
- ‘I give you 3 months and you’ll be eating chicken again out of a Tupperware!’
None of my rational arguments ended these discussions. Neither did all the documentaries, books and videos that I suggested (which didn’t even get watched).
The only thing that started ending these discussions – was me proving people wrong visually:
- Me presenting a rock-hard sixpack.
- Me having a lot of energy.
- Me looking lean and muscular.
It was this visual persuasion – not conflict or ‘calling people out’ – that opened the door to a meaningful discussion about the virtues of veganism.
It was at this point only, that I realized that convincing others lives and dies by first getting heard..
.. and most vegans, unfortunately, never get heard to the extent that they truly deserve.
It’s true that we are the voice for the voiceless.
But effective persuasion and mere speech – is as much distant from each other as speech and silence.
As vegans, we have an important message to share. And as a messenger with an important message, it’s our duty to communicate our message well to maximize its impact.
The only way to communicate this message well – and persuade people to change their ways for the better – is to be a person that commands attention.
And a person that commands attention, is usually a person that others want to be like.
I call this being a ‘positive vegan role model’. The best way to start being that positive role model, is to get in good physical shape.