Plant-based diets are trending, which means awareness and acceptance of a plant-based lifestyle is growing. That said, if you're following a whole food plant-based diet and finding its causing friction in your relationships, you're certainly not alone!
Many people notice that when they transition to a plant-based diet, especially when it's a more health-focused one like the WFPB diet, their social lives can feel a little disrupted.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. There are ways to reap the benefits of a WFPB diet and maintain your strong relationships. Whew!
5 Ways to Keep Your Friends Now That You Eat a WFPB Diet
1. No Soapboxes, Please
Being aggressive or preachy is never a good option, especially if you are planning to keep your friends as you transition to a WFPB diet. You may be passionate about the benefits of eating this way — and hopeful they'll get on board, too — but putting others down for their lifestyle choices will only alienate your friends and most likely, keep you from getting invites in the future.
Instead, lead by example! And once folks see how well you're living, maybe they'll ask about your WFPB diet. Maybe they won't. Either way, that's OK! You do you, let them do them.
2. Remember How You Started
Remember you didn't always eat this way! Try to recall the days before your WFPB diet (and if you're new to the scene, this shouldn't be too hard!). What were your perceptions about eating healthy? What did you think about plant-based eating?
Personally, I thought going vegan was so extreme that I laughed when people even mentioned it. When I made the switch to a WFPB diet, I realized that you should never say never, and that you need to respect everyone's journey.
3. Win Them Over With Delicious WFPB Diet Food
What better way to introduce folks to the delights of WFPB eating than sharing your delicious food with them? If folks in your circle seem curious about plant-based eating, knock them off their feet with one of your best plant-based dishes. Re-create a family member's favorite recipe, with a plant-based spin. Always bring a plant-based dish, with enough to share, to any dinner party you're invited to.
Don't have time to spend in the kitchen? No worries. You can get WFPB meals ready-made and at your door with plant-based meal delivery from MamaSezz.
4. Get Social With Them
Plant-based diets are on the rise! Use its trendiness to introduce your friends and fam to new experiences and adventures by visiting festivals, markets, and new vegan restaurants together.
If they're not so much into the plant-based trend, that's OK, too. You can still order WFPB at most restaurants.
And if food is a big part of your family's traditions and your new lifestyle seems to stir up controversy at each get together, try to create new memories and traditions that you can participate in that do not revolve around food.
5. Branch Out
I get it — you're psyched about your WFPB diet and want somewhere to talk about it. Good news: something wonderful happens when you decide to go plant-based. You can connect with new people that follow the same lifestyle, and your friend group gets bigger and bigger. This doesn't mean leaving old friends behind, simple growing your network! Whether that means in-person or connecting online, there are plenty of WFPB groups to join. And once you have fellow WFPB dieters to talk about all things plant-based with, you won't feel so compelled to talk about it all the time with your original crew.
- While staring a WFPB diet may feel alienating at first, you can absolutely maintain your strong relationships!
- Try not to be preachy about your WFPB diet, understand where everyone's at in their own health journey, share the plant-based love and always bring a WFPB dish to share, bring them to plant-based restaurants and events if they seem interested, branch out to WFPB diet groups for support.
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.