The Daily Beet

26 Jul When People Give You a Hard Time.

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*Natala here*

When my husband and I went plant-strong you would have thought, given our terrible health and suffering, everyone would have been 100% supportive of any healthy change we made.

Instead we got a lot of back lash from friends, family, mean comments, and tons of questions. Funny, when you are eating Β S.A.D. no one questions your dietary choices, they don’t ask where you get your protein. All of a sudden – you are eating plant-strong and everyone becomes a Dr, and so many people seem to know someone (their 4th cousin twice removed best friends next door neighbors Aunt) who got sick when they gave up meat!

I’m Italian, I have a short fuse when it comes to being made fun of or when people give others a hard time. In fact, there are many times where I can see that some of you have shared something we post on Facebook, only to get your friends/family attacking you about it.

So what do you do?

1. Bullying and being made fun of for your health decisions is not okay in our book. If someone is saying hurtful things, it is time to think about if that person should be in your life. Trust me, this is not always easy. We had to drop some people from our life, who had once been big parts of our lives. But the way they were treating us was unacceptable. You have to know when it is ‘light teasing’ and when it becomes hurtful and abusive.

2. Make light of it. If you don’t want to confront it, you can say something like “I’m so sorry my kale offends you” or “Yeah, I joined a crazy plant-strong alien nation” or “Watch out, if you aren’t careful you could catch the plant-strong bug”

3. Seem strategy: This one works really well and comes from our friend, Doug Lisle who wrote “The Pleasure Trap”. When someone gives you a hard time just tell them “It seems to be working for me” and leave it at that, no need to defend it if you do not want to.

4. When people start grilling me about the way I eat I like to say: Β “You know, you seem to have a lot of questions about nutrition, would you like me to let you borrow some great books that I have?” This kind of puts the person in a weird spot, most of the time the person will tell me “Oh, no, I wasn’t asking that, I just was making an observation” πŸ™‚ riiiigght.

5. Most of us are on Facebook – make lists and block people if you need to. Share status updates about your health quest with your friends and family that will support you. You can even give people a heads up and tell them “Hey I’m making some changes to the way I eat, and some of you might not like them, so if you fall into that group, please feel free to hide my feed, I don’t want to offend anyone with photos of kale and beans”

6. Stand up if you want to. Some of us like to take a stand. Get your facts right, and go ahead and take one, if that is your personality. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if that’s you – go for it.

7. Fight back like Rip πŸ™‚ So Rip got A LOT of nastiness directed his way when he did the 28 day challenge, Engine 2 was constantly being made fun of (hard to believe). One fire department but beef stock cubes in the shower heads. He got sent slabs of beef from Texas beef companies. Rip played some pranks on fire departments who were giving him a hard time – like telling one department that they absolutely needed to drink “Monkey Milk” for good health, it was a new thing at Whole Foods. He had them driving all around Austin asking Whole Foods employees for monkey milk πŸ™‚ We’re not encouraging you to do anything hurtful, but if you are like Rip, and like to fight back a little, sometimes that works in some situations. Again, just want to mention – we’re not saying to go overboard. But you know, covering someones cubical in kale won’t hurt them. Not that we know ANYTHING about that.

8. Don’t let other peoples bulling get you off track. Peer pressure happens for kids and adults. It’s okay to just say no to beef! People tend to want you to slip up so they feel better about their own bad decisions. You can tell them “Hey, you go ahead and eat what you want to, but it is just not for me.” Channel Nancy Reagan!

Ok, we asked some of you how this is happening in your life – and we want our E2 audience to help out their E2 friends in the comments – give support, and let people know how YOU would handle the situation:

1. E2-er Jen told us we could share this with everyone.

“I went plant-strong because I am a type 2 diabetic and obese. I also have heart problems. Soon after my Mom started giving me a hard time. She will invite me over for dinner and make my old favorites, even the vegetables had butter! She tells me that she just misses our time together, and that I’ve become a different person since changing my diet, and she doesn’t want my diet to be in her face all the time when we go out or when I visit. Last week she sent me my favorite chocolate with a note that said “for when you need a little treat!” I’m so upset, because I am so sick and I need to change.”

2. Brian sent this to us:

“My co-workers give me cr*ap all the time, I don’t say a word, but they are constantly making fun of my meals, telling me I’m going to become weak and girly and I’m going to lose all myΒ testosterone! Last week one of my co-workers put bacon in my lunch. I wanted to punch the guy. And then they have the nerve to tell me that I am SHOVING it down their throats, I never say anything!”

3. Susan sent us this:

“My best friend for 10 years has started to comment on every single thing that I post on facebook. I don’t even preach much, sometimes I share E2’s status, most of the time I write what I’m eating for dinner or I say how good I feel. She will write things like “That is so gross.” “You are disgusting” “You are going to die of nutrient deficiency” “You were better when you were fatter”. It hurts me so much, I end up crying over it. I thought she was a good friend, but I don’t know anymore.”

4. Harmony wrote this:

“My cholesterol is high, I’m overweight, I desperately want to have children, but I want to do it completely healthy. My husband told me that he’d support me in whatever I do. I found Engine 2 and decided to change. Well, when I told him I wouldn’t be eating meat, he flipped out, he was so angry he told me that if I became ‘vegetarian’ he would leave me. I never said he had to do it, just that I wanted to change for me. He’s not normally that angry, but I haven’t wanted to start because I’m afraid he’ll not support me and he will leave me over my diet changes. He won’t watch Forks Over Knives and he won’t read Engine 2, he thinks it is all crazy and he told me that he wants nothing to do with it, and if we had kids they would never be vegetarians. I’m so upset.”

5. Grant wrote this:

“I probably made a big husband mistake. My wife has a lot of health problems, I love her very much, I don’t care what size she is, she is beautiful. She is though suffering from problems directly related to her weight including just being diagnosed with diabetes and very high blood pressure, she also has some very severe joint problems and her Dr. said she has to get some weight off for her quality of life. I thought we could watch Forks Over Knives together, I saw it on Netflix so I thought why not? Well we sat down to watch it and she got really mad at me and started crying and said that she is not making these kinds of changes, and how dare I suggest that she goes on this diet. I feel like a jerk, I don’t know how to talk to her about it without her getting really mad. And I don’t want to lose her, because I love her, a lot.”

6. Debbie wrote:

“I need Engine 2’s help. My brother won’t stop making fun of the way my family and I eat. It is constant, every family gather

7. Tanya wrote “I’m really trying to be plant-strong and I need it very badly, I got my cholesterol back and it is just over 300!! I’ve always thought I was healthy, I’ve only got 15 lbs to lose and thought I was eating pretty good. Since I decided to give it a try I have a friend who keeps telling me things like “don’t go overboard” “moderation is the key” “you don’t have to give up things all the way!” I know she’s trying to help, but it is not helping at all, makes me feel like she thinks I’m going to fail and that I’m not smart enough to do this. I don’t know how to tell her to let me be and let me try it, without hurting her feelings.”

So let’s hear it -what advice do you for your fellow E2-ers on how to handle the above situations?

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Natala Constantine
  • Melissa
    Posted at 10:01h, 26 July

    This is a thought provoking subject. I share a bit of everyones’ experience that you posted. I made the change to a plant based diet over 6 months ago. I have never “pushed” it on anyone, not even on my husband. The worst rejection I have received so far is from our best friends that live next door. We LOVE them and we were so happy when they moved in 3 years ago…friends ever since. The husband is an MD and tells me that I am throwing my health away. He even refuses to go out to eat with us anymore because of my change. I wish I had advice to give, but as you can see, I NEED advice to help me deal with unwanted behaviors πŸ™

  • Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
    Posted at 10:10h, 26 July

    what a great post! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Bonnie
    Posted at 10:58h, 26 July

    I could be a lot of those people above. I even get comments from a friend at work who is vegetarian. I work in a deli, and when I finally admitted that I’m plant-strong, everyone started asking me what in the world I eat. Every meal I eat there gets scrutinized minutely, which is so frustrating. I don’t want every thing I eat to be a teachable moment for some nosy person. And I haven’t even told most of our family that we’re plant strong now, specifically to avoid situations like some of those above.

    To those having problems, all I can say, is tell them to mind their own business. Or ask them what they had for their last meal. You’re eating healthy, they should be happy for you. And if you’re trying to educate a spouse about being plant-strong, make changes with yourself first, and hopefully when they see how much better you feel, they’ll at least be supportive, if not join in. My husband has been with me from day one, even though he still eats some animal products occasionally, he’s never given me any reason to regret my decision, and he’ll try any food I make. I couldn’t do it without him and the friends I have who are plant-strong.

  • Jeannine
    Posted at 10:58h, 26 July

    Friends and family give me a hard time, ME, for my husband losing so much weight since going plant strong. He’s 6′ 3″ and 177 lbs. He is thin, but no ribs showing and still has a few inches of softness on his belly. I personally agree he looks a little too thin, but I think he’s just naturally boney and the only way he won’t look boney is if he’s 20lbs overweight. People say “you gotta get some meat in that man!”. What am I his MOTHER? Seriously.. he’s 43 years old. He chose to do this with me, I am not forcing him to eat this way. And lately my thyroid has been acting up, rather, my immune system is more actively attacking my thyroid… so I haven’t been feeling that great. The first response I get to when I tell family and friends about my low energy levels: “maybe you’re missing something because of your diet”. Well maybe I am missing something but it’s not dairy or meat! GRRRR!

    • Marcia Schmidt
      Posted at 18:27h, 26 July

      This is my situation too. When I went vegan 2 years ago my husband went vegetarian. Then about 8 months ago he went vegan too and lost about 10lbs. He too is very skinny but he eats really healthy. We always get comments from his family and friends on how he is too skinny but when he was eating hamburgers and bacon all the time nobody says a word. I went vegan and didn’t lose any weight (I eat healthy, I just eat a lot) and people make comments about that too. Again, he chose to do this by himself and I always told him he can eat whatever he wants but he chose to do this himself. I always hear it from his family how before he met me he was a hamburger and bacon eater but now that he doesn’t everyone blames it on me. ugh. I also have the same issues with when I have low energy or a headache I get comments about “well if you ate more meat protein”. Half of the time I don’t even say anything just so I won’t have to hear about it from other people. I totally get it Jeannine! πŸ™‚

      • David Fournier
        Posted at 14:51h, 27 July

        If someone looks too skinny, most of the time it is because they need to start exercising and lifting some weights in order to add muscle mass. Adding muscle mass comes from exercise, not from food. Someone can add a lot of muscles on a simple plant-strong diet, without the need to tweak the kind of food eaten. Obviously, burning more calories will increase someone’s appetite but your husband simply needs to eat more of the same plant-strong food.

  • Joyce
    Posted at 10:59h, 26 July

    I’ve experienced a lot of what you posted from others. I laughed it off at first but then it started becoming hurtful and offensive. I’ve been known to tell people if they aren’t willing to learn about what I’m doing or try it to just not bother weighing in on some of my FB posts. I’ve learned people have said far worse things on FB than they have in person. I have also learned the people who choose to eat this way do a really good job of making sure they have all their facts. You all know what you are doing is right for you and that you’ve learned as much as possible to succeed. Mostly now, those people inclined to be cr*ppy with me on FB have gone away. Those in my life who see the changes it’s made for me are supportive and inquisitive and I had to unfriend only one person because he was just ridiculous about everything. Another thing I have noticed is, as I’ve gotten healthier and started feeling better, I’ve really been evaluating my emotional boundaries and trying to get the toxic people out of my life. That’s not an easy decision, but they’re just as bad for the spirit as toxic food is for the body.

  • Victoria
    Posted at 11:04h, 26 July

    It seems we are all in the same veggie bowl πŸ™‚ I cannot believe the anger and hostility I run into about my diet. I, too, do not push it on anyone else. My husband is not veggie /vegan, but does support me. I even had a bagger at the grocery store offer me some fresh dear meat, as he had gone hunting the prior week. I had to pull back my 6’3″ hubby from jumping on him. I just try to be nice and smile and say it works for me. Maybe we need to team up, do the buddy system. The only place I feel safe is Whole Foods. Peace Love & Namaste’ all πŸ™‚

  • haleyusf
    Posted at 11:05h, 26 July

    My response to the bullying/pressure is to tell people that I’m doing this for me, and that if they don’t want it to impact them, it doesn’t have to. I bring my own food to family meals, I think ahead about what I will order when I’m out (and try not to complain with there is little to choose from), and I focus on the positives. I glow about the delicious food, the energy boost, the healthy changes in myself, and hope that the message spreads. I had to be more forceful with some family members/loved ones, and told them flat out what I needed from them. I said, “What I need from you is either support or silence. If you can’t give the first, at least give the second.” When it comes down to it, this is my life, and I am choosing to live it more healthfully than I was before, and the rest of the world can just deal with it.

    • kat
      Posted at 13:41h, 26 July

      yay!! that is what i am going to say from now on to people who are annoying. give me support or silence, you choose! πŸ™‚

    • Jenn
      Posted at 20:03h, 26 July

      I really like that response too… I find some people think they are being supportive when in reality they are being really frustrating. Just keep breathing… in… out… in… out…

      • Kristie Eccleston
        Posted at 12:10h, 27 July

        Absolutely love this. It’s clear and simple. Sometimes just telling someone directly what you need, can solve the problem.

  • Carol Whitaker
    Posted at 11:08h, 26 July

    I tell them the data is overwhelming……. read The China Study and Eat to Live, watch the Forks over Knives documentary, and if you’re still not convinced this isn’t just another diet gimic, do follow up research on all the other related authors/ resources/materials (that’s what I did). I tell them I LOVE what I eat, it’s delicious and it makes me feel like a million bucks ALL THE TIME. For the first time in my entire life I have my health and weight under MY control and not the other way around. For all these reasons I am a nutritarian….. and I’m NEVER going back.

    It’s all about personal choices and we should respect those choices…… my husband is a member of the SAD/couch potato contingent…. I don’t like what he’s doing to himself, but I respect his choices just as he is respecting mine.

    • Joe W
      Posted at 15:31h, 26 July

      Carol – I’ve said many of the same things many times. I have the confidence of knowing that it works for me (50 point cholesterol drop, 30+ pounds, feel great, lose a little every week (26 out of 28 weeks).

  • Heather Wellman
    Posted at 11:10h, 26 July

    For #1. My mom and I did everything around food. We did holidays, lunch dates, dinner meals, everything. It was our life together. So, when I made the change, our relationship had to change. But it couldn’t. Instead, I bought her a copy of E2 Diet. Then we made a game out of it. What did we used to love to eat and how could we make it something that I could eat now. What could we find at our favorite restaurant. Where are the cheapest groceries. I actually think it made us better. It had the potential to break us apart because she did the exact same thing you describe. She would put butter on the vegetables and she would make my favorite deserts. I thought it was cruel, but eventually we found a way to make it work. We still argue sometimes about it, but overall it is much better.

    • Jennifer Edwards
      Posted at 11:47h, 26 July

      This is really great advice! My mom and I have issues with boundaries, too. Thanks!

    • Sharon Pinder
      Posted at 13:19h, 26 July

      For the “mom” problems, I keep in mind how it seems like a primal urge to make sure our kids are fed, and healthy, and not hungry. Our moms did not grow up hearing about plant-strong nutrition, so it is new and foreign to most moms. I would try so hard to give my mom the benefit of the doubt, even if she put butter on my veggies. Take it slow and let the proof be in your wellness and well-being.

      For other people who comment and question you, I think a lot of their judgement comes from their own defensiveness. Probably deep down they know they are eating unhealthy foods and they feel guilty when they find someone being so healthy.

      My quick response to anyone who questions or comments: “I was able to quit taking my cholesterol meds and my blood pressure meds, and I feel really good!, so I guess it’s working for me.”

  • Leonora
    Posted at 11:10h, 26 July

    My husband and I are on day four of a vegan diet. I think the hardest part is giving up the dairy, especially the cheese. Wondering when that craving will go away?
    It’s sad to read the above comments of how some people are so unsupportive.
    Our son is unsupportive….This mom cooked a meal every night (that included meat) while he was growing up. Now he’s home for summer from college and can’t understand why we would choose to go without meat. I still try to make a meal everynight and he has the option to eat what I make or not eat it. Grilled portabella mushroom burgers were delicious; he still wanted a hamburger that he made himself because I’m not changing our food choices. Our girls are fine with this new diet movement. I think that somehow our son views no meat eating as unmasculine, so I’ve been forwarding him information about males who are vegan.
    Yesterday I picked up my daughter from a friend’s house and the father was ready to grill a pork tenderloin which he promptly put near me. Whatever! Asked about the rub he used and then said nothing else. I’m at the point in my life where I really don’t care what other people think about me and my choices. My husband and I are trying this journey and I like this supportive community. Ignore the naysayers. I know it’s easier said than done, but this is YOUR life. Live it the way YOU want it and what best suits you!

    • Raven Hannah
      Posted at 15:14h, 26 July

      Leonora . . . dairy is addictive, as it has casomorphins in it. Give it time and try some of the vegan cheese substitutes. You will find that eventually, you don’t miss dairy and it will end up tasting like the artery clogging fatty gunk that it is. Also, think about the cows who spend their lives giving up their calves milk for human consumption. If you watch a video of what they do to dairy cows, you’ll never touch dairy again. This worked for me waaay before there were so many vegan foods on the market. Hope this helps! πŸ™‚

    • Tony
      Posted at 15:42h, 26 July


      Your cheese craving will go away in a month. All desire to eat dairy and meat disappear, at least they did for me in a month. It’s like anything, you feel yourself get a little bit healthier every month and after awhile there’s no turning back. You start to feel too good to ever turn back. The improvement in health so far outweighs the joy you got from meat, that it doesn’t even bother you to go to a BBQ at a friend’s house. In fact, you’ll like smelling the grill, but you’ll feel so good there’s no tempting you.

      I have been doing this for 11 months now and I feel like I have reversed age from 46 to about 30.

    • Laurie
      Posted at 20:15h, 26 July

      Cheese was the hardest for me but it wasn’t as hard to give up as I thought. It is true that soon you won’t miss it. I never thought I would enjoy a pizza without cheese, but I have found that it is even better without cheese.

      • Rob
        Posted at 15:57h, 27 July

        Totally agree with Laurie about the cheeseless pizza. Amazing how good it is.

  • Christina
    Posted at 11:13h, 26 July

    Usually I say… I can’t remember a time when I went to the doctor and he said “Christina, you really NEED to cut down on eating the fruits and vegetables!”

  • Shari
    Posted at 11:28h, 26 July

    I am not completely plant strong yet. I’ve given up meat and I’m still working on the dairy and oil but have cut way down. So far family has been supportive and when out to dinner with others it really hasn’t come up that much. If it does I just say I’m trying to get my cholesterol down (which is true). But, I have made another life change that was similar (giving up alcohol) and it either changed my relationship with other people or I no longer have one with them. I think when we make major life changes it makes other people uncomfortable. Sometimes our changes cause them to reflect on their own choices which is not always easy. Thankfully I have not had to deal with the hostility or rudeness that others have. I like the response “It works for me”.

    • Lois Gowen
      Posted at 15:31h, 26 July

      If you give up all the bad stuff at once, it is easier. I dumped everything off that we were not suppose to eat. In two weeks, we felt so much better it kept us strong. I was able to stop taking coedine for arthritis pain, 90% of the pain was gone.

    • Joe W
      Posted at 15:35h, 26 July

      I really appreciate your comparison of personal changes making others uncomfortable. I am living that with a family member. Thank you for sharing.

      • Sarah
        Posted at 18:50h, 26 July

        Too true….. Each to their own

  • Nikki
    Posted at 11:31h, 26 July

    I have had lots of success with combatting comments with, “I feel great when I eat like this, so I might as well keep doing it!” Then change the subject.

    Unfortunately, I have been attacked more often than I care to admit by those trying to “expose my faults.” That is, as soon as they hear that I don’t eat animal products, they immediately fire out in one breath, “Do you wear leather? Do you go to the circus? How about the zoo?”And so on. I don’t do any of those things; however it is insulting that people are desperately seeking evidence to make me a hypocrite! To these people, I usually laugh and say, “Is this a 20/20 interview?” I remember then not to bring up food around them, because they just aren’t ready to receive the message yet!

    • Laurie Hertzler
      Posted at 12:06h, 26 July

      Oh yes! I heard those things all the time. They are trying to discount your ideas by trying to find an inconsistency, then they don’t have to think about it anymore. I think I usually said something like, “I’m doing the best I can,” or “Every little bit helps even if it’s not perfect…”

  • Bren
    Posted at 11:37h, 26 July

    I have had some problems too, and was shocked by how offended people got at my food choices. The biggest one though, was being told I was “following a New Age cult”, and that I was putting my spiritual life in danger, by a fellow church goer.

    • Jennifer Edwards
      Posted at 11:57h, 26 July

      That’s a shame. I forget where I saw it, but I know Dr. Mcdougal has collected verses from the Bible that support evidence for this way of eating within the Judeo-Christian tradition. I bet the Adventists out there could help you with that one, too. πŸ™‚

      • Bren
        Posted at 12:38h, 26 July

        I think it is all based in fear and lack of knowledge….the Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” I do not argue. I just thank God for showing me a better way for me.

      • Iceskater1
        Posted at 02:56h, 28 July

        Check out the Christian Vegetarian Association online, they have a great website with all kinds of Bible verses.

    • kalisa
      Posted at 23:24h, 28 July

      It’s actually God’s original diet for us. It’s in the first chapter of the bible, I think Genesis 1:29. Even the animals were plant eaters.

  • Laurie Hertzler
    Posted at 11:37h, 26 July

    I’ve been a vegetarian for about 40 years, and a vegan for about 5. I encountered all kinds of hostility years ago, but now I feel that people respect me for my choice. In fact, they often tell me so. I thought it was because times have changed, and people are more enlightened, but reading all your comments, I guess that’s not the case. So maybe, as you become more confident and steadfast in your committment, people will change their tune. It’s not so much what you choose to say, but it’s the feeling you convey. And you have so many reasons to feel confident–your diet is good for your health, your palate, the environment, the animals, the world’s hungry people, and your mind and spirit. And you are in great company–Gandhi, Pythagorus, Buddha, Emerson. So, be assured and keep up the good work!

  • Jennifer Edwards
    Posted at 11:43h, 26 July

    For the wife with the hubby who is threatening to leave: please, for your sake and the sake of your marriage, go talk to someone. A counselor could be a great mediator to help you work through the hostility.

    For the hubby with the wife who got hurt: buy some flowers, apologize, tell her how you were only looking to help her, how beautiful you think she is…and then go plant strong yourself. Lead by example, and let her come to it on her own terms.

    I agree with the “lead, follow, or get out of the way” approach suggested by a lot of folks here. If someone matters, you should be able to say, “look, I know you don’t agree with this, but if you care about me, you will be supportive. If not, you will at least not get in my way.”


  • Denise
    Posted at 11:44h, 26 July

    I just had a good (?) friend say, “Hey, I hear you are a vegan now, and that you fed your mother in law a TOFU meatloaf! My husband would NEVER let me get away with that”. She was for sure trying to make me feel bad, then her husband walked in and said, “How do you know, you have never tried to make a tofu meatloaf!” That made me feel better.

    The other day my dad told me I don’t need to worry about my cholesterol (even though my mom died of heart disease only a few months ago), because grandma lived to be 93 without even knowing her cholesterol. I just told him I don’t need to worry about it anymore, because of the way I am eating πŸ™‚

    I just don’t tell many people what our family is doing. My kids love it, and I warned them that when they start school in the fall and talk about it, kids will tease them so we are going over scenarios and prepping them to give appropriate responses. It is so foolish that people will tease us about eating healthy, it makes absolutely no logical sense whatsover.

    I like the phrase “Well, it seems to work for me”. I will be using that.

  • Stacey Morton-Cohen
    Posted at 12:07h, 26 July

    I am so sorry to those of you who are meeting with such extreme hostility, especially those of you with extensive health issues who are trying to make bold changes. I have encountered a fair amount of backlash myself and it can be tiring. Our culture has deep emotional attachments to food and people become threatened when those emotional attachments are challenged. Our choice to change triggers everything from childhood emotions to addiction issues for our obstructionists. They are going through inner turmoil themselves or they wouldn’t be so hostile. However, I have found peace with my diet choices and am ready and able to cut those out of my life whom are unwilling to at least be tolerant of my choices. Ways I Cope: At work I love to sign up to bring in snacks on Food Fridays and bring in vegan choices that knock people’s socks off. I seldom mention the foods are vegan. I just wait for the positive comments and recipe requests to come in and giggle on the inside when they come from my carnivorous associates. I have found a local vegetarian/vegan group in town who hosts monthly pot lucks. Search online. You may be surprised to know a group is near you, or consider starting one! My husband and I have several couples who are true friends and with whom we do vegan night every couple of months. Support is the ticket, whether you find it online or in your community. Finally, consider this, anyone who would rather see you fat, sick and/or dying and who is unwilling to at least consider the research,doesn’t deserve the gift of having a courageous and reflective person like you in his or her life. So grab that kale chip and go for it!

  • Melissa
    Posted at 12:09h, 26 July

    I love you Natala! I hope I get to hear you speak soon, I heard a rumor you are in Salt Lake City, if that is true I’m only a couple of hours away and would love to hear you talk !!

    • Devin
      Posted at 10:39h, 30 July

      Melissa I really hope that’s true! I live in Salt Lake City we should get together for some awesome plant based food the next time you come here!

  • Dr. Tom Kirchhofer
    Posted at 12:10h, 26 July

    My wife has always lamented that I have chosen ever possible opportunity to swim upstream during our nearly 50 years of marriage. I tell people that you must have that Salmon instinct and be willing to swim upstream with great difficulty just to lay your eggs and then be willing to die!

    For my friends and family, who treat me poorly and want me to be like them, I tell them, “This doesn’t work for friends!” or ” This doesn’t work for family!”

    They get the same choices as we did. Give them the freedom to make them!


  • Constance
    Posted at 12:25h, 26 July

    After 13 years as a vegan, I can tell you it gets better, but there will always be someone who is so defended or threatened that they have to “get up into your business.” I love the “it works for me” comeback…that’s the attitude I have taken with people. I have never, ever tried to convert anyone or make them see things my way. In fact, I just don’t talk about it that much unless someone is genuinely interested.

  • Karen Stickney
    Posted at 12:38h, 26 July

    I continue to get crap from people at work for my food choices, at first because I have to eat gluten free, and then because I later chose to eat plant strong. I think it’s all in “good fun,” but they make comments about how yummy meat is, and what cows are for, and how I must eat sawdust, etc (even though they love the look and smell of the foods I bring to work. I don’t try to change anyone, but point out that I haven’t missed work in many many years, I never have to go on a diet, and I don’t have to face plant onto the desk in the middle of the night from fatigue, unlike my coworkers. None of them will change – they just keep trying the next big thing, whatever that diet may be. My coworker’s husband just dropped dead in the middle of the night on Monday. He was only 36 yrs old, with a 2 yr old and another baby due in November. His wife, my friend, is beyond consolable, and has no idea how she will be able to go forward, never mind paying her bills. He weighed 400 lbs. She’s big too, and all I’ve heard is “Keith’s a big guy; he has big bones; my BMI is high (41!) because I’m short, etc. My heart aches for her, but it makes me angry too, because no one needs to die at 36 because they don’t want to change their habits. Life’s too precious.

  • Danielle
    Posted at 12:49h, 26 July

    After a couple of years of being plant strong, through casual conversation the other day, my mother found out my family (husband, 2YO daughter, and I) are plant-strong. She lives in another state and we don’t see each other often, so I guess it had never come up until now. Her tone immediately changed and she seemed a little defensive. I had to reassure her that it was a decision WE made for ourselves and everyone is entitled to do the same for themselves. I had to make it know I wasn’t judging her. I think that’s what others tend to think when you are plant strong – that you are judging everyone else for their choices, even when you’re not.

    The discussion ended with her saying, “Well, I guess as long as you are healthy…” and I reassured her we were. πŸ™‚

  • Margie
    Posted at 13:02h, 26 July

    I joined a weight loss group called TOPS. It stands for taking off pounds sensibly. I am the only one in a very large group of women who is striving to eat a plant strong diet. How I wish I had a group who shared my eating style. It would make me so much more comfortable and confident in my weight loss journey. The tips I get from this group along with recipes are not very useful to me.
    As for FB, I had to dump a macho man friend who is a carnivore, lifts weight in a gym and made constant references to my plant strong postings that were downers.
    My closest friend refuses to watch McDougall videos, read any plant strong books and thinks that eating Little Debbys pies and popping cholesterol lowering pills is the path to health and well being. I finally had to ask my older sister to stop introducing me to people as a vegetarian(as if I was some oddity.) I am muddling along and do best when I cook for myself as I have often been involved in struggles at restaurants trying to obtain healthy food while my non-vegan friends cheerfully suggest, “They have salads here.” (iceberg lettuce)

    • Kerry
      Posted at 16:45h, 26 July

      I often wish that there was a plant based weight loss group in my area, too. I have encountered the same thing you have at Weight Watchers and HOW Over eater Anonymous meetings. No helpful tips at all.
      As for eating out I have started to research restaurants in the area we are going out in. I’ll call ahead and see if they have vegan options or if their chef would be able to whip me up something vegan. Then I can give my friends a few restaurants to choose from, so it doesn’t reel like they are being forced to eat at the “one” restaurant I can eat at. I have actually gotten props for being the person who can find a new favorite restaurant! Some friends have still be resistant, and I’ll just try to schedule non food outings with them. I will also eat before I go to a restaurant that I know has limited options for me. I know how hard it can be to go somewhere and have my friend say, ‘well you’re a vegan – aren’t salads all you eat anyway?”

    • Devin
      Posted at 10:47h, 30 July

      Margie, we should be friends on Facebook. I have lost 30 lbs already but am doing it on my own, it would be great to have a partner in crime! Look me up under Devin Mary Santiago. Oh and by the way, I hate it when people try to make me go to a restaurant just because they don’t want to try something new I suggested and they say “well they have salads there!” If I wanted a salad, I would make one at home for 1-2$ not pay 11$ for a bowl of lettuce and vegetables. I go out to eat to try new things and find DELICIOUS food that I can eat.

  • Dana
    Posted at 13:11h, 26 July

    I am so sad to read all those horrible stories from people getting negative feedback. Are we really in a place where we need to start handing out presigned contracts to our friends and families saying that we agree that our relationship and how we are treated is now 100% conditional upon on what we eat?
    At the end of the day, once you raise your expectations of yourself, others feel bad when they don’t do the same. Healthy habits remind some people of their unhealthy failures. Their attempts to loudly deflect only demonstrate their intense need to hide their fears.
    May you all feel strength, hope and resolve to follow your own path toward a life of health and happiness surrounded by love and joy.

    • Jennifer
      Posted at 16:10h, 26 July

      I agree with Dana. While my family will never be vegan or vegitarian, they overall support my decision, and when they cook, they usually make it in a way that I can eat. There are the occasional jabs, disguised as teasing, but they’ll get over it. As I said, my husband will never be vegetarian, but he is very proud of the fact that he doesn’t eat fast food anymore, eats more plant strong, only eats meat once a week, and as a result has lost 30 pounds.
      At work, I’m lucky that they’re supportive to the point that they even try my new recipes.
      The only issues I’ve had is that I’m training for my first marathon, and found that my caloric intake was dropping, since my food was nutrient dense, but not so caloric dense. I think that this was leading to fatigue in the middle of the week, after a few 10 hour shifts on top of my training.
      So like Dana, I think that people are intimidated my something they don’t understand, and if they don’t have the will to make lifestyle changes that they know they need, they tend to react negatively. It’s their problem, not yours.

  • Eric Gross
    Posted at 14:49h, 26 July

    “Where do you get your protein from,” is the first question people usually ask. The second question, which is more of a statement than a question is, “Don’t you know your body needs fat to survive.”

    When my wife and I (and now our kids, ages five and four) first went plant strong we were bombarded with these (any many other) questions like “where’s the protein?” and “fat’s good for you, right?” Turn out, so I learned the hard way, people have an emotional attachment to their food. And why not, we eat several times and day, everyday. What we eat truly is an extension of ourselves. And because of this, people also harbor a lot of guilt and will strongly defend their food choices.

    Initially, when asked about my dietary changes, I stated that I’ve made a lifestyle choice to eat a cardiac diet with restrictions. So many people are lead to believe that if a doctor tells them to do something then it must be right- so I got away without explaining too much. After about three or so months I no longer had to use the “the doctor told me to do it” excuse. I had some results to back up my lifestyle choice: my weight had dropped, I had a ‘glow’ about my face, and my blood work showed incredible change. Now, after nine months of being plant strong I no longer have to defend myself with ‘my doctor told me to do it’ excuse. In nine months’ time I’ve lost 45 lbs., my total cholesterol has dropped 58 points, I am never hungry and can eat as much as I want, and I am exercising six to seven days per week training for a marathon.

    At first I felt like I had to give people an excuse for my decision to go plant strong. Now all I need to do is say, “Hey, the results speak for themselves.”

  • Raven Hannah
    Posted at 15:30h, 26 July

    I have been a vegetarian most of my life, and a vegan for the past eleven years. I have my ups and downs regarding people’s reactions, comments, negativity, snide remarks, rude behavior, etc. It is especially difficult where I live, as there really isn’t any support and my fiance, who was also vegan, passed away five years ago after we were hit by a drunk driver. πŸ™ Sooooo, I have my good days and my bad days, however I would love to find some like-minded friends who want to connect on Facebook, or chat via email or phone. It gets super lonely living in a meat-oriented community, especially since I am also opposed to hunting, fishing and the like, as well as those who insist on destroying this planet. People in this area are just not very healthy and they don’t want to hear about eating plant-strong. Eating out is not even fun anymore and it gets annoying having meat shoved in my face by people I might eat out with.

    I’ve tried certain meet-ups and other groups, however many are just too extreme, or the groups are too far away. I feel so isolated and alone . . . and I’ve been doing this a very long time. I’m not sure why it’s bothering me more than usual lately, however I can truly relate to many of the stories above. I don’t usually let things get to me this much, however, for some reason, I’ve been extra sensitive to all the negativity lately. This too shall pass, as they say! πŸ™‚

    I suppose one reason might be that I am very sad for the animals, the environment and the people who are living in fear and denial. I’m a strong person and I know I will snap out of this funk, however it truly isn’t fun taking this journey by yourself.

    Peace to you all . . . β™₯


    • Andrea
      Posted at 17:27h, 26 July

      Hey Raven check out Happy Herbivore’s singles facebook group called Single Herbies. You have to send them a friend request but everyone is accepted. And it’s just a friendly group, not necessarily a dating group. Just like-minded people chatting on facebook.

      • Raven Hannah
        Posted at 18:32h, 26 July

        Thanks Andrea! πŸ™‚

    • brian
      Posted at 11:26h, 27 July

      Hey Raven,
      Hang in there. Certainly losing your fiance makes it tough. The interwebs can be great in finding like minded people. I certainly think you can find lots to chat with out there and HH singles group is a great idea!

  • Tony
    Posted at 15:32h, 26 July

    Eventually you will look a lot better than everyone else and they’ll shut up. I especially got a lot of energy after getting off of Lipitor and Plavix. My plant strong body builds muscle so fast now I cannot believe it. I love going to the gym again which had not been the case in a long time. I actually catch women checking me for the first time in twenty years.

    The best revenge is just to look great. Fat people come up to me at work and want to know my secret. I buy them Forks Over Knives on DVD. The change you will make in only six months is going to blow your mind.

  • Jeri Bormann
    Posted at 15:42h, 26 July

    I get a lot of the “Well, I think you need a little fat, at least” from my mom. I have tried to explain that if you eat nuts, avocados, etc, you DO get little fat. She thinks the soups at Olive Garden are not fatty at all…I just let her talk, don’t try to change her..I can’t. But she can’t change me, either

  • Jean D.
    Posted at 15:50h, 26 July

    Five years ago, I weighed 95 pounds more than I do today. Now my BMI is 20. Recently I discovered that an (obese) acquaintance was spreading a rumor that I am bulimic.

    When we make positive changes in our lives, some people will feel threatened by that.

  • Stacy Braxton
    Posted at 15:54h, 26 July

    I’m just curious if anyone has ever tried asking, point blank, “Why does it upset you so much how I eat? I don’t care how you eat.”

    Now the conversation isn’t about my dietary decisions, it’s about their irrational emotional response.

    • Susie
      Posted at 17:39h, 26 July

      I say this all the time. It generally shuts them up initially and then they undoubtedly will ask me something about my lifestyle/eating habits again, but this time they are generally more curious, less agro.

      • Susie
        Posted at 17:40h, 26 July

        Honestly, I think the smarmy crack they first deliver is a defensive response and they literally think that my not eating animal products is somehow insulting their way of life. Very strange, but I experience it often. Particularly with my family.

  • ClareB
    Posted at 15:57h, 26 July

    Oh boy! I only get criticized every now and then. I’ve been vegetarian for 8 years (started in high school), went vegan 5 years ago (while in college). When I was in high school in the mid-west, it was really hard. Kids can be so mean and especially mean to a vegetarian in a meat-eaters world, like Minnesota. Kids would “moo” at me, while eating their burgers. I took a Foods class and I had just stopped eating meat. We made Jerk-burgers in class, and I had never had that before and just wanted to try an itty bitty little piece to see what this Jerk sauce was like. All the kids started “mooing” at me. Luckily, I had a nice teacher who was pretty understanding. She told everyone to shut up and mind their own business. I also would get ridiculed in the salad/sub line at lunch. One of the old ladies behind the counter handed me a turkey sub. I asked if she could give me one without meat, because I don’t eat that anymore. She “oh, no don’t do that!!”
    At the end of the day, what you eat doesn’t affect people around you. I always tell people “I’m not telling you not eat that cow on your plate, so don’t try to tell me what I should eat”. Basically, I’ll leave your diet alone, if you leave mine alone. I try not to preach about it or change anyone’s views. If someone asks me about my diet, wanting to know more, of course, I’ll share it. I just don’t get up on my soapbox or get in anyones face. I just go about my business eating right and reaping the benefits. Other people will begin to see what a difference it makes.
    Just keep on doing what you’re doing and don’t let anyone change your mind. After all, it’s your health that will be affected, not theirs. People will only attack your decisions because they feel insecure about their own. That’s really all you need to know.

  • Kathy O'Donoghue
    Posted at 16:00h, 26 July

    Every adult on my dad’s side of the family has Type II Diabetes and is overweight. Family gatherings are a nightmare because even as all are checking their watches for medication and snack time, they are eating fatty meat and dairy filled foods and simple carbohydrates filled with artificial sweeteners. Yes, I am the “nut” in the family and yes, they can’t stop commenting and critiquing how I eat and live. Here’s what you and I need to remember ALWAYS. When people who are not feeling great and are eating poorly see someone do something different, it is uncomfortable for them. It means they are CHOOSING to not be healthy, if you are choosing something different. All this resistance and mean spirited-ness exemplified in the above posts is FEAR based. You can choose to live a healthy emotional life as you are choosing to live a healthy physical life. Let them come to their own truth at their own time, learn to smile politely (even at your mother!) and say, “I was just so concerned about my declining health and want to be around a long time to love my family and I am so glad I have found a way to do that!” No more words are necessary. Some will get it, some not, some FB friends will have to go, some will need to reduce the time they spend with certain people in social eating situations. Every situation will bring different challenges. Respect yourselves and your choices and offer prayers for peace and enlightenment for your families every day. God bless each of you for your amazing commitment to your health and your loved ones!

  • Ann
    Posted at 16:23h, 26 July

    I have been very quiet about this change because I’ve gotten alot of flack over the years by supposed friends when I eat something they don’t agree with. I don’t mind honest curiosity, but often it’s more than that. I’ve learned that if someone can’t allow me to make choices for myself, it’s more about them. Some issue in their lives is bothering them when they see me change. Sometimes we can work through it. Sometimes I ignore it. Sometimes I have to make a stand and break off the friendship.

    Right now I’m still figuring things out and I don’t feel I can take questions or persecution. My husband is on board with me, and just last weekend asked for some clarification on some point in a more public setting. I just ignored him and talked to him about it later. I haven’t been feeling strong enough to try explaining why we don’t eat eggs (etc) to well-meaning friends.

    Also, my transformation is happening slowly. I’m hoping to win the children over by easing them into it.

  • SallyV
    Posted at 16:41h, 26 July

    I think it’s quite obvious that every person those people above are struggling with is acting out of fear. It’s scary to open your eyes to something you maybe know in the back of your head is wrong (to kill an animal for food when it’s not for mere survival) and plus what I think every one in the world has in common is FEAR OF CHANGE in general. It’s easier not to think of how we treat animals and stick to the old romantic picture of small farms with happy animals being treated with respect.
    – It’s also hard to see another person close to you making a big change, having the courage and thriving because of it, especially when you yourself feel stuck in a rut. What comes out is jealousy, denial, meanness and criticism. Remember those are all feelings of fear and serve to stay in denial of issues that are coming to the surface.

    I hope every person who wrote their story above, is able to see things from a different angle, the angle that people criticizing you are struggling with issues in themselves and their own fear of making a change. Their acting out is always reflecting their own person, and you can’t be responsible for their fear. Go your own way, do what’s best for you and feel compassion for the person giving you a hard time because they are obviously struggling with something that you are making apparent for them. Have compassion but also explain for them, especially to someone close to you, that you feel hurt by what they say to you.
    It’s not easy, sometimes the person won’t come to terms with your changing and you’ll have to let them go or stop paying attention to them and start being around people who are more supportive of you exactly the way you are. But if you can talk it through with the person and explain that this is right for you now, maybe it will work out fine and the person is forced to come to terms with this, and may or may not make their own change about issues they have been struggling with.
    Good luck on your journey and remember that only you knows what’s best for you <3

  • Mark
    Posted at 16:59h, 26 July

    I’ve been doing a plant-strong diet since March 2007 (after interviewing Dr. Essy about his book), and getting flack is not unusual. I generally respond in different ways depending upon whom, the media (transmission method!), and what’s said. It varies.

    My generic fallback is #3 above (“it works for me”) which is what I used as a vegetarian for 20 years and then as vegan for 10 years. I also have a 30 second summary of “why” that’s polite (mentioning Vogel’s research at UofMd which is MEASUREMENTS and not theory), as well as both Ornish and Essy independently doing something no one else has done in the medical establishment: reverse heart disease and a summary of “why”.

    That’s usually enough to either have a reasonable conversation from then on, or none!

    I applaud Natala on bringing these issues out in the open and inviting feedback (esp. after the FB dustup, don’t know all the details). Hadn’t thought about what everyone else goes through, too, and I think it’s important we do compare notes and discuss these matters openly. We are a, well, minority in a minority! We need to keep the communication lines open and not be afraid to discuss people’s reactions OR to discuss our diets when people inquire.

    …and they will! Howard Lyman lectures about having that 30 second window when asked about someone being one of those “V people” and also a longer response if the opportunity presents itself. I’d also add that I keep a few website addresses in my head, so to speak, to write down on a business card or piece of paper if these matters come up with people I just meet.

    Be prepared, not afraid, be proud, and be thankful that you’ve discovered something wonderful that works for you. Not everyone is as lucky in life!

  • Wendy
    Posted at 17:17h, 26 July

    Wow! I’ve had some negative feedback and comments but nothing like people have described in your post. Fascinating that so many seem to have bought into big dairy/big meat/fast food/big pharma’s lies about nutrition.
    I’ve been lucky enough to share great tasting food with my meat eating friends who didn’t even know they were eating plant based! If people allow their tastebuds to be livened up they would see some of the benefits.
    One thing that I’ve done is to prepare some of the old favorites with vegan ingredients. My lasagna is amazing and my chili even fooled my HUGELY meat eating son in law! I’ve taken vegan sausages (homemade) to bar b ques without saying what they were and people have loved them!
    I wish all of you struggling with the negative ones in your life lots of luck! Hang in there – you’re doing something amazing for your life and your health.

  • Tana
    Posted at 19:01h, 26 July

    I have been a teetotaler my entire adult life and so I can relate to the concept that people acting as if they are afraid of being judged because I choose differently than them.
    My husband and I have only been on E2 for a few days and are already losing weight and–hallelujah– sleeping much better. I’m already encountering weirdness from co-workers about this change, though. I have to be careful not to “preach” unintentionally. Just today, for instance, a co-worker said, “I could probably give up meat but I could never give up my cheese!” I responded that cheese had the highest cholesterol of just about any other food. My bad. I just need to smile and say, “It’s really working for me.”

  • Penny H
    Posted at 21:45h, 26 July

    I have experienced a few bits of nastiness, too, but the support has been overwhelming (thank goodness!). When people start to get offensive I just tell them that I could choose this or death; that I choose this over having a stent, then more stents, and then the bypasses and then death. That sets them back on their heels. Sometimes a little shock therapy is useful. I’ve had some people tell me they would rather die than give up meat. How much meat do you get to eat when you are dead? Really?
    I’ve had more people who were incredibly supportive and those I know to be my true friends.
    Some people are really curious (I have lost 32 lbs and am 5’3 so the weight loss is really obvious). I see a lot of people every day at work and sometimes they ask me how I did it, so I keep some names, blogs and websites in my head and write those out for them.
    I have also found that eating out isn’t that hard (I live in California which helps). Salads, potatoes or rice with veggies… I’m good to go. The restaurants that I have gone to have been more than happy to figure something out. I do sometimes have to have white rice or pasta, but I don’t compromise on the vegan and no added oil parts of it.
    Now that I’ve read about other peoples’ struggles, I am even more grateful for the support that I have. Wow!
    I wish you all the best, Penny

  • Gwynn H
    Posted at 00:27h, 27 July

    My wife has been vegetarian for most of her life. As I am the “Shopper Chef” of the household I have always worked hard in the kitchen to create meals for her that support her dietary needs while also very occasionally cooking entirely separate meals for me and our two children. By cooking for her for our whole marriage we have naturally been eating fairly healthily. At the start of this year I made the change to vegetarianism and 4 months ago we both went 100% plant strong. It has been challenging to find meals we can all eat as a family as I won’t push it completely onto our children but slowly they are coming around, preferring no cheese pizzas & soy milk on their cereals and they now eat my famous homemade veggie burgers! I would think that anyone with a partner who is opposed to you changing your diet so radically will eventually come around to at least supporting you as long as you don’t make it a burden on them – ie. you will need to keep cooking them meat & dairy (if you are the cook). If they don’t eventually then you have to ask yourself if dying from diet related illness is worth sticking with them. I have mostly kept quiet about it with regards to my friends but the ones that I have spoken to are usually just curious about why I’m doing it so I let them know without ranting. I have had a couple of people give me the “what are you doing? we are MEANT TO EAT MEAT!” lecture. My stock response to these people is “I’m happy to talk about it with you if that’s what you really want but I’m warning you it will be a very long conversation.” Usually they go back to drinking their beer & choose some other topic they can to show everyone their vast superior knowledge. I think we are really on the cusp of a serious food revolution, once it becomes more popular you will see many people change to a plant strong diet that you never thought would have!

  • Lynnette
    Posted at 00:53h, 27 July

    I have found that I tend to be pretty quiet about it. I often end up ordering special when out for work or with friends, but they were used to that before anyhow. Now my special orders are just a little more creative. I usually pre-eat before going to events like open houses or dinner parties. But I’ve been surprised by what plant strong foods I do find there. I haven’t been 100% hard core (the pistachio gellato @ the art museum opening was just amazing), but have been able to do really well eating out and about. I bring plant strong to work potlucks.

    I’ve had minimal questions or attacks, probably because I’ve been fairly low key about it. I did send my mom FOK and HH for her birthday. Now she is on board and we compare recipes and send food pictures back & forth. And I cooked plant strong for my friend & her family while their dad was in Hospice. They liked what I brought even though the whole family wasn’t plant strong.

    My husband came around more gradually. He liked what I was eating more than what he was eating so has moved to my food. He had several “I need MEAT” spurts, but regretted them as he felt it the next day. He still eats desserts out that aren’t plant strong, but is much more boastful and vocal about what we eat. He tells EVERYONE even when it isn’t necessary or a good fit to the conversation.
    It can get embarrassing. There is no need to go LOOKING for conflict in my opinion.

    I am so sorry to hear how horrible people can be. It makes me appreciate the support that I am lucky to have.

  • Terri
    Posted at 01:13h, 27 July

    Depending on the environment where the negative comments are originating, a good tactic may be to put the verbal smack down on the offensive person right from the get-go. My hubby is an ultra fit F-16 pilot (alpha male w/ a New York attitude), the second a guy makes a negative crack about his salad for lunch he goes for the verbal take down. The person always ends up slinking away stunned and embarrassed. He no longer has any unwanted comments and people wouldn’t dare question his manhood, lol (by the way he uses this same tactic to defend the Prius we drive:). He truly cannot believe that anyone would give one whit as to what he eats because he could care less that they are chain swallowing twinkies. I realize sticking up for yourself in this manner may only find success in certain testosterone filled work environments where verbal jabs are the norm. I’m just happy that I never have to defend our plant based lifestyle, he’s the mouthpiece for our family in that regard…thank goodness! It’s sad that we must meet other’s immaturity with further immaturity, but in our experience it works.

  • Ashley C.
    Posted at 01:27h, 27 July


    I suggest creating stricter boundaries with your mom. You can tell her “I love you and I want you to be in my life, but I will only be able to spend time with you if you can be supportive and loving.” She will…eventually. Unless you create clear boundaries AND hold up your end of the bargain (by ending phone conversations when she is rude, or going home early whens he tries to sabotage you) she will continue to do what works. If it no longer works for her and she doesn’t get what she wants out of it she will no longer engage in those behaviors. She seems to have trouble with codependency and enabling, it may be the only role in which she feels important. Stay strong! Send the chocolate back to her. Tell her that if she wants to come to dinner at your house you will cook. Do not let her treat you this way, you can demand respect and still be loving. If she says something, gently remind her, if she continues, create a boundary and leave. Good luck!

  • Patricia
    Posted at 09:45h, 27 July

    I became vegan in 1971. My family thought I was crazy and made fun of me all the time. They told me my hair and nails would fall out. I always brought my own food. Well, fast forward to 2011 and my brother has high triglycerides and his doctor wants him to take pills. I told him to add some beans and garlic to his diet. So at his next doctor’s visit his triglycerides had gone down more than half what it was. He was very impressed and so was his doctor. Now he’s adding oatmeal and he’s off dairy. He even tells all his friends that his weird sister was vegan in the 70’s. For some people it takes a long time. Just smile and nod a lot.

  • Marck
    Posted at 10:46h, 27 July

    when other men around my age (46) mock my food choices, I look them right in the eye and tell them ditching the animal products is fantastic for blood circulation, and blood circulation directly impacts sexual performance. I’ve never had a response to that other than silence :=)

    • brian
      Posted at 11:37h, 27 July

      Great point. I am 37 and have been plant strong for about 8 months. Prior to the switch I had ED issues. Now I am the one chasing my wife around the bedroom…well when she isnt chasing me!

  • David
    Posted at 15:21h, 27 July

    A couple comments on some of the posts above. Our entire household have been vegan (Fuhrman, Mcdougall, Esselstyn) for more than 5 years now. Yes, you have people close to you (immediate family, friends, etc.) who have big problems with that. I think the one comment I haven’t read is to try to change the focus of the dialogue with people so that it is less about food and/or health. For instance, meet people/family for just a drink, at the park with the kids, for a sporting event or other activity (museum, movie, etc.). It’s okay sometimes not to go out for dinner with other people. Make it about the relationship and less about the food. Sometimes, we invite different people to our house for a happy hour. We will serve a couple appetizers and drinks (all plant-strong). People don’t feel threatened because they are about to leave to have dinner somewhere else.

  • Linda S.
    Posted at 14:22h, 28 July

    I have been plant strong over 8 months now. I started the day after I released from the hospital from a massive heart attack. I HAVE NEVER LOOKED BACK. It took me 2 weeks to start losing the cravings from sugar, meat, and dairy. I focused on new foods. When I am work I always have people peek in my plate and study what I’m eating. I don’t get any negative comments much anymore, after I told them I have lost 100 pounds in the last 8 months. Plus my cholesterol has gone from 160 to 98, this was in 4 months . My Cardiologist is so pleased with my process. I have had to cut back on several of my meds. I truly believe it is from eating plant strong. I don’t push a plant strong diet on anyone unless I am approached one on one. There is no one in my family that is plant strong. When anyone starts to comment on my “strange Diet”. I just say this is my food and focus on their own health. I have very little patience for people that like to give their opinion on a subject that they don’t have knowledge. I have even offered to give them my books or of FOK DVD. I truly want to encourage anyone that wants to go plant strong. It does work.

    • Kay Crowder
      Posted at 19:39h, 30 July

      “like” there are so many struggles just to live, I don’t know why people have to be so negative! I just try to educate people, but there is always a troll in the crowd.

      I went vegan for the animals
      I went clean for my health.

      Its working!

  • Emily
    Posted at 00:48h, 01 August

    I am so sorry for everyone who has had such terrible experiences over what is no one’s business but your own. I have had a much easier time, I realize, after reading all of these very sad posts. It was harder to deal with people’s reactions when I was younger, but at this point perhaps I give off an air of “don’t even go there” and it usually works.

    I wish I knew why people can be so horribly cruel–but if they weren’t then we wouldn’t be eating animals in the first place.

    Do what is right for you and rejoice in taking care of yourself. You might need to find new friends who will support you or even move to a new place if possible.

  • Dawn Cassiday-Turner
    Posted at 12:42h, 01 August

    It’s been about 3 months since I’ve become plant-strong, and like most of us, will never go back! Not too much backlash, but my teenage son is definitely not on board. I feel so guilty sometimes, he feels like we never have any food in the house now and he really dislikes the meals I’ve been making. My girls and husband are more open (even though he is not plant-strong), but my son is just not eating much at all. I can’t bring myself to even buy animal-based food, nevermind cook them. I hope he comes around, until then I will just try to make meals that are friendly for him! Also, our family doctor admonished me for not providing fish at least once a week for my 3 teens-he said their brains need it now as they are forming. Scared me to hear from someone I have respected. Has anyone else heard this? Is there any science to back up our stand on leaving fish out? Thank you for this forum, sometimes it just helps to have someone to share it with. πŸ™‚

  • Dixie
    Posted at 07:07h, 03 March

    Change scares people.I’ve been eating simple,real food for years and years. I’m a slim 63 y.o. Woman in perfect health and what can I do but smile when mostly overweight,diabetic people freak out at my meal choices.I don’t call my eating habits anything…I just eat food ,mostly food that doesn’t need an ingredient label.What’s there to argue about,I look better,feel better,move better,sleep better.People take way better care of their car engines than their personal engines.

  • Tolerant, but...
    Posted at 10:22h, 19 July

    Yes, but, I cannot tell you how many times the shoe has been on the other foot. There are many people who chose to lecture me and tell me that I should be a vegetarian, etc. So it’s not only one-sided. Many people become very self-righteous about their life choices and have to know when they are stepping over the line also.

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