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 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: “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” 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 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 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 my 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?