I could spend all day at our private Facebook group. From an onslaught of #shittyfoodpics to relationship advice, people are connecting over all kinds of topics from all over the planet.
It’s an awesome group of people, and there is ZERO preachy, judge-y, holier than thou stuff going on. Because people know I won’t put up with that baloney.
No one should ever be made to feel bad about what they put in their mouth. Whether it’s a juicy burger, or a vegan version of that burger.
This topic came up the other day in our group. Someone mentioned that she was sick of all the nosey parkers up in her business about what she’s eating and not eating (she didn’t put it like that). And I immediately scolded myself for never writing about this.
Changing the way you eat is hard at first for a lot of reasons.
You have to learn a whole new way of cooking; your taste buds have to adjust; your habits have to get an upgrade; you finally have to learn how to say the word “quinoa”; you probably have to prepare at least two versions of each meal, one for you and one for your family; you have to learn the hard way that nutritional yeast is not the same as brewers or bakers yeast, and you have to be prepared to face your family, friends and co-workers with confidence while you defend your new way of eating.
Even if you aren’t 100% vegan or plant based this holds true. Maybe you’re that vegan who loves to eat bacon from time to time, but most days your lunch looks like a medley of baby food mixed with bird food. (But it tastes so good!)
Defending what and how you eat is the last thing you need, but since it will happen, I urge you to think about it as an opportunity to not only reaffirm why you made the decision to eat healthier, but also to enlighten people who don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t eat meat with every single meal.
And this will be a whole lot easier …….with a script.
Yup, I’m giving you seven different scripts to bust out the next time someone gives you shit about the way you eat.
Now, keep in mind that your goal here is not to persuade people to eat exactly like you or to make them feel bad about the way they eat (because you would be just as shitty as they are if you did that, right?).
The goal is to get your point confidently across in such a way that inspires them to leave you the hell alone about what you put in your mouth.
Also, know that there are some people who will never accept or be happy for the positive changes you make in your life and will continue to be assholes (whether you quit smoking, start doing yoga, or start eating like a rabbit).
This type of person is tricky, especially if it’s someone you’re close with.
When I started eating a vegan diet in 2008 I had some friends who couldn’t get with it, and every time I saw them, my diet would end up being the topic of conversation and scrutiny.
I finally made the decision to stop hanging out with them.
That was a hard decision, but I knew nothing would change because their unacceptance had nothing to do with me. It stemmed directly from their own insecurity and fear.
And you know, I didn’t even miss hanging out with them; it was actually a huge relief because I no longer felt the need to constantly defend myself to the people who were supposed to support and love me.
The people we surround ourselves with is as important as cruciferous veggies. So find your people and surround yourself with love.
And then when the random fucker gets in your way, choose one of the scripts below and tell them what the hell is up.
1) “You know, I used to think the same thing! (even if you never thought the same thing. Yes, I’m encouraging you to lie). But once I gave it a shot, I immediately understood why people eat this way. I have more energy than I’ve ever had, I’m sleeping better at night, plus I’ve lost ______ pounds / kilos by doing nothing but changing what I eat. I’m also having a lot of fun in the kitchen playing around with new ingredients and recipes. I’m with you though and I can definitely relate to what you’re saying, but honestly, I can’t imagine going back to how I used to eat. This feels way too good.”
2) “Yeah, maybe you’re right (even thought you know they’re not. Yup, I’m telling you to lie again), but my goal is to get off my __________ medication/s and if I can achieve that by just changing what I eat, I am willing to give it a shot.” (and then when you get off your ______ medication/s be sure to give them the good news).
3) “Wait. What year is it? Because I swear, you just pulled me straight back to 1983 when it was super weird not to eat meat. I was rockin’ that side pony, but it is 2015, right?
4) “I always thought the food would be bland too, but did you know that eating processed, packaged foods affects our taste buds just like smoking does? It’s the combination of salt, sugar and fat that desensitizes our palate. After just a week of eating this way it was like my taste buds woke up and I could actually taste my food. It’s hard to explain and it was an unexpected bonus. My food is never ever bland like I thought it would be in fact, it’s the exact opposite.”
5) “Did you know that people actually get way too much protein in this country? And apparently too much protein can cause major problems in the liver. Go to cleanfooddirtygirl.com and search for “protein”. There’s a fantastic article called The 411 on Protein that explains how much we actually need.” (shameless self promotion).
6) “I know! I’m turning into a damn hippie. With all this rabbit food I’m eating, I’m bound to buy some Birkenstocks and move into a yurt in no time. At least I’ll be a healthy hippie. Wait, is there such a thing as an unhealthy hippie? I’d better do some research given the fact that I’m eating something called ‘Raw Carob Chia Energy Clusters’. Don’t worry, I’ll invite you over to my next drum circle.”
And finally, if you’ve really, really, really had it:
7) “You know what? Back the fuck off from my junk. I’m not ingesting cyanide, it’s kale. Eating this way protects against chronic disease, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease; it lowers blood pressure; it lowers cholesterol, it strengthens the immune system, and it heightens the sex drive. I’ve lost ______ pounds/kilos since I started eating this way, it’s better for the environment and it doesn’t contribute to animal cruelty. There are tons of reasons to eat this way and the ONLY reason to eat like I used to eat is to protect myself from people like you who can’t shut the hell up about what I eat. How about this? If you don’t talk to me about my food, I won’t talk to you about your food. Do we have a deal, or am I going to have to end this friendship?
There you have it, an array of carefully thought out ways to deal with the haters, handing out haterade, when all you want is a fuckin’ green juice.
Also, for every person who doesn’t understand or support you through your process, there are lots who do, even if we are virtual.
Okay foxy, I advise you to make this recipe for that special individual in your life who’s a fan of the “vegan food is bland” mindset.
They won’t be able to deny the off the hook deliciousness of this lunch.
Faux Tuna Salad with Briny Tahini Mayo – Whole Food Plant Based
1 15oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (Eden brand uses no BPA in their cans)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
Salt, pepper and dried dill to taste
Briny Tahini Mayo
1/4 cup tahini (60g)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
1 teaspoon dulse flakes (look under Cooking Ingredients I Use Often – One)
1 large date, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
1 garlic clove, grated
- Place the garbanzo beans in a food processor and process just until there are no more whole beans. Don’t over process (alternatively, you can place them in a large bowl and mash them with a potato masher or a fork.).
- If you went the food processor route, transfer the beans to a large mixing bowl and add the celery and onion.
- Make the sauce by adding all of the sauce ingredients to the blender and blending until creamy and smooth (make sure to take the pit out of the date before blending if it has one).
- Add 3 tablespoons (60g) of the dressing to the garbanzo mixture and mix until everything is incorporated.
- Add salt, pepper and dried dill to taste.
- Save the rest of the dressing for the bread.
- Toast two pieces of sprouted bread, spread on some tahini mayo, generously add the faux tuna, and top with tomatoes and a mix of shredded kale and lettuce.
(The dressing recipe makes enough for the Faux Tuna Salad and two or three sandwiches.)