Inspire Others to Eat Plant Based: Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Plate
by Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
I have a 10-year-old Dachshund. In typical sausage dog fashion, she is as short as she is long, and as round as a butternut squash. Affectionately nicknamed, Fat Wiener, she is a fierce tyrant that rules the roost with an iron bark from the comfort of her pillowy throne. Sturdy little legs and a long, curious nose never fail to assess the scene, sound the alarm, and immediately correct the situation. She is a veritable short stack of attitude, sass, and stubborn determination. I’m certain that if she were human, she would have what it takes to inspire others to eat plant based.
Fat Wiener is food focused. She will literally eat anything, enjoys it immensely, and absolutely doesn’t care what anyone thinks about it. As long as her meal is on time and her bowl is filled up, she is happy. Other than myself, I’ve never seen another soul enjoy food with such vigor and enthusiasm like she does. The girl loves to eat.
As with all of the animal kingdom, she lives in the present moment, and only requires that her very basic needs are met. As I stood watching her chow down this morning licking her bowl so furiously that it careened across the kitchen floor, I started thinking what a relief it would be to live that way.
What if we could all be like Fat Wiener?
Can you imagine just eating for the pure joy of it? Never worrying about what anybody else thinks as you mouthgasm over taste, flavor, and texture? How fun would it be to nosh on a handful of juicy seedless grapes, inhale a lovely bowl of quinoa, or snack on almond butter stuffed dates in unabashed bliss? How about endlessly dining on a bunch of gently wilted garlicky lemon kale, or gustily slurping a big bowl of savory miso soup with outrageous audacity? And, oh! The simple glorious act of licking your fingers after devouring a platter of sticky sweet potatoes without inhibition? Delightful!
When I decided to take the leap into a whole food plant based way of eating I knew I would face lots of questions and maybe even occasional ridicule. The word “Vegan” carried enough stigma, much less attempting to eat and cook without oil. I knew folks would have plenty of opinions and not be shy to express them, and I was ready for it.
What actually happened was more surprising…
I suddenly developed this palpable sense of urgency to inspire others to eat plant based by sharing my good news about plant based nutrition. I wanted to share everything that I was doing and all that I was learning and I chatted non-stop about getting Dirty! I was carried away on a rapturous wave of enthusiasm and effusive excitement.
Through all the snarky remarks, good natured teasing, silly jokes, and uneducated criticism, was the overwhelming and pervasive frustration of not being heard. My desire to share was met with rolling eyeballs, raised eyebrows, and remarkable replies.
So many times, I’ve seen CFDG community members voice their very-legitimate frustration regarding what friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers are doing (or not doing). I’ve read through multiple comments of anger, sadness, hurt, guilt, and feelings of failure when unable to persuade others to change.
I believe it all comes from a good place of helpful intention. We have found success and want others to share in the mighty benefits of plant based goodness. We care about these folks and want desperately to educate them about how to help themselves. For many of us, there are other concerns, such as beliefs about our moral, ethical, and environmental responsibilities. Animal welfare and climate change are also huge motivators in the vegan/plant based world.
It is so desperately hard to take a step back and close your mouth when you feel like you’ve found THE solution to so many problems. For me, it is almost untenable to watch my friends and family as they struggle with their own health and weight issues. I listen quietly as they express disappointment over their latest failed attempt at reclaiming their health. I feel how discouraged and uninspired they are to change. And I’ve learned to hold my tongue as they pull out medications to manage symptoms of chronic illness.
But what if we could release that worry?
What would happen if we let it all go?
What would it mean to focus only on my plate, my food, my choices?
Just stop, for a moment, and brilliantly imagine what we could accomplish if we all became magnificent billboards for change! We would be glowing, thriving, gorgeous, energetic, successful, living advertisements for this way of life. There is such glorious opportunity to impact so many souls and lives with this perspective. It absolutely blows my mind and sends my heart soaring at the implications of a such a societal shift towards this style of life.
So, this is what I’ve decided to do, and it’s what I encourage you to do, too:
Be a Fat Wiener!
Live in the moment. Live for your own joy with this way of eating. Keep your eyes focused on your health and your goals and your priorities. Dive in, head first, and enjoy the hell out of your life and your food choices. Trust the process and set the tone of your life by the journey you’ve chosen.
Lead by beautiful, shiny, and spectacular example.
And never, ever, be afraid to lick your bowl.
Plant Based Oil Free Chipotle Ranch Dressing
Plant Based Oil Free Chipotle Ranch Dressing
Makes about 1 cup
- 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 10 minutes (95g)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper (about 10 turns)
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or less if you don't like spicy)
- 2/3 cup water (160ml)
Drain the cashews and discard the soaking water. Place the cashews in your blender, along with the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender as needed.
This dressing is a tad spicy. If you don’t like spicy you can leave out the chipotle chili powder.
Wishing you a happy weekend. May it be filled with keeping your eyes on your own plate.