OPINION: Sharing Tasty Vegan Food Is The Best Way To Win People Over

Change often scares people, so putting the options out there is really the key to helping them see veganism as accessible and achievable
Happy people
When they really love the vegan snacks...(Photo:Adobe. Do not use without permission)

A few weeks ago, I brought in some Candy Kitten sweets for my birthday at work.

I was a little disheartened after one editor refused a sweet on the grounds that he 'didn't eat vegan stuff'.

Having kept quiet about veganism since joining, I felt a little embarrassed and vowed never to try again.

However, by the end of the day the whole bag had been eaten (and not by me)...as had the Livia's Kitchen Millionaire Shortbread Bites - which are also gluten and dairy-free.

More vegan options

The next week, I offered another editor some of my Hippeas and that afternoon, she told me that she'd made an Ocado order especially to buy in a load after I told her of my struggles to find lactose-free vinegar flavored crisps.

And since then, I've been sharing various snacks with my colleagues who ask to look at my lunch every day and have been asking for alternative milk recommendations and places to try that aren't 'super healthy'.

It's been a total revelation for me, as much for them. So much so, in fact, that I've been asked to compile a list of 'vegan snack swaps' for my desk.

Journey to vegan

But that's really how my own journey towards veganism began - with a former colleague asking me to try bits of her lunch and asking my opinion on certain alternatives.

A couple of years ago, I was eating halloumi - and the odd fish - like no one's business. I'd tried to go vegan in the past, but it never stuck.

So, my pal in my old office used to give me squares of new vegan chocolate to try. She'd make epic-looking curries and let me have a taste. She introduced me to nutritional yeast and smoked tofu.

And before long I didn't have an excuse not to be vegan.

Vegan transition

The transition from veggie or pescetarianism to veganism was effortless. And a few months later, I tried the same approach with my ribs-and-steak-eating boyfriend, who turned vegan literally overnight last November.

Veganism obviously isn't just about food, but it's a jolly good place to start, and it's often the thing that puts people off about becoming more eco-friendly.

From there, it's a logical transition to learning more about why veganism is important and doing your research into animal cruelty, environmental impact, and health.

Unity diner
The unity Diner co-founded by Earthling Ed promotes a vegan message with tasty food

Change

Change scares people; that's why there's so much negativity in mainstream media at the moment directed towards the movement.

It's not about people not wanting to make the world a better place, it's being nervous about having to overhaul your life completely. And food is incredibly emotionally-charged, so often people squirm when you throw a light on their eating practices.

But putting the options out there is really the key.

Vegan influence

According to a new study, 51 percent of chefs in the USA added vegan items to their menus - a 31 percent increase from 2017.

Food industry insight company Foodable Labs said the increase may be partly down to the influence of social media food-bloggers sharing more and more vegan options online.

America's leading takeaway service, GrubHub also said it has seen a 17 percent increase in vegan dishes being ordered.

Go on Instagram and #vegan has nearly 70m posts, while #veganfood offers over 13m. That food porn, I bet, is largely responsible for the hoards of young people joining the movement.

It also helps that all these new plant-based eateries are so damn Instagrammable (go to Unity Diner - it's almost like the wall art was made for a #nofilter post!).

Easy vegan

If we want more people to go vegan, we've got to make it more approachable - it's got to be easy, cool, tasty and guilt-free.

It doesn't matter why people are eating vegan, or how often they're doing so; every little helps.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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PBN Contributor:

Miranda Larbi is a national health, fitness and lifestyle journalist who believes that veganism isn’t only a animal rights concern, but also a health, feminist and racial equality issue. She turned vegan for good after training for a marathon on a plant-based diet and partaking in a vegan bodybuilder challenge.

(c) 2018 Plant Based News LTD. All Rights Reserved. Content must not be copied without permission.

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