With the beautiful summer weather, many of us will want to join family and friends and have a BBQ. It can be challenging for someone who eats plant-based to socialize this way with the “meat-eaters” but it doesn’t have to be. Use these simple tips to relax and enjoy this summer tradition.
1. If you have guests coming over who can’t do without something meat-like, serve up some veggie-burgers. But don’t call them “veggie” burgers. Referring to plant-based eating as “vegetarian” or “vegan” might conjure up preconceived notions of bland “health food”. If the recipe doesn’t have a catchy name, make one up, like “Sally’s Wonder Patties”, even if your name isn’t Sally. Be sure to put out all the usual fixin’s so the burger looks like a familiar burger – tomatoes, lettuce, onions, ketchup, mustard, etc.
2. If you’re invited to the home of someone who isn’t familiar with “your way of eating”, put their mind at ease by telling them you’ll bring a dish to share. That way you’ll be sure to have something you like. There are countless plant-based dishes that are sure to appeal to everyone, such as those found on the Forks Over Knives website. Bringing a dish that doesn’t have to be put on the grill will avoid any potential problems with contamination with meat.
3. If you’re worried there won’t be enough food that you can eat at the event, have something to eat before you go. If it’s and all day event, bring snacks like fruit, nuts, granola bars, etc. You’ll be less likely to give in to temptation if you’re not hungry.
4. Keep the conversation light and off the topic of food. People often feel threatened by another person’s healthy lifestyle because they may feel guilty that they are not being as healthy as they think they should. Even if you don’t say anything, as soon as they see your plate and the absence of meat, they’re likely to ask questions, such as, “What are you, a health nut?” (To which I always answer, under my breath, “What are you, a sick nut?”) Unless, they really press you to talk about food, you might simply reply that the food you chose is delicious and might add that you love how you feel after eating them. Then, to avoid them feeling self-conscious about their choices, redirect the conversation to talking about something that will make them feel important – ask them about their recent trip, compliment them on their home, car or children, etc.
5. If people genuinely want to know more about a whole-food, plant-based way of eating and the amazing health benefits, you should take great pleasure in sharing information that can truly save their life. Refer them to documentaries like “Forks Over Knives”, “What the Health”, and “Eating You Alive”. You might also want to send them to our website and mention that we do free 1-hour consultations either in person or via phone or skype. Of course, they will see by your example just how great this lifestyle can be!