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This talk is about VEGANS. Why do people close themselves to our beliefs and ideas?Do we need to be more radiant and impressive in our ways?

This question might be helpful to many fellow vegans out there who face similar situations on a daily basis. I've noticed many people, even our closed ones becoming very defensive and closed to this topic. Most cases we do not consciously impose or expect them to change/react/do something about what we say, but it is merely an opinion we state, when asked, why we do not eat/do/consume certain food/product. I want us to explore and share ideas, if there are better ways we can express ourselves, without assaulting the other person's character. Most of the time we don't intend to do it, but it turns out they take it personal. Also, I want to know if there can be more charming and radiant ways to say the same? Because we all know it is a contentious topics, and vegans are always convinced about their stand and will never compromise.

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    Jul 25 2013: Aarthi, The most radiant thing you can do is be healthy and happy when you are 70, or 80 or more. I have be a vegan for 31 years, since I was 40. At 71 I feel as energetic. and excited about what I do as when I was 40, except I am now more circumspect, a gift of years. My family, a large Indian family, gathers regularly at our home and happily consume our lasagna and curry and they all eat too much.

    You are using your intelligence to choose the correct fuel for your body. You are the leader in your family. You need only stick to your guns. At first they will think you odd. But they will notice you are as healthy as everyone else and grow to accept it. They will remember that many of the religious leaders consumed no meat.

    Then comes the second stage. They will begin to feel guilty. They will tell you how little meat they eat and how many vegetables they eat..

    The final stages begin at about age 30. Their bodies get bigger and slower, while yours does not. At 40, they start to drop like flies. By 50 they are on blood thinners for their high blood pressure, caused by saturated fat from all the animal products they have consumed, while you are alive and happy with lots of years to go, so long as you don't step in front of a bus.
    • Jul 25 2013: Thank you very much sir. We're all strong about our stand point and there is no stepping back. Yours was an inspiring message and hope we, young people can pass similar messages too with time.
      No doubt, I feel much healthier and more connected to my body ever since I turned vegan.
      This makes me feel so paranoid about choices of my loved ones. I feel I know they are eating some dangerous, unhealthy food and what it can lead to, but there is nothing I can do about it without sounding arrogant :(
      So, this takes us back to my question, is there a more nicer way to do this? Can people share their personal experience on how they overcame this phase. Thank you :)
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        Jul 25 2013: When they are interested, they will ask questions. Be the answer
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        Jul 26 2013: When it is your turn to cook, cook something delicious.
  • Jul 25 2013: Why do you have a need to make other people into vegans in the first place? Why not just take your own choice and live it and let others make their own? The only true way to "convert" anyone is through your own example, that is enough.
    • Jul 26 2013: Thank you for your views. No, I don't find the need to convert anyone. Its when people ask me why and I go on rambling about certain things that changed my belief, I end up sounding rude(I guess:P) and they become all closed and defensive and the conversation becomes contentious. Hopefully, I will set a good example. :)
      Hence, I keep thinking isn't there a nicer way to do this. For a long time, I chose to remain silent and I don't go around telling I'm a vegan, but its when someone asks me or I express my reluctance to it, when needed. They always end up feeling offended, as if I'm character assassinating and pointing out that they are cruel...
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        Jul 26 2013: Aarthi,
        There is a balance between remaining silent and trying to push your beliefs onto others. If people are offended with YOUR choice of food, that is their issue.....not yours. If people ask you for information, then choose to be offended, that is their issue. There are many ways to deliver the same information, and perhaps you can explore various ways of expressing what you want to share, while also respecting and understanding that we all make our own choices?
        • Jul 26 2013: Sometimes, it is difficult to let go because those are our dear ones and they matter. That is when I thought, there must be so many who would face similar issues on a daily basis. How do they bring the balance.
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        Jul 26 2013: You might ask yourself whether you tend to get into these sorts of interactions in which others become offended only when the subject is eating choices or in other areas as well. How to express your position solidly without the other person's taking offense is a useful life skill.
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        Jul 26 2013: Aarthi,
        You ask...
        "How do they bring the balance".

        You make a good point with your observation that sometimes it is people who are dear to us and they matter. We sometimes discover something that works really well for us, and we want to share the idea with those we love......yes? We want them to have the same good experience that we are having?

        For me, the balance, is in believing and trusting that the ones we love can make their own choices. We can provide information in a loving, caring way, regarding what we have discovered for ourselves, and the best way to show our love for someone, is to trust that s/he will make the decision that is best for him/herself. Make any sense?

        Trying to force our beliefs onto another person usually does not work well, because I think/feel that on a deep level, people want to make their own decisions.....just like you made a decision for yourself:>)
  • Aug 20 2013: As a long time meat eater, more recently vegetarian, and even more recently vegan I have a lot of thoughts on this topic. There is no denying I would do anything to convert just one person. I have lived a selfish life, but I am sure this desire is not a selfish one, other than, if the world was a better place it will make me happier. As a relatively recent convert, I know that the most persuasive people in my journey were those somehow happy in their own skin, not pushy, but with an obvious passionate sense of what is right. To current meat eaters out there I ask you to be sympathetic to my dilemma. If you can just imagine what it is like for a moment. If it helps, imagine yourself in the times when black slavery was mainstream and generally accepted. Imagine that somehow with all this acceptance, you realized how wrong it was before most people around you. Friends would get annoyed when you said things . Some would say to you, "I know its not very nice, but its naïve to think it could be changed, when it is so much part of our economy and way of life". This is how I and probably many other vegans out there are feeling today. You may think it is crazy to care about our fellow animals so much, but just try to walk in my shoes for a minute before being too critical about our comments. One final statistic which might help, In the USA today 300 animals are slaughtered every second. That's 180 million every week. Please sympathize with the pain this causes someone who genuinely respects these victims. I can't just smile and say each to his own but I do want to keep living.
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    Jul 26 2013: You have passed through a doorway into open-mindedness. May it serve you well.
    • Jul 26 2013: Thank you for such profound views on this topic.
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    Jul 26 2013: The problem vegans have is exemplified by David's response below. He clearly states that by eating meat I am doing something wrong. Even though all our closest animal relatives consume some animal protien and our closest relative the chimpanzee is an active hunter. I don't think I have ever seen a conversation on TED involving omnivores telling vegans they should eat meat.It's only the vegans that stand at the pullpit and espouse their wisdom. Much of which has no basis in science. I cannot count the times I've been told we should be vegan because our digestive system is that of a herbivore irrespective of the fact we can't digest cellulose and we have a whole set of digestve enzymes that specialise in protien and fat digestion. If I am to exist on fruits and grain why do I even have a gall bladder full of bile? Other than nuts there are few plants with high enough fat content for it to be relevant calorically. But I have a whole system for fat digestion.
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    Jul 25 2013: What do you mean "close themselves"? Just tell you they don't want to do it themselves? After all, every person is allowed to make their own choice, they may respect your choice but not want to do it themselves.

    I don't think you should have to be more radiant than anybody else.
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    • Jul 25 2013: Thank you very much for your insights. I guess your method is good. Just explain to the receptive ones. :)
    • Jul 25 2013: So your a vegan for the sole reason that you dont want the animals blood on your hands , so to speak?
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        • Jul 26 2013: So if we gathered meat more like an indian would with total respect and honor would it be less problematic?
      • Jul 26 2013: No, the reason I turned vegan was for ethical reasons. I could not get back to qwhat I was, after expanding my knowledge about what really goes on in the process of milk production, and how cheese, butter, and other dairy products affect our body. So, after turning vegan, I started enjoying the other benefits, feeling healthier, more energetic, etc. So, blood is no issue, it is just that it all seems wrong to me.
        • Jul 26 2013: So if the process was more ethical it wouldnt be as problematic?
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    Aug 12 2013: Nobody likes being preached at and nobody likes to have a pleasant dinner turn into a high pressure sales pitch. Nobody likes to have a guilt trip put on them and nobody like to be made to feel that thy are somehow lesser for choosing to eat meat.

    Some of the vegans i've met are confident but non pushy, some are passionate and excited about having made their own choices without being pushy, BUT some take every opportunity to preach about it. I've even had a friend of a friend show up to my party and hijacked it armed with a video of animal cruelty who then cried big crocodile tears in front of all my guests for the life of the chicken who lost it's life to feed them.

    just a few days ago, I followed a friend's link to a site where they started out talking about cows feeling pain, and how they should be treated just as well as humans, then finally ended up talking about how those who eat meat should be given the death penalty.

    I used to be vegetarian, and now i'm not. I'm all for being gentle with animals, conserving natural habitat, not killing them for pleasure, not killing for fur, stopping factory farm practices, I even feel guilty when I eat meat even though I'm doing it for health reasons, but I draw the line at forcing such views on unwilling bystanders, and causing harm to humans over their eating habits.
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    Aug 11 2013: I don't like this "everyone can choose what they eat"-sentence and that everyone has to respect the choice.
    I think it's wrong. When I started to hunt humans to eat them, would you respect my choice? Would it be okay if I catch some humans and cage them up, force-feed them, etc.?
    If you say no, why aren't you eating less meat for environmental reasons? Or because of the fact that the export of chicken-remnants harm people in poorer countries? I'm no dogmatic vegan, I would want humans to benefit from animals, even eat them, if their interest to live is more valuable than the interest of the animal not to suffer.

    I feel very sad when I see other people eating meat. For me, it's disgusting. Non-vegans will have a hard time to understand this, but I sometimes feel as connected to animals as to humans. Maybe petowners understand. They are beautiful creatures and I am sad that I know so few of them. Most people are boring, but you could pet a lot of animals if you met them. How many people can you "pet" or hug? :D
    If you are vegan for ethical reasons, you can't respect that choice, you don't accept it, but you often tolerate it.
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    Jul 27 2013: That is the point.. Only other vegans need to understand what you mean. Non vegans don't care. Your choices are your choices and I for one am happy that you have choices. But, I don't care about your choices, your choices are your choices and not mine. That is what you need to convince other vegans to understand. Enjoy your vegan dishes and I'll enjoy mine. No need for comment or discussion.
    • Jul 30 2013: Thank you for your feedback :) Yes, sometimes I feel we create a sense of rebellion in people because we tend to preach veganism way too much, to few people who don't really care. :)
  • Jul 26 2013: So long as you do not force your beliefs on me I have no problem. If i go to your house, I would expect to eat what is put before me. If we are at my house, I would provide Vegan dishes but have non Vegan dishes for others. I would not expect you to lecture the other dinners.

    This is similar to what happens when I dine with my Orthodox Jewish friends - when they dine at my house i make sure we have Kosher dishes for them
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    Jul 26 2013: Sir,
    I am not a vegan. There are vegans in my family and I have conversed with vegans in TED conversations. Other people do not so much close themselves to your beliefs and ideas. Other people, some like me, believe that humans have evolved as omnivores and need all sorts of nutrients from all sorts of sources. Now there are humans that through environmental causation have evolved on very limited diets. having lived in northern Alaska for a few years, I met peoples who are doing very well, thank you on a diet that would cause most vegans to..... well you get the idea.
    But, that's not the problem.... as a non vegan, your second sentence tells it all. Vegans seen to be more then enough radiant and most impressive with their beliefs.
    How many times have I been at the table with Vegans and heard the quiet comments about my dinner will cause more damage to my clogged arteries, the smirk of superiority and the raised eyebrow of my failing of self discipline to restrict my animalistic appetites.
    Vegans don't need to ramp it up.... Vegans need to tone it down.
    • Jul 27 2013: Thank you for your response. Your message is received. We should all try to tone it down, because it makes no sense, it only delays the process by making the other person indifferent to our choices. Hence, they might never really understand what we mean.
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    Jul 26 2013: Aarthi,
    What individuals choose to eat does not have to be a contentious topic. Consider what you wrote.......
    " vegans are always convinced about their stand and will never compromise".

    I respect YOUR choice for whatever reason you make that choice. I have lots of friends who make many different choices regarding what they/we eat, and it is ok with me. Why are some people so convinced that they are "right", and why do they need to try to convince others that they are "right"?
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      Jul 26 2013: Hello, Colleen. I suspect the reason is that they have a tenuous grasp on their own reality and feel that if others believe what they do, their reality will be more secure. That said, it is difficult to restrain ourselves from sharing good news. It's difficult to be quiet about avoidable suffering due to lifestyle choices. I have found that preaching does not work, unless people have gathered to hear you speak. I think that if people admire you, they will emulate you.
      • Jul 26 2013: @David Hubbard - Thank you once again sir. We should all carry this message home "If people admire you, they will emulate you". So, we must all try to be kind in our ways, respecting others' personal choices. This way we can make a better difference than sounding arrogant and confident about our choices.
        Like you mentioned, I guess it is difficult to know that there is a greener way to live and there are people living it, and when we are questioned, we tend to pounce with all the gathered information about our choice. So being mindful and selective is necessary.
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        Jul 26 2013: I agree David, that people often have a tenuous grasp on their own reality and it may feel better when others believe what they do....their reality may feel more secure.

        What appears to be "good news" to you as an individual, may not be "good news" to someone else, and in my perception, it is important to respect other's thoughts, feelings and the choices they make for themselves, IF those choices are not adversely impacting other people. I agree...preaching does not work well.
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          Jul 26 2013: Thanks for that, Colleen. You respect for others is evident in all your postings that I have seen. A pleasant attitude may just be the best medicine and that must surely be the reward for granting beingness to others as you do

          For myself, I choose to live long and prosper and I find that diet choices play a role for me. I have seen close relative grow sick and die due to wrong input choices and it is a great temptation to intervene. But as you say, preaching does not work. In in fact, it drives people away. Example is the only thing that works.
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        Jul 26 2013: Thank you for the feedback David.....much appreciated:>)

        I also believe that diet choices are VERY important, which is why I eat primarily out of my garden:>)

        We have probably all observed people who could improve their health with a more nutritional diet.....we are what we eat? However, I KNOW that I have no control regarding what a person chooses to put in his/her mouth. When more people understand that what we eat fuels the body, and often drastically impacts the kind of life experience we have, more people may make better choices. I agree...teaching and encouraging by example is usually the most successful:>)
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    Jul 26 2013: why do you care what other people think?
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    Jul 26 2013: .My answer:

    Believe is the computation results of our soul data.
    People of same believe "close themselves" for symbiosis.
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    Jul 25 2013: Challenge comes when any practice or belief turns into RELIGION.