One of the most powerful things that happens when we live a vegan lifestyle is experiencing how we influence others. Think about it. If you are a vegan newbie, sit around and wait, and I promise you’ll see change, even if it’s minimal. If you’re no longer a newbie, think about how you’ve influenced the people around you. It could be anyone: your mom, your partner, even a coworker — chances are you’ve influenced at least one other person.
When you start your path towards a full vegan lifestyle, your choices will surprise some and maybe shock others. The amazing part is that when you start feeling better and showing your inner kindness towards every little thing on this planet, people notice. Instead of hearing only “Where do you get your protein?” you start hearing things like, “I saw this kale in the supermarket and bought it, but now I don’t know how I should eat it. Can you give me a recipe?” or “That sandwich you had the other day looked great. What was in that?”
You will notice the same for every other thing. “I bought the natural toothpaste that you had in your bathroom and I love the flavor.” You start influencing others in a positive way, not necessarily by changing their diets but by changing how they see the world.
I remember when my father-in-law asked me to prepare him that vegetarian lasagna again because it was so good. Two years before that he kept urging me to eat meat! Nowadays, he brags about the fact that he’s eating less meat each week. My mother-in-law saw this change through her son who would ask for rice and beans (a local staple) without the meat, for lunch. She saw that he was changing his way of eating, not because his wife forced him to, but because he wanted to. In a house where I had to bring something to cook, I can now find vegan-friendly options such as vegan butter, vegan cream cheese, and vegan mock meats in their fridge because they’ve tried these substitutes and liked them.
Are they still omnivorous? Yes! Will they ever be vegan? Who knows? Are they saving animals? Of course, not as many we would like, but they have changed.
I’m not saying that our goal in life is turning everyone around us vegan, even if we secretly want to. I’m saying that when we lead by example, others want to contribute to the good things and we’re definitely on the right side to do that.
Cindy Lou Negrón, VLCE holds a Master in ESL Education. She works at a local institute as a Conversation English Professor. As a vegan educator she attends schools’ health fairs and veganizes Puerto Rico’s local recipes on her Youtube channel. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.