My Epic Vegan Fail

Becoming vegan was a transcendent experience for me. Like when I was first Saved. I had learned the truth and wanted to share it with everyone. It was a surreal experience of suddenly having my eyes opened to true knowledge. Knowledge that now seems so common sense that I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why isn’t everyone vegan?!”

Passion and excitement brewed inside me as my eyes and my heart searched for a target. Someone whose life I could help transform by sharing this new-found truth. I thought to myself, “My dad needs this!” And so I began.

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Thinking back now, I couldn’t have taken on more of a challenge. Not only has my dad been a full on carnivore for 59 years, he was content with his lifestyle and wasn’t expressing interest in exploring a new diet.

I didn’t see that, though. What I saw was a man with multiple health ailments. Not just a man…my dad. I love my dad. I want him to live a long, thriving, pain-free life. On top of dealing with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood clots, my dad suffers from a rare disease called Trigeminal Neuralgia, which is said to be one of the most painful diseases.

While exploring veganism for myself, I had seen so many testimonies from people who cured their diseases (even cancer!) with a vegan diet. I felt like my dad would be the perfect candidate.

Where I went wrong (part 1)

I started sending my dad videos of animal cruelty and plaque being removed from someone’s artery. Trust me, I can see you shaking your head right now. I also pushed him to make smoothies in the morning, eat more fruit and cut out as many animal products as possible.

You learned in my “Why Did I Go Vegan?” post that Freelee the Banana Girl was a huge influence for me to go vegan. So I adopted her style of yelling facts and would criticize my dad if he ate any animal products.

He put up with it for a while, making smoothies in the morning and having rice dishes for dinner, but soon called it quits. I give him credit for listening to me at all. I took a very negative angle and expected him to go vegan overnight. It wasn’t his choice to cut the animal products; I made that decision for him.


Several months passed and I avoided mentioning the V-word to my dad. I, myself, felt exhausted from my epic failure so I couldn’t even imagine how he felt.

One day, as I was cleaning my apartment, I had a TED Talk on in the background that focused on healing disease through a plant-based diet. It was such an inspiring talk and, inevitably, it made me think of my dad.

I paused for a while, not letting the excitement build up in me like it had the first time. I prayed about it. “Should I talk to my dad about going vegan again?” I felt that, yes, it was time to bring up the topic again. BUT I had to change my approach. I wanted to make it an enjoyable experience for my dad and give him tools to be successful.

Where I went wrong (part 2)

As I finished cleaning, I planned in my head what I would say to my dad. I called him that afternoon and laid it all out: I explained that I felt compelled to talk to him about veganism again and that I really felt he could heal some or all of his health issues by cutting out animal products. I asked him, “Would you be willing to try again if I help you get set up with the basics?” Much to my surprise, he responded with an excited, “Yes!”

I hung up the phone feeling elated that he really wanted to give it another shot. Right away, I started planning a recipe book for him with meals that were fast and easy. One thing he mentioned is that he just doesn’t have time to prepare meals so the easiest thing is stopping for fast food. I pulled together a binder of recipes that could be made in 30 minutes or less.

A week later, I invited my dad and his girlfriend over for dinner so I could give him the recipe book and we could talk. I made my Vegan Peanut Pad Thai. Looking back, I should have stuck with something more traditional, like burgers or burritos. I’ve never really known him to be an eater of not-so-American food. He wasn’t a fan of the Pad Thai.

That night I noticed that the excitement he had on the phone seemed to have fizzled and he was now just thinking about ditching the animal products rather than committing to give it a good effort. Sensing this, I backed off right away. I didn’t want to force it on him if he wasn’t interested.


What I learned

Baby steps are vital. Rather than hoping or expecting someone will go full vegan, start by recommending they cut out red meat, or dairy, or just one animal product at a time. If they want to do more than that, they will.

If someone isn’t ready to take charge of their health, there is literally nothing you can do. As much as I care about my dad and would love to see him live a healthy life for many more years, I don’t control his decisions. If he ever wants to change his diet, he knows I’m here to help.

Speaking from love is much more impactful than being the “angry vegan”. I now live my life as an example and share food and knowledge with those who are hungry for it.


Have you had any wins or losses when trying to get someone to go vegan? Share in the comments!

28 thoughts on “My Epic Vegan Fail

  1. I have had similar experiences with my parents, unfortunately. We care so much and want them to be better, but I know that so many of our approaches are totally wrong.. like mine was or usually still is :/ They have, however, started to eat a lot more plant based, and do sometimes cut out certain animal products, even if it is temporary.

    Wishing your dad the best, and I hope he can see some benefits from some small changes he makes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It can be really frustrating when people don’t get the connection between animals they ‘love’ and the food they are eating but I try to teach in a positive way rather than negative by showing people all the great food I can eat, how good I feel etc. I’m lucky that my girlfriend never complained about eating my vegan cooking and she eventually went vegan after choosing to watch cowspiracy off her own back. My dad is similar to yours – he has health issues and my mum cooks veggie a lot more for him now but I don’t think he would ever go vegan, but for now he will eat my vegan food and treats and enjoys them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t even try to get someone to “convert”. It is their life they choose. If someone I know wants to go vegan, fine with me, if not, fine as well.
    But here at home are no animal food products! If my husband wants something with meat in, he has to get it himself, which happens maybe once a week. But his tea has to be with cow milk.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for your blog 🙂 I am 10 years older than your dad and have found that it is far more effective to convince by example rather than with a 2×4 on the head. Eventually your body replaces *all* of its cells in just a few years. FWIW the simple statement that convinced me to become vegan is by Heather Morgan: “Every time you eat or drink you are either feeding disease or fighting it.” Much good food for thought there 🙂
    Oddly enough my own father’s bad dietary choices also gave me impetus to become vegan. Although he lived to 92 I am quite convinced that he could have been far healthier in his final years.
    Best wishes for the approaching holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the insight! Yes, I’ve heard that statement too. It’s very powerful. Especially if you think about it while you’re eating.
      How long have you been vegan? Sounds like you’ve got some good knowledge.

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      1. Thanks for the kind words 🙂 I went through a relapse from a vegan diet when I included cheese. It’s a meat byproduct that spoils a successful detox. Many people aspiring to veganhood are stymied by a craving for the hundreds of cheese varieties out there. I was a gradualist rather than a cold “turkey” type. The better I keep to simple basic foods the better I feel. Being able to look a fellow creature in the eye is very rewarding. Complicity matters. Small carbon footprints too.
        Anyway, I started about 20 years ago, having merely experimented with veganism in the 60’s. Interestingly, organic farming much resembled regular farming in the 1950’s. I write about foraging in those days at
        https://315glenroy.wordpress.com/
        I appreciate the inquiries about my vegan discoveries and look forward to writing a lot more about the topic right here on WordPress.
        Every day is a good day to be vegan!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. ‘I could never be vegan’ is synonymous with ‘Leave me to my willful ignorance about my meat choices.’ My family to a T.

    Kudos to you for trying! My life is made more manageable by lowering my expectation of others. Compassion and morality is subjective — it is easily validated even with a tortured bird carcass on the table.

    Best wishes with your dad. Don’t give up…billions of beings depend upon your advocacy. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t spend too much time with stubborn people. Try to spread the message around those more receptive. In advertising, a smartphone ad reaching all over the world will result in more sales than door to door sales. Wider reach is most people and spend less time with each person you spread the message to.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My sister is now vegetarian and still lives at home with my mom. My mom constantly talked about how I “corrupted her” …it was rough in the beginning but time has helped her come around around and now she’s always bringing home different meat subs for my sister to try and even ate the vegan “turkey” I made for Thanksgiving. She’ll never know how much little things like this mean to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Veganism is a social justice issue. I think it is important to underline that. And indeed, you can spread the vegan word, without being the ‘angry vegan’ 😉 I have seen some things from freelee, and I cringe at her hateful, ableist and fatshaming banter. That is not what veganism is about imo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the medium used to spread the vegan message determines the tone you can use too. For instance, face to face is more effective with a friendly tone. On YouTube, I think people can get away with being the angry vegan a bit more because it’s less personal.

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  9. I feel ya. My mother has had 3 heart attacks and is so incredibly resistant to even cutting back on animal products. She buys into the diet dogma that keeps her tied to an incredibly unhealthy diet. So, we just agree to not talk about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to take a look at your perspective. It’s so tough to bring up that subject, especially with older people and especially with parents. Being a good example and having a positive attitude toward their questions is a great way.

      Like

  10. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. I know from being on Facebook that people don’t want to be preached to. They want to see you shine and they’ll want that, too! Holding back is probably the easiest way to get someone excited for any change. I’ve always said children learn by what we do, not what we tell them to do. Never thought how much that also relates to everyone regarding anything that will change their life including veganism.

    Liked by 1 person

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