Dear Jewish Food Hero: I’m passionate about eating healthy, having recently transitioned from being a meat eater to a vegetarian. But the people around me, including my family and friends, are mostly meat eaters. How can I get others to see the importance of eating a more healthy vegetarian diet? — Thank you, Passionate and Feeling Alone, USA
Dear Passionate and Feeling Alone in the USA,
What you write about: making the choice to eat vegetarian followed by a surge of passion for healthy living and vegetarian eating is a very common experience. Many of us go through this “health crusader” moment in our health journey. At that moment, all we want is to share “the truth” with the people we love and care about. We want so much to give the people we love the gift of knowledge so that they too can make healthy choices and reap the personal benefits.
As we all know, we cannot control other people: we can only control ourselves, our space, and our reactions. We must show compassion when dealing with others and their not-always-ideal-eating habits.
What I have noticed: active promotion of a healthy diet (or anything really ) is just not that effective. It often leads to endless food debates and/or larger fights about “control”. Eating is very personal and most people do not want to hear that they should not eat meat and/or cheese ever again!
The most effective way to help others might be to say very little. Instead of promoting a healthy diet, live it. Just focus on a healthy eating for you. Most likely, after time your friends and family will take notice of the real changes in you and will be attracted to your healthy eating and living choices.
To Your Health,
Jewish Food Hero
P.S.I asked a similar question to Jeff Novick in this interview that I invite you to read. ( Jeff is a dietitian and nutritionist whose insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide (myself included) make the transition to healthy living).
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