Want to help lead the vegan revolution? Louise Prance shares her tips for spreading the word.
1. Invite your friends for a movie night, Cowspiracy style
Who can resist a movie night? Vegan wine, face masks, popcorn, and a good flick. But instead of the usual romcom, ask your best friends to join you in viewing one of the insightful documentaries that throw the spotlight on the effects of animal agriculture and the cruelty of the meat and dairy industries.
Films such as Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, Earthlings and What The Health are fantastic, informative documentaries that give a powerful awareness to the realities of the industries behind animal-based food and lifestyle choices. People are put off by preaching, so let the films do the talking and let your loved ones see why you changed your mind about meat.
2. Start a vegan social media page
There’s no denying that social media has propelled the vegan movement over the past few years, and sites such as Instagram and YouTube have been instrumental in raising awareness and driving momentum. So why not create your own Instagram page showcasing how easy it is to lead a vegan lifestyle?
From clothes, skincare, restaurants and food choices, documenting your plant-based lifestyle to your friends and family via the power of social media is a sure-fire way to get a conversation started. Showcasing all the easy/accidentally vegan options that abound, you’ll be sure to find your loved ones are surprised at just how stress-free it can be.
3. Treat your partner to dinner at a vegan restaurant
There can often be a stigma attached to vegan eating, with many people believing it’s a strict and sometimes extreme choice that’s not for the masses. However, to prove them wrong, it’s great to showcase the amount of up and coming eateries in the UK, with many offering high-end luxury cuisine that could challenge any meat-orientated restaurant.
I particularly love London-based Tell Your Friends London (tellyourfriendsldn.com) and Wulf and Lamb (wulfandlamb.com), but there are options popping up everywhere (including high-street chains) so why not do some research in your local area and treat your nearest and dearest to a slap-up plant-based meal?
4. Conduct a Big Fat Vegan Quiz
If there’s one thing people love, it’s a game. And what better than a games night with a vegan quiz thrown in for good measure? What can often be frustrating for vegans is the lack of awareness of the health and environmental benefits of leading a plant-based lifestyle, so a fun game that involves family and friends is the ideal way to educate in an informal and unthreatening environment.
They say knowledge is power, and people are much more likely to make better choices when they’re armed with the right information. Who knows, they might even know more than you!
5. Conduct a blind taste test
As vegans, we know just what a taste sensation a plant-based diet can be, but for those considering changing their daily eating habits the absence of dairy and meat can be a worry. Step up the blind taste test. With your senses being heightened when you take away another, hosting an evening of blindfolded food tasting is a fantastic way to educate about a plant-based diet.
Why not take your guests through a full taste journey from canapés, starter and main, finished off with a yummy dessert? Throw in a delicious vegan wine and you’ll have them literally eating out of your hands in no time. Head to www.veganfoodandliving.com/category/vegan-recipes/ for a plethora of menu inspiration.
6. Take part in a sporting challenge promoting a vegan diet
One of the first questions I get asked when my vegan diet is brought up in conversation is, ‘But how do you get your protein?’ And it’s a genuine worry from many that lead a fitness-based lifestyle that they won’t be able to properly nourish their bodies with the right ratio of protein, carbs and fats on a plant-based diet. Of course, celebrity vegan boxer David Haye would probably have something to say about that, as should you.
Taking part in a sporting challenge and raising money for a vegan charity such as Viva!, Veganuary, or Animal Aid will give you the perfect opportunity to shout about and showcase just how a plant-based diet can boost your fitness levels and sculpt your body.
7. Make yourself a walking vegan fashion billboard
Veganism doesn’t just stop at food, with cruelty-free living meaning removing leather, wool, silk and any animal-derived material or ingredient from your clothes and personal care regime. And there’s no better advertisement than word of mouth, or your own fashion statements. Choose ethical, vegan clothing, such as Matt & Nat (mattandnat.com), and shout about it.
Likewise, use cruelty-free skincare and wear vegan make-up such as Cover FX or E.L.F Cosmetics. The ‘where’s that from’ question will be welcomed when you can show how easy it is to look good with vegan products. Buying from across the board – mass market, high street and premium – will showcase just how easy it is to look and feel your best on every budget.
8. Help friends with that first supermarket shop
I think we’re all able to recall our first proper vegan food shop. I for one spent hours trawling through the aisles of my local supermarkets, phone in hand for reassurance over what was and wasn’t totally vegan, looking at the shelves in a deer-in-the-headlights manner. However, had I been accompanied by a vegan friend the experience would have been a lot more enjoyable.
Offer to take your friends on a vegan food shop, merely to highlight where and what they could buy, should they want to. And while you’re at it, point out the easy-vegan as well as the low-cost options available, another common worry for those wanting to transition to a plant-based lifestyle. The Vegan 100 cookbook by Gaz Oakley is a great source of ideas.
9. Host a wine tasting evening
It’s not widely known, but not all wine is vegan. Fining agents used in wine production traditionally use either a milk protein or egg whites, however, there are brands on the market that are specifically vegan, or accidentally vegan. Either way, there’s a good few to taste.
Set up your dining room or kitchen as an official wine tasting experience for friends and family, along with some yummy vegan treats, and you’re well on your way to helping people change their wine purchases in the future. Visit www.barnivore.com to find out which wines are vegan.
10. Gift vegan
One of the best ways to help people change their mindset about a plant-based diet is receiving vegan gifts. We all have that one friend/parent that’s impossible to buy for, so what about a vegan cookery book? My two current favourites are Lucy Watson’s Feed Me Vegan For All Occasions and Vegan in 7 by Rita Serano – both are available from amazon.co.uk.
Other ideas are cruelty-free make-up, a vegan leather purse, a beauty offering from the likes of Lucy Bee (lucybee.com), or some delicious vegan sweet treats for your besties.
Louise is an experienced magazine editor and journalist. Having transitioned to a plant-based lifestyle Louise set up her website and blog, thepranceproject.com, and her Instagram page @thepranceproject.com to help share the joys of living cruelty-free.