Veganism saves animals, reduces our environmental impact and can literally make us live longer. We know that veganism is a positive lifestyle, yet it still gets a lot of bad press. It is often referred to as a ‘controversial topic’, and us vegans as ‘militant’, so how can we talk positively to convince people that veganism is far from the stereotype and might even be something they’d consider?
Here are my top five positive vegan conversation topics since transitioning to a vegan lifestyle in 2008.
1. Put yourself in their shoes and talk about your past
It is important to remember that people who consume animal products are not bad people, that you probably ate animals before making the connection, so really reflect back and think about it from their perspective. I often admit to people that my favourite meal was…a fillet steak. Ew! Something I am not proud to admit and even writing it now for you all to read makes me uncomfortable. But, if using this example and talking about how I changed can encourage another to do the same thing, then it is worth it!
2. Talk about vegan food!
Everyone loves food, hence why many people are struggling to give up what they currently eat. Don’t focus on what they can’t eat, focus on all the amazing things they can, like the Beyond Burger, Vegan Magnums, Oreos, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Greggs sausage rolls, the list is now endless. Yes, this is a list of vegan junk food – and isn’t promoting a healthy diet but it is showing how easy and unrestrictive vegan food can be. I would love to encourage people by saying “you should try my infused fruit water and homemade, oil-free hummus” – but I have done the groundwork and it doesn’t cut it.
3. Talk about how you feel
Yes, I said it. We need to talk about our feelings. It is easy to talk about the sorrowful side of veganism and focus on saving animals with a heavy heart but we need to lead with positivity and talk about the animals that are spared through veganism. Talk about how good it feels to eat a plate of food with no guilt. How you feel better aligned with your own beliefs and that you are happy with your own decision.
4. Talk about being healthy
Try not to direct the health benefits they would gain by being vegan, again talk from a general and personal perspective. Give them the overall benefits that have been proven such as lowering the risk of heart disease and talk about the positive changes you have seen in yourself.
5. The bigger picture
This is sometimes tough because you can go down many avenues when trying to summarise such a wide and varied topic, but take this sentence, play around with it, say it out loud and then finish the positive conversation you have had.
“For me, being vegan means, I get to eat what I like without hurting anyone, I’m looking after the planet and I am healthier for it – there is no down side to being vegan at all”
This is usually when I would ask if they would watch a documentary, sign up to a supported vegan challenge such as (Vegan 22) or hand them an information leaflet (and always remember to THANK people! In fact, that deserved a point on its own…).
6. (Bonus tip!) Thank people
Thank them for their time and for engaging in conversation, even if they were rude (as sometimes that happens, doesn’t it) but nevertheless, they gave you some of their time and time is the most precious thing to a person. When I have finished speaking to someone who was particularly pleasant, I always make sure to thank them for being open minded and wish them a nice day. It is the perfect way to end a positive chat. If they decide to try a vegan challenge or watch a documentary - great! But if not, they will still walk away with a different perspective of how friendly, positive and rational vegans can be.
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