A lot of people I know ask me why I'm vegan when they get the chance. And I've found the best answer is as follows.
"I'm vegan for three main reasons. For my health, for the environment because factory farms are horrible for the environment, and for compassion for animals."
This is the best way to go because it's simple, concise, says it all and it's hard to argue with. Well, maybe it isn't so hard to argue with. But it almost always creates a long pause before I hear the usual questions and/or statements about lack of protein, calcium, no cheese, etc. I attribute that pause to realizing being vegan makes sense.
Well, a few days ago, a couple good co-worker friends of mine and I had a couple beers and it came up. I gave my usual answer, but got very thoughtful replies.
I'm getting closer to where I say something smart.
My one friend, I'll call him "Pablo", said he admired what I was doing. He wanted to do it but wasn't disciplined enough. I said it doesn't have to be all or nothing, and that he could just try eating vegetarian here and there and see how he feels. It felt good to be admired though.
And then, I heard something new. This guy, I'll call him "Jerry", said that vegans eventually lose bone density from lack of calcium and nutrients, and were likely to have arthritis and other chronic problems. On the topic of veganism, being combative doesn't work out well.
I'm getting even closer to where I said something smart.
I instead said to Jerry that what he said is surely true in some cases, but that The American Dietetic Association concluded well planned vegan diets are healthful for all people, young, old or pregnant. To belabor the point: Read their statement here.
OK, here's where I said the smart thing. And it was totally freestyle, dude. I said most people don't eat balanced diets, and usually they don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. I don't think vegans are automatically worse off. We eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Who's to say which possible deficiency is worse? And research shows vegans live longer and have less disease.
The reply was "good point, good point." And that was that. Confrontation avoided. Conversation civil. Points communicated reasonably. Time not wasted. A smart thing was said. More beers ordered. Done.