Interview with Vegan: Digital Nomad Sophie [Part 4, Families and Gatherings]

Interview with Vegan: Digital Nomad Sophie [Part 4, Families and Gatherings]


You’re watching part 4 of a chatty interview
series with a very good friend of mine, plant-based nomad Sophie. If you still
haven’t, definitely go back and watch part 1, where we explained our kind of
fun story how we got to know each other and discussed why it’s so
important to surround yourself with people who think alike. In part 2 Sophie
shared her transitioning story: what were her reasons and triggers. In part 3, which
was a very exciting episode, she shared her travelling experiences all over the
world — Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Bali, Portugal, States, UK. In this final episode we will
be addressing a topic that many people resonate with when transitioning to a
plant-based diet and that is dealing with your families and friends and
gatherings and holidays. Sophie has some very funny stories from both her family
and her partner’s. And once again, Sophie’s very good with valuable
takeaways. She will be giving us three great tips on how to deal with your
families and friends. Because I think some people feel affronted by your
change of lifestyle. — I mean you can escape from your friends, but you can’t
escape from your families! — My mom felt it was very extreme. Well, I kill the
bacteria in my eye everyday, it’s no different from killing an animal. And he was like,
hahahaha having this laugh to himself and I was like what’s so funny and he
went: oh well, there was butter drizzled all over those! No wonder you enjoyed
them! A huge part of being in a healthy
relationship is being able to grow together. So, thankfully for us we had
supportive partners who actually hugely benefited from the lifestyle and are
really on board and really supportive. And just great and just with us and
we’re moving together in a parallel, which is fantastic, but our close family is
still there and so are our friends that existed before we made this transition.
And as easy as it is to say it doesn’t matter what nobody else says to you or
anybody else thinks about it, it really does affect you, particularly in
the beginning. And it can be quite difficult and surprising — the different
reactions that you have from family members, because I think some people feel
affronted by your change of lifestyle. — And family is something
you can’t escape from. I mean you can escape from your friends, but you can’t
escape from your families. — Yeah, family is something that, you know you can have
really strong values in life and think you think — no this is the way I’m going, but
actually you always have to make an exception for your family, because
family’s family and they’re always there. So as much as it’s thinking about how
YOU feel, going into your family as a different person or somebody with a
different lifestyle, it’s also I think really relevant to think about how other
people feel about it too and how they perceive you and how that can maybe
evolve over time. Initially my family, my mum felt it was
very extreme. Like for some reason being vegetarian was acceptable, but going
fully vegan was very extreme. That’s the word she used. My my dad was kind of just eye
rolling and just not even interested. And saying silly things to me like: well, i
kill the bacteria in my eye everyday, it’s no different from killing an animal! Like as
if you can even compare like bacteria to an animal with a nervous system.
Yes so I’ve got lots of different reactions and actually that’s, that has
evolved over time and it still has its own difficulties too, even though
everybody’s used to how things are now. So one thing I would say in the
beginning is really really and this goes back to doing a research and having that
information — people will challenge you and people will have these strong
beliefs that have been hammered into their head since they were child by parents,
by people they trust, people that taught them at school, teachers, doctors. And they
still… — And not to blame them. It’s the way they were brought up. — Yeah, because we were there two seconds before. You know before we made a decision to change. We didn’t know
either! I mean to have that patience with people and to often agree to disagree.
You know you can’t change everything and that’s something that we’ve discussed is
that we entered into this new knowledge, in this new direction in our lives
thinking what if everybody else has this knowledge, if I could only impart it to them!
— Being really really enthusiastic about it! — Yeah, I can bring them
this dish and they’re gonna change their mind just like I did! Because we probably
think, oh well, maybe… — And then you hit the wall and it’s, the first time it’s kind
of disappointing. — It’s really yeah, it’s very disappointing and you think
everybody’s gonna be the same as you, that they jump on board and that they
had the same enthusiasm and it’s just not like that. Like the reality is that
people don’t make the change and that’s okay. That not everybody has to swim in
the same direction as you. And actually something that I’ve realized with this
different life side of traveling, in this different direction I’ve taken with
my way of life, the way that I eat, because it DOES become a way of life, it
DOES… it threads all your values together in a certain direction. — Yeah, when you
go into it, you don’t think of it as restricting something or that you will
be deprived of something, but it’s a whole shift of paradigm basically. — It really is! — You go into this new lifestyle and you’re really happy and content
about it. It’s not that… maybe the people who are outside think that you are
yeah like you are miserable, you’re struggling, you always want to go back to
the other circle, but it’s not that way. You have a shift in your mind
basically and you actually enjoy your life much more than you did before.
— One thing that I think has popped up for me a couple of times in, for you also, is
that sometimes family members will kind of trick you for want of a better word
and you’ll think that a dish that they’ve made might be vegan or
plant-based and actually it’s not. So… — It’s when they want to be evil. — Yeah, I think,
yeah! I’ll tell you the story and then I’ll give you my thoughts. So what
happened to me was there was a particular vegetable dish, which in Ben’s
family when we’re having Thanksgiving, because he’s American, I’m from England,
so we don’t have the same celebration and, but certainly I love taking part in
his family celebration. And a certain vegetable dish was allocated to a
certain family member to do, because we all have our different roles and I
believed that it was completely plant-based. And I think I even
complimented him after and said: Oh, delicious carrots, thank you! And he was
like hahahahaha having this laugh to himself and I was like: what’s so funny
thinking what did I say. And he went oh wow there was butter drizzled all over
those — no wonder you enjoyed them. And so I had to really just take a moment,
because I went really red to begin with. I was really shocked, because it’s not
what… I wouldn’t want to eat butter, I wouldn’t want to ingest butter, that’s
number one. And the second thing was I felt a bit upset that he had done that
and was laughing about it, that he found that to be funny, but I had to just swallow it down. — It says certain things about him. — Yeah, I had to kind of just take a moment
and just… and actually how I reacted was to just laugh it off and I was like, oh
haha you know pulled one, pulled one over me there or something like that.
And the reason that I did that rather than having an argument was
because I had to have a bit of empathy and compassion for him. And the reason is
that he doesn’t know all the things that I know
and he doesn’t know where I’m coming from. And I think he thinks that because
it’s a holiday, it’s a nice treat for me and I think… — That you’re doing missing out. — Yeah, then he he just thought, well she wouldn’t normally have it herself, but I’ve
given it to her and she’s had a nice experience with it. That’s a good thing,
it’s a holiday you know — live a little kind of thing, but he doesn’t know the
stuff that I know and doesn’t know the health implications. He doesn’t know the
ethical implications, he doesn’t know that it, you know it doesn’t feel good to
me, that it’s not appealing to me, it’s not something that makes me have an
appetite — it’s the opposite! He doesn’t know all of those things. So to just
understand that he’s coming from a different place to me and that he isn’t
a nasty person. I don’t think he was meaning to be spiteful and it was a bit
naughty how he did that, but I don’t think it was coming from a bad place and
so, I just, if I could give you any advice about that, I would just — be prepared
sometimes that might happen, but to just put yourself in the other person’s
shoes and remember that they don’t know the same things that you know and they
don’t have the same beliefs and that often they’re coming from a point of
they just want you to enjoy something as opposed to they’re trying to trick you
and be horrible. I mean… — Argument often doesn’t take you anywhere. — No it
doesn’t, and if you feel like you’re separated from your family and argument
it’s just going to put a giant wedge in between you and that’s not what any of
us want. We all want to have this cohesive easy relationship with people,
especially on a holiday and we don’t want to come across as being too
controlling or too rigid. You know it’s… and that takes me to my next point, that
sometimes we can make concessions and it’s important to adjust a little bit
sometimes. So my second anecdote is about this dish that I created before I
went whole food plant-based and like made my first Thanksgiving with Ben’s
family. And it was an English dish that we always have at Christmas time, which
is roasted carrots and parsnips with honey and mustard and some rosemary and
you put them in the oven and they’re really delicious. I made it the first
year and everyone loved it and everyone said, oh we want this to be part of our
Thanksgiving tradition as well, this is Sophie’s English gift to our meal or kind
of thing. And so every year since then they said: Oh Soph, can you make the carrots and parsnips for us again? So knowing that a
carrot and parsnip that will be oven baked without oil would be quite a
different kind of story, I kept the oil and, I wouldn’t normally cook with
oil, but I made a concession, because it’s a holiday and it’s because it’s
something they enjoyed. And I swapped the honey for maple syrup, so at least it was
vegan and I still continue to make them and they still continue to enjoy them. No
one’s any the wiser that I even swapped out the ingredients, but I just wanted to
say that, although we strive to be living the certain way in upholding these
values every day. Sometimes it’s okay to make a concession and that’s when
other people are involved and it’s a dish that you bonded over or something
that’s important to them, that’s your important contribution to the
meal. I think it’s okay, if it’s a holiday or something like that to make
concessions from time to time and to not beat yourself up about that or not
be too strict on yourself or too hard on yourself either. It’s a holiday and so
just to have that sometimes is up to you and that’s and that’s perfectly
acceptable and I think it’s often quite a healthy thing to do in terms of your
relationship with your family. — I totally agree. It’s about the progress not
perfection. And in your experience, what are the main
tips when it comes to families and friends? — We’ve talked before about trying
to create new traditions. So, the traditions that came before we made this
change in our life are very strong and they are honoured very deeply by our families,
but that doesn’t mean to say that we can’t create new traditions and by
introducing maybe a new dish or a new, maybe something like a game or some kind
of theme, that we maybe introduce that’s new, that we do every year. That’s a
lovely way to create a new tradition and it doesn’t have to block anybody out, it
can be all inclusive. So I think just have that mindset rather than… it’s about
seeing the good sides of it again, about thinking what you’ve left behind in the
past, about allowing families to be sad for you, that you can’t partake in this
anymore. Just create something new that’s joyful that everybody can partake in and
set new traditions, I think that’s a lovely way to take a good foot forward
into your new lifestyle with family and to make it a positive experience for
them as well. The second thing I would say is to be patient with people and
again, this comes back to kind of having that compassion, that empathy for where
other people may be in their life, to remember that you once were without this
knowledge as well and that you may have acted the same in their shoes, you know,
that you can understand where they’re coming from. To just have patience
and compassion for them… — Which can be difficult sometimes. — Yeah! — But so worth trying.
— If you change your life it’s because you feel strongly about it. If you feel
strongly about it, emotions erupt up and lots of other things and it
can be hard not to let that bubble to the surface. And it takes time, it really
does, but if you can understand where people are coming from a bit more, it
often will make things a bit easier on you. Another thing I would say is that,
initially in the beginning we’ve talked about how we wanted to spill out this
information to our families and “help” them you know and they didn’t see it as
help and there’s a lot of pushback from them. What I would say is that I left
that a long time ago and I’ve kind of let the ideas
percolate, if I can use that expression, so just for people to just sit and see…
but through my actions how I live my life and to just see how healthy I am,
how healthy my partner Ben is as well. And I think if you plant a seed often, it
will grow later and in the beginning it’s hard to have that perspective, that
kind of bigger view on things, because you’re in here and now and
everything’s new and it’s all really-really intense. If you just let things roll by
as normal, people will start coming towards you with questions and interests
and it’s… in a positive way, so just to let things percolate, so recede and just
show by action. No need to show by mouth, just show how you live and people
will naturally be interested I think. — Walk your talk. — And the third thing I
would say, which is a good advice in life anyway, is to just be prepared. So be
prepared for questions, be prepared for debates, even though you may not want
them. Have that knowledge, ready to fire away or NOT — be prepared to
say I’d rather not get into this, I’d rather not debate it, I could send you a
few articles online. Have your response prepared. Something that my partner Ben
mentioned to me is that people will often say things like: oh just have a
piece of cake, it’s only once a year, it’s a holiday, relax, enjoy yourself and
they’re kind of like shoving it under your nose. So I think it’s really helpful
to have a response prepared for that, because they’re not doing horribly and you
don’t want to make an awkward scene, when it’s a holiday. They’re doing it with
love, but you also need to be… — You don’t want to get traumatic. — That’s right, yeah! And you want to be
able to contain the situation without offending anybody or changing the
atmosphere. So just have some different phrases up your sleeve. One that I always
like to do is kind of… like a delay tactic, so I’ll go: oh I’d love to! Do you
mind if I have it later? I’m just finishing my tea or I’m just going to
clear the dishes and then I’ll have it. And by that
time everybody’s finished anyway, they’re probably on to the next thing or the
next drink, let’s be fair, and they’ve completely forgotten and the
moment’s passed. There’s different ways that you can just dodge the bullet and
if you have those lines prepared in your mind, I think it just makes it easier
rather than in the moment you say something that’s a bit too strong or you
cave or you offend somebody or something like that. Just have that really neutral
nice response prepared. — Or you can just say that: oh I’m so full at the moment!
— Yeah! — Everything was so good, I ate so much! — Yea, brilliant delay tactic. That’s so true and then later they’d forgotten all
about it anyway. — Okay thank you once again Sophie for investing your time
coming here talking with me on my Youtube channel. So here I am again
walking alone in the park as Sophie has gone to the States. I hope you enjoyed
our chats together and that you’ve got some practical information and tips. If
you did, make sure to subscribe and hit that bell button to get notifications
and I will see you in my next video!

One thought on “Interview with Vegan: Digital Nomad Sophie [Part 4, Families and Gatherings]

  1. Great tips! Thanks for your series. Really appreciated both your perspectives especially with family and friends and holidays. Thank you!

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