When I first saw this picture I burst out laughing. Just my goofy sense of humor. For the past 11 years, when it comes to eating I have been that one friend. Maybe even more years than that. None of my friends have been vegetarians. I was the goofy friend that had to scan menus for what I could eat, or make do with eating side dishes and appetizers.
Years ago when I lived and worked in Kentucky, I would bring my lunch to work every day. Almost daily I would hear, “eww what is that?!” I would bring things like homemade sushi or hummus and vegetable sticks. The women I worked with ate McDonalds every day for lunch. Literally. They had never even heard of hummus before I started working with them.
I know how it feels to be the odd one out; to have the side eye thrown at every meal you eat. I know the uncomfortable position of feeling like you are putting people out when they choose a restaurant and then have to say, “oh wait, what is Roo going to eat?” and many times I have experienced the dreaded drop in my stomach when I sit down at a restaurant, open the menu (that all my friends are eagerly scanning) and can’t find a single thing I can eat.
The year is 2017, (soon to be 2018) and while there are SO many more options for vegetarians in restaurants, grocery stores, even the airport, I am STILL the only vegetarian in my entire office. Though I never pontificate about the dangers of eating meat or even say anything about it, some people act defensive and angry when I say I don’t eat meat as if I am attacking them for doing so or I am questioning their character over the food that they eat.
I didn’t choose to eat a whole foods plant based diet because I enjoy feeling like the odd one out or being THAT friend. I didn’t choose my diet to make others feel bad. I never chose to give up meat in order to shame anyone else or even to convince anyone else that they should give it up too.
I chose to eat a whole foods plant based diet because it makes me feel GOOD. I choose to eat mostly vegetables and fruit because when I gave up meat and sugar I felt happier, lighter, and less anxious.
I can handle being the only one who falls off the dock because I know I am making a choice that is right for me. I want to share the sense of well- being I have with others. I want YOU to experience the freedom and lightness that comes from a whole foods plant based diet. I want to share the joy.
Everyone is free to make their own choices. I would never make anyone feel badly for their choices.
I have been the weird one. I have been the ONLY one. I have continued on in my choice despite being ALONE in that choice. I would never want to make another feel like the odd one out. It is hard to be different.
But when something makes you feel Good, when something makes you feel Happy, when something brings joy and peace to your general feelings of anxiety- it is worth doing. If you are interested in learning about a whole food plant based diet and you want to feel good, I am happy to share what I know with you. You don’t have to manage it alone.