Creating Community

There are times when I just get so excited that I’ve chosen to become vegan. Last Saturday was one of those times.

We headed down to the Whole Foods in Devon, PA to see our favorite vegan pastry chef (Chef Fran Costigan), who had scheduled a demonstration at the store. We had also planned to interview Fran, so we wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time to both watch the demo and to do the interview. Between us, we are rarely late and ended up arriving a whole half hour earlier than we had expected. Somehow, I restrained myself from buying out the store.

Fran’s chocolate truffle demo was great, as we had expected—but what I didn’t anticipate were the other people we got to connect with at the event. I’ve never been one to just start talking to a stranger out of the blue; but I knew when we started meeting people that we weren’t just meeting random people, but making positive connections. Creating a support system starts when we are young. For most of us, that includes at least some members of our family—and as we get older, our friends, spouses, and extended family. As we grow up and start developing our own interests, our friendships widen and we sometimes grow apart from others. This is especially true when we start learning more about ourselves and our individual values. Of course, we can still maintain friendships with people who are very different; but it’s important to have some people in our lives with whom we share a common life view.

Dinner @ SuTao Cafe with Chef Fran Costigan and Lee Hall

Finding community is very important when you choose to become vegan. Many of my friends understand completely because I’ve always been nonconformist and think for myself; but there are some people who get uncomfortable when I hold that big, shiny truth mirror in front of their face. I’m not telling anyone what to think, but I hope you know I do think you should question everything “they” have been telling you for decades. Stop listening to them and think for yourself! Those of us who are doing the research into our food products and reading associated health studies are also building support systems. We are attempting to live our values and get a surprising bit of backlash because of that fact.

Making connections with those who “get it” helps me to get up and try to “live it” every day. I know I’m not perfect, and I’m not going to beat myself up for that—but I know that when I get disheartened and tired of fighting the good fight, I have people to whom I don’t have to explain myself. I can vent and get on with my day. So if you have a chance to attend an event or even create your own, remember that you have an opportunity to extend both your hand and your vegan compassion circle to those around you. Those bonds can be just as transformative as your decision to live a plant-based way of life.

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