I'm going vegan - will my meat-loving friends leave me?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

"You will lose friends if you go vegan."

It sounded like a threat. Will good people choose to unfriend me (or, more realistically, unfollow me on Facebook) if I chose to eat vegetables and fruits instead of meat?


Will my good friends no longer read what I write if I learned to have compassion for cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and fishes?


Please stay.

If you're my friend, whether in real life or on Facebook, don't cut ties with me just because I'm making choices different from yours. We have a lot to share with each other. We have a lot to learn together. There's so much I'm learning about veganism that it has changed so much about me -- my body clock, my bad eating habits, my appetite, my cooking skills, my general outlook on life.

And of course, my food!

vegan foodYummy vegan food I’ve learned to prepare and cook on my own: couscous pilaf with kale, radish, and bell pepper; dairy-free strawberry milkshake with vegan brie; squash vegetable stew in coconut milk; sweet banana with homemade oat milk; and egg-free pancakes with chia seeds.

I’ve learned to make braised tofu and mushrooms, pita bread, creamy tomato soup with pechay, vegan spinach dip, and many other dishes. I also discovered that you can just about throw all sorts of vegetables together in a pan and they’ll taste great!

As your old friend, I would like to keep sharing with you the things I’ve learned. These are things that took time for me to absorb and accept, things that used to create so much conflict in my mind.

These are things that used to bother me everyday. Things that made me ask, how can I call myself an animal lover if I eat them and pay people to slaughter them every single day?

Don't be turned off by my words and sentiments, old friend. I share them with you without any judgment. In fact, I’m sure I will fall flat on my face several times, and you’ll all bear witness to my failures. But I’m no longer afraid of being judged, so I hope you never become afraid of me judging you. I just want to share my new learnings, my regrets, and my happiness.


Please find out.

How does going vegan align with your values? How does going vegan align with your advocacies? Are you a doctor telling your patients that eating monggo (mung beans) doesn’t lead to gout but eating meat does? Are you a health professional educating mothers that breastmilk is way better than cow’s milk? Are you a dog or cat parent who knows that animals know fear, guilt, joy, and gratitude?

Where does your food come from? How can a mother cow provide milk for her calf if we are the ones drinking it? How does meat production affect our health and our environment? How do the companies who provide meat for us treat the animals they eventually kill for our benefit?

Does going vegan solve overeating? Does eating meat contribute to climate change?

Vegan or meat lover, we should know these things. (You can start learning here.)

If you live in Metro Manila and you’re really interested about making more vegan choices, you can join Manila Vegans on Facebook. They will even find a coach for you to make your transition easier!

garden harvest

I learned to love eating veggies after I started my own garden. I’ve been gardening for only two months but I’ve harvested a lot already! My garden harvest includes kale, lettuce, edible balsam flowers, radishes, arugula, basil, coriander, spinach, and even a lonely burgundy okra. (Yep, every vegetable counts!)

Gardening has made my transition to veganism a lot of fun! Join Manila Grows Food and find out how easy it is to grow anything, even if all the space you have for plants is a window sill.


Thank you.

Thanks, old friend. I don't expect you to turn vegan. But for every effort you make to eat less meat, I thank you. And even if the only thing closest to being vegan that you do today is read about veganism, I thank you. More importantly, your new friends – the animals of the world – thank you. (Your health and your planet thank you, too!)

Maybe one day, I’ll invite you to my home and show you how vegan food is just as filling as your favorite meat dishes. My home isn’t nearly as lovely as I want it to be, but I’m willing to open my doors to any vegan-curious friend, if it means sharing the many lovely things I’ve learned!

Stay in touch, and stay inspired.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!