One of my favourite tips for people transitioning to a plant-based diet is to find plantiful of plant-powered friends.
The reason? The same as to why we find it so much easier to workout with a friend, personal trainer or our 6AM body pump class mates.
The Science Behind Sharing Experiences
This powerful human experience has been documented in numerous studies. When we share a challenging task with another person, we unknowingly fuel our intrinsic motivation. Our focus, performance and enjoyment of the task is increased. What makes this practical and applicable to the real world, is that these positive things can happen even when we work alone.
These shared experiences are further enhanced when we get together with like-minded people. When people share the same goal, they intensify each individual’s own goal pursuit and leads to greater behaviours that will help reach that goal.
Solo-Power Vs. Plant-Power
My first attempt to go plant-based was a solo endeavour. It coincided with moving out of home and having all the ‘fun’ aspects of adult-ing life thrown at me while I fought with cravings and mindless dinner ideas. What made it even more difficult was that my partner still ate meat at the time. So we struggled with shopping, preparing and cooking two sets of meals every time in our tiny kitchen (and with our broke uni student bank accounts).
Unsurprisingly, my first attempt was unsuccessful. However, with this setback, I grew more confident in my decision to go plant-based and wanted to succeed even more. So I became more open about my transition and sought out like-minded people.
From then on, my transition was much easier. I found colleagues who were already on a plant-based diet for a number of years and yet they had tales of accidentally taking jello shots after a few drinks that obviously impaired their decision-making! That was actually very reassuring to hear. I also met people at parties and gatherings who were very excited to talk to me about new vegan brunch places that were opening or simply why they went vegan.
One of my favourite perks of going plant-based was making new friends who had similar values and ideals. Of course, we obviously don’t talk about plant-based or vegan topics all the time and have connected with each other through other means too. However, it is truly wonderful to make friends who are on the same path as you.
Now back to my old tiny kitchen that I disliked going into because it was just constantly a mess… Funnily enough, although I adore and love my partner, I actually never thought about introducing him to the idea of going plant-based too. He was a big meat-eater and like many, believed that lots of animal protein was needed to fuel his fitness regime. Anyway, I approached the topic with him and he decided to do his own research and give it a go.
As you now can see, it was successful. We took on the challenging task of transitioning to a plant-based diet together and as the studies suggest, it intensified our goal pursuit. We undoubtedly had many hiccups along the way but working together allowed our persistence and enjoyment to result in an overall positive outcome.
Find Your Plant-Powered Friends
There are many people who have transitioned by themselves overtime or even overnight! It doesn’t hurt to try it solo because you actually learn a lot about yourself through the process. However, finding like-minded people going through the same thing or can help accelerate your transition process. It also makes it a lot more fun too!
If you can’t find someone close by, I recommend joining some Facebook groups such as Plant-Based Diet for Beginners, Plant Based And Loving it and Fork Over Knives Official Plant-Based Group. Reading people’s new recipes, success stories and struggles can definitely help your transition process. I was also encouraged by seeing so many people from different walks of life who were on the same journey as me all around the world.
Let me know if you have your own group of plant-powered friends, colleagues or even how you talked to strangers about going plant-based! Did you transition with someone else too? Or did you do it alone? I would love to hear your comments!
- Boothby EJ, Clark MS, Bargh JA. Shared experiences are amplified. Psychol Sci. 2014;25(12):2209‐2216. doi:10.1177/0956797614551162 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25274583/
- Carr, P. B., & Walton, G. M. (2014). Cues of working together fuel intrinsic motivation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 53, 169–184. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2014.03.015 https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-16096-020
- Shteynberg, G., & Galinsky, A. D. (2011). Implicit coordination: Sharing goals with similar others intensifies goal pursuit. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 1291–1294 https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-19543-023