How to get your ideas heard

Hello and welcome to the newsletter that’s fully armed and operational: it’s Taste This!, the official newsletter of!

New! Download the MP3 (18 minutes) or watch this on YouTube (9 minutes)

In this issue:

  • Welcome!
  • How to get your ideas heard
  • Office hours!
  • A quick survey…
  • What’s ahead this week
  • Thanks!


Hello everyone! I’m actually writing this on the same day it goes out, so an authentic Happy Monday to you all! This is a really exciting day for us – as I type this, there are people in my kitchen installing our new countertop, which is a huge step in the ongoing (since October!) reno that’s been sucking up so much of our energy. Hopefully I’ll have pictures for next week’s email!

Please welcome our newest subscribers Rachel, Greg, Kelsey, Walter, Dagna, Briana, Kevin, and Richard to the newsletter, and thanks to those of you who forwarded this email along to friends! If you’re new or even if you’ve been around for a while, please let me know what you think and how we can be even better – as always, you can reach me personally through the contact form.

How to get your ideas heard

This week I want to share an idea I just read – I’m still processing the book and figuring out the right angle to introduce it, so I’ll hold off on disclosing the source, but some of you might recognize the quote.

As vegans, we’re kind of perceived as, well, completely insane from time to time by the meat eating public. After all, what we do goes almost 100% against the way most of the world was brought up, and by acting against this “conventional wisdom” there’s a line being drawn in the sand – one of us has to be wrong.

In that context, anything you say about health, animals, the environment, or even the colour of your socks is going to be met with some resistance, so it’s important to use every tool in your arsenal to get your points across.

This matters if you’re a longtime vegan or if you’re completely new to things, but probably more if you’re new. After all, how can you be an “expert” on this stuff if you’re only a few weeks in? For that matter, how can you be an expert when you yourself acknowledge that you’re still learning every day? (which all of us are doing, whether we acknowledge it or not!)

The tool I’m going to introduce today is the third party source. Here’s the quote from the book:

“He was telling the students about the hypnotic technique of using quotes in a conversation. An idea is more palatable, he explained as he paced the room, if it comes from someone else. ‘The unconscious thinks in terms of content and structure. If you introduce a pattern with the words, “My friend was telling me,” the critical part of [the] mind shuts off.”

(Again, my apologies to the author, and I’ll cite the source properly next week, but this book is a little outside the stuff that normally gets mentioned in activism circles, and I want the idea to set in before we get distracted by the title. If you recognize the quote, email me!)

This concept usually comes up in the other direction, where meat eaters say “I had a friend who tried…” or “My buddy said that you can’t…” and all you want to do is tell them their friend’s an idiot, but what about going in the other direction?

This is one of those things that when you think about it, you figure you’re too clever to fall for it, and yet we do all the time: there’s a reason they keep using that “4 out of 5 dentists” line in the commercials!

People and books both work here, so the next time you’re telling someone about veganism, try adding a third party to a mix – “I’ve read that,” “I’ve heard a doctor say that,” “my friend says that,” etc.

Like it says in the quote, the idea here is that part of the listener’s brain deactivates when there’s a referral. They’re no longer as critical of you, because it’s no longer your idea, and the third party isn’t even there, so there’s nothing to latch on to. As a result, the gatekeeper in the brain gets turned off and you’ve got a more direct path into the part that’s actually going to respond to the concepts.

This is a new idea for me, so I haven’t tried it out yet, but I like it and it fits with a lot of other ideas I’ve read.

But then again, I read this in a book, so my mind’s already biased. 🙂

Office hours!

Last week we started introducing new formats for this newsletter – while I still prefer the email version, and I think a lot of you agree with me, I want to get these ideas across in the way that fits you best, so that’s why we introduced audio and video versions.

From the feedback we’ve gotten so far, this is a huge hit, so we’ll keep doing them, but I want to take things further:

I want to do this newsletter LIVE!

This Thursday (January 14) at 2PM Eastern (Toronto/New York City time) I’m going to do the first live version of the newsletter.

In addition to going through the content again, you’ll be able to ask questions, and I’ll have a few surprise announcements mixed in as well!

Not only that, but you’ll have a chance to see the worst beard ever – and learn why I’m growing it!

So this Thursday, go to Taste Better at 2PM and you’ll see how to join the live session. I figure we’ll go somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. Also, if there’s a time that would work better for you, please let me know – I just picked that time for the sake of picking that time.

A quick survey…

My mission with the Better Network of vegan websites (I’ll post something about this soon, but you guys always get things in advance because you’re so good at helping me shape ideas with your feedback) focuses on this core idea:

Things are getting better and better faster and faster, but right now, it’s not better enough and it’s not improving fast enough, so while we’re waiting for a plant-based world, we’re going to focus on making the most of the world we’ve got.

This is why this newsletter focuses on tips and tactics for dealing with meat eaters and being the best vegan you can be (which I believe is going to speed things along more that anything else.) It’s why Taste Better deals with the same ideas. It’s why we have Barnivore, our vegan booze guide, to help people pick out which drinks are in tune with their values while the world continues to catch up to us. It’s why we started Spawn Better, our vegan parenting site, to help bridge the gap between what the rest of the world sees as “normal” parenting advice and what we’re doing.

I think there are more gaps out there that need to be addressed, and the one that I can’t get out of my head right now is the world of dating.

This is still so early in the process that I can’t get my ideas across properly without setting up some false expectations, but I’m at the “market research” phase, and I’d appreciate it if you could answer a few questions for me:

1) Are you currently single?

2) If not, is your partner vegan? If you’re single, was your last partner vegan?

3) Are you committed to only dating vegans, or are you open to letting things happen as they happen?

4) Finally, what are the “pickings” like in your area? Is dating another vegan even an option for you?

Like I said, still early, but if you could shoot me a mail with your thoughts on those questions it’d really help me out – again, just use the contact form!

What’s ahead this week

The number of sites we’re running keeps growing, so here’s a quick look at what’s ahead on the Better Network in case anything catches your interest:

Last week went pretty well, with the only thing that got missed on my list was a new porncast for VP – we recorded it, but it won’t be live until Tuesday (a porncast is the Vegan Porn podcast – the link might not be safe for work, but the content is generally safe.)

This week, I’m going to try sticking to an actual posting schedule so everything doesn’t happen on Friday and Saturday!

Taste Better is going to have updates on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, plus our office hours on Thursday at 2PM.

Vegan Porn will have new stuff for you on Tuesday (the aforementioned porncast) and Thursday, and we’re also going to start getting that newsletter going again on a bi-weekly basis, though that probably won’t start until next week.

Barnivore continues to be updated regularly, thanks to Angela, but we’re also releasing a new version that works better on your mobile phones – the current version is really hard to use when you’re out and about, but we’ve got something new that we’re doing the final testing on which will make life a lot easier!

Spawn Better will have updates on Tuesday and Thursday. This week’s all about breastfeeding, including what to do when your child has a food sensitivity and a survey of how long people have been breastfeeding for – that one really surprised me, so you might want to check it out!

I might have a few surprises mixed in there (I’ll announce them during office hours if anything comes up,) but this week’s goal is to hit those markers. I hope you like what we come up with this week!


I can’t stress enough how much fun I have with this newsletter and how much I enjoy responding to your feedback every week. Thanks so much for working with me on this!

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This email goes out every Monday afternoon, see you next week!


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