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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 158 > Sweet freedom

Sweet freedom

Ellen Tout was put out that her attempts to help and guide those closest to her were rebuffed, until she learned more about what it means to be free


Last year, I decided to go vegan. I made the choice for ethical reasons but, after learning about the potential health benefits, I was excited to share them with my younger sister. Since childhood, she’s suffered from low immunity, so discovering how certain foods can help, I eagerly made notes and explained it to her. She rolled her eyes, changed the subject and dismissed the whole idea – she’s often like this when I try to help her. I felt frustrated and overlooked.

Later that week, a colleague told me I should eat dairy otherwise I’d make myself ill. I felt shocked and judged, even though she was not the first person to react this way. Since making the change, people often take it upon themselves to question my health and nutrition. But the incident made me think. Was it actually any different from how I treated my sister? If I want to be free to eat and do what’s right for me, then isn’t it true that I, equally, don’t have the right to tell others, even those I care about, what to do?

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