I can’t even count how many times I have been face to face with a militant health nut. Their views vary, but their hard line doesn’t, if you know what I mean. Sometimes it’s a vegan, a food combiner, a vegetarian, an organic fanatic, or an avid carnivore. Whether it’s a sugar-hater or salt advocate, it’s darn confusing and ultra annoying!

Most people can’t even get to the dinner table let alone adopt some brand-new kind of eating, just because someone is pounding their views into their face. The pounder is often completely dumbfounded when the recipient wants to get out of their space—as fast as they can!

I will never forget when one of our daughters decided to go vegan ONE WEEK before Christmas! As a mother, I knew I had to support her journey. But, as a healthy non-vegan the sweat was pouring down my face. (Two Christmas dinners—great!)

After a minor nervous breakdown, I gathered my wits and figured out how to make her favorites without butter, eggs, or meat. The result? She said the effort to respect her decision was even better than her Christmas present. (And her Christmas present didn’t suck). Within a few months, she decided vegan eating wasn’t really for her. But, here’s the deal: I really respect her for trying it out! I respect that she cares to be on a health journey because I know it will eventually lead to a healthy destination; one that is right for her. And, starting a health journey is a very important thing.

Did I love her when she was vegan? Of course. But did I like her? Not so much. (Sorry hon!) Why? Because she made us all feel like we were animal haters (and we are all animal lovers). We couldn’t escape the topic. She believed she had reached her final destination and that the world, including us, should be ashamed if they dare eat meat.

I see how this attitude affects families emotionally every day. Jack and Naomi fight because she is on a diet or has chosen an alternative way of eating. Naomi feels hurt because Jack is viewed as non-supportive. But in actuality, Jack isn’t on her journey.

So how do we fuel our desire to help others once we have found the secret code for ourselves? Be relatable and gently share your journey. Great food information helps people on their journey. Shoving your views down their throat (pun intended) makes them run in the other direction. People gather bits of information as they go, so share ever so gently! As you enter a conversation about food try saying to yourself, “Oh yeah, I was on a journey too!”

Sandi Richard is considered by many to be North America’s leading meal-planning expert. She is the three-time award-winning creator and host of Fixing Dinner on Food Network Canada, American Life TV and Discovery Asia. She is an International Bestselling author of six life-changing books in her Cooking for the Rushed series. In addition to being a regular on CBC radio, Sandi has been a featured guest on Food Network U.S. and a repeat guest on NBC’s Today Show. Sandi is the mother of seven children, and when eating became the enemy in her house she began searching for solutions. That was two decades ago and she never looked back. For more on Sandi please visit her WEBSITE.