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Old 03-03-2011, 08:16 PM   #1  
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Default Why can't my family just accept my new lifestyle?

I am a vegetarian, been one for two whole months now, and loving it. I have no cravings or desire to eat meat at all (I actually did have meat once... only thing available... and it gave me a bad stomach ache). For Lent I want to try 40 days of being a Vegan, with no processed or sugary foods. (Thinking of doing sort of the 21 day vegan kickstart thing...)

However... my parents aren't too pleased about it. I AM going to a nutritionist at the end of this month... and I'm looking forward to it. I want to see what he'll have to say about vitamins or nutrition I need to have in my diet. But... in the meantime... and for the past two months... my parents have sort of been sneaking in little things here and there trying to get me to eat meat. Now... they eat meat. That's fine. I'm not against them eating meat.

My reasons aren't animals... but the fact that our bodies just aren't made for the processing and digesting of meat. While we CAN... I don't see it as being something that should always be eaten.

And so, I want to be a vegetarian, occasionally vegan. Not RAW... because I'm sorry... but I like my sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms. And other cooked items.

My mom and little brother just watched this one video that's point was to "debunk" the Supersize Me documentary. He went and ate only cheeseburgers with a small salad, no bread... pretty much a low carb high meat diet... and lost 12.5 lbs in 28 days with no exercise. And so... because one person did that... with a few random little quips from four or five doctors/researchers... my mom is convinced that you NEED animal lard in order to function properly. Whereas I disagree.

I dunno... I'm just getting kind of tired of my Dad calling me "crazy" for not eating meat, my mom always coming up with random reasons why I should be eating meat... etc. I'm 18... this was my own decision as an adult... why can't they just accept it?
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Old 03-03-2011, 08:26 PM   #2  
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There are many thousands of people who are vegan or vegitarians. They are not crazy . As long as you are getting the protein, vitamins and minerals you need I see no problem with it. I personally wouldn't have a problem giving up meat but could not give up dairy,
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:20 PM   #3  
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I know that when my sister went vegan at 18, my parents were upset, not because they didn't agree, but because it became much more difficult to cook family meals for everyone. It was seen as something of an imposition. When she started cooking for herself, buying her own items, and doing her own dishes, things got a whole lot easier. My parents even learned to enjoy some awesome vegan recipes. So, are your parents seeing it as a bit of an imposition? Is there anything you can do to make it easier for them to appreciate what you're doing?
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:53 PM   #4  
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My mom is always trying to get the entire family to eat more vegetables. I'm eating the same meals that everyone else is... just not the meat portion of it. So my mom isn't trying to cook a million new things... the only "different" thing about the cooking is that I have some boca burgers in the freezer. Everything else is what everyone else eats. Which means I have a lot of the same things (salsa is a staple... green beans, brocolli, salads, simple things like that).

With going vegan/no processed foods for lent... I'm gonna try and see if maybe I could buy my own "special" foods, like lentils, quinoa, etc.

So... while some things MIGHT be a bit of an imposition (more thought goes into going out to eat... but we rarely go out to eat anyways...) the majority of stuff is what we have normally eaten anyways... the stuff she cooks for everyone... and I just don't eat the meat portion. My Mom is always more concerned about my health, that I'm not getting the animal fat/protein I apparently "need"... and my Dad thinks that I'm just trying to prove a point...

I love them... but I don't want to be an imposition. And because of that alone... I am looking forward to college and being on the Vegan meal plan.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:04 PM   #5  
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I went vegetarian at the age of 14 and got a lot of criticism and questioning from my family. The reasons were three-fold:

1. Concern for my health
My parents had very genuine concern for my health, so I always complied with their request for more information on my diet. I saw a nutritionist, talked with my doctor (with my mom in the room), etc. I studied about B12, protein, and other nutrients, so that I was prepared to field my mom's questions about how I would get enough of this, how I would substitute that, etc. If you are a minor and living under your parents' roof, I'd argue it's within their right (and in your best interest!) for them to question seriously your new diet and to have continued discussions about your health. By engaging with them in these discussions whenever they wanted I learned they became much more trusting of my making my own eating decisions and much more comfortable with my choice.

2. Inconvenience
For legitimate reasons, my family would complain about my vegetarianism. For my parents, they were concerned about the additional burden it would place on them to prepare well-rounded meat-free meals. I did what you did- I ate everything except the meat portion of dinners, or I'd bring out yogurt, cook up an egg, etc so they saw that I wasn't just 'going without' during dinner. Offer to make dinner sometimes- veg lasagna, eggplant parmeasan, and veg chili are big family hits. Your parents will be grateful for your willingness to help them cope with your diet and everyone will be happy to enjoy new tasty foods. (Plus everyone will realize veg food doesn't have to just be a plate of celery- it actually tastes good!)

3. Annoyance
For my siblings, and to some extent my mom, it was annoyance at this 'fad' was just a ploy to get attention and express myself. Whatever you do, DON'T preach your opinions about vegetarianism. Don't try to change your family members' opinions about eating meat. Respect their choices and they will start to come around and respect yours. Don't make a big deal about ordering at restaurants or draw attention to your vegetarianism at meals- it is only annoying.

If you help make yummy meals and you are always wiling to talk to you parents about nutrition when they raise concerns, they will understand vegetarianism a lot more and be more comfortable with it. A lot of their concern is out of just not knowing much about it, so the more they learn the less they will rail you about it.

That said, if you have younger (read: annoying!) siblings, they will always rail on you My little brother tried to convince me for years that chocolate has meat in it so I couldn't have any and he got to have my piece, haha. Just let is brush off.

The less attention you draw to your eating styles, the less your family will notice or worry about it. For me it definitely took a good year to get there. After that they didn't really think twice about it.

Last edited by indiblue; 03-04-2011 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 03-04-2011, 12:52 AM   #6  
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I had the same thing happen to me years ago. Now I"m 20 and they've not only accepted my lifestyle but are trying to be healthy themselves (eating organic, less meat - which is a huge deal for them). Just do your thing, show how healthy and nice it can be, and they just might turn around. I don't think they'll ever completely cut out meat but I'm glad they are more understanding of it.
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Old 03-04-2011, 07:29 AM   #7  
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Quote:
I dunno... I'm just getting kind of tired of my Dad calling me "crazy" for not eating meat, my mom always coming up with random reasons why I should be eating meat... etc. I'm 18... this was my own decision as an adult... why can't they just accept it?
1) Because you are 18, and they worry. This is foreign to them. When I went veg the ONLY person who didn't think I was bananas was my Chinese mom who said "Well, Buddhists have been doing it for thousands of years. It isn't going to kill you." After 10 years, everyone got over it and some of them picked up some healthier habits. I'm on a bit of a flexitarian break to address other issues, but I'd like to go back eventually.

2) It's only been 2 months. Try to relax, be pleasant and low key and carry on. Offer to help cook or shop.

3) Because it could feel like a rejection of their love for you to them. Some people have their love language tied up in the making and sharing of food. So you choosing not to partake can feel like a rejection of THEM.

4) Get a hold of Carole Adams "Living Among the Meat Eaters" and see if that has any more tips that can help.

GL!
A.
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Old 03-22-2011, 10:19 PM   #8  
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hi! i am new here but I soooo know where you are coming from! I am 40 years old and became a vegetarian about a year and a half ago. I STILL have people in my family who do not understand, who try to get me to " break" and eat meat or who seem offended or irritated that i choose not to eat meat.

just remember you made the decision for yourself and you dont have to answer to anyone Its my mantra and I have quite a few years on you LOL

I am going to try the vegan kickstart myself..just to see if i can kick my cheese habit....how are you doing?
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