How much would you share with others about a decision to try going vegan? - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 10-14-2016, 07:52 PM
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How much would you share with others about a decision to try going vegan?

Apologies, this is likely to be long. The TL;DR version is, as I say at the very end:

How much does one share with others about a decision to transition to veganism? Did you include others in your thought process as you started going vegan, or did you just do it quietly? I'm wondering if just keeping it to myself is best.

And here are some of the reasons why I have these questions.

My head is swimming with so many things and I feel I mostly can't talk to people I know in real life about them, so I hope this can be a supportive space for me. Even without me saying a word, people at work have been talking about how awful veganism is in the lunch room, for example. (I was reading a vegan book there once.) It's almost as if me not eating cheese is some sort of existential threat to them.

I've tried talking with friends about what I'm experiencing--not even urging them to join me or anything, but it is something that is happening to me--and they've been very unwelcoming of those kinds of discussions. They shut me down with, "Nothing can be perfect." So because I can't have zero impact, apparently I shouldn't care how much impact I do have? Or something.

So I'm finding I'm not really ready to talk about this in general, with most people. But as I say, my head is swimming. How much of this is even worth saying to other people, and when?

To begin, I come from a family of farmers, should you go back to how my parents grew up. (They aren't farmers, but my grandparents were on both sides. And a lot of my aunts and uncles are farmers.) Any discomfort I expressed as a child about farm practices--which were, I now know, far and away better than most animals experience--was met with anger. As I began to think more about going vegan, it brought up bad memories: witnessing a pig being slaughtered and butchered, for example. The whole family seeming very angry that I had befriended one of the turkeys, who liked to follow me around and would sit down and ask to be petted, just like a dog or a cat would. (The turkeys, they would snap at me while I petted her, were food, not friends.) And the memory that ultimately pushed me over the edge was about asking my mother about chicks--why did the chicks come from the hatchery if they already had chickens? Because you only want female chicks. But she didn't tell me the truth about what happened to the males, I think because she didn't know herself--she thought they were raised as food and sold.

To go against eating animal products is to go against my family, though their farms were a far cry from the sources of most animal products in the American food supply. My grandparents' chickens ran around in the yard as they pleased, pecking at bugs and kitchen scraps. (Turkeys, too, in season.) The pigs had a big yard to roam in. The sheep and cattle wandered the fields. It was a small, diverse farm, with natural food, largely operating only to provide food for relatives. (They grew fruits and veggies, too.) But in retrospect, I'm still uneasy with some of what they did (like the hatchery, and the slaughter stands out in my mind today as an incredibly traumatic thing for me to have witnessed at around age 6 or so--as it would still be today, I imagine, and not because I'm unfamiliar with farm life).

But I can't imagine, for any of their flaws, that my grandparents would have ever raised animals the way most animals are raised on modern factory farms. It goes from being morally questionable to obviously, horrifically wrong in my mind when you move from the small family farm to the huge, cruel, exploitative system employed by most agriculture now. And it also strikes me as less and less necessary all the time. I can buy fake meat. I like fake meat. I can buy dairy-free milk--I like that, too. I can cook my own food; I do that anyway.

I also tried to reach out to a friend to talk about some of my reflections on the Bible. I'm a Christian and have a seminary degree. In my Hebrew class, we translated Jonah.

Most people know of Jonah only as the story of the prophet swallowed by a large fish that spit him out three days later. That's in there. But Jonah is a larger story that focuses, more than any other book in the Bible, on God's relationship with animals.

God speaks to the fish and it does what God says. God speaks to a worm who also does God's bidding, and God tells Jonah not to get mad at the worm. But the thing that stands out to me the most in Jonah is the account of God's concern for the cows.

Jonah is, at heart, a book about God and cows. Or rather, God and cows and a warning to Jonah that God cares about cows a lot and Jonah shouldn't be so angry about that.

I have long had a hard time imagining how anybody reads Jonah, much less translates the entire book from Hebrew, and doesn't come away thinking that God doesn't want us to care a great deal about the treatment of cattle. The cows in Jonah pray, and God hears their prayer for mercy. (My professor said this was a joke, because Jonah is a humorous book. And Jonah is a humorous book, but this seems wrong to me somehow.)

The book ends with God telling Jonah this:

"And should I not spare Nineveh, the great city where more than six score thousand persons can’t discern between their left hand and their right hand, and also much cattle?"

In most English translations, the order is changed, so that the last line you're left with is something like, "Should I not be concerned about that great city?" But in the Hebrew, the very last words are, "and also much cattle?"

Jonah is all about the cows, and the fish, and the worm, and how vindictive Jonah is for wanting all of them to die. God is telling Jonah to have compassion on all of God's creatures.

There is much more in Christian scripture to support a vegan diet--even a warning in Romans not to eat meat if your conscience troubles you about it!

But even mentioning this to someone I knew in seminary got a harsh response about how the only ethical concerns involved in eating for Christians were about lack of gratitude, gluttony, or failure to be a proper steward of one's body by jeopardizing one's health--nothing to do with animals. I'm almost being treated as heretical. But this feels right to me. My conscience and my own connection to God don't allow me to disregard animal welfare. I caved to peer pressure for too long, anyway; I'm now nearly 10 years out of seminary and in my mid-30s. But I've stopped buying animal foods (including the hidden ones--alas, my previously favored English muffins had whey in them, so that's the end of that--but I like eating the new vegan ones I found better, because I feel I'm doing something much better that way).

So how much does one share with others? Is there even a point to doing so? Did you include others in your thought process as you started going vegan, or did you just do it quietly? I wonder if I shouldn't be talking to people about it because I come away somewhat discouraged. Even my semi-supportive friend (I have exactly one) says she thinks avoiding things like the whey in English muffins is a step too far. I'm wondering if just keeping it to myself is best.
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#2 Old 10-14-2016, 09:48 PM
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You sound very overwhelmed.

There is no right answer. By now a lot of people know I'm vegan, but I didn't go around announcing it to them... I didn't hide it from them either. They ended up knowing due to family gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.), for which I will bring my own food.

"We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." - William Ralphe Inge

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#3 Old 10-15-2016, 03:19 AM
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I really enjoyed reading your post, and I'm sorry you don't feel that people around you are willing to hear your thoughts right now. Maybe they need a bit of time to process the idea?

When I first decided to try going vegan I kept it pretty quiet for a couple of months, mostly because I was afraid of looking foolish if it turned out I couldn't stick to it, and after that I tended to let others ask questions if they were interested rather than telling people about my reasons, unless I was at a specific outreach event.
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#4 Old 10-15-2016, 05:19 AM
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Part of it was a natural way of talking with my friends about anything I was thinking through, or so it seemed to me. Also, I'm a pretty anxious person, and I do have a need to talk things through--for a while there, going to the grocery store made me so anxious I would burst into tears trying to figure out what to eat. I kept reading labels and finding milk or eggs in everything under the sun. Guacamole-flavored chips have cheese in them? Why? Guacamole doesn't have cheese in it! Etc. So just: I'm having a hard time. I'm concerned about some things. In general, on other topics, I haven't met this kind of automatic shut down from people unwilling to talk even if it was an ethical question where we came down on different sides.

I've learned X thing and I'm concerned about it is a pretty normal thing for me to talk about with them. But I suppose that could seem like an announcement. I don't know. One example was that I asked a friend who used to be a vegetarian why she had become a vegetarian, and she gave me a long answer, then asked why--was I going to become a vegetarian? So I told her there were things I was thinking through, and also reassured her that if I did become vegan, I would bring my own food at Thanksgiving (I usually spend Thanksgiving with her family). She seems more accepting of vegetarianism than veganism (although she is no longer a vegetarian), even though she told me she was a "bad vegetarian" in her own opinion because she still ate eggs and dairy products. I asked another friend about her decision a while ago to go vegan six days per week. She laughed it off and said she'd done it for a while and felt good about it, but it was all out the window now, because the thought of not eating brisket made her so sad.

Meanwhile, I have found it difficult to know how to approach eating out, for example, or eating at someone's home. Sometimes I do bring my own food but I can't explain why I'm not eating something without reference to "thinking about becoming vegan" when I'm asked why. Social settings have become really weird for me. Our social lives revolve a lot around food in America.
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#5 Old 10-15-2016, 08:17 AM
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HI Avril,


I really enjoyed reading your post, even though it conveyed much difficulty and uncertainty.

You're most certainly not alone in this experience. It's the experience of almost every new vegetarian / vegan.

When I became a vegan, my mother was very upset (even though she had previously tried being vegetarian). Years later, she explained her reason for being upset: she felt like I was rejecting the food that she had lovingly and carefully prepared for me during my childhood. It didn't matter that my reasons had nothing to do with her (delicious) cooking - families have difficulty watching their children choose a life that (seemingly) rejects their long years of parenting work.

In addition to joining us here at VeggieBoards, have you thought about contacting the folks at the Christian Vegetarian Association? http://www.all-creatures.org/cva/default.htm

Christian denominations that specifically promote vegetarianism include the Seventh Day Adventists ( https://www.adventist.org/en/vitality/health/ ), and the Order of the Cross ( http://orderofthecross.org/about-us/...ion-statement/ ). Vegetarianism is pretty popular among the Society of Friends (the Quaker Church ) as well (http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/). Among the Christian denominations which revere a 20th century incarnation of Jesus, the Rastafari are promoters of vegetarian and vegan diets: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ital . I've never spiritually practiced these faiths, so I'm not promoting any one over the other.

Also, if you live near a larger city, there might be a vegetarian or vegan Meetup near you. You can search for one at http://www.meetup.com . Meetup is a website that posts information on social groups for hundreds of different interests. I met my beautiful vegan wife through my local vegan Meetup.

.
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#6 Old 10-15-2016, 07:37 PM
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I read your entire post and now I am very sad that a post I made on Facebook about not giving up on going vegan has vanished.

Everyone who read that post knows I am working quite diligently on becoming an ethical vegan. My parents (who I live with, but pay rent to) also know my game plan and are supportive. In fact, I've been an on-again-off-again veg*n since I was 13 or 14 and my parents (mom and stepdad) always supported me. The only people who didn't (biological father and his now wife) are no longer a part of my life, thankfully.

My Facebook post basically told everyone how I know longer wanted to give up on who I am truly aspiring to be and how I am sick of letting my self-hatred dictate how I am living my life. Amazingly, even people who were iffy to a prior post on my going vegan (they just left messages like, "Good luck with that." or flat out ignored the post) liked this post and left me positive messages about wishing me the best, sending me good vibes (which I asked to be sent and got from my Aunt who's house I'll be at on Thanksgiving), and concern was even shown for my admitted self-hatred along with reminders that I am loved.

I think what finally got to people was doing something I do not like to do. Expressing my personal emotions on the matter. Namely, my feelings towards myself.
I realized the people who truly cared want me to be at peace with myself and love myself. I hope one day I will find love for myself and I feel being an ethical vegan is part of that.

It probably also helped that I expressed my need to be an ethical vegan without being preachy about it. It doesn't seem like you're being that way, but some people simply have a negative view about vegans and may automatically think you are preaching just by bringing it up. Maybe next time someone says that something you're doing is extreme you could remind them, "This may seem to be an extreme thing to do for you, but for me it feels natural." Maybe even remind them that you're not asking them to go against what's natural to them, so could they please extend the same courtesy to you.

I really apologize if none of that was helpful. I have difficulties expressing myself and being social, so even communicating on forums isn't easy for me.
I truly hope things start looking up for you soon. I am sending good vibes your way and I will keep you in my thoughts.

Feel welcome to message me anytime,
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#7 Old 10-15-2016, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I don't want to leave my denominational context--not to go deep into a theological discussion (or not more of one, given what I've already said), but I have reasons why none of the ones David mentioned would be appropriate for me. I'm intrigued by the Christian Vegetarian Association, however. I also found a group about a month ago that resonates more with me, Evangelicals for Social Action, which is a vegan and social justice organization. I'm not allowed to post links yet because I haven't posted enough, or I'd link you there.

So far I've only encountered them online, but I've found it reassuring to see their updates pop up in my Facebook feed.

I do think some people have a knee-jerk reaction to veganism that they don't to other things that they aren't involved in, and I have been told I'm not preachy or judgmental, only sharing my feelings. But my feelings seem pretty alien to others, I suppose. And they mysteriously make them angry.

So far as my family is concerned, they live about 1500 miles away and I don't really have contact with them (not something I'll get into here) but I guess some of the conflicts I've felt over eating this way have been related to the fact that so many people who are vegans really don't have much experience farm animals. I've routinely been up close and personal with sheep, horses, cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys as well as barn cats and dogs, so I'm supposed to "know better." (Maybe I actually do! Just not in the way I was raised to "know better.") My parents were pretty aggressively anti-vegetarian/vegan. I imagine they still are. My diabetic grandmother responded to her doctor's advice to stop eating so many animal products with "life is not worth living without meat at every meal." (She lived a sickly existence for about 25 years, then died slowly and painfully.)

But I really appreciate what Tues has said. A lot of how I ate before I decided to transition to veganism was very disordered. Now, I feel like what I eat is intentional and purposeful, and I don't have the impulse to binge or to starve myself. So presenting it as a way of trying to heal myself might meet with a better response, although then I'd have to admit to the disordered eating, which seems more intimate than I'd like to be with most people I know in real life. (Here I am disembodied and relatively anonymous, and even if you did figure out who I was, I don't know that it would bother me for you to know this. But some people...it somehow would.)
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#8 Old 10-16-2016, 07:14 AM
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I know I sound like a broken record, but one of the most important skills any new vegan needs to develop is to be able to make a number of delicious vegan recipes he/she can use as staples at home and to be able to share with friends. One of the sentences you used above was that you'd bring your own food at Thanksgiving. What you need to bring, imho, are two or three wonderful side dishes to share with everyone at the table. When the center of attention is delicious food, all of the other issues become less important.

So flip your thought processes. Concentrate on this wonderful new opportunity to learn to cook in a whole new way or take on as a new challenge how you are going to survive the grocery store now that you can't rely on your old standards. This should be fun! Sure, you may buy a few things you think are horrible, but you might also find some new products that you've never tried before that you love.

As for sharing your thoughts about why you're really going vegan, I'd suggest that you share very little while all of this is new to you. In my experience, new vegans tend to be emotional. Many people go vegan after having had a horrible shock or a brutal awakening - and it's hard to keep that to ourselves. But that raw emotion is hard to contain. We have to remember that no one really wants to hear that their sausages are cruel and their eggs comes from abused birds even though that's what we want to scream!

I can tell you that over the long-term, people will watch you and pay attention to how you walk this path. You will be an inspiration and you will have friends and family who will, over time, take you seriously and admire you. I've been vegan over 11 years, and I know I've influenced many people to give veganism serious consideration. Several of my friends are now fully vegan, and others honestly appreciate why I do what I do. But it takes time. What we vegans, imho, need to do is make this journey seem doable, enjoyable and healthy - because it is! We don't want to be the bummer in the room or the one who can't enjoy the party - so we have to be positive and self-reliant. And learn to make or buy delicious food to share!!!

Good luck.

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore

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#9 Old 10-16-2016, 09:50 AM
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What Poppy said!
Highlight the many, many positives of using plant foods instead of traditional animal products
How easy clean up is, without cross contamination worries
The lack of cholesterol
No needing eggs
How you can convert any dish traditionally made with animal products

I used to avoid food discussions, now I happily join in. I can listen to talk about meats without being triggered. Being a part of those discussions have made me a regular, and people will come to ask me how I'd change things. I'm often told that they've thought of me and made things veg

I think the biggest thing to affect change is for vegan foods to become mainstreamed. for bean burgers, tempeh sausage and bacon, chickpea casseroles, etc, to be common choices

I can't be an abolitionist. I'd be a mental wreck.
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#10 Old 10-16-2016, 03:54 PM
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Yeah there's so much concern for Creation in the Bible that gets smugly overlooked by modern day cultural/political Christians in the West. People are surprised when you tell them how much vegetarianism there is in the Bible (the 7th Day Adventists didn't just make all this stuff up, their prophet just read the Old Testament carefully) and interestingly enough Israel has more vegans per capita than any nation in the world, causing it to be called "the new kosher."

You might like The Green Bible. It emphasizes creation care.
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#11 Old 10-18-2016, 08:22 AM
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Just got back from a very mixed experience visiting friends to see their new house. They live about two hours away, so I spent the night. This was the friend who used to be vegetarian and her husband.

I was really exasperated. Because I had talked with her about transitioning to a vegan diet, she knew I was doing it. She asked ahead of time if pasta and salad would be okay for dinner (yes). When I got there around dinnertime, she had only ranch and Caesar dressings for the salad, and she offered me cheesy croutons, and was making a meat sauce for the pasta. (But it's just turkey, she said. A former vegetarian. And one, at that, who used to shudder at the thought of eating such things.) Ultimately she set aside some of the vegan marinara sauce for me and I had that, but that didn't stop both of them from pushing Parmesan cheese for the pasta multiple times. After dinner she tried to show me a website about cheeses considered vegetarian because they don't contain rennet. I started a sentence, "The reason I don't eat cheese isn't because--"

She cut me off. "I know."

Well.

However, she did agree to a plan we'd previously agreed upon to try a vegan fast food restaurant not so far away from her. The food there was amazing, and their chick'n sandwich was really convincing. "I thought you said this place was vegan." "It is." "Then what is this?" "Probably wheat." Later that day she did research on seitan, and I didn't get more cheese pushed at me.

When we returned from the excursion, she told her husband about the chick'n and the "cheesesteaks." Her husband made lots of rude comments about how mushrooms (which were heavy in the "cheesesteaks" are "grown in ****" and "at least chicken is clean." He kept pushing every animal product he could think of at me. All I said was that if he thought chicken didn't have fecal matter in it, he didn't understand chicken, and that it is possible to wash vegetables and you probably should, but that eating dirt could also give a person needed vitamins and minerals. I think that my reference to the possible positives of eating dirt shut him up because really what do you say to someone who wants to eat dirt? (Not that I do or was aiming to suggest I did, but it was frustrating.)

I don't want to spend Thanksgiving there. I usually do, but I really don't want to spend another meal with that kind of berating. At no point did I say why I didn't want turkey or cheese or anything, just turned it down. But apparently turning it down was enough to get this weirdly aggressive response.
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#12 Old 10-18-2016, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Just got back from a very mixed experience visiting friends to see their new house. They live about two hours away, so I spent the night. This was the friend who used to be vegetarian and her husband.

I was really exasperated. Because I had talked with her about transitioning to a vegan diet, she knew I was doing it. She asked ahead of time if pasta and salad would be okay for dinner (yes). When I got there around dinnertime, she had only ranch and Caesar dressings for the salad, and she offered me cheesy croutons, and was making a meat sauce for the pasta. (But it's just turkey, she said. A former vegetarian. And one, at that, who used to shudder at the thought of eating such things.) Ultimately she set aside some of the vegan marinara sauce for me and I had that, but that didn't stop both of them from pushing Parmesan cheese for the pasta multiple times. After dinner she tried to show me a website about cheeses considered vegetarian because they don't contain rennet. I started a sentence, "The reason I don't eat cheese isn't because--"

She cut me off. "I know."

Well.

However, she did agree to a plan we'd previously agreed upon to try a vegan fast food restaurant not so far away from her. The food there was amazing, and their chick'n sandwich was really convincing. "I thought you said this place was vegan." "It is." "Then what is this?" "Probably wheat." Later that day she did research on seitan, and I didn't get more cheese pushed at me.

When we returned from the excursion, she told her husband about the chick'n and the "cheesesteaks." Her husband made lots of rude comments about how mushrooms (which were heavy in the "cheesesteaks" are "grown in ****" and "at least chicken is clean." He kept pushing every animal product he could think of at me. All I said was that if he thought chicken didn't have fecal matter in it, he didn't understand chicken, and that it is possible to wash vegetables and you probably should, but that eating dirt could also give a person needed vitamins and minerals. I think that my reference to the possible positives of eating dirt shut him up because really what do you say to someone who wants to eat dirt? (Not that I do or was aiming to suggest I did, but it was frustrating.)

I don't want to spend Thanksgiving there. I usually do, but I really don't want to spend another meal with that kind of berating. At no point did I say why I didn't want turkey or cheese or anything, just turned it down. But apparently turning it down was enough to get this weirdly aggressive response.
I am so sorry you had to go through that - it really sounds like it sucked big time. I would have been extremely tempted to cut my visit short, and just leave. Super disrespectful, especially since they KNEW ahead of time what your dietary preferences were.

What you said about your feelings mysteriously making people angry really resounded with me. I've encountered that many times in the short while since I became vegan, as has my husband at his workplace. I've been ridiculed and excluded and had people talking behind my back - I just don't get why people are so violently opposed to it, and feel the need to push animal products on you, especially when your choices are not being pushed on them at all.

It's odd that people have such a violent reaction to vegans when they don't about people who choose to go gluten free, or low carb, or high carb, or on any other restrictive diet. It's almost like veganism touches a nerve - maybe somewhere deep inside they know we are onto something and don't want to admit it
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#13 Old 10-19-2016, 12:27 PM
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Your friends seem incredibly disrespectful. It's one thing to forget that you couldn't eat ranch dressing, it's entirely another to keep talking about cheese, showing you cheese websites then cutting you off, and saying mushrooms grow in **** while chicken is "clean" (like meat eaters don't eat mushrooms? Wut?)

I couldn't be friends with those people anymore. I'd cut them off but I'm pretty assertive. Again it's one thing to forget or not be aware, it's entirely another for them to behave like cheese is some sort of life saving elixir. The tragic truth being after lamb and beef, cheese is third most destructive to the environment, even before pork (because cows) ...and cheese is full of cholesterol. Even if they don't care about animals, they just seem rude and ignorant.
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#14 Old 10-19-2016, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Symondezyn View Post

It's odd that people have such a violent reaction to vegans when they don't about people who choose to go gluten free, or low carb, or high carb, or on any other restrictive diet. It's almost like veganism touches a nerve - maybe somewhere deep inside they know we are onto something and don't want to admit it
I went on an environmental group hike once, and afterward a ski lift cafeteria lunch was provided in the price of the instructional hike. It was a small group that day, and I was still vegetarian then rather than vegan, but felt no need to harass anyone with that fact. It's just that during lunch a middle aged couple suddenly decided to share with me that they were "low carb" and I cheerfully/neutrally replied in a pleasant voice that I was a vegetarian. I didn't say it in any kind of hateful way but the wife visibly recoiled like "oh." To this day I have no idea if it was because she felt bad or if it made her dislike me, despite the fact they they began the conversation and I was pleasant about it.

I also had a conversation with a friend, who had always been respectful and curious about veganism, where I told him yeah you know something might secretly have egg or milk mixed in, especially at a restaurant, it's not about being perfect it's about doing the best you can, even if you are deceived by a bread or a sauce, or choose to overlook it in an immediate need where there's just no other options besides starving or eating a plate of lettuce, and he actually looks at me and grins "what about meat do you ever cheat?"...I just thought that was rude and weird, because I had already told him I don't drink milk or eat cheese or an egg outright, I just found it juvenile and he's got to be 35-40 years old. Did he actually think I'd say yes? Fortunately I'd had a glass of wine to keep me calm and simply explained the shift in perception that happens, that meat just isn't appealing, that I find it off putting and it's a corpse to me.

Of course the same person said "so you love Jesus?" with a bit too much hilarity when I told him I was a liberal Christian, so I don't think we will ever be closer friends. He's not openly rude but I think he's got a mild superiority complex or something.

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#15 Old 10-19-2016, 01:04 PM
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I know I sound like a broken record, but one of the most important skills any new vegan needs to develop is to be able to make a number of delicious vegan recipes he/she can use as staples at home and to be able to share with friends. One of the sentences you used above was that you'd bring your own food at Thanksgiving. What you need to bring, imho, are two or three wonderful side dishes to share with everyone at the table. When the center of attention is delicious food, all of the other issues become less important.
Good luck.
I'm not sure this always works. It's definitely a positive strategy and worth giving a try. However, there is a lot of people who will think "She can eat these dishes, thus they're vegan and must not taste good" and not even try them. Some people in my family are definitely like that. Make mashed potatoes with vegan butter and plant-based milk instead of cow's milk and regular butter, and they won't even touch it.
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"We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form." - William Ralphe Inge

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#16 Old 10-19-2016, 02:42 PM
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These friends have always been a bit stubborn and controlling, but I have been able to put my foot down sometimes, and yes, I have previously (on non-dietary-related matters) cut a visit short and left because I didn't appreciate it.

I suspect that if I were to see them again, I would have to tell them I am not accepting feedback on my decision to transition to veganism and will not take comment on what I choose to eat, and that to be on the safe side I will be taking my own food. But I'm not going to visit them at Thanksgiving, and I will probably let them know that it is primarily because I don't feel comfortable celebrating a food-related holiday with them.

I do have an invitation from another couple for Thanksgiving. I have not talked with them about food, but I believe they will have a very different reaction/response, based on what I know of them. I can't say for sure, but it's worth giving it a shot. I am a good cook and can easily bring a couple of dishes to share, but I'll rely on the freezer section for the holiday roast part. And most sides can be vegan and be every bit as delightful. I make a mean cauliflower mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy.
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#17 Old 10-22-2016, 02:56 PM
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from Avril So how much does one share with others? Is there even a point to doing so? Did you include others in your thought process as you started going vegan, or did you just do it quietly? I wonder if I shouldn't be talking to people about it because I come away somewhat discouraged. Even my semi-supportive friend (I have exactly one) says she thinks avoiding things like the whey in English muffins is a step too far. I'm wondering if just keeping it to myself is best.
My experience with believers has been largely - "you know who" died on the "you know what" so we can eat "whatever we want" (wrote it this way in order to NOT witness!) And that they were offended by me being Vegan, even after I explained my food allergies to meats and poultry. I am Vegan due to convictions as well, but I conveniently leave this part out when talking with them.

I then quote the Bible where that blanket of food came down and indicate its true meaning - which had nothing to do with we could eat whatever we want to eat. I tell them the meaning (leaving out in this discussion). I then ask them how they can justify ignoring all the laws in the Old Testament and just pick out the ones they like? This is in reference to their insistence on eating pig and shellfish. Lastly, I say, my eating Vegan should not insult you because I am not asking you to go vegan or even Vegetarian. Why should you be angry because I happen to be Vegan due to food allergies? Who is your "god"? I believe in one who loves all. Do you know Him? (To the person I am talking with.)

I have also found that where you live matters! Where I live, its . I live in farmland where "healthy nutrition" is define by how much pork you eat, and how much vegetables is cut back to just head lettuce, potatoes, corn and greenbeans, with occasionally peas tossed in for good measure. Then, they will add in pickles and onions and call it a balanced meal. Then, if they are getting fancy, they add ketchup to the mix and toss it in the oven with tator tots and call it a "casserole". :P I never married due to blatant discrimination. I gave up on this regard, but will eventually move overseas, where I hope to have a better life.

Thanksgiving: I just stay home and do my own thing, but finding a welcoming place to celebrate it is worth it. I also do Nanowrimo, so I spend the day trying to crank out words to a novel while I get me time. My experience with trying to find 1 vegetarian option for me (ignoring vegan altogether) has been 0 due to someone will always put the meat gravy spoon IN the mashed potatoes and mix, leaving me with sitting their watching everyone eat while I get nothing except what I brought for myself. And If I bring something to share, I pretty much must take out what I want and keep it separate in a container, in a cooler that they don't have access too, in order to keep their gravy, meats and poultry out. This is why I gave up on social outings with relatives. I now have a peaceful holiday full of happiness.


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#18 Old 10-22-2016, 03:51 PM
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I'm not sure this always works. It's definitely a positive strategy and worth giving a try. However, there is a lot of people who will think "She can eat these dishes, thus they're vegan and must not taste good" and not even try them. Some people in my family are definitely like that. Make mashed potatoes with vegan butter and plant-based milk instead of cow's milk and regular butter, and they won't even touch it.
One of the things I've done is have my non-vegan sister bring the vegan dish that I made. We just don't tell them, its vegan. Worked like a charm! Or bring two versions of the same dish. If you can use almond milk, then this works, as they can't tell the difference between the "non-vegan" version and the "vegan" version, when the non-vegan version is really vegan. Its tricky, deceptive, but I like to do this with people who are just being Now, I can't recommend this last one, but it sure is fun!


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#19 Old 10-22-2016, 04:02 PM
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Lastly, I want to say I know how hard it is. Stick to your guns, and you will be rewarded with good health, vitality, and the ability to walk with your head up high, while they are all in their wheelchairs, struggling for their next breath with some of them on their 2nd heart surgery, kidney dialysis and hardened arteries. To a believer, I'd mention how Samson didn't have to prove anything by killing animals. He did not eat them. I don't remember if he was Vegan or just Vegetarian though. Best Wishes!


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#20 Old 10-23-2016, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jessandreia View Post
I'm not sure this always works. It's definitely a positive strategy and worth giving a try. However, there is a lot of people who will think "She can eat these dishes, thus they're vegan and must not taste good" and not even try them. Some people in my family are definitely like that. Make mashed potatoes with vegan butter and plant-based milk instead of cow's milk and regular butter, and they won't even touch it.
Still, I'd take dishes to share. If you end up taking them home, you'll have some lovely leftovers. And you'll be remembered as the generous one, not the persnickety one.

Another option is to not made dishes that require substitutions. Make dishes that are naturally vegan, like roasted potatoes instead of mashed, applesauce, or roasted brussels sprouts. Or make a delicious, but unusual dish whose ingredients are less likely to be scrutinized - sauerkraut with apple cider and fennel seeds, roasted Jerusalem artichokes with olive oil and rosemary, cranberry relish with orange rind, stuffing with apples and cranberries. Don't compete - beat those tired old omni recipes!

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#21 Old 10-24-2016, 10:27 AM
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The other thing is that I would have my own food in my cooler and not touch the vegan dish. Sorry! I forgot that part. I have food allergies, so I have to do this anyway, thus its routine.


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#22 Old 10-25-2016, 09:00 AM
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Smile Eyes on the prize

Be self assured about your own reasons why you went vegan.

My own story - I have health issues which can be corrected with a vegan diet. I've known this for years but one day I woke up and decided that I hated living with headaches, joint pain, chest pain and liver and kidney issues so I quit eating meat. Four days later *ALL* of my medical conditions were reduced dramatically.
No one can tell me that I *need* to go back to eating meat.

That's my story.
You have your own story and your convictions need to drive your decision and your tenacity to shut the world out.
They'll find out as they need to know. And when you tell them, it'll be because you are stating a fact and not because you are caring about their opinion.

I hope this helps you.

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#23 Old 11-25-2016, 07:16 AM
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So here's an update on Thanksgiving:

I went to see my more supportive friends, who responded to my warning about veganism by cooking everything vegan except their turkey and gravy. I brought lots of vegan goodies, though, because I didn't really know what to expect--roasted acorn squash with an apple-cranberry bread stuffing, a pecan pie, coconut whip for the pie, some imported chocolates filled with different liqueurs (which turned out to be really strong and I couldn't eat them, because I don't drink, but oh, well), and sparkling fruit juices. I would have had a nice meal even if they hadn't prepared lots of vegan food.

The problem was really my host's parents, who were clearly very confused about why anyone would be vegan and got irritated when I wanted the coconut whip instead of whipped cream on the pie I'd brought.

An aside: the pie was the very best pecan pie I have ever baked! I always make pecan pie on Thanksgiving, but usually something goes awry, and I burn the crust or it spills over or something. This one was perfect, and everyone loved it. Despite their skepticism, they also loved the coconut whip, and my friend even ate a big scoop of it straight, like ice cream.

Thanksgiving was a win! And I got some people to think and broaden their horizons.
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#24 Old 11-29-2016, 10:46 AM
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Just got back from a very mixed experience ................ I think that my reference to the possible positives of eating dirt shut him up because really what do you say to someone who wants to eat dirt? (Not that I do or was aiming to suggest I did, but it was frustrating.)

I don't want to spend Thanksgiving there. I usually do, but I really don't want to spend another meal with that kind of berating. At no point did I say why I didn't want turkey or cheese or anything, just turned it down. But apparently turning it down was enough to get this weirdly aggressive response.

I can identify with so much of what you're talking about Avril, as most here probably can. I have to admit that your reference to 'eating dirt' made me laugh out loud! What do you say to that person? Anyway, sorry that you're having a tough time with this and I wish I could say that it gets better........but until we have a change in the hearts of man (for whatever reason, be it a spiritual avalanche of new-found compassion by all mankind or that they finally realize and admit that the meat/dairy thing is killing the planet super fast) I think it will be like this for a long time.

That's why forums like this and the vegans you do meet along the way and the growing number of vegan restaurants and 'new' foods will have to stand in for some of those relationships that 'they' allowed to sour because you decided to live according to your loving heart. And don't they lose so much by not being open to the wonderfulness of you?
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