Eating vegan at other people's homes - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 07-26-2017, 03:07 AM
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Eating vegan at other people's homes

Hi everyone!

This is my first post here, so I apologise if this topic has already been covered multiple times. if it has, please point me in the right direction.

I'm currently transitioning to veganism - trying my best eat vegan at home and when eating in restaurants etc. However, the one thing that worries me is when I have to visit another person's home for a meal.

My boyfriend is very close to his 82 year old grandmother, and we visit her often. She always cooks us the loveliest traditional home cooked meals. Obviously, she comes from a different generation/time, when veganism and even vegetarianism was almost unheard of.

I feel as though it would be insulting to ask her to cook something different or avoid certain ingredients that she would normally use, just for me, especially when she's already being kind enough to go out of her way to feed me. I don't want to come across as rude or ungrateful towards her. I can always bring along my own substitutes for meat, but it's asking her to avoid milk/butter/eggs etc that I'm worried about.

Any tips?
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#2 Old 07-26-2017, 05:56 AM
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At the risk of being flamed, I think that this is one of those cases where one must recognize that veganism is not about labels or purity but about saving animals. If you manage to convert one single person to veganism -- even if you just convince them to cut their meat intake in half -- you will save more animals than you would by refusing your boyfriend's grandmother's cooking. You could try to undo the damage of eating at this woman's house by ordering a hundred Vegan Outreach booklets each time you eat there and passing them out to students at a college campus near you. Or donate to an animal sanctuary or to Mercy for Animals. Or plant native plants in your garden, if you have a garden. Or change one habit you have that is harmful to the environment, such as flying when you could take the train, or buying things wrapped in plastic (plastic never biodegrades and will continue to harm animals for millennia after we're gone). Another way to help animals would be to go out in your neighborhood for an hour or two each time you are unable to be 100% vegan and pick up plastic trash, which will otherwise end up in the trees and bushes or in the ocean and harm animals for a very long time.

As you mentioned, you could eat vegetarian when you're with her and vegan at other times. Even if she makes something with meat and you just eat the sides of vegetables, you will still be saving animals because she will cook less meat, knowing that you won't eat any of it. I don't think a compromise like this makes one non-vegan. It's impossible to be 100% vegan in a world that exploits animals so extensively. It would be more productive for vegans to work to turn the world vegan than be obsessed with purity according to the 1949 definition, which, by the way, says nothing about plastics.

That being said, sometimes people can surprise you. Some people are very respectful of other people's dietary choices. But you're probably right to want to tread carefully.
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#3 Old 07-27-2017, 08:27 AM
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Re: milk, butter, eggs: older people are usually more receptive to health reasons for dietary changes than ethical ones (especially as older people are prone to lifestyle based diseases). You could lie, and say it's because your doctor advised you to cut out cholesterol from your diet (only animal products contain dietary cholesterol, no plants contain dietary cholesterol). You can say you are intolerant of dairy (including low fat).

You can bring your own cookies and pastries (this will help to make sure she doesn't feel like you're eating 'rabbit food')

Is there anything you know she makes that doesn't include eggs, dairy or meat? Say how much you love those dishes, and request them each time you visit.
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#4 Old 07-27-2017, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Spudulika View Post
Re: milk, butter, eggs: older people are usually more receptive to health reasons for dietary changes than ethical ones (especially as older people are prone to lifestyle based diseases). You could lie, and say it's because your doctor advised you to cut out cholesterol from your diet (only animal products contain dietary cholesterol, no plants contain dietary cholesterol). You can say you are intolerant of dairy (including low fat).
I would hate to be 82 and have people feel that they have to lie to me because they think my age makes me incapable of respecting their decisions.

I don't believe there are more than a handful of doctors in the U.S. (assuming the OP is in the U.S.) who would advise a patient to cut her cholesterol intake for health reasons. Unfortunately, thanks to the egg industry's funding of flawed studies, the idea that dietary cholesterol has an effect on blood cholesterol is now widely considered to have been debunked. Google "dietary cholesterol", and you will see what I mean. What doctors do with people who have high cholesterol these days is put them on statins. My sister-in-law said her doctor has prescribed her statins because her carotid artery is 70% blocked. She also said her doctor (not necessarily the same doctor, but aren't they all supposed to look at the results of blood tests?) has advised her to eat one egg every two days. When I tried to gently suggest that she might want to reduce her dietary cholesterol, she got really mad at me. It's hard to convince someone that their doctor is lying to them.

My own doctor, whom I generally respect, is completely clueless about cholesterol. At my annual exam the year after I went vegan, he commented on my low cholesterol and said, "You must be one of those people who naturally have low cholesterol." I pointed out that my cholesterol had gone down thanks to my vegan diet. He looked at me with a mixture of skepticism and contempt and asked me when I had gone vegan. I gave him the date. He pulled up my previous blood tests and had to admit that my cholesterol had gone down thanks to my diet. Do I think he's now telling his other patients to go vegan to lower their cholesterol? No way. I'm sure he's prescribing them statins.
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#5 Old 07-27-2017, 05:33 PM
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Damn. Everyone I know with high cholesterol has been advised to reduce cholesterol intake from their doctor for decades! You need a new a doc!

Honestly there are many things I wish I had overlooked with my grandma. One of my last memories with her was when she came over with milk to give our cat. I took the milk away admonishing her that it was bad for them. I know it hurt her when I rejected food. After she passed I didn't even stay vegetarian so it was entirely hypocritical and just mean.

Everyone is different. While there are people in their 80's and up willing to make the change many are quite stuck in their ways. If a white about needing to refrain from foods for health reasons will make this lady happy I feel it's worth it,- sophie would know best
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