What were your friends'/family's reactions to you becoming a vegetarian/vegan? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-14-2011, 02:52 PM
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New on here and just wanted to make a first post, I've no idea if there's already a thread like this though lol. Anyway, I can definitely say that "friends", family and ignorant people in general are the hard part of vegetarianism, not avoiding meat.

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#2 Old 06-14-2011, 04:46 PM
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My family is not the warmest in the world, but I have to say they could have cared less when they found out. They haven't been mean about it at all.
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#3 Old 06-14-2011, 05:07 PM
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My sister didn't really care (I think she was doubtful), and I don't think anyone else knows about it. Wasn't a big deal
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#4 Old 06-14-2011, 08:30 PM
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My mom was like, "Oh. Cool."

My middle sister (whom I had been discussing it with for weeks) was like, "Areee youuu noww... How did you figure out how to get enough protein?" <eyeroll>

My oldest sister: "Are you crazyyy, child?"

My only vegetarian friend: "Yesssss!!!!!!!"

My dad..... Ehhh. Heh. Still haven't told him. I suppose next time we go out to eat that will come up
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#5 Old 06-14-2011, 09:13 PM
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I got a variety of different reactions. I have a few vegetarian friends and an aunt who were very supportive of me. I had some omnivore friends who were supportive and others who scoffed at it. I have a few friends who are still trying to get me into organic meat, they have yet to comprehend that I'm okay without it. My immediate family is still very awkward about it. They don't understand most of my reasons or why I can't eat certain things (such as soup made with chicken broth). So far they aren't making a big deal out of it. That being said, I became a vegetarian when I moved off to college. I am unsure how they'd be about it if I stayed home for an extended period of time.
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#6 Old 06-14-2011, 10:09 PM
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My friends could care less but are supportive.

The same is also true of my family. Diet is not something my family considers important in terms social/familial interaction. My father doesn't particularly care outside how difficult or expensive he thinks it might be to go grocery shopping and my brother and sister treat it as if I bought a new microwave. My mother, on the other hand, seems to admire the discipline required.

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#7 Old 06-14-2011, 10:20 PM
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"Areee youuu noww... How did you figure out how to get enough protein?" <eyeroll>

Sisterly love, am I right? The eye rolls, I can't stand it!
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#8 Old 06-15-2011, 08:33 AM
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My mum was a skeptic (justified, I lived on cheddar and various pig meats before) initially, then curious as to why (not in an argumentative way) and now is pretty good at finding things I can eat when I'm at her house, only messing up once when she didn't read the ingredients for quorn.

Apparently upon finding out, my dad went and found a recipe for vegan chocolate cake.
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#9 Old 06-15-2011, 08:50 AM
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My parents were completely supportive. Since I've struggled with weight all my life, I think they were pretty happy about it in terms of health. However, they said I "could always just eat seafood if it doesn't work out," which tells me they don't really comprehend the ethical part of it. But then, we are Sicilians who live on the beach, so seafood is a big part of our environment

That said, my parents are really big into eating healthy/balanced, so slightly altering a recipe (or just my portion) isnt a problem at all so that we can still all sit & eat together.

I never understood why some people's families give them grief, or (WTF) try and sneak meat into their food! Even my parents thought that was ridiculous. Yay for cool parents!


As for friends/other families, the reactions ran from "good for you" to "cool, but I couldn't do it because of [insert favorite flesh product here]," to "that's nice." No REAL negativity yet But this is is a pretty laid back area. No one gets all "butthurt" over stupid things

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#10 Old 06-15-2011, 08:59 AM
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6 or 7 years ago when I wanted to stop eating red meat, my dad's reaction was, "I don't want you to be some stinking vegetarian like your friends!"

Fast forward to last year and I did go Vegetarian overnight. Dad was quite mad, and I had a lot of arguments with him, while mom was confused as to how to feed me. I convinced mom that I'll take care of what I eat, and dad eventually decided that me being a Vegetarian wasn't the worst thing in the world, and knew that he couldn't change my mind anyway. If anything, he was proud that I made my own decision of what I wanted to do with my life.

Now my parents are very accepting of it, I made a vegetarian meal once a week, and they've mostly liked everything they've tried. More often than not, my dad and my brother would poke fun at my lifestyle by waving some dead flesh in my face, but I've learned to laugh it off.

Nine months after going Vegetarian, I went Vegan. It was still a bit of a secret at the time, until we had some guests come over for dinner one day and I was eating something different than the meat meal that they were eating. The guest asked my parents, "Why is she not eating what we're eating?" and dad promptly replied before I did, "Because she's Vegan". I was shocked because I haven't even told my parents yet. I guess they were paying close attention to what I've been eating as of late.

Mom, being the less observant parent, was totally shocked and almost yelled, "No!" when dad said I was a Vegan. Mom looked at me, dismayed, not entirely believing my father, I confirmed his suspicion, and that was it.

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#11 Old 06-15-2011, 10:03 AM
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My father flipped his sh*t. To be fair, I finally worked up the courage to tell him while we were in a restaurant having some big fancy Chinese dinner and I said I didn't want any. I forget exactly how it went, but in retrospect, I don't know why he was so angry since I attempted to go vegetarian twice before as a younger child and failed (mostly because I couldn't cook and they would only buy vegetarian food I didn't like, ie salad, to discourage me). I was a hormonal teenager then so I must have been particularly obnoxious or something.

My mother assumed it was a phase and that I'd go back to normal like all the other times. I only heard about this from my cousin years later. Ha! A seventeen year phase. We still bicker about it because she thinks I'm "ma-fan" (troublesome) when my partner and I go over to their house for dinner, that she has to cook "special" vegetarian dishes for us (broccoli or spinach, ma, I'm perfectly happy with that). Back when I was still living with them, I always offered to cook for myself if I was so troublesome and my mother usually took offense to that as if it were an insult to her.

I'm pretty sure she used to sneak meat juices in by cooking my vegetables in the same sauce as when she did meat.

I don't know how to tell them that I'm vegan (in process). I don't think it's going to come up for awhile.

My partner's parents have generally been supportive, though his mom made an off-hand joke that I "ruined him". I'm not sure how they'll take the veganism thing.

I always wonder about people who say they "love" animals, but continue to eat meat. If that's your idea of love, I question what sort of twisted world view you must have.

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#12 Old 06-15-2011, 10:23 AM
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Everyone was pretty supportive when I went vegetarian. Now that I'm vegan, I think they just think I'm nuts. I think the average omni can at least understand why we wouldn't eat meat (even if they don't agree), but most don't really get the issues with eggs/dairy/etc.
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#13 Old 06-15-2011, 01:37 PM
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My husband felt compelled to tell me all the meat dishes he'd eaten while traveling for work. I think he's mad I'm vegetarian now. He grew up in Russia and I think it's hard for him to understand why I would pass up meat when he couldn't even get it when he wanted it.
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#14 Old 06-15-2011, 04:36 PM
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#15 Old 06-15-2011, 04:55 PM
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My mom was cool with it. She just asked me to find recipes, that's all. We even have an all vegetarian fridge, which I love.
My sister was too, except it feels like she thinks it's just a silly fad of mine, lol.
My best friend was confused at first, she thought it was okay for me to eat pizza with sausage on it, because her mom is a flexitarian.. and eats a lot of meat, really.
My step mom, step sisters kept asking me if I ate chicken, turkey, tuna, steak... and when I said no, they said I'd starve.. which is why when I visit my dad, I need to bring my own food or I WOULD starve. xD
My dad.. I don't think he's for it or against it, really. He just asked what I ate.
My uncle doesn't give a damn. He's an ass anyway.

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#16 Old 06-15-2011, 10:41 PM
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My parents are 'almost vegetarian'* themselves, so it wasn't difficult for me to switch, and my mother pretty much stopped cooking meats in dinner altogether. Even thanksgiving was turkey-free (although it was much easier to pull off since family was all out-of-state)!

I never got a speech or an awkward discussion about it like most seem to, and ultimately my parents are very supportive, and both recognized I was making a moral decision, and wasn't hopping into some poorly planned fad diet or joining some cult. In fact, I really honestly credit my mother and her teaching me to be aware of the way we treat animals for my conversion in the first place. She's a very kindhearted woman and I am proud to say I take after her in a lot of ways (not to imply my father isn't just as great of course). They also accept that I'm atheist as well, and they're so open-minded and even-tempered about things I almost find it a pity I'm also not gay. :/

That was a joke, insistently, so don't be offended. Besides, they really would be amazing and supportive parents for a gay child. I also really need to find a better word than 'conversion'. Sounds a little cult-like. Anywho:

My friends are a different story. While none of them are abrasive about it (well, none of 'my' friends, anyway. My wife's bunch of 'my-friends-by-default' aren't as nice about the issue), but the closest thing to a veg*n friend is a great buddy of mine who actually went from hardcore 'carnivore' to pescatarian. I've had both my closest friends essentially say "Never in a million years." Being that I don't associate with unintelligent people, this makes things exceptionally frustrating. Nutrition isn't exactly Rocket Surgery.

I didn't even *work* with one, and I worked in a vet with a strong animal rescue record. I did unintentionally guilt the local animal rescue coordinator (back) into it...

If I were a spiritual man, I'd figure this was Karma, though. In High School I was an adamant omni and convinced a friend of mine, who was raised a veggie, to try a ham sandwich. (Please don't hate me too much for that, since part of it was encouraging him to seek new experiences outside of what his overbearing and overstrict hyper religious family had in store. It was a symbolic ham sandwich!)

*=What I mean by "almost vegetarian" is that is that growing up, while we did eat meat it wasn't at every meal, and wasn't typically the focus of the dish. Most of our meat came from fast food or some other restaurant (we did eat out a LOT though, faaaar more than we ever should if only for economic reasons). So they were (and still are, sadly) not vegetarian, but the vast majority of their diet is vegetable-based.

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#17 Old 06-16-2011, 05:20 AM
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I never understood why some people's families give them grief, or (WTF) try and sneak meat into their food! Even my parents thought that was ridiculous. Yay for cool parents!

I know! I find this ****ed up, I thought it only happened in the Simpsons. I see whatever my mum cooks though, and when I go to my dad's he never cooks anyway, so either way that's not really a worry for me.

"The reason that people are not vegetarian for the most part is convenience. That is it. They are raised in a society where it's so easy not to be a vegetarian."
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#18 Old 06-16-2011, 05:34 AM
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I never got a speech or an awkward discussion about it like most seem to, and ultimately my parents are very supportive, and both recognized I was making a moral decision, and wasn't hopping into some poorly planned fad diet or joining some cult. In fact, I really honestly credit my mother and her teaching me to be aware of the way we treat animals for my conversion in the first place. She's a very kindhearted woman and I am proud to say I take after her in a lot of ways (not to imply my father isn't just as great of course). They also accept that I'm atheist as well, and they're so open-minded and even-tempered about things I almost find it a pity I'm also not gay. :/

I wish my parents were more like this. Both my parents don't care about religion at all, and my dad thinks (just like me) it's a load of crap, so the atheist thing isn't a problem for me (although I'm amazed that your religious parents don't mind that you're an atheist, they sound awesome). On the vegetarian thing though, my mum was cool with it when I told her, but yesterday I told her after becoming a vegan I might try a raw vegan diet for a week or so just to see what it's like, and her response was "I think you've been spending too much time on the internet". My dad, on the other hand, thought it was a stupid little phase or some kind of conformist thing I did because I'm a hippie or something. His girlfriend used to be a vegetarian though so thankfully she was supportive of it and that shut him up a bit. As for being gay... I really wouldn't like to be gay with a dad like mine, he makes me feel like beating him over the head with an iron bar because of the things he says about gays sometimes.

"The reason that people are not vegetarian for the most part is convenience. That is it. They are raised in a society where it's so easy not to be a vegetarian."
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#19 Old 06-16-2011, 07:34 AM
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My family is not the warmest in the world, but I have to say they could have cared less when they found out. They haven't been mean about it at all.

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#20 Old 06-16-2011, 07:41 AM
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My parents said 'okay' and then said that they too would be vegetarians, as it would be easier to only have to cook one main meal.

Ha! Yes, I really was that lucky! They are still vegetarians now, 30 years later.
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#21 Old 06-16-2011, 09:49 AM
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My parents said 'okay' and then said that they too would be vegetarians, as it would be easier to only have to cook one main meal.

Ha! Yes, I really was that lucky! They are still vegetarians now, 30 years later.

That's amazing! They sound awesome!

My parents didn't really freak out, but they did take immediate care to specify that they were NOT going to become vegetarians. Same with my siblings. The "Oh, good for you, but I could never do that" response...I get that a lot. People seem to think I'm pulling off some amazing, impossible feat.

Storytime: a few months after I became a vegetarian, my brother started screaming at me over a family dinner when he noticed I'd made myself different food - "Are you one of those f*cking obnoxious, superior hypocrites now? I hate vegans! I f*cking hate them!" He then started yelling about how much he hates one of his vegan "friends." Then he got on an angry, profanity-filled rant about how there's absolutely no reason behind being a vegan or vegetarian and how he's sick of people who try to make him feel guilty because he likes to eat chicken and hamburgers. He literally got out of his chair and stood over me pounding the table and screaming while I sat there chewing. After about ten minutes of yelling, he goes, "So what's your reason, then? What the hell do YOU think you're accomplishing? Huh? Huh? Because you're not accomplishing sh*t. I hope you know that." Etc. I never actually got a chance to speak throughout any of this.

No, I didn't say anything to set him off. No, I don't comment on the meat my family eats. He just noticed I'd made myself separate food, and lo and behold. I never even see my brother - only when we both visit home at the same time, which isn't often. I just find it ridiculous that he accused me of preaching and being superior whilst attempting to degrade me like that. I didn't give him a reaction, though, and he hasn't done it again.

That's the worst reaction I got by far. It's been fine other than that. One of my close friends is a vegetarian and was really happy and thrilled for me. Another of my close friends has expressed worry because I have food allergies and she thinks I'm "limiting my diet way too much" with this "thing," but she means well and she doesn't push it.
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#22 Old 06-16-2011, 09:52 AM
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My family is not the warmest in the world, but I have to say they could have cared less when they found out. They haven't been mean about it at all.

Same for me.

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#23 Old 06-16-2011, 01:51 PM
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My relatives have never really been confrontational about it. I think it's because I started buying my own food and cooking my own meals sometime before I became veg*n, (My Mom is a really bad cook.) and it was a while before they realized I was no longer including meat and started to ask questions. And it was a couple of years later that I realized I was actually allergic to eggs and animal's milk. I have several food related and other allergies which every one of them manages to forget about on a regular basis. Most of the negativity I get from my relatives and some of my aqcuantances takes the form of passive/agressiveness, forgetfullness and general disrespect; which I mostly ignore. My family has always considered me the oddball or the third wheel. I'm an artist, antiviolence, anti-conservative, generally apolitical and uninterested in the military and they are the oposite; which makes me a weirdo hippie. And they have treated me with a lack of respect my whole life so my becoming a vegetarian didn't add much to an already poor attitude on their part.

My sisiter-in-law; When I told her I was a vegetarian said, She was too; while she was driving us to a McDonald's to by burgers for lunch for herself and my nephews.

One of my closest friends used to be very supportive of it untill she graduated from culninary school and became a chef. Now she sometimes makes rude jokes or comments about it. I would think chef's in general would be more understanding. Do they get some kind of anti-veggie brainwashing in cooking school or something?
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#24 Old 06-16-2011, 09:05 PM
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My husband is very supportive and he said when we are moved into our new place we can start getting more Veggie friendly meals and foods for me. He said we are limited so he don't want to get to get to much animal products.
My parents are not sure what they feel at the moment they are in another state as us so its easier to have this change of diet. I know in 2009 Christmas I spoke about going Vegetarian with my mom and she said that meat isn't good for you anyhow .
My one sister at Christmas 09 I spoke about my decisions she thought it was a great choice and asked me am'i going Vegan and I said I am starting the one that eats eggs and dairy products for now.
Anyhow, I don't care what people thinks of my diet and lifestyle choices its what I am and if people are offended they can get over themselves.
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#25 Old 06-17-2011, 07:52 AM
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Storytime: a few months after I became a vegetarian, my brother started screaming at me over a family dinner when he noticed I'd made myself different food - "Are you one of those f*cking obnoxious, superior hypocrites now? I hate vegans! I f*cking hate them!" He then started yelling about how much he hates one of his vegan "friends." Then he got on an angry, profanity-filled rant about how there's absolutely no reason behind being a vegan or vegetarian and how he's sick of people who try to make him feel guilty because he likes to eat chicken and hamburgers. He literally got out of his chair and stood over me pounding the table and screaming while I sat there chewing. After about ten minutes of yelling, he goes, "So what's your reason, then? What the hell do YOU think you're accomplishing? Huh? Huh? Because you're not accomplishing sh*t. I hope you know that." Etc. I never actually got a chance to speak throughout any of this.

Damn, that sucks. No offence but that was a real dick move he made there, getting hyped up about literally nothing. I think it's obvious he felt threatened by the fact that you're a vegetarian, not annoyed. Most people who attack veg*nism actually know deep down inside that they should (in their minds) be veg*n too, but don't want to admit it. It's the same thing with homophobes, they say if you're comfortable with your own sexuality then you wouldn't feel the need to attack others about theirs.

"The reason that people are not vegetarian for the most part is convenience. That is it. They are raised in a society where it's so easy not to be a vegetarian."
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#26 Old 06-17-2011, 08:01 AM
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One of my closest friends used to be very supportive of it untill she graduated from culninary school and became a chef. Now she sometimes makes rude jokes or comments about it. I would think chef's in general would be more understanding. Do they get some kind of anti-veggie brainwashing in cooking school or something?

Everyone does it's just part of society. Anything that's alien to the usual herd of sheep's idea of good/normal is automatically flushed down the toilet. I'm the kind of person with different views on most things from the majority of people, be it veg*nism, politics, drugs (please don't think I'm a hardcore druggy or anything for saying this lol) or music. 99% of them don't even have a reason to hate veg*ns which is the sad thing.

"The reason that people are not vegetarian for the most part is convenience. That is it. They are raised in a society where it's so easy not to be a vegetarian."
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#27 Old 06-17-2011, 08:04 AM
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I think it's obvious he felt threatened by the fact that you're a vegetarian, not annoyed. Most people who attack veg*nism actually know deep down inside that they should (in their minds) be veg*n too, but don't want to admit it. It's the same thing with homophobes, they say if you're comfortable with your own sexuality then you wouldn't feel the need to attack others about theirs.

I totally agree with this. I was amazed he'd expend so much energy on the topic, and thinking about it I realized it must really hit where it hurts for him to get so worked up over my bowl of veggie stir fry. Makes me wonder what exactly goes on with that vegan friend of his he complained about.

Also, I'm not offended. He generally acts like a dick so you're right on the nose there...
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#28 Old 06-17-2011, 12:17 PM
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Everyone was cool with it, but I didn't care all that much what they thought anyway. They do their thing, I do mine. We're all live-and-let-live types. My boyfriend has always been super supportive, even though he's a voracious meat-loving omnivore, and that's all that matters.
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#29 Old 06-17-2011, 11:44 PM
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My husband wasn't too happy about the change, but he is fine with it now, and getting used to eating more veggies himself, he still complaints sometimes, but I know he will get over it, cause I am the one that cooks, and he is not gonna do it any time soon, lol. And i refuse to cook meat products.
My mum said my sister and I were crazy (we both went vegan sort of at the same time), but over all she is accepting of it, and getting used to it, she now bakes her bread without dairy butter so that we can eat it too. And the other day she sent some food for me with my husband, it was a beans casserole, which she says cooked separately for me.
My dad didn't really say anything directly when he knew, but when we offer him something like cake, etc, he always asks if its made as of our religion, I know he is just kidding though. And He loves our vegan choc cakes and treats.
Our lil sis we are trying to turn, but I think she is very comfortable with my mums cooking, as to bother to make her own veggie meals and that is her big obstacle if one can call it that way (she is the only one left home with my parents).
My aunty said she was happy for me, and that she was happy I was making positive changes in my life, she knows I had been wanting to be a veggie for year, since I was a child pretty much.
My best friend was happy for me cause she is also veggie. Friends and work colleagues have been overall very respectful, which is good.
Only one ignorant person told me I was not going to be able to enjoy myself anymore and I was gonna get sick, I just ignored her comments.

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#30 Old 06-19-2011, 06:59 PM
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It's nice to hear some people actually get support and encouragement from their family and friends instead of abuse. I get it 50/50 I'd say, but the negative comments seem to stick with me more than the positive ones (not that I care).

"The reason that people are not vegetarian for the most part is convenience. That is it. They are raised in a society where it's so easy not to be a vegetarian."
- Ian Mackaye
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