Being Vegan In A Non-Vegan Family ft. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-25-2015, 09:24 AM
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Being Vegan In A Non-Vegan Family ft. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Are you the only vegan (or non-vegan) in your family? Are you in a relationship with someone of differing dietary inclinations? How do you navigate this challenging and complex landscape? In this video, I sat down with author, speaker, and joyful vegan Colleen Patrick-Goudreau to get her input on this matter.
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#2 Old 02-25-2015, 02:42 PM
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Thanks, Emily.

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#3 Old 02-25-2015, 02:43 PM
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You really get to talk to some interesting people in the vegan community ^_^
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#4 Old 02-25-2015, 03:42 PM
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Colleen Patrick-Goudreu has saved my sanity more times than I can count!
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#5 Old 02-25-2015, 06:55 PM
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Thanks so much for this video! Great timing on VB!

I have been vegan about four years now and my husband is still an omnivore. We have been together for sixteen years. We had a rocky time of it at first. I was a bit overly preachy as a new vegan and ready to convert him overnight as I did it lol, and my husband was alarmed lol. Over time, lots of patience and communication back and forth and some compromise, we have made it work thus far. I provided lots of literature and material on vegan nutrition and ethics for my husband to look at, and took some time to explain and show him what veganism meant/means to me and why I was doing it. I had to put aside judgments of his actions and beliefs because I was once there too. My husband also comes from a very religious fundamentalist background (though he is a bit more liberal) and his family immediately thought I was in some sort of cult. I made the mistake of showing them literature from the Christian Vegetarian Association so that they could see that vegans and vegetarians are not all left wing hippies. It backfired....they think CVA members are not true Christians. Sighs. What really helped them accept what I was doing and respect me more though is seeing how well I take care of myself, the great food I have shared with them, and that I am still me. And to not be accusing of them, but show by doing and living with compassion. My husband REALLY came around when he found out a few of his favorite UFC fighters (he eats breaths and lives UFC stuff) are vegans. Now he thinks it is very healthy and doable.

We have separate cupboards for our food, and separate areas of the refrigerator for our stuff. Thankfully my husband respects my wish that he not eat meat around me or cook it when I am home, and he has adhered to that. He also will not use my cookware and dishes/utensils for any animal products. He knows my Blendtec is off limits to animal products as well. He goes along with all my vegan toiletries and cleaning stuff and puts up with my vinegar to clean the mirrors and bathroom lol. I am the bread winner (he is on disability) so I do most of the shopping and cooking and he happily eats most of my vegan meals. He does still eat dairy and eggs at home, but tries to eat vegan when we eat out if I am paying. He has even helped out with some leafleting I have done for Vegan Outreach, though at first he was opposed to me doing it for fear of me getting in trouble. His friends supported me a lot in my activism days and that made my husband realize that he could be more supportive of me too. We also try to find common ground. We are both adamently against the Minnesota and Wisconsin wolf hunt and it has been a huge issue here in the last few years. We have gone to protests and events to stop it together. He has made an effort to increase his vegan and vegetarian meals and decrease meat/dairy/eggs but it is really a struggle for him, especially the dairy (it was easy for me to stop consuming because dairy made me sick as an omnivore so I already avoided it for years prior). Our eating habits are like night and day. He loves the SAD diet and tons of junk food, and I am a health nut that eats mostly whole foods. I compromise when making meals for him and make him stuff like vegan pot pies, vegan mashed potatoes and seitan and other hearty dishes I know he will love that I don't necessarily eat much of myself. I realize that if I made him eat what I eat all the time he would never even attempt to go vegan at all lol. We still have disagreements about some hunting/farming issues but we are slowly working through those.

Do I still wish I lived in an all vegan household? Absolutely! Would I walk away from our relationship if he is not willing to go completely vegan? No, not just for that. My husband would give his life for me. We have been commited to each other for sixteen years, and have shared our souls in many ways. he is practically my whole life. I think if I had not gone vegan, he would not have even made half the effort he has to go mostly vegetarian. Every relationship involves compromises. And people change. We do the best we can with it, day by day.

Though I have been surrounded by omnivores and very few vegans in real life (my sister is the only vegan I talk to regularly), I am still as fully committed to being vegan now as the first day I went vegan. I also realize I can't control other people or make them change. I can live the best life I can, take care of myself, and provide resources for others to learn about veganism, animal rights, plant based living etc. I can show that being vegan is a compassionate and healthy way to live in my daily choices and actions.

I sometimes feel more alienated by people in the vegan community due to my circumstances of living in a mixed relationship. That somehow I am not vegan enough or I must cheat or not care because I am willing to commit to someone who eats meat. That commitment started long before I became vegan and I can't help that he hasn't been willing to convert as quickly as I was. And because of my going vegan, he has cut way back on his consumption and use of animals. I try to tune out negativity and judgment and do the best I can under my circumstances. There is no perfect vegan on this planet. We do the best we can you know?

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel



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#6 Old 02-26-2015, 04:56 AM
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I sometimes feel more alienated by people in the vegan community due to my circumstances of living in a mixed relationship. That somehow I am not vegan enough or I must cheat or not care because I am willing to commit to someone who eats meat. That commitment started long before I became vegan and I can't help that he hasn't been willing to convert as quickly as I was. And because of my going vegan, he has cut way back on his consumption and use of animals. I try to tune out negativity and judgment and do the best I can under my circumstances. There is no perfect vegan on this planet. We do the best we can you know?
Anyone who tells you that you're not vegan enough? PFFT. You just send them my way. I'm an Australian, everyone knows we swear more than anyone else on the planet. I'll give them what for! :P

Colleen Patrick-Goudreu has just done a podcast on the 'Vegan Police'. I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, but if it's anything like her usual stuff, it will be really helpful for you to listen to (if you haven't already). Sometimes I make notes of her podcasts and re-listen when times get tough. Maybe the same sort of thing will help you.

As a side note- the Unity Church is meant to have a bit of a vegan thing going. If ever you need more Christian vegan stuff. Main Street Vegan is another podcast I listen to. That lady is so happy, like, all the time :P It's just uplifting (and I'm not even Christian).

I don't know if any of that helps, but I hope it does.
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#7 Old 02-26-2015, 05:32 AM
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I am a vegetarian, our home is mixed, and our kids lie somewhere in the middle. (most from the outside would call them vegetarians)

I have houseguests over for a long stay, and I have meat in the house for them. (bought by them) and I serve it to them. They are faced with seeing me eat meatless 3 meals a day. It does get a little awkward.

I make it a priority to keep flexible, and have a good sense of humor about everything. But I am not interested in debating my choice with them. They have been gently ribbing me, but that is the end of it.
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#8 Old 02-26-2015, 05:28 PM
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Anyone who tells you that you're not vegan enough? PFFT. You just send them my way. I'm an Australian, everyone knows we swear more than anyone else on the planet. I'll give them what for! :P

Colleen Patrick-Goudreu has just done a podcast on the 'Vegan Police'. I haven't had the chance to listen to it yet, but if it's anything like her usual stuff, it will be really helpful for you to listen to (if you haven't already). Sometimes I make notes of her podcasts and re-listen when times get tough. Maybe the same sort of thing will help you.

As a side note- the Unity Church is meant to have a bit of a vegan thing going. If ever you need more Christian vegan stuff. Main Street Vegan is another podcast I listen to. That lady is so happy, like, all the time :P It's just uplifting (and I'm not even Christian).

I don't know if any of that helps, but I hope it does.
I didn't know there was a podcast for Main Street Vegan! I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the info!
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#9 Old 02-27-2015, 04:43 AM
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I didn't know there was a podcast for Main Street Vegan! I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the info!
I don't know how to get it on iPhone, but I magically discovered her on Stitcher! I can't tell you the absolute joy she brings me when I hear her speak.
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#10 Old 02-28-2015, 06:40 AM
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Thanks so much for this video! Great timing on VB!

I have been vegan about four years now and my husband is still an omnivore. We have been together for sixteen years. We had a rocky time of it at first. I was a bit overly preachy as a new vegan and ready to convert him overnight as I did it lol, and my husband was alarmed lol. Over time, lots of patience and communication back and forth and some compromise, we have made it work thus far. I provided lots of literature and material on vegan nutrition and ethics for my husband to look at, and took some time to explain and show him what veganism meant/means to me and why I was doing it. I had to put aside judgments of his actions and beliefs because I was once there too. My husband also comes from a very religious fundamentalist background (though he is a bit more liberal) and his family immediately thought I was in some sort of cult. I made the mistake of showing them literature from the Christian Vegetarian Association so that they could see that vegans and vegetarians are not all left wing hippies. It backfired....they think CVA members are not true Christians. Sighs. What really helped them accept what I was doing and respect me more though is seeing how well I take care of myself, the great food I have shared with them, and that I am still me. And to not be accusing of them, but show by doing and living with compassion. My husband REALLY came around when he found out a few of his favorite UFC fighters (he eats breaths and lives UFC stuff) are vegans. Now he thinks it is very healthy and doable.

We have separate cupboards for our food, and separate areas of the refrigerator for our stuff. Thankfully my husband respects my wish that he not eat meat around me or cook it when I am home, and he has adhered to that. He also will not use my cookware and dishes/utensils for any animal products. He knows my Blendtec is off limits to animal products as well. He goes along with all my vegan toiletries and cleaning stuff and puts up with my vinegar to clean the mirrors and bathroom lol. I am the bread winner (he is on disability) so I do most of the shopping and cooking and he happily eats most of my vegan meals. He does still eat dairy and eggs at home, but tries to eat vegan when we eat out if I am paying. He has even helped out with some leafleting I have done for Vegan Outreach, though at first he was opposed to me doing it for fear of me getting in trouble. His friends supported me a lot in my activism days and that made my husband realize that he could be more supportive of me too. We also try to find common ground. We are both adamently against the Minnesota and Wisconsin wolf hunt and it has been a huge issue here in the last few years. We have gone to protests and events to stop it together. He has made an effort to increase his vegan and vegetarian meals and decrease meat/dairy/eggs but it is really a struggle for him, especially the dairy (it was easy for me to stop consuming because dairy made me sick as an omnivore so I already avoided it for years prior). Our eating habits are like night and day. He loves the SAD diet and tons of junk food, and I am a health nut that eats mostly whole foods. I compromise when making meals for him and make him stuff like vegan pot pies, vegan mashed potatoes and seitan and other hearty dishes I know he will love that I don't necessarily eat much of myself. I realize that if I made him eat what I eat all the time he would never even attempt to go vegan at all lol. We still have disagreements about some hunting/farming issues but we are slowly working through those.

Do I still wish I lived in an all vegan household? Absolutely! Would I walk away from our relationship if he is not willing to go completely vegan? No, not just for that. My husband would give his life for me. We have been commited to each other for sixteen years, and have shared our souls in many ways. he is practically my whole life. I think if I had not gone vegan, he would not have even made half the effort he has to go mostly vegetarian. Every relationship involves compromises. And people change. We do the best we can with it, day by day.

Though I have been surrounded by omnivores and very few vegans in real life (my sister is the only vegan I talk to regularly), I am still as fully committed to being vegan now as the first day I went vegan. I also realize I can't control other people or make them change. I can live the best life I can, take care of myself, and provide resources for others to learn about veganism, animal rights, plant based living etc. I can show that being vegan is a compassionate and healthy way to live in my daily choices and actions.

I sometimes feel more alienated by people in the vegan community due to my circumstances of living in a mixed relationship. That somehow I am not vegan enough or I must cheat or not care because I am willing to commit to someone who eats meat. That commitment started long before I became vegan and I can't help that he hasn't been willing to convert as quickly as I was. And because of my going vegan, he has cut way back on his consumption and use of animals. I try to tune out negativity and judgment and do the best I can under my circumstances. There is no perfect vegan on this planet. We do the best we can you know?
SO glad this came at a good time for you! and everyone finds their own way with this topic. I'm of course not into "excusing away" someone's consumption of animals, but interpersonal relationships are complex and it's up to you to decide how to navigate them!

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#11 Old 02-28-2015, 07:56 AM
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I'm a vegan and my boyfriend is an omni. He used to be vegetarian so he understands my perspective and we are both respective of each other's choices. None of my family are vegans or even vegetarians. I believe in living by example and not preaching or trying to change anyone else as we're all responsible for our choices. I do try to raise awareness of animal suffering and my boyfriend+family understand how I feel about eating meat and the plight of the animals. I guess my relationship works because we respect each other, not just about diet but differences in spiritual beliefs. I don't hide who I am and what I believe in and neither does he; everyone is different, we just have to live with it.
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