Why can't my family just accept it? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-10-2005, 10:01 PM
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ever since I became a vegetarian, my family has not been very supportive of nearly any action I take in my life, but especially when it comes to being vegetarian.

I've gone to do the doctor so may times to prove that I'm healthy and that I'm not anorexic (my weight is normal), but nothing I do seems to pacify them. family gatherings are a nightmare, because there is noone thats supportive of it at all.

I don't understand why they even do this...why does it matter what I eat or wear? do they love rotting dead muscle than they do me? I'm so depressed sometimes (they say its because I dont get enough nutrition...). I hate it!



does anyone else have this sort of situation?
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#2 Old 07-10-2005, 10:17 PM
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I think there are quite a few people on these boards that are dealing with this as well.I can only suggest to do some research and print them some facts about a vegetarian diet.Show them that is healthy.I am sorry you have to deal with this.Hang in there.Hopefully they will eventually see that is not a phase,and you believe in it.
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#3 Old 07-11-2005, 06:21 PM
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ha-ha. omg, when i was reading that, it was EXACTLY what i would write. if you go to member list, and look at the posts i've posted, and threads i've started, you'd see i am going through the EXACT same thing!!!!! except that i've been a vegetarian for two years, and now a vegan... bt my parents are STILL having a hard time with it. they just dont understand that it's healthier, and humane. i've also gone to doctors to prove that i'm healthy, and not too skinny (i'm normal weight too) and the doctors would tell my mother that i wont have heart problems, cholestoral,.. he named bunches of other things too -b ut my parents are sitll insisting tha ti'm going to die in a couple of months or something.



its funny, they also told me that i can tgrow. i was shorter then my mother before i went veg - so two years ago. now, i have CLEARELY outgrown her... and all while living off of plants. it's funny. i stood next to her the other day, and pointed that out to her... she might have gotten mad at me for that - i was basically pointing out that she was wrong. but, STILL they dont accept my choice... what can i say? some parents are just screwed up. i mean, dont get me wrong. ilove my family a lot! but they just need to be more open-minded.



my dad says that i can drop out of school if i want (my family is SO into school and high high high education) but he still says, drop out of school if you want, the only thing i wnat for you is to be able to eat "real" food with you - meat. there is NO way that will ever happen.



we got into an argument the other day - hes giving me three months to start eating dairy and eggs like a normal person. i dont see why...... i'm not going to do it. i mean, if they yell at me, and threaten to kick me of out the house or soemthing then i might eat it once... might.... maybe. id otn know. but i KNOW there is NO way i will ever touch meat again in my life.....



anyway, if you ever feel like talking about whatever sh!t your familys putting you through because of your decision to go veg, feel completely free to private message me. i'll listen, and try to help........ but i'm better at just listening. so, feel free!!!



good luck with everything.

i understand how you feel. *hug*
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#4 Old 07-11-2005, 06:44 PM
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Some families react like that because they love you, and are really worried about you. Vegetarianism is something some people just do not understand. To them, it could look like an eating disorder, because they have just not encountered it before.



I think after you've been one for a while, and your family sees that you're not wasting away, or losing your hair or teeth, they'll calm down about it. Show them literature, show them tasty vegetarian meals, and ask them what their concerns are.



How long have you been a vegetarian for?
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#5 Old 07-22-2005, 08:40 PM
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I feel that when a person is raised as a meat eater, and then decides to become vegetarian their family thinks he or she is trying to be better than them.



All they know is that you think differently than how they raised you, and may think that you think less of them because of that.



The hard part is showing that you're still the same person, you just don't want to eat meat.
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#6 Old 07-22-2005, 09:49 PM
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My only advice is to avoid bringing up the topic yourself, making negative comments about their food, etc. It's easiest if you can possibly talk about the subject as little as possible with family and refuse to discuss it if they want to argue. Eventually they will just forget about it if they are not reminded.
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#7 Old 07-22-2005, 10:07 PM
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What's so wrong with that? Sounds like you have stupid, stubborn parents. Maybe try and tell them how you feel. Tell them what happens to animals.
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#8 Old 07-23-2005, 07:21 AM
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I am impressed.



When I was 17 and still in high school, I did things because my parents said so. Simple as that. I wasn't strong enough to stand up to anything or really protest anything. (I've come a long way since then.) I think I just felt dominated by my parents and older brother and sister. Eh.



I've been more or less vegetarian since January. With the exception of giving in to some wings a few times, and eating some (free) meat lasagna (I picked the meat out; Had I not accepted the full pan of lasagna, it would have been completely thrown out), I've been meat free.



I don't think my parents, whom I rarely see, have figured it out. I think I told them, though. I've said things like, I had a veggie burger and Andy (my husband) had a hamburger. The last times we had meals together, in April, I ordered the veggie burger at TGI Friday's and had a cheese and lettuce sandwhich at the family dinner my sister had for her daughter's birthday party the next day.



On my husband's side, I also don't think they figured it out yet. My FIL, while usually sharp, does not pay much attention to his children's and children-in-law's eating habits. (His are pretty gross, which I thought before I went veg*n.) I just don't think my MIL has figured it out, or just doesn't ask. (The last time we were there for dinner was the week I learned how cheese is made, thanks to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". My husband, not knowing that I had decided to start eliminating cheese [I think he thought me weird for that, but he still loves me] phoned his mother to have her order the pizza, complete with cheese. I was hungry and almost ate one, until I saw how greasy it was and realized that there was little sauce under the cheese. Later that evening, though, I did have a bowl of Kix and Total.) I told my husband's older sister and she thought I was weird. (She also thought me weird when I also told her that I never liked potato chips, which were not often seen growing up). However, she was impressed that I had quit smoking.



Stick to it. I'm guessing, at 17, you're close to graduating and (hopefully) going off to college, at least. As I said, I think your strength your beliefs and being able to stick up for them to your parents is way cool.
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#9 Old 07-23-2005, 12:48 PM
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This makes me so sad.



My parents have bouts where they act similarly to what you've described. I know it really feels awful. Hang in there. I couldn't imagine having to live with it all the time though. I feel for you so much.
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#10 Old 07-23-2005, 12:50 PM
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Truth is, your parents may never accept your new lifestyle. I'm glad my family has (eventually)adapted well to my veganism and my little sister's vegetarianism, in the beginning my mom would always make a big deal out of everything, I swear. She would tell me that I was stupid and ask me which vitamins pills I wanted since I "Can't eat anything anymore" anything negative that ever happened to me (i.e a cold..or oversleeping.lol.) she would blame on my veganism. She desperately wanted me to get my sister eating fish/chicken again. She would ***** at me constantly for my little sister being a vegetarian, she would say "You're a really bad influence" "I don't care if you ruin yourself, but don't bring your little sister down with you" sounds a bit harsh dosen't it? But I get the last laugh, my mom has made the transition herself, bwuahaha. I think you should communicate more with them, tell them what you told us. If they still don't respect your choice then, oh well, you can't please everyone.
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#11 Old 07-23-2005, 01:30 PM
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It is too bad that your parents can't accept your lifestyle NarodniiSoyuz. My parents have taken my veganism a lot better than I expected so I hope and truly beleive that your parents will come around eventually.



My story, I grew up on a large dairy farm (we also raised beef and chickens). My parents, brother and most of my uncles, aunts and cousins are also farmers of either beef or dairy cattle. Going back my family tree as far as I find my ancestors were always dairy farmers. Needless to say I was always a little bit uncomfortable with animal agriculture growing up, because I so loved the animals, but I never knew it was even possible to survive without meat, dairy eggs etc. A necessary evil, I guess I thought.



I became a vegetarian about a year and half ago (at age 26), and became a vegan a couple weeks later. My parents live far away and I have only had a chance to see them twice since I became a vegan. The first time I went back home, I gave them advanced notice that I was a vegetarian (I figured that if I told them I was a vegan it would kill them). When I got home my father was cooking chicken. I told him I don't eat chicken. He was more confused than I have ever seen him. He thought that a vegetarian was someone who didn't eat red meat! But they accepted my vegetarianism a lot better than I expected. That time I was only at my parents for 1 meal and because my father was making chicken and rice, I just ate rice so I didn't have to worry about eating dairy or eggs!



The second time I went home my mother was so proud to tell me that she had made us a seven cheese lasagne because her son was a vegetarian. I knew it would break her heart but at that time I had to tell her that I was a vegan. I was expecting an explosion from my parents, but they accepted that really well too, only saying "as long as you are not one of those animal rights activists." So I guess I will have to wait a while before I tell them that.



With my mother being a nurse and an avid reader, she asked a couple doctors she knows about health risks and read a lot of literature, so she knows that my diet is healthier now than it has ever been before. I think their acceptance has a lot to do with how much my parents have educated themselves about vegetarian and vegan diets since I made the switch.



Oh, and I should mention that my parents know that I have never been the fad type. So they knew right from the start that there would be no turning me around and that I would have already read enough about being a veggie to counter any argument they might have had against it. So they realized that arguing about it would have made things worse.



So I guess the only advice that I can give you is to stick with it, educate yourself about it, and hope your parents will educate themselves about it as well. Hopefully they will be easier to deal with as time goes by.
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#12 Old 07-23-2005, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weird2twiggy View Post

we got into an argument the other day - hes giving me three months to start eating dairy and eggs like a normal person. i dont see why...... i'm not going to do it. i mean, if they yell at me, and threaten to kick me of out the house or soemthing then i might eat it once... might.... maybe. id otn know. but i KNOW there is NO way i will ever touch meat again in my life.....



Wow things seem really serious. I reading your profile (I hope you don't mind) and it says that before you moved to the US you were from Yugoslavia. That reminded me of one the first vegetarians I ever knew. I lived with her when we were in college and her family had just moved to Canada from Yugoslavia a couple of years before. Her mother used to come over and say "Tanya you must eat meat." "Tanya you WILL eat meat now." "Tanya this is very unhealthy, you are going to kill yourself, I will not allow this to happen" Her mother would honestly try to physically shove meat down her throat. They would get in a big fight, tanya would lock herself in her room. Eventually her mother would leave in a rage. "Tanya, you are being ridiculous, why can I never reason with you." Then a couple weeks later the exact same thing would happen all over again. So many memories!



Hopefully when you go away to school, it will be far enough from your parents that they will not be able to stop by when ever they want. Being a vegan in college should be a lot easier. But check out the campus before you go to be sure that they have lots of veggie options.



Hang in there.
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#13 Old 07-26-2005, 12:34 AM
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My post isn't really for the people already having conflicts but a suggestion for people to avoid them to begin with when they first start being a vegetarian.



I think the biggest mistake people make when they go vegetarian is telling everyone about it. Honestly, if we didn't tell people, they wouldn't harp on us. It's really not fair to expect people to cook differently for us -- just politely pass on the meat tray without comment and fill up plates with other stuff. If the options at the meal are so limited that it comes down to just having bread, just say you have an upset stomach if anyone draws attention to it.



Of course, it's not possible to go unnoticed living with others; however, merely visiting people on occassion doesn't raise alarms when the meat tray is passed. I think sometimes vegetarians come off as the ones with judgemens when they give a big list as to why they won't eat meat. The reality is that what we eat is our business -- and what others eat is their business. It really shouldn't even be a topic of conversation. There's no need for it--especially around acquaintences or rarely seen family.



I'm sorry to all that have difficult experiences. I guess I was lucky that all my mother wanted me to do was eat a vitamin every time I passed on the meat try. I'm very thankful that she made a point of teaching me that if I was going to someone elses house for dinner, that it would be impolite to raise issue with meat being served. As a result, I effortlessly attended many social fuctions, including dinners with boyfriends' families, where they never guessed in a million years that I was vegetarian. Nor did they think I was rude for objecting to their meal -- because I just quietly passed any inappropriate dishes to the next person without comment and a smile on my face.
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#14 Old 07-26-2005, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Alicia View Post

My post isn't really for the people already having conflicts but a suggestion for people to avoid them to begin with when they first start being a vegetarian.



I think the biggest mistake people make when they go vegetarian is telling everyone about it. Honestly, if we didn't tell people, they wouldn't harp on us. It's really not fair to expect people to cook differently for us -- just politely pass on the meat tray without comment and fill up plates with other stuff. If the options at the meal are so limited that it comes down to just having bread, just say you have an upset stomach if anyone draws attention to it.



Of course, it's not possible to go unnoticed living with others; however, merely visiting people on occassion doesn't raise alarms when the meat tray is passed. I think sometimes vegetarians come off as the ones with judgemens when they give a big list as to why they won't eat meat. The reality is that what we eat is our business -- and what others eat is their business. It really shouldn't even be a topic of conversation. There's no need for it--especially around acquaintences or rarely seen family.



I'm sorry to all that have difficult experiences. I guess I was lucky that all my mother wanted me to do was eat a vitamin every time I passed on the meat try. I'm very thankful that she made a point of teaching me that if I was going to someone elses house for dinner, that it would be impolite to raise issue with meat being served. As a result, I effortlessly attended many social fuctions, including dinners with boyfriends' families, where they never guessed in a million years that I was vegetarian. Nor did they think I was rude for objecting to their meal -- because I just quietly passed any inappropriate dishes to the next person without comment and a smile on my face.



I agree with this wholeheartedly. Although I didnt' start calling myself vegetarian until others did, I did talk about issues concerning meat a lot in the beginning and it got me no where. It's one thing to do advocacy on the street by handing out pamphlets to interested strangers, its quite another to bring up these issues with people who aren't interested and with whom you have to regularly associate. Not that the OP has done this, but often trouble is initiated or sustained by the vegetarian who insists on bringing up issues, getting disgusted looks on their face, or making little comments here and there around their family's food. This is especially true of newbies who feel that extra passion of wanting to share what they have just learned.
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#15 Old 07-26-2005, 11:08 AM
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I think the biggest mistake people make when they go vegetarian is telling everyone about it. Honestly, if we didn't tell people, they wouldn't harp on us.



So instead we should try to hide it as if it's something we're ashamed of?



Quote:
It's really not fair to expect people to cook differently for us -- just politely pass on the meat tray without comment and fill up plates with other stuff. If the options at the meal are so limited that it comes down to just having bread, just say you have an upset stomach if anyone draws attention to it.



With a lot of people I know, there literally IS NO "other stuff", or if there is, it's a pittance, and it's pretty obvious that something's up if that's all I eat. They're going to ask, and why should I lie? So I don't offend anyone with the fact that I don't eat meat?



Quote:
I think sometimes vegetarians come off as the ones with judgemens when they give a big list as to why they won't eat meat. The reality is that what we eat is our business -- and what others eat is their business. It really shouldn't even be a topic of conversation. There's no need for it--especially around acquaintences or rarely seen family.



There's a difference between giving everyone an unprovoked lecture at the dinner table on eating meat, and telling the truth when someone asks you. I generally don't bring vegetarianism up because I don't like being attacked for it and listening to the same stupid bull**** jokes and arguments. But I'm not going to pretend like I'm sick and lie just so people don't find out I'm vegetarian. That's silly.
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#16 Old 07-26-2005, 11:31 AM
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I live in California and my brother lives in Oklahoma. He is hostile to my veg diet. I rarely visit him and avoid communication with him when I can because, regardless of what the telephone discussion is about, he ALWAYS manages to bring up my diet in a way that is awkward for me. I never bring it up, never confront him, never provoke him. But he always manages to worm some mention of it into the conversation anyway. I'm not ashamed of my diet and I don't care what he thinks about it, but I don't like his predictable, unprovoked hostility towards what I eat and what I don't eat. Sometimes I'll change the topic of conversation, sometimes I'll joke about it, but I don't snap at him and scold him for being intolerant. I don't have the energy. He's 53 years old and should know better, but he doesn't.



I do try to find a happy medium with others as well. I'm not going to be an "in your face" vegetarian, but if the subject comes up, I'll acknowledge it, answer questions if they seem sincere and friendly enough, and then attempt to move on.

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#17 Old 07-26-2005, 06:16 PM
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So instead we should try to hide it as if it's something we're ashamed of?







With a lot of people I know, there literally IS NO "other stuff", or if there is, it's a pittance, and it's pretty obvious that something's up if that's all I eat. They're going to ask, and why should I lie? So I don't offend anyone with the fact that I don't eat meat?







There's a difference between giving everyone an unprovoked lecture at the dinner table on eating meat, and telling the truth when someone asks you. I generally don't bring vegetarianism up because I don't like being attacked for it and listening to the same stupid bull**** jokes and arguments. But I'm not going to pretend like I'm sick and lie just so people don't find out I'm vegetarian. That's silly.





I agree with this wholeheartedly. I don't feel the need to avoid my veganism comming up at all costs, even if it's just a growling stomach. . .

Being vegan is a huge part of my life, I'm not gonna cover it up like it's some deep dark dirty secret, that whole closet-vegan thing dosen't interest me in the least.
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#18 Old 07-27-2005, 01:40 PM
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I think it's bizarre that such a topic even exists in 2005, vegetarianism isn't exactly new, tell them to lode the fifties mentality and come into the present.
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#19 Old 08-26-2005, 08:59 AM
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man......... thats tough! i've had people disagree with my diet, and family members try to literally spoon feed me meat at the dinner table, but never total opposition. maybe give them time, my idea on life is to prove to everyone what your capable of, and they will accept you and have no more doubts about who you are.... dunnos, about that one, but it has worked for me, i have won over my friends i believe, by proving my self worth, next time they start talking trash about your vegetarian diet, just give a loud shot of, "At least its not crack!!!!", this just happens to be your fight that your going to have to resolve in your own way, so best of luck bucko!
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#20 Old 08-26-2005, 01:46 PM
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my family gave me a lot of crap when i became a vegetarian 10 years ago, but now it's gotten to the point where i'm the only skinny one left and they "think i might be on to something". in fact, my mom has tried a vegetarian diet, and my grandparents eat the veggie foods i bring with me. my only advice is to be patient, not preachy, and hope that they'll come around
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