Adjusting to My New Lifestyle - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-01-2011, 05:20 AM
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So I'm now on my 1 month anniversary of being vegan. Physically, I'm doing fantastic. I've never felt better in my life, so I'm not concerned with adjusting to that one. However, psychologically is another story. I'm just wondering how much of this is normal, and what the journey was like for you guys as you adjusted. Here's a quick breakdown:

- I'm finding that I have to bite my tongue, a lot, when people talk about or eat meat in front of me. I haven't quite worked out a courteous way to tell people who keep talking about how yummy some meat dish is that that is the last thing I want to hear about.
- Working at a hotel, one common question I get from guests is "Where's a good place to get a steak around here?"
- For me, becoming vegan is a definite exercise in compassion, not only towards animals but towards humans as well.
- I have to eat on the run frequently because of my busy schedule, and I don't always remember to brown bag my lunch. As I live in a small town in Georgia (aka carnivorous, um, paradise), Subway is often my only option.
- Speaking of Georgia, for a short background I've for the most part lived in more liberal places whose mentalities I click with more. Here, the judgementalism really got to me, basically the average person here looks at me as an old maid because I'm single and childless at age 29, ridiculous I know, but I get given grief about that one, often. Also, I don't go to church, while I'm spiritual I find that I don't mesh well with organized religion, and this is something I get grief about a lot as well. Another thing I get judged for is the fact that as a woman, I'm studying to be an accountant, which requires full use of my brain and then some but will make me a very good paycheck, but here that's not considered "a woman's place". Unlike most people here, I will happily hang out with people from any racial background. And I vote Democrat. While judgementalism gets on my nerves, I've found myself getting judgmental towards the average person here, as I feel like people consider me a threat for the above mentioned reasons, often. Which gives me many moments when I can act like the very people I resent. Now add to that the fact that I'm vegan, and it's something else that's reinforcing this "judgementalism barrier".
- I'd say at least a good 1 in 10 people here either work at the local slaughterhouse or have a relative who does. One of my coworkers has a husband who does. So far, I'm playing it low key around these people.
- I've already had people feel like I'm rude for turning down food that has animal products in it.
- When I try and talk to people about things like the truth about the egg or dairy industries, many people roll their eyes.
- My only other friend who's veg lives in the Netherlands, although she's lacto-ovo-pesco, so really I don't have anyone who I'm close to who can empathize with my lifestyle. Although yesterday when I posted a video to my Facebook about the meat industry and global warming, it turns out one of my friends (living in Connecticut so still not near me) who I haven't seen since high school went vegan, which makes me very happy!
- In essence though, I'm finding that the way that people are gets to me more now that I can clearly see that consuming animal products is wrong. And it's resulting in a massive amount of bottled-up anger.

By the way, while I am in Georgia right now I am about to graduate, so I'll be free to move. I'm leaning towards going to New York for 2 or so years so I can qualify as a CPA(Certified Public Accountant), then abroad for grad school, and possibly emigrating. So while the mentality after I move might not be as intense after I move, I'm not expecting it to be all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to how people react to my veganism either.

In any case, right now, it's overwhelming. It's a major paradox to me that I'm feeling ostracized for having a conscience. But then again I did try to go veg*n when I was 9 which my parents were angry about, so I went back to meat-eating in order to try and please them, and that's the last time I ever let go of my convictions just to please others.
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#2 Old 05-03-2011, 05:49 PM
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It's strange how being vegan gets to people. You would think that I ate babies or something if you go by some peoples reactions. I never did understand how people get so provoced by it.
When I first tried to go vegan I ate some ice cream once when I didn't really didn't want to at a dinner, because I was put in this unprepared, uncomfortable situation, in which I was verbally attacked by several people. I felt really horrible after that and decided to never ever try to please people again by eating their damn animalproducts. As a matter of fact, when people act like morons and refuse to be respectful of my choices, it makes me want to be even more firm, just to show them.

I'm open about being vegan most of the time. I don't get into discussions about it over dinner though. I keep my answers simple and short.

Congratulations on one month=)

After all, coffee is bitter, a flavor from the forbidden and dangerous realm
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#3 Old 05-03-2011, 06:40 PM
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Thank you, and I do feel a lot better now. Yesterday I posted a link to my Facebook to a video about veganism and global warming, and turns out one of my friends from high school who I haven't seen in 11 years is now vegan, made my day. And it felt good this evening catching up with one of my friends and sharing a recipe for homemade falafel rolls, so it's looking like showing people that my lifestyle isn't intimidating and leading by example is the way to go. Though peoples' initial reaction is still sometimes like I eat babies like you said, but then again I try to be an example of why this lifestyle is a good idea.
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#4 Old 05-03-2011, 09:37 PM
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I think you have found an area of the country, that doesn't do so well with "going against the grain" in so many areas, and that you are a non conformist! Hey, what's that, you have a goal in mind, an education, an opinion, and you don't have 5 babies by 5 baby daddys! I think if you were to move, you could find an area, that you'll mesh with just fine! I'm in Upstate NY. Are you looking at the city, or "somewhere" in NY? Ithaca is a great veg friendly college town on a lake!

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#5 Old 05-04-2011, 12:33 AM
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I often don't read some of the longer posts but yours was worth it. I know being vegan can be isolating at times. I'm kind of used to it so it doesn't bother me. It sounds like you have a bright future ahead for yourself. Best wishes on wherever you decide to move. I'm in Northern California and we still have our collection of narrow minded people. Plus I'm the only vegan I know.

I like Charlotte's comment: "You would think that I ate babies." That about sums it up. I really think vegans threaten their deep subconscious in some way.
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#6 Old 05-04-2011, 08:09 AM
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I'm more of a city person, as I would really like to not worry about car-related expenses and dramas, and I'm the type of person who gets bored easily. Sure, I grew up in the country, but I am definitely not a country person. And trust me, out here, peoples' subconscious gets threatened by so many more things than just veganism! Like, say for example, women who have higher career ambitions than housewife or dental hygentist. Nothing wrong with that by the way, but also nothing wrong with wanting to have the capability of making 6 figures on my own either.

Really though, besides the veganism, it helps me if I find people as open minded as I am who have the same priorities as I do (education, travel, find our soulmates now, have kids later when we're more established), but they are so few and far between here. And I have met several girls my age with upwards of 3 baby daddies, scary! Although I have only been vegan in the short time I've been living here, I have been enough places besides here (the rest of the US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Africa) to know that this is definitely the most difficult place out of all of them to be vegan, so at least there's hope once I move. I'll have my coursework for my degree finished and be free to move this September.
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