As we all know it's getting to be that time of year. The leaves are changing into crisp streaks of orange and reds, pumpkins are popping up on every front porch, and families are gathering to celebrate, life, love, and a full belly.
I'm a recent vegan who has been practicing a vegan/ gluten free diet style for the past ten months and to say the least, I'm in love! Being a third year college student, dating has become a wonderful chapter in my life. It just so happens that growing up and attending college in the southern (and cattle farming heavy) part of the country has become part of my life too. (it's a meat and potatoes world I'm living in)
The fella I am currently dating is your average meat eating man but he is very considerate and attentive to my life style choices. This Thanksgiving his family has asked me to come down to spend
Thanksgiving dinner with them and to enjoy each other during this giddy part of the year. I was overjoyed to find out that they were happy to open up their home to someone who they hardly know, yet alone open up their hearts. I believe my boyfriend has informed them that I am vegan and gluten free but I have a small list of concerns that may come up on that fateful day. I was hoping I could get some help/support/feedback on what I can do and how to handle the situation.
1. What if they don't really know what being vegan/gluten free is? (not many people in the Texas/Louisiana/Oklahoma area seem to!
2. Because this is my first time meeting them and I want to make a good impression, how do I politely deny the traditional T-day foods without coming off as abrasive or picky?
3. Should I offer to bring my own food? (is that appropriate for a family you don't really know that well?)
4. What is there really is NOTHING to eat that fit within my moral restrictions? Would the polite thing to do be to just eat the vegetarian options they have even though there is a great possibility of me getting sick?
Whoo! So many quandaries so little time! I appreciate any feedback and support and will be periodically checking back to respond to any questions asked.
Thanks and Ciao!
Hi! I am a gluten-free vegan as well! I am from Minnesota which is dairy-land. I just moved to Greece in July. Greece is for meat-lovers. It is very rare to find vegetarians here let alone vegans. Gluten was almost banned here almost 100 years ago but over time the citizens have lost touch with that research and information. Basically, I understand what you are going through as far as the atmosphere you are in.
I am fortunate to have a gluten-free vegan girlfriend who has a vegetarian father. That being said, we still get looks of confusion from members of her family as well as her friends.
Before I moved here, my own extended family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) were dumbfounded and offended by my vegan lifestyle. They definitely didn't understand the gluten-free aspect at all either. I have a great uncle who can't see out of one eye, is constantly bickering about his acid reflux (especially after drinking carbonated beverages), has had strokes, etc. who goes around saying "I've been eating meat and dairy all my life, and look at me, I'm fine!"
Yes, they might get offended and maybe there is a chance they will try to understand your lifestyle choice. So to answer your questions:
1. Hopefully your bf explained what being vegan and gluten free is well enough to whomever is preparing the food. Hopefully that person had some questions too so they fully understand it.
2. Just stay true to yourself. Say no thank you in a genuine way. If they ask why not, explain to them why not. If they do not, then leave it at no thank you.
3. It is always appropriate to bring at least one dish you have prepared to a family dinner! You could even make two, just in case! This way you will know you have at least two things you can eat and show other people you eat "normal" too! Maybe some of them will try what you made and see it's not so different after all!
4. Personally, I would not touch the non-vegan food because it would make me sick! I would just bring a few things to share at the table to avoid this disaster!
Hopefully this helps! Good luck and welcome to VB!
I agree with 2brokevegans that taking your own food is always a good idea, you could bring something to share and something to make sure you have a decent meal. I also agree that attitude goes a long way, as long as you are polite and positive I'm sure they won't mind that you have a different diet than they do. You may get some questions but just answer as best you can and you can always change the subject if you need to. Good luck!
"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?" - Edgars Mission
If I were you I'd ask my boyfriend what he'd told the family, just to check he'd explained my diet sufficiently to avoid them making me something I couldn't eat...
You could also ask him to ask if there's anything they would like you to bring - e.g. dessert. Then you can bring a vegan version and you'll have contributed generally. If there isn't anything specific I'd just feel free to take whatever anyway - I think it's a good idea to take one savoury dish you can eat so you're not hungry if there isn't much else for you. I went to a Canadian Thanksgiving dinner last month where I couldn't eat anything. I took a huge quinoa dish for everyone to eat. The host laid all the food out on the kitchen counter and talked guests through it as they filled their plates and just said 'and this is the vegan quinoa' when she came to my dish. Every single person took some and enjoyed it and nobody made a fuss about it.
I did have one person ask me (over pie and ice-cream) why I'm vegan but I politely told her I'd be very happy to tell her my reasons later when it was just the two of us and people weren't eating - some people at the table were very grateful for this.
It doesn't need to be a huge deal. And even if it does point you out as different, which it will since your diet is comparatively rare, who cares? If you're relaxed about it with any luck the others will follow your lead