It Gets Better - Vegan Style! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 11-08-2013, 07:31 AM
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So, a lot of times I use VB as a sounding board for what's going wrong in my life concerning vegan issues. Case in point, my Thanksgiving whine-fest (2 years running).

 

However, something Joan Kennedy said in that thread, "Maybe some of us should be making "It gets better" videos about family Thanksgivings" made me think that there are some positive things happening in my life with regards to vegan choices. 

 

For those of you who haven't heard of It Gets Better Project, it's an awesome organization launched by Dan Savage back in 2010. Savage felt like too many LGBT youth were taking their own lives or living in a cycle of sadness or anger due to harassment. So, Savage created a YouTube video with his partner meant to inspire hope in LGBT youth about their lives and choices. Savage wanted to let youth know that, yes, it does get better. It's a very needed program too (I used to run workshops with LGBT homeless youth, and they need programs like this for sure!) 

 

Vegan harassment is no where close to the obstacles LGBT youth face IMO, but I know that sometimes it can feel like going vegan ruins your relationships, messes with your head at times and can even bust up families. It can suck - especially when you're a newer vegan who doesn't know other vegans off the boards.

 

This in mind, while I won't be making any videos, I thought it might be nice to share some of the nice things that have happened to you since going vegan or examples of things that have improved over time - with your friends or family or yourself. Plus, really, I whine a lot. This is a good chance for me to be more positive about vegan issues.

 

Below are three examples of things that have gone well for me since going vegan. 

 

1) At first when I went vegan I felt like no one was on my side about it - not my family, not my friends. Then I realized that two of my best girlfriends (both seriously avid meat eaters) never once in the whole time I've been vegan, have questioned me, made fun of me or said lame things to me. Both of these gals will invite me to dinner and cook entirely vegan meals, even though they're not even close to vegan. This rocks and reminds me that some people are super awesome, especially when I'm upset about other, less cool people. 

 

2) I usually feel like I don't make much of a difference at all. No one I know goes vegan for good after being around me. It feels lame. Then my friend's teen daughter, who is around me a lot, totally shocked me by going veg. She changed her whole diet - I mean this was a double bacon cheeseburger daily type of eater. Now she eats 100% vegetarian, even though her family doesn't help much or approve. It's not vegan, but it's a great step in the right direction and I know that it's partially because of my influence. That's awesome. 

 

3) When people do come down on vegan stuff, I'm not as affected as I used to be. I used to get really upset or overly angry. Now, I've kind of moved on to an "I'm frustrated, but it could be worse" sort of mindset. I have my upset days when people are rude, but overall, it's getting easier to handle lame comments. 

 

What has gotten better for you over time since going vegan? Are there some events or people who have surprised you and made going vegan a positive, not negative deal for you?

 

Post your positive experiences below! 

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~ Jennifer
 
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#2 Old 11-08-2013, 06:09 PM
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What, no one has responded yet?  Hmmm.

 

Besides the usual stuff that improved since going vegan, such as more energy, better health as measured by improved and excellent cholesterol numbers and excellent dental visits with lots of compliments on my teeth, more endurance, no more phlegm after meals or horrid bloating and cramps from consuming dairy...

 

I just feel better all around because I am living according to my values and beliefs and not hiding to fit into a culture that is blind to or doesn't care about them.  I am more assertive now (something that does not and never has come easy for me) because I have had to speak up for my needs when out shopping or at restaurants as a vegan (I have had plenty of practice in other words lol) and to defend animals and veganism.  I have done some volunteer and activist work that I would never have dreamed in a million years I could do before, because my passion for the cause overcomes my fear of judgment.

 

I have gotten my Mom and sister to at least move towards becoming vegan.  My sister is vegetarian now (for the last year and four months) and working at becoming vegan but has occasional lapses back into eating dairy.  But...if you knew how she lived before.  She used to live on fast food and frozen dinners and candy bars.  She would eat sugared cereal and her stove was pristine and clean because she never used it.  She was overweight for years.  My sister quit smoking a few years ago and then after I showed her the movie Forks Over Knives she decided she was going to go vegan.  She suddenly became interested in all the literature and videos she could get hold of, and her eyes have been opened to our food system and the living conditions of billions of helpless animals.  I have been teaching her how to cook, and doing it vegan style.  My sister cooks now and eats a nearly whole foods vegan diet.  You should see her cupboards and refrigerator.  It is like night and day from before.  Almost all of her food is bought in bulk or produce.  She lost over 50 lbs and exercises and shows more compassion than she ever used to.  My sister also battles paranoid schizophrenia so if she can make such huge changes and maintain them for over a year and four months then anyone can.  I am so proud of her!  She even helped me leaflet my first time which was a big deal for both of us, but imagine her fear with her illness.  I wish I could say my Mom has been as successful but she has still made major improvements and has cut way down on meat consumption.  She did go vegan for a while but struggled with it and now eats fish again, but she is a far cry from where she was.  My own family respects me for my beliefs although at first they didn't and dismissed them.  But I have lived by example and even with constant discouragement and belittling remarks I have continued to joyfully live my values and slowly my family has seen the transformation in me and that I have not gotten worse health wise and in fact have taught them a lot they didn't know about our food system before.  I still get crap from my in-laws  but at least my husband has cut way down on his meat consumption and is coming around to seeing that being vegan can be very healthy and better for the animals, environment, and humans.  He loves ultimate fighting champion stuff so I showed him about Matt Danzig and suddenly he is all interested in veganism lol.

 

I am more aware of how I live my life on many levels, and conscious of how the choices I make impact others.  Living vegan is so natural to me now that I forget that not everyone else is vegan sometimes lol.  It's hard to comprehend how others struggle to find something to eat as a vegan or can't live without leather lol but I have to remember I was once there too.

 

I love being vegan now more than the day I went vegan.  I am not perfect by any means.  I could produce less garbage, be less self centered, love my body more the way it is, and make shorter posts on VB lol.  But over all I feel like I am my real self again, something I lost for a long time after a trauma that happened to me in 2005.  I do not regret for one minute being vegan.  Best of all, a lot less animals have been harmed and slaughtered because by not buying and consuming animal products I have created less of a demand for them.  And I am never going to be quiet about animal rights and being vegan!!


In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel



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#3 Old 11-09-2013, 06:21 PM
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This is such a great thread idea! grin.gif

I am lucky to live in a very vegan-friendly place and have a lot of supportive friends and family.

I wouldn't say I've really converted anyone but I have certainly had a lot of influence. One of my friends was at least partially inspired by me to go vegan and another is vegetarian now after going back and forth for years, my boyfriend also eats far less animal products than he did before we met and has happily switched to using vegan alternatives in the house instead of dairy and he eats a lot of my cooking.

I have also introduced a lot of people to how delicious vegan food can be thanks to the snacks and desserts I have at parties. One of my favourite examples is when a friend was at my Christmas party and complaining to my other friend about how gross he thinks tofu is while he was eating my chocolate peanut butter pie that is made with silken tofu. He later complimented me on the pie and ranted about how delicious it was and I got to see the hilarious look on his face when I told him it was made with tofu! He later ended up going almost entirely vegan himself and he is now dating and living with one of my vegan best friends, he apparently told her that my chocolate peanut butter pie was one of the first things that convinced him vegan food could be amazing and not gross. tongue3.gif

Another time a punk friend of ours came over and had some of my spaghetti made with Yves ground round, she said she liked it and then asked why I wasn't veg anymore since i was eating beef! It was really funny when she realized the food she'd just enjoyed was totally vegan. wink3.gif

And one more positive thing since going vegan is that like Jennifer I've developed a much thicker skin and I'm mostly immune to peoples criticism now, especially online. I actually enjoy debating with people now because I have spent so much time researching the subject that I have a lot of info on my side now. I feel more comfortable defending my beliefs because I'm truly following my instincts and just doing what I feel is right.
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#4 Old 11-10-2013, 07:14 PM
 
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So I never had it particularly hard when I went vegan - only earlier this year -  because a) I live by myself, b) my family accepted it and went out of their way to find cool vegan stuff for me and c) my closest friends don't give me a hard time for it and less close friends know better. Oh and I guess d) I've been a veggie forever.

 

BUT it was a new, slightly intimidating world to begin with. Some awesome things that have happened since I went vegan:

 

A week into my veganism it was Easter and my sister surprised me with pretty much every vegan Easter item in the UK. I thought I'd be lucky to get any chocolate at all from my family so that made me really happy that nothing had to change regarding how we celebrate (i.e. sit around making ourselves sick with chocolate).

 

For my birthday all of my friends checked they got me 100% vegan gifts. 

 

They started to cook/bake vegan for me. I made risotto for a dinner party and a friend made vegan cheesecake. Since then my two best girlfriends here have continued to include me in that way - making me cookies with avocado in the recipe (they were skeptical) and substituting oil for butter so I can eat what they're cooking sometimes etc. I keep a carton of soya in the fridge at their place for my tea because I'm over there all the time and they think to pick some up for me if I'm running low. 

 

I became a much more creative cook AND more health conscious when it comes to making dinner - is there protein? A good balance of carbs and veggies etc. (I still stuff my face with junk food but I'm a work in progress.) I've cooked for a new friend a couple of times and I'm seeing her tomorrow - when I asked if she wanted to join me for dinner first she text me to tell me yes and that I'm a really good cook. Then sent another text saying 'actually a fantastic cook.' Which made me really happy.

 

I went on a two week all inclusive holiday and the head chef cooked something special just for me every day rather than have me go up to the buffet. So I actually got VIP treatment because of my veganism.

 

I went to visit a friend in another city and she took me to a veggie restaurant and a vegan restaurant in the same day - HEAVEN!

 

Oh and last weekend I visited another friend, who had bought me vegan goodies I hadn't even tried yet. 

 

I know that's long and rambly and you're yawning by now if you're still with me, but I guess I'm trying to say that even though veganism can feel quite isolating at times and make you have bad thoughts about how others eat, it can show you how good and considerate other people can be too. 

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#5 Old 11-10-2013, 07:43 PM
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I'm not 100% vegan, yet, but I'm getting there, and making delicious veg*n food for everyone, when my parents say things like, "We eat meat."  I'm trying harder, though.

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Anytime I think I'm perfect, I remember that my cousin lives on an island, and I've never walked over to visit her.
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#6 Old 11-10-2013, 10:02 PM
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Growing thicker skin, becoming less affected by criticisms. The ability to retort humorously to things like, "Eating soy will give you a vagina." Not worrying about what will be available at any random restaurant, something will be available. The amount of nutritional broscience thrown at you will force you to read up. I used this knowledge to eat healthier and become fitter than ever. From being an underweight teenager to now, I am the heaviest I have ever been. Countering the stereotypical image of the sickly skinny vegan has been a driving force I otherwise wouldn't have had if not a veg*n.

Having an impact on my family and friends, by example showing that it is possible to thrive this way. I now realize that taking vitamin supplements is not a disparage to our diet, and not eating everything we should have in a day is not a moral failing. If you don't eat your veggies or milk, there's no shame in taking a Ca/Mg/Zn or D supplement. No longer feeling like I have to prove you can get all protein from whole foods, and not consume any protein powder. Overall, there is less worry with time. Educating yourself with scientific sources about nutrition should accelerate this getting better.
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#7 Old 11-11-2013, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kath View Post
 

So I never had it particularly hard when I went vegan - only earlier this year -  because a) I live by myself, b) my family accepted it and went out of their way to find cool vegan stuff for me and c) my closest friends don't give me a hard time for it and less close friends know better. Oh and I guess d) I've been a veggie forever.

 

BUT it was a new, slightly intimidating world to begin with. Some awesome things that have happened since I went vegan:

 

A week into my veganism it was Easter and my sister surprised me with pretty much every vegan Easter item in the UK. I thought I'd be lucky to get any chocolate at all from my family so that made me really happy that nothing had to change regarding how we celebrate (i.e. sit around making ourselves sick with chocolate).

 

For my birthday all of my friends checked they got me 100% vegan gifts. 

 

They started to cook/bake vegan for me. I made risotto for a dinner party and a friend made vegan cheesecake. Since then my two best girlfriends here have continued to include me in that way - making me cookies with avocado in the recipe (they were skeptical) and substituting oil for butter so I can eat what they're cooking sometimes etc. I keep a carton of soya in the fridge at their place for my tea because I'm over there all the time and they think to pick some up for me if I'm running low. 

 

I became a much more creative cook AND more health conscious when it comes to making dinner - is there protein? A good balance of carbs and veggies etc. (I still stuff my face with junk food but I'm a work in progress.) I've cooked for a new friend a couple of times and I'm seeing her tomorrow - when I asked if she wanted to join me for dinner first she text me to tell me yes and that I'm a really good cook. Then sent another text saying 'actually a fantastic cook.' Which made me really happy.

 

I went on a two week all inclusive holiday and the head chef cooked something special just for me every day rather than have me go up to the buffet. So I actually got VIP treatment because of my veganism.

 

I went to visit a friend in another city and she took me to a veggie restaurant and a vegan restaurant in the same day - HEAVEN!

 

Oh and last weekend I visited another friend, who had bought me vegan goodies I hadn't even tried yet. 

 

I know that's long and rambly and you're yawning by now if you're still with me, but I guess I'm trying to say that even though veganism can feel quite isolating at times and make you have bad thoughts about how others eat, it can show you how good and considerate other people can be too. 

 

Wow - you may have one of the best going vegan experiences I've ever heard about. This is all very cool! Especially if a newer vegan or someone thinking about going vegan saw this. Most of the stories you hear aren't this positive. You have good family and friends. 


~ Jennifer
 
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