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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
a handful of you might have read that since coming home i have had a lot of disagreements with mum on my veg*nism. last night she managed to talk to me calmly and told me her concerns. one of them was about nutrition which is a common thing omnis don't understand about veg*nism, so that does not bother me.

however she also brought up other points:

1) socially, it is a hassle for others and in the long run they will exclude me from their activities apparently. you see, none of my friends or family members is veg*n and in our chinese custom, when we dine together, everyone shares the food on the table so if i am at the dinner ppl tend to consider my diet and always get some vegan food. ok this does not seem like a problem, but my mum says it is exasperating. eg: we attended a dinner together recently and it was not a family affair where we could order whatever we wanted; food was catered. and there was only one vegan dish. and my made me pick some veges from the non-vegan dishes, which i don't usually do, but i did cos i could see the expression on her face (not good).

2) mum and dad are very sad, cos they are worried about my getting enough nutrition and because they think that i should be more flexible to be more accepted socially. (veg*nism is not common here, and ppl who are, are usually thought of as inconvenient, weird etc. there is a bit of a stigma on them, i have learned) my bf is quite exasperated with my veg*nism as well.

my mum's not asking me to be a full fledged omni, but to eat fish, prawns etc occasionally (becos i used to eat fish but no other meat before i became vegan). she said i could be as vegan as i want at home, but to be 'flexible' when dining out with others. this is a very hard decision for me, because on one hand it is against my conscience (and i am freaked out by the idea) to eat something which i know has a brain and feelings. and just thinking about it is making me feel so guilty. on the other hand, it is also against my conscience to hurt my loved ones knowingly. and this is straining my ties with mum as well. who knows how long dad and my bf and everyone else will 'put up' with it. (yeah, well, i've told you that here it's just not accepted)

i am thinking maybe to make matters better, i could be vegan as much as i can except when i am greatly inconveniencing others? i don't know. i am lost, and quite torn btwn my emotions. i knw it sounds silly but i really need some feedback here from fellow veg*ns. has anyone here ever broken their veg*nism for a while? if so, why? was it hard? how did you deal with your conscience???

sigh....i envy all veg*ns who face no resistance from others.


if you've read to this end, thanks, your support really means a lot.

xxx
 

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Ok so are you having a problem or are they? It seems like they are. It doesn't sound like if you're tired of being vegan. It sounds like you're tired of your parents having problems with you being vegan...Did that make any sense? When it comes to almost anything I never let anyone else from stopping me. If the only reason you're thinking of taking a break is because they're having trouble with it, that doesn't sound like a good reason to me. Not only that but I would never do anything based on my ability "to be accepted socially". I certainly don't see how you are hurting your parents.

Of course that's just my opinion. If you feel like you need a break then by all means, take one. I did break once for a wekk because of willpower (a long time ago) and I felt awful about it. I think it was something I needed to do though. It reinforced my veganism if anything... Have you explained all the nutrition factors to your parents (ie, protein you can get from beans and nut butters, etc)? Could it be that perhaps you are making a big deal about your food when you go out to eat with your family?

Sorry I'm not of much help, I'm just rambling. :p
 

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How long have you been veg? I only ask because I got a similar talking to from my family when I had been veg for about 6 months, then again when I had gone about a year... after that they accepted it. And even made a huge effort to accomodate me. The same goes for my friends. I am lucky in that all of my friends are super supportive (often more than I expect -- planning entire dinners around me, etc...), but that didn't happen until I had held my own for quite some time.

I've never lost a friendship or injured a relationship with family because of my diet. Yeah, it made them uncomfortable for a while at the start, but I did a lot of health-related research to calm them down and it worked.

I can't relate entirely, though. Vegetarianism isn't entirely uncommon here. I hope you can find a solution where you don't have to compromise your morals or your relationships, but I don't know what to tell you.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Would being a lacto-ovo be a good compromise? That way, you could have a small amount of eggs and/or dairy when dining out, but not eat meat.

Asking you to go vegan to fish eater is a jump. But, vegan to lacto-ovo isn't nearly as bad.

Also, I have to ask...are you eating properly? Are their feelings justified? A few teenagers have said many of the same things you expressed and, when we discussed what they eat, there was good cause for their parents' fears.

And there is nothing wrong with not being the perfect vegan. It isn't a competition, though many people act as though it is. It's about you. If it doesn't fit your life right now, then choose something that does. Simple as that. You don't need to justify at all.
 

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I agree with Kristadb that you might find it too much to go back to eating fish again, but that lacto-ovo might be easier.

I have eaten vegan at home for a while but I still get uncomfortable sometimes if I can't find anything to eat in a restaurant so sometimes I'll eat a dish with cheese/other dairy in if I can't find an alternative. I wish I didn't, but it's not the end of the world.

It's hard when you're at home with your parents. On the one hand I think that you should be able to make your own decisions. However, if life is truly going to be easier at the moment if you stick to being vegan at home, but are a little less picky when you're out, then it might be something to consider. As long as it's something you can live with, then you certainly shouldn't feel bad about it.
 

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ok, i would say that your parents are both right and wrong. But, that doesn't mean that they should persuade you against what you want to do.

people may excllude you--=that's their perrogative. Do you really want to be included by people who don't respect you enough to help you eat what you want to eat, for whatever reason?

The nutritional side is easy. Give them some information--there's plenty on the web.
 

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Nice mom to put you on such a guilt trip. Is everyones life in your family dictated by your mothers comfort level? Tell your mom she needs to give you a well informed argument that's not weighed down with an emotional guilt trip before you'll take her recommendations into consideration. I just think it's really rotten of her to tell you you're being a pain in the ass to everyone. I'm sure it's not true. I think closer to the truth is perhaps she's just inflexible, uninspired and frightened with change, or choice. My family and friends consider it an opportunity to be creative and hospitable when they decide to cook for me. If they can't accomodate me at a party they let me know before hand, so I can bring my own food... and I always bring enough to share.

Do you know how to cook? If not, it might be a good time to learn.
 

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I come from an ethnic family, It makes things doubly hard to not only overcome the veg*n barrier but explain it in a way that they understand...

Good Luck
They will come around eventually, it takes time and patience on all parts.

I will answer your points individually.

1. Your Mom fears embarrasment or being dishonered. She doesn't know how to navigate socially on this one. It seems to me that your mom is the type of person who is a bit of a "social climber" she is VERY concerned with how people percieve her and her family. She wants to appear as the PERFECT family, at least outwardly... You have disrupted her image of perfection.

2. I hate to be blunt... but... eating vegan mac and cheese and diet coke doesn't make you nutritionally sound. Have you lost a significant amount of weight in a short period of time? Are you making wise choices and including vegetables? Mom and dad have a right to be concerned then. Perhaps would it make your mom and dad happy if you were taking a supplement of some sort?

3. I checked your profile and you are young and I assume you are living under your parents roof. Since they pay for your well being you have to compromise a little.IMHO, you have complete control if you are paying your own rent, if you are 22 living on your own and paying your own bills and your mom and dad are still acting like this tell them to piss off! On to nicer things... If you have the luxury of getting an after school job, consider buying your own groceries and learning how to cook. Cooking was my best weapon, I showed my family how great veg*n food can be.

4. Suggestions for Compromise:

a. suggest that your family eat one vegan meal a week with you. Slowly increase this amount to two days a week, 3 days a week. Then make the motion to make yourself completly independant of your Mom's cooking.

b. When going out to dinner with guests. If this is at a restaurant, act like you are going to the washroom but instead flag down the waiter/waitress and ask if there are any veg*n options on the menu. This way your mom will not see you, just plop back down at your table and order what the waitstaff suggested! OR if you have the luxury of knowing where you will be going before hand, give the restaurant a ring and ask what vegan options they have available.

b 1/2 Dinner at a friends/relatives house: If the dinner is a passed dish just pass the meat without saying a word. or take the tiniest piece you can find cut it up in small bits and bury it under some rice, noodles or whatever is convenient. Help yourself to extra vegetables and salad. If your mom sees it on your plate she can't say a word.

Quote:
Originally posted by jacfong

a handful of you might have read that since coming home i have had a lot of disagreements with mum on my veg*nism. last night she managed to talk to me calmly and told me her concerns. one of them was about nutrition which is a common thing omnis don't understand about veg*nism, so that does not bother me.

however she also brought up other points:

1) socially, it is a hassle for others and in the long run they will exclude me from their activities apparently. you see, none of my friends or family members is veg*n and in our chinese custom, when we dine together, everyone shares the food on the table so if i am at the dinner ppl tend to consider my diet and always get some vegan food. ok this does not seem like a problem, but my mum says it is exasperating. eg: we attended a dinner together recently and it was not a family affair where we could order whatever we wanted; food was catered. and there was only one vegan dish. and my made me pick some veges from the non-vegan dishes, which i don't usually do, but i did cos i could see the expression on her face (not good).

2) mum and dad are very sad, cos they are worried about my getting enough nutrition and because they think that i should be more flexible to be more accepted socially. (veg*nism is not common here, and ppl who are, are usually thought of as inconvenient, weird etc. there is a bit of a stigma on them, i have learned) my bf is quite exasperated with my veg*nism as well.

my mum's not asking me to be a full fledged omni, but to eat fish, prawns etc occasionally (becos i used to eat fish but no other meat before i became vegan). she said i could be as vegan as i want at home, but to be 'flexible' when dining out with others. this is a very hard decision for me, because on one hand it is against my conscience (and i am freaked out by the idea) to eat something which i know has a brain and feelings. and just thinking about it is making me feel so guilty. on the other hand, it is also against my conscience to hurt my loved ones knowingly. and this is straining my ties with mum as well. who knows how long dad and my bf and everyone else will 'put up' with it. (yeah, well, i've told you that here it's just not accepted)

i am thinking maybe to make matters better, i could be vegan as much as i can except when i am greatly inconveniencing others? i don't know. i am lost, and quite torn btwn my emotions. i knw it sounds silly but i really need some feedback here from fellow veg*ns. has anyone here ever broken their veg*nism for a while? if so, why? was it hard? how did you deal with your conscience???

sigh....i envy all veg*ns who face no resistance from others.


if you've read to this end, thanks, your support really means a lot.

xxx
 

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I understand why you can't take a less drastic jump from vegan to vegetarian. Cheese and eggs are not common in traditional Chinese food...seafood and meat are. I'd say, stick it out for a while. How new is this "problem"? Your mother may be experiencing whats called the Spotlight Effect. (I just learned about this in social psychology class
) She may think that more people are always thinking about/looking at/judging her than they really are. I find it hard to believe that your whole family would be overly concerned if you didn't plop evey dish on your plate. Play off the girly 'eating like a bird' thing if there really isn't nuch you can eat. Then eat when you get home. Or, if there is a vegan option, eat a lot of it. If you give in now, think about how hard it will be to ever try to return to the vegan lifestyle that you prefer....they won't repect you.
 

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" she said i could be as vegan as i want at home, but to be 'flexible' when dining out with others,

--------------------------

This is so sad! I don't know why people can't just let people be. Why do some people want to control others .... I just don't see it as a big deal what people think (the socially acceptable thing). It sounds very selfish of everyone pressuring you when they give you things they want. Well what about you! You're the one who is doing this for your beliefs.

It's a real shame when people use petty "social acceptance" as a reason to make someone conform. As far as I'm concerned doing things against your beliefs just to smooth things over for people who don't understand or really care about your beliefs is wrong.

Of course I don't have a similar pressured situation.

Sorry I didn't see that you were young and living with them so it makes it even harder. Good luck :-(
 

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It IS a cultural thing... you are Chinese jacfong? There is (from my understanding) a great emphasis placed on social acceptance/family/not shaming the family. As monkeyandbunny said, it is doubly hard. Ultimately jacfong, you must do what you feel is right. If you feel you must compromise then who are we to comdemn you? None of us really know what it's like for you. I live out of home with a supportive fiance. I do not come from a cultural tradition of pleasing my family. I couldn't give a rat's arse what they think. I love them, but it's my life. So I can't relate, although I can sympathise. Good luck, and if you end up complying, please, if it makes you feel terrible, consider yourself. My worry is that if you hate yourself for what you're eating you'll stop eating again...
 

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I grew up in a household where my step-father demanded that everyone eat a little of everything. I was somewhat picky, like most children and it made mealtimes...stressful.

I am sorry that your food choices are not respected. However, if you can emotionally handle a compromise with your mother that is probably best for now, while you are still a minor, so I agree with shewolf. I would also study nutrition, so that your mother does not have to worry about your health on top of her other worries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I think everyone has a fear of changing. We want to be accepted and not to be seen as difficult or eccentric. Therefore,I am sure your parents are trying to be look out for your best interest.

BUT, I am SO sorry to hear that they will not support your desire to be unique. What I mean by unique is not by being vegan. I mean by your choice to be different for a conviction or belief. I always felt that people found my decision to be a way of rebelling or trying to stand out. But,Family and friends will always love you in spite of your lifestyle choices. However, I know what it is like to want harmony in the family and so I agree with the Lacto-ovo suggestion. To make you feel better: We can only do with what we have. You are brave for attempting to change a tradition and you are doing much more for the animals than those who eat meat. Every little bit helps so praise yourself for your kind heart!!

p.s Yes i have had mini-relapses in the past few months. I sometimes cheat on a piece of chocolate that I know has milk in it. Yes I always feel terrible!!
 

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The only time I've ever gone astray from veganism was in times of basically - eat this or starve. I've never flat out eaten meat, dairy, or eggs.. But there were a few times abroad when I just did not question that loaf of bread's ingredients. My slogan is that "a dead vegan doesn't help the cause." If you're about to starve to death - yes, eat something non vegan, revive yourself, and then go back to reducing suffering as best you can.

But there are no other cases in which I can justify acting non-vegan. In order to simply please someone else, I would never give up my vegan ways. It's sort of like... Okay, dad's in a bind with the IRS. But do you shoot the agent to help him out? No way. That's murder. You just don't do it.. Even if it will make dad feel better.

By becoming vegan, wasn't your goal to help enlighten the world to the cruelty of eating flesh? Teaching this lesson begins at home. Be firm with your parents and your extended family. Show them that this is something you're committed to. They will have to compromise, you don't.

And of course, be a healthy vegan. Meet all of your nutrition needs. This is the only way they'll come around and see that veganism can be a healthy, beneficial, and compassionate lifestyle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
jacfong,

Let's be honest. You are recovering from an eating disorder (as you mentioned in another thread) and you lost weight while away. Naturally, your parents are worried.

You need to eat well, to show them that it is healthy.

But, in the end, if it is too difficult for you, then choose a lifestyle that is easier. It isn't anyone's business here if you stop being a vegan or even a vegetarian and you should not feel guilty at all.
 

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Yes, by all means.. Do what is right for you. Don't be pressured by us to stay vegan. And don't be pressured by your family to give up veganism.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
yes, as krista said i used to have an ED, and have lost some weight while i was away (studying). therefore i don't fault my parents for being worried. but i have been eating well at home and i don't eat junk food but stuff like veges, tofu, nuts, fruits etc. but to my parents (and most other ppl) one NEEDS meat to survive or at least, have 'good health', and i am a little concerned that my parents think that being vegan means it will be difficult for me to be accepted socially. (yes, i am chinese, and veganism, as i've said, is very uncommon)

i have not yet decided wht i will do - stick to my believes or shift a little for others (which i know is hypocritical). it is good, though, to hear what everyone has to say, and krista, i guess you are right - that i have to do what i have to do, whatever it may be.
 

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it's interesting, but in our area, there is a *huge* vegan chinese community. They're predominently immigrant chinese families. There are more than a dozen all vegan chinese restaurants in philly (particularly china town) and it's environs. I visit one of them nearly every special occassion.

perhaps i was just silly in thinking it was uncommon, or i'm having an uncommon experience!


anyway, so you know that your parents have a reason for concern. have you mentioned that you understand their concerns and are doing your best to make sure that you are healthy? also, a very nice statement that goes a long way is this: "if at any point i become unhealthy, i'm certainly willing to not be vegetarian any more." Also, this coupled with as much nutritional information about healthy vegan diets is a great combination for helping parents and others deal with fears.

I will admit that being vegan does, occassionally, have it's social problems. But, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be vegan or vegetarian. You simply decline and be respectful.

Also, if it is emotionally important for you to *not* be vegetarian, that's ok too. I failed at vegetarianism 5 times due to familial and social pressures. That's ok too. You may eventualyl come back to it or not. But at least you've learned a lot about yourself.
 
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