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I'm a vegetarian, however, I don't keep or use any animal-products in my home, because, well, they suck. I aspire to veganism but I'm quite shy, slightly anxious and awkward so I have enough trouble with requesting meat-free meals when I eat at other people's homes. I also struggle with standing up for myself and the animals when my choice to not eat meat is questioned. As a result, I end up eating non-flesh animal products when I eat with others >.<<br><br>
I really want/need to stop making excuses for myself and become a vegan but the idea of having to defend and maintain this lifestyle around others terrifies me. <b>If you are a shy and awkward vegan, what strategies do you use?</b>
 

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Hmmm... Here goes. I'm not particularly shy but I am often socially awkward!<br><br>
I have basically two answers I give people when they ask why I won't eat pizza with cheese, an omelet, etc. The first one is very short: the milk and egg industries do not treat their animals well at all.<br><br>
If someone asks me to explain further, only then do I give them the details about how most male dairy cattle and egg-laying breeds of chickens are killed at a very early age; how many (if not most) laying hens live in miserable, crowded conditions; how hens and cows are seen as milk or egg producing machines to be discarded when they no longer produce...
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tom</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3064274"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Hmmm... Here goes. I'm not particularly shy but I am often socially awkward!<br><br>
I have basically two answers I give people when they ask why I won't eat pizza with cheese, an omelet, etc. The first one is very short: the milk and egg industries do not treat their animals well at all.<br><br>
If someone asks me to explain further, only then do I give them the details about how most male dairy cattle and egg-laying breeds of chickens are killed at a very early age; how many (if not most) laying hens live in miserable, crowded conditions; how hens and cows are seen as milk or egg producing machines to be discarded when they no longer produce...</div>
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this is a very good answer.<br>
i also just explain that i don't like the way the animals are treated or kept, or that i don't believe animals should be used and mistreated for our own gain. i was very awkward too at first, and can be very shy but i've grown to be more confident in myself and my choices. it does get easier. it helps to plan ahead to not end up in those situations. eat before or bring your own yummy vegan dish to share. have a good answer to why you are vegan and just tell people how you feel. when you say shy do you mean you are afraid of being judged? don't want to be a burden? or something else.
 

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I strip naked. After that, they just fall silent and turn their eyes away with a disturbed and extremely uncomfortable look on their faces, and then I can sit calmly at the dinner table and no one asks me any questions again. Or sometimes, one of them might raise their head slightly and start opening their mouth, but then I just stand up and start doing exercises, and they look away again and continue the silence.
 

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At work and in certain social situations I simply don't volunteer the information. It's incredible how very long you can go without even being noticed different if certain things pan out. I've been at my current job for well over a year and only one person has figured out I actively avoid meat. How do I do this? Well, a magician never reveals his secrets, but the biggest trick is to avoid the conversation initially, and if the topic comes up to gently guide the conversation flow around it. This is somewhat of an art form and it's possible it's easier for some than others. I've been told I could sell Eskimos refrigerators when I'm on top of my game, which is a nice way of saying I'll full of crap, so it comes somewhat naturally on my end.
 

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Well I don't think it's really fair to expect people to always be able to meet your dietary needs. Just make it clear that you're vegan and what you do/don't eat. Depending on the relationship, they may be more than willing to have something available for you...but I always tell people that I don't expect them to prepare anything for me because I don't want to be a burden. Often times for large gatherings I will just eat b4 I go instead of trying to request something that would be inconvenient for every1 else there, although there's usually fruits/veggies.
 

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You could say you're intolerant to dairy and eggs.<br><br><br>
They don't need to know you're intolerant to practices behind it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Josh James xVx</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3064310"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Well, a magician never reveals his secrets, but the biggest trick is to avoid the conversation initially, and if the topic comes up to gently guide the conversation flow around it.</div>
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So you purposefully avoid telling people about it? why? I never go out of my way to tell people, but if I'm asked I'll be honest.<br><br>
I'm a very self conscious person, op, but I don't have any problem explaining why I'm a vegan if need be (although I usually just say I do it for ethical reasons and when asked to elaborate say I'm opposed to animal abuse; people usually stop there).<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3064304"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I strip naked. After that, they just fall silent and turn their eyes away with a disturbed and extremely uncomfortable look on their faces, and then I can sit calmly at the dinner table and no one asks me any questions again. Or sometimes, one of them might raise their head slightly and start opening their mouth, but then I just stand up and start doing exercises, and they look away again and continue the silence.</div>
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Another good option.
 

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Apart from the stripping naked thing, which is a good idea, you could phone the host beforehand and discuss the fact that you are veg*n, perhaps offer to bring something as not to cause them any inconvenience etc.
 

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I'm not shy by any means, bt I'm quite the opposite- I enjoy talking up the good aspects of the way I eat. I NEVER expect my host to accomodate me, including my own family or grown children. I take my own food with me. I understand that may not be feasible 100%of the time, but what if you had life threatening allergies to specific foods? you'd probably decline or take your own food then to prevent cross contamination or risk being served something you can't eat. Look at it that way. Speak your mind pleasantly, assertively if you need to, and make decisions based on what you're comfortable with and/or your relationship with the people you are to eat with.<br><br>
Depending on how you discuss your eating habits, could open up a lot of opportunities to discuss the health aspects, the animal's treatments, etc, although wouldn't necessarily jump right into that....all depends.
 

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Let people know beforehand. If you are invited to dinner, tell them you are vegan, or eating vegan and offer to bring something. If they offer to accommodate you, have some simple recipes online picked out, that you can point them to. If you are going out, suggest restaurants where you know you can get vegan food.
 

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I never expect people to make something for me. Even if they mean well they may not understand exactly what being vegan means (some people just don't get it even if clearly explained several times). I bring something for myself to eat. If it makes sense I bring enough for everyone. If it is a casual but catered event (like a family reunion bbq) I just bring enough for myself. At an event like a wedding, I will inform the caterer of my needs but this doesn't always work, so I try to eat before hand and also a have a snack in my purse so I won't starve.
 

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I am pretty shy and hate putting people out. But it means more to me to create an awkward social situation than to eat animal products.<br>
I also make sure that I eat before any event, just in case my efforts to secure a vegan meal have failed at the last minute, and always bring snacks.<br>
I had a bunch of trouble in the beginning, and I did get slack from friends relatives at first. but it was really all in my head. Its been about 6 months and they don't really care anymore.
 

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Being a burden for your host is one think, make your host happy to invite you for who you are is not a bad idea neither.<br><br>
What's more you cannot expect your views to prevail or spread if you don't share them and make them clear.<br><br>
It's time for vegans and vegetarians to adapt the world to their ideals.<br><br>
And you never know what can come out of your actions, by speaking about it with your host or inviting him to make vegan food ( you can bring ingredients, cook with him, give him recipes etc ) he can become interested in it.
 

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I was this way when I was transitioning into vegetarianism. This was the main reason why I waited several months before calling myself vegetarian because I really didn't know if I would be able to decline something at someone's house or something. I can be very shy and socially awkward but it has gotten better since going vegan since I have to speak up sometimes. What I started with people I felt the most comfortable with or that were the most open to vegetarianism and when we were getting together for lunch or dinner I'd let them know ahead of time that I'm going vegetarian so I wouldn't be eating meat and if they would prefer I could bring something also to share that would be veg that I could eat too. Once I felt comfortable doing that I started doing it more with people who were going to be harder for me to speak up to. Eventually I felt comfortable enough to know that I could do it in any social situation. I have also learned that bringing it up while we're eating can make it awkward so I try to avoid it at the table and answer questions and talk about it after eating or before eating or when I let people know that I'm vegan. In my experience people might get upset and defensive if they ask a question and you tell them that the food they are eating was treated cruelly. Whereas away from the table I've found people more willing to truly listen and think about what you are saying.<br><br>
Going vegan was easier, at first I struggled a little bit with telling people that I wouldn't be eating eggs or dairy but people were pretty understanding as soon as I would tell them a bit about the industries since they already knew I stopped eating meat because of the animals.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>invertedforest</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3064315"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I don't mind being judged regarding veg*nism, I just don't want to be a burden to my host.</div>
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Ah. Neither do I!<br><br>
Actually, this is a sticky situation for me: I don't mind bringing my own food, but I'm not a very good cook yet- and I don't want to give people the idea that going vegan means you can only eat wierd or unappetizing food. I make some things I like to eat: chili; rice cooked with a number of possible seasonings and vegetables; home-made bread... but I guess my friends and family just aren't that adventurous. I mean, come on- chili, rice, and bread are mainstream foods, eaten by omnivores everywhere!<br><br>
I'm not on a salt-restricted diet, but I make my bread without salt because I eat so much bread and TOO much salt makes me thirsty all the time. It smells great though... someone could sprinkle just a little salt on it along with margarine if they wanted to.
 

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I can relate to your dilemma, invertedforest! It took me a long time to claim the vegan label in public because I feared the attention and the questions I expected would come with it. But there are definitely ways to minimize awkwardness when you need to politely decline food! Usually if I'm around good friends or family (people who already know I'm vegan) and decline an item, they will let it go pretty quickly even if they do ask a few curious follow-up questions first. Handling that really isn't too bad if you're prepared with a few simple replies (love animals, concern for the environment, having more energy eating a plant-based diet).<br><br>
However, sometimes when I'm around strangers and just don't feel like getting into the whole ethics and reasoning of veganism during some random cocktail hour/office party/whatever, I've found that smiling a lot and staying positive and engaged goes a long way towards easing awkwardness. For example:<br><br>
Omni Host: "Please try some of these cookies I just made!"<br>
Vegan Guest: "Oh, thank you so much, but I'm fine!"<br>
OH: "Are you sure? They're really good/low calorie/low carb/made with organic butter!"<br>
VG: "I'm sure they are delicious, but really I'm all set, thank you so much though! (here I will throw in a compliment and possibly try to redirect the conversation) You're such a generous hostess/I loved the fruit platter/ this party is so great/so I have been meaning to ask you about...!"<br><br>
In my experience, as long as you make it clear that you're having a good time, the host will be satisfied and move on to offer their treats to someone else. Of course, if you have time and energy to plan ahead, bringing a dish can also be a great option, but that obviously depends on how comfortable you feel with that! Good luck on building your confidence with dealing with these situations!
 

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If I suspect that something I'm offered may not be vegan, I have no problem declining. If I know it's not vegan, I say "No thank you. I'm vegan."
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Freesia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3064444"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Apart from the stripping naked thing, which is a good idea, you could phone the host beforehand and discuss the fact that you are veg*n, perhaps offer to bring something as not to cause them any inconvenience etc.</div>
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That's what I do. Phone ahead I mean.<br><br>
I have a food allergy too. If there's any sesame in the food I really shouldn't eat it since it'll make me throw up, kinda violently.<br><br>
So, I usually just tell anyone who doesn't already know saying that it's much more fun for both of us if I tell you now than too late, offering to help with ideas or by bringing some dish to the party.<br><br>
At work it's a bit of a problem. Every once in a great while we go out together to some nice place. My boss knows I'm vegetarian but hasn't really understood that I'm vegan. I try to call the restaurant myself. As soon as you talk to a professional about food it's easy.<br><br>
A good example was about two years ago, we had this little conference at work at a fancier place that was going to make us lunch and provide snacks throughout the day. I called ahead, the chef was glad that I did. Myh boss had called,told him I was vegetarian, he was gonna make some fried vegetables but was planning to fry them in butter. He knew very well what the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan was, his step-son was vegetarian, He had given the whole topic a lot of thought (not reaching the same conclusions I have but still) and ended the conversation with "Well, we'll fry it in olive oil for you then, and I'll have to give the deserts another thought". Turned out I got the best food that day, thy prepared mine separately, cooking everything for just one person.
 

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Ugh i swear people just try and piss me off!<br>
I'm not socially awkward, but I am pretty shy.<br>
I actually REFUSED to even order my food as an omni and sometimes I get my family or friend that I am out to eat with to ask if it has any animal products because I'm too shy lol. My mom just does it automatically now if we are out to eat :] lol<br><br>
Anyway, I usually get asked<br>
-ew why are you vegan<br>
me: because I care about animals<br>
-WELL YA KNOW IF WE DIDNT EAT THEM THEY WOULD OVERPOPULATE<br><br><br>
I usually ignore them.<br>
I'm not really a people person and I used to be up for the debate, but now it's just old.<br>
They never listen or agree with me in the end anyway.
 
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