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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I am now completing Day 5 of my vegan trial run. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> So far it's been pretty awesome, with the exception of one disappointing cooking experience. But lessons were learned, so I suppose it was worth it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Here are my feelings right now. This is something I'll probably want to permanently dedicate myself to, even though I'm calling this a trial period. However, it's not a great time to become vegan when (1) the holiday season is fast approaching, (2) I am the only veg*n in my large, extended family, and (3) Thanksgiving is not going to be at my parents' house this year, (4) I'm not ready to announce a decision, and (5) I know my dad is going to be furious as soon as I tell him.<br><br>
At first I thought that if I decide to take on veganism long-term in the next couple of weeks, I could make a couple of early exceptions for Thanksgiving and Christmas in order to reduce my stress level and give myself plenty of time before I have to tell my family.<br><br>
But here's the thing -- let's say I had the unethical habit of beating up random people on the street. If I realized today that I don't want to do that anymore because it is wrong, then it would be unethical to say to myself, "Well, I know it's wrong, but I'll give myself another few weeks to beat people up before I stop entirely." Once I decide that something is unethical, it would be against my ethics to do it again.<br><br>
But...you don't know my family. Not only are they omnivorous, but many of them are very conservative in general. So if I brought a vegan entree to my uncle and aunt's house, it might be considered rude because they are the ones hosting. My family is really big on tradition and old-fashioned notions of respect. And yes, I could bring a side dish or a dessert, but that would be all i'd be able to eat because of course there's a very good chance that there will be cheese, milk, egg, or butter in everything else. Holidays were so much easier when I was merely a vegetarian. Teasing I can deal with. Not being able to eat much of anything (which both leaves me hungry and makes me rude, apparently)...not so much.<br><br>
I am so torn. A large part of me wants to take the easy way out and simply start my permanent vegan lifestyle after the holidays. But once I decide to be vegan at all, it would feel very unethical to compromise, even just twice.<br><br>
Also, my mom's birthday is this Friday. How do I take part in birthday festivities and keep the peace with my dad? I'm nowhere near ready to tell him. Unless Mom already has. I have no idea. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("> This is supposed to be a joyful experience for me, and when I'm by myself or with my very supportive bf, it is. But with other family...argh. I am so confused and nervous and beginning to feel stressed out.
 

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I will start off with saying that I am so thankful that I was already a full-grown adult (and then some <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">) when I started the vegetarian/vegan journey. I didn't have to answer to anyone but myself.<br><br>
So, a few questions:<br><br>
1. I'm assuming you live with your parents...if you do I can see where this situation would be difficult. If you do not, it shouldn't be an issue.<br><br>
2. Do you have your own spending money? Do you/can you cook? You should make something awesome, more than just a side dish (something with protein/veggies) and a dessert and bring it to your aunt and uncle's house.<br><br>
Without knowing you or your background, it's easy for me to say just do it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I get that it's going to be hard, but you have to decide for yourself which way you want to go. If you really want to stick with veganism, at some point this dilemma is going to rear it's ugly head and will need to be dealt with.<br><br>
Parents are a funny breed...if we think our children are making a poor decision that is going to (what we believe) negatively affect them, we freak out. So you have to be prepared to sell the idea of going vegan and make them trust that you know what you are doing. Hopefully, you are not afraid of the "L" word...let them know you love and respect them and how much you enjoy the holidays and family time...they need to know this isn't going to change just because your eating habits have.<br><br>
Bottom line, what is going to make you feel worse, compromising on your ethical standards or disappointing your family and possibly causing some tension during a time that is supposed to be happy and enjoyable? Good luck! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>karenlovessnow</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032364"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I will start off with saying that I am so thankful that I was already a full-grown adult (and then some <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">) when I started the vegetarian/vegan journey. I didn't have to answer to anyone but myself.<br><br>
So, a few questions:<br><br>
1. I'm assuming you live with your parents...if you do I can see where this situation would be difficult. If you do not, it shouldn't be an issue.<br><br>
2. Do you have your own spending money? Do you/can you cook? You should make something awesome, more than just a side dish (something with protein/veggies) and a dessert and bring it to your aunt and uncle's house.<br><br>
Without knowing you or your background, it's easy for me to say just do it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I get that it's going to be hard, but you have to decide for yourself which way you want to go. If you really want to stick with veganism, at some point this dilemma is going to rear it's ugly head and will need to be dealt with.<br><br>
Parents are a funny breed...if we think our children are making a poor decision that is going to (what we believe) negatively affect them, we freak out. So you have to be prepared to sell the idea of going vegan and make them trust that you know what you are doing. Hopefully, you are not afraid of the "L" word...let them know you love and respect them and how much you enjoy the holidays and family time...they need to know this isn't going to change just because your eating habits have.<br><br>
Bottom line, what is going to make you feel worse, compromising on your ethical standards or disappointing your family and possibly causing some tension during a time that is supposed to be happy and enjoyable? Good luck! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"></div>
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Thank you for your thoughts -- you're right, I think that I do need to approach the situation with a positive attitude. The thing is that I am a full-grown adult, too -- I'm 24, I have a job, I have my own apartment, and I'm working on a Masters degree. What's so frustrating is that my dad <i>still</i> has a hard time admitting that I need to make my own [informed] decisions. He has a history of worrying obsessively about my health, and he is of the old school in the sense that he thinks animal products are a necessary part of one's diet. You see, several years back (although I was an adult by this time), I was trying out veganism but did it in such a way that it irritated my IBS -- too much whole grain and other sources of insoluble fiber in each meal. It obviously made me feel ill, and the worse I felt, the more I thought about it, which doubled my physical discomfort. I felt so sick all the time that I had a hard time eating, and my weight plummeted from 104 to 88 lbs. I'm 5'4" and I've always been underweight anyways, no matter how much I eat. So 88 lbs was dangerous and scary. I agreed to go back to a regular omnivorous diet to help me get my weight back, and it worked.<br><br>
A few years went by. Then last November, when Dad found out I had gone back to vegetarianism, he was so upset that he yelled and swore and stomped out of the house. Even though this severe reaction was obviously because of concern stemming from my last experience with veg*nism and I totally understood that, it was still upsetting to me.<br><br>
I guess it's possible that I might be happily surprised by his reaction to the news. After all, I was still living at home last November, and now that I live by myself, I can make my own decision withouts parental interference. And it should be pretty clear to my dad that I have thrived as a vegetarian because, the second time around, I learned so much more about nutrition <i>and</i> how to strike a good balance and thus not upset my GI tract. But I'm honestly anticipating an argument. Maybe if he can agree to sit down and openly listen to my explanation of vegan nutrition and how it's easier than it seems to get plenty of good calories in my diet, it's possible that he'll come to understand. But I honestly don't think it'll be this easy. My dad is very intelligent, but he's also a worrier who is very set in his ways and still has a hard time letting go, despite my age and independence.
 

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Whoa, 88 pounds... no wonder your dad is freaking out. He's equating your vegetarianism with an eating disorder, a dangerous one at that. Don't take his upsetness as anything else than caring deeply about you and your health. He is worried. Make darn sure you eat enough calories. I'd even go as far as recommend seeing a nutritionist to go over your diet and make suggestions.<br><br>
The only way he will change is by being educated that one can in fact live a healthy life by eating veg*n <i>and</i> by you showing (by keeping your weight in a healthy range) while you eat this way.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>SadieP</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032453"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Thank you for your thoughts -- you're right, I think that I do need to approach the situation with a positive attitude. The thing is that I am a full-grown adult, too -- I'm 24, I have a job, I have my own apartment, and I'm working on a Masters degree. <b>What's so frustrating is that my dad <i>still</i> has a hard time admitting that I need to make my own [informed] decisions. He has a history of worrying obsessively about my health, and he is of the old school in the sense that he thinks animal products are a necessary part of one's diet. You see, several years back (although I was an adult by this time), I was trying out veganism but did it in such a way that it irritated my IBS -- too much whole grain and other sources of insoluble fiber in each meal. It obviously made me feel ill, and the worse I felt, the more I thought about it, which doubled my physical discomfort. I felt so sick all the time that I had a hard time eating, and my weight plummeted from 104 to 88 lbs. I'm 5'4" and I've always been underweight anyways, no matter how much I eat. So 88 lbs was dangerous and scary.</b> I agreed to go back to a regular omnivorous diet to help me get my weight back, and it worked.<br><br>
A few years went by. Then last November, when Dad found out I had gone back to vegetarianism, he was so upset that he yelled and swore and stomped out of the house. Even though this severe reaction was obviously because of concern stemming from my last experience with veg*nism and I totally understood that, it was still upsetting to me.<br><br>
I guess it's possible that I might be happily surprised by his reaction to the news. After all, I was still living at home last November, and now that I live by myself, I can make my own decision withouts parental interference. And it should be pretty clear to my dad that I have thrived as a vegetarian because, the second time around, I learned so much more about nutrition <i>and</i> how to strike a good balance and thus not upset my GI tract. But I'm honestly anticipating an argument. Maybe if he can agree to sit down and openly listen to my explanation of vegan nutrition and how it's easier than it seems to get plenty of good calories in my diet, it's possible that he'll come to understand. But I honestly don't think it'll be this easy. My dad is very intelligent, but he's also a worrier who is very set in his ways and still has a hard time letting go, despite my age and independence.</div>
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It sounds like your dad cares about you very much, if he's that worried about it. You might tell him you're eating a lot of beans (black, kidney, pinto, etc) for proteins. You also might want to get tested for allergies--do an elimination test with your DR. You might have a gluten or wheat intolerance, that should be checked out. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Forster and Purp, you guys are right on -- I totally understand where he's coming from. The good news is that I am indeed hypervigilant when it comes to caloric intake, and I ordered vegan multivitamins to help me meet all of my nutrition needs -- they should be here tomorrow. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> As soon as he understands that I know how to do veganism well, I think he'll be okay with it. It's just a matter of getting to that point.<br><br>
@Purp: Yeah, the docs conducted every test in the book. They ruled out all of the more serious conditions (celiac, Crohn's, grain intolerances, etc.) and officially diagnosed me with IBS. Thank goodness it wasn't more serious, but it was kinda one of those things that made me think, "Seriously?! I feel this ill and it's only IBS?!" The good news is that I don't have to place further restrictions on myself beyond ethical ones. I just have to strike a good balance when it comes to fiber and complex sugars. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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He loves you very much and cares about you very much. Because of this, as you said, he will be angry/mad/upset/etc if you tell him.<br><br>
Of course he will be. But he'll eventually get over it; he has to. It's what you want to do, and you know how to do it in a healthy manner. And you're 24. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:"><br><br>
An example from my life:<br>
My family is religion A. My wife's family is religion B (<span style="text-decoration:underline;">not even close</span> to religion A). When wife, then fiance, told her father she wanted to marry me (he had never met me--religion B folk don't go on typical dates), he flipped. And I mean <span style="text-decoration:underline;">flipped</span> (e.g., threatened to kick her out of the house, kick her out of the family, never talk to her again, blamed her mother, said she was going to break the family up, blah blah blah). He turned into some crazy guy. But, she was adamant about marrying me. It took him a while, but once he met me, found out that I was a good guy, had a job, would treat her right, et cetera, he was OK with it. He loves me now. Heck, her family makes an extra set of authentic, ethnic meals without meat just for me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:"><br><br>
Not saying that your father will eventually embrace veganism, but when he finds out that you're healthy (and stay healthy) on a vegan diet, he'll eventually come to terms with it. You have to live your life as you want.<br><br>
My $0.02.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>TailFin</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032561"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
He loves you very much and cares about you very much. Because of this, as you said, he will be angry/mad/upset/etc if you tell him.<br><br>
Of course he will be. But he'll eventually get over it; he has to. It's what you want to do, and you know how to do it in a healthy manner. And you're 24. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:"><br><br>
An example from my life:<br>
My family is religion A. My wife's family is religion B (<span style="text-decoration:underline;">not even close</span> to religion A). When wife, then fiance, told her father she wanted to marry me (he had never met me--religion B folk don't go on typical dates), he flipped. And I mean <span style="text-decoration:underline;">flipped</span> (e.g., threatened to kick her out of the house, kick her out of the family, never talk to her again, blamed her mother, said she was going to break the family up, blah blah blah). He turned into some crazy guy. But, she was adamant about marrying me. It took him a while, but once he met me, found out that I was a good guy, had a job, would treat her right, et cetera, he was OK with it. He loves me now. Heck, her family makes an extra set of authentic, ethnic meals without meat just for me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:"><br><br>
Not saying that your father will eventually embrace veganism, but when he finds out that you're healthy (and stay healthy) on a vegan diet, he'll eventually come to terms with it. You have to live your life as you want.<br><br>
My $0.02.</div>
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I absolutely agree with this. While it isn't the case for all families, many families that react poorly at first will get better with time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>TailFin</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032561"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
He loves you very much and cares about you very much. Because of this, as you said, he will be angry/mad/upset/etc if you tell him.<br><br>
Of course he will be. But he'll eventually get over it; he has to. It's what you want to do, and you know how to do it in a healthy manner. And you're 24. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":up:"><br><br>
An example from my life:<br>
My family is religion A. My wife's family is religion B (<span style="text-decoration:underline;">not even close</span> to religion A). When wife, then fiance, told her father she wanted to marry me (he had never met me--religion B folk don't go on typical dates), he flipped. And I mean <span style="text-decoration:underline;">flipped</span> (e.g., threatened to kick her out of the house, kick her out of the family, never talk to her again, blamed her mother, said she was going to break the family up, blah blah blah). He turned into some crazy guy. But, she was adamant about marrying me. It took him a while, but once he met me, found out that I was a good guy, had a job, would treat her right, et cetera, he was OK with it. He loves me now. Heck, her family makes an extra set of authentic, ethnic meals without meat just for me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rockon.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rockon:"><br><br>
Not saying that your father will eventually embrace veganism, but when he finds out that you're healthy (and stay healthy) on a vegan diet, he'll eventually come to terms with it. You have to live your life as you want.<br><br>
My $0.02.</div>
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Oh my! Wow, I am so glad that everything worked out for you all. Some people have a really hard time deviating from tradition, and it's nice to see them finally come around. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Thank you for your thoughts, Tailfin -- hopefully my dad will come around too.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>dormouse</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032605"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I absolutely agree with this. While it isn't the case for all families, many families that react poorly at first will get better with time.</div>
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Yeah, the only obstacle in my immediate family will be my dad -- Mom's a little unsure, but because we talk all the time, she completely understands how passionate I am about respecting non-human animals. With Dad it's trickier because he has a long-distance job and works a lot -- we don't have as much time to talk as Mom and I do.<br><br>
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If the holiday season were still a ways away, I would have plenty of time to show Dad that I'm completely healthy and taking in enough calories while eating a plant-based diet, and it would make Thanksgiving so much easier to have all of my immediately family supporting me. But Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away. As most of us know, it's hard enough to be the lone veg*n in a large omni family, especially over the holidays. And when your closest family members oppose your lifestyle outright, that makes everything that much more stressful. I'm just not ready to tell my dad -- he eventually accepted my ovo-lacto vegetarianism and even began to support it, to an extent. But this will be so much harder.<br><br>
And like I said, Mom's b-day is this Friday, so I have even less time. Avoiding meals with them would give me more time -- at least till Thanksgiving, probably -- but that would be so rude. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.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>SadieP</strong> <a href="/forum/post/3032634"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Oh my! Wow, I am so glad that everything worked out for you all. Some people have a really hard time deviating from tradition, and it's nice to see them finally come around. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Thank you for your thoughts, Tailfin -- hopefully my dad will come around too.<br><br>
<snip><br><br>
If the holiday season were still a ways away, I would have plenty of time to show Dad that I'm completely healthy and taking in enough calories while eating a plant-based diet, and it would make Thanksgiving so much easier to have all of my immediately family supporting me. But Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away. As most of us know, it's hard enough to be the lone veg*n in a large omni family, especially over the holidays. And when your closest family members oppose your lifestyle outright, that makes everything that much more stressful. I'm just not ready to tell my dad -- he eventually accepted my ovo-lacto vegetarianism and even began to support it, to an extent. But this will be so much harder.<br><br>
And like I said, Mom's b-day is this Friday, so I have even less time. Avoiding meals with them would give me more time -- at least till Thanksgiving, probably -- but that would be so rude. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/sad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":("></div>
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Thanks SadieP!<br><br>
In my opinion, you are making the right decision to wait to tell him--as long as you tell him soon after the holidays. Timing can be everything. In my case, my wife waited for the "right" time to tell her father about me.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and well-wishes. I actually have a hopeful update for you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Talked to Mom about my concerns last night, and she thinks Dad might not take it as hard as I've been fearing. As long as I can reassure him about all the things I'm doing to ensure a good calorie count and a balanced diet, it should be alright. Yay for supportive moms! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I'm glad that talking to her about all of this helped. I hope your Thanksgiving with your family goes wonderfully!
 

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Glad to hear it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Bless your heart, I know this must be tough. Don't really have anything to add to the great advice you've been given, but offering my support along with the rest.Good luck! Keep us updated.
 
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