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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The rest of my family is omni. And they love to go out to dinner for every occasion. And of course I am expected to come to the steak house, the Portuguese veal restaurant, etc.

When I cringe, they act like I'm such a hassle. Like I'm a bad child for not wanting to do this thing that will please grandma.

Does anyone have any advice/experience here? Am I selfish? I mean, I really don't want to look at a bunch of people demolish steaks. And I don't want to get stuck with a plain baked potato and some wilted lettuce for dinner.
 

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I don't think you're selfish. Watching people wolf down cow corpses is not exactly the most appetite enducing thing to do, particularly while you're trying to eat! On the other hand, you have to ask yourself if the physical reaction is worth the grief you'd get from it. I found that with a little practice, I could ignore the fact that other people around me are eating meat in very much the same way that many omnis ignore the fact that they're eating a creature that had a mind and an emotional life. I can't control what they do, so it didn't make sense for me to get upset about it. It bugs me when I think about it, but I can tune it out pretty well.

Don't worry about your family though. My grandma just found out last christmas that I'm veg, agnostic and would date a person of a different race from me if I liked him. That's a lot to pile on a person at one time. Yours' will be fine!
 

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Luckily for me my family is supportive of my choices and always check that a restaurant serves vegan before we go out. But because many restuarants don't I often have salad or create my own meal. I find that if you ask really nicely, you can often get a great meal made for you that's not on the menu. Last time my mum and I went out for dinner I combined 3 different salads. I just picked out the bits I liked and asked them to make it for me. It was the best salad I've ever had. If you're polite to the waiter, they're normally really helpful.

As for everyone around you eating meat... well I guess you just have to handle it. I was brought up in an omni household and my family are big meat eaters and I now live with my omni bf, so I guess I'm just used to it. Try to concerntrate on your good food, the conversation and the people around you, not their meals.
 

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I'd also call ahead to the restaurant and ask a bunch of questions -- talk to the manager, if you can -- about the ingredients. You'd be surprised at some restaurants that want to please you. If worse comes to worse, ask them to just prepare a plate with all the vegetables they have, steamed, stirfried, or whatever. I've gotten really gorgeously prepared plates of just vegetables that chefs have prepared. Some chefs like the challenge
Or even ask if they have canned beans and tell them to put some on a salad with tomatoes, onions, olives, etc., oil and vinegar brought to the table if they don't have a vegan dressing...

side of salsa, chutney, sauces, etc. to top a baked potato...

You can also eat before you go and just order something small. Maybe they have vegan soups available??? Call ahead to find out. Or order a small salad and have some bread with it.

Your response to your family can be, "Well, I'm not very hungry since I'm still a bit full, but I just want to spend time with you all" Now that will get them out of offensive mode!


I understand about others eating flesh before you. Thanksgiving gets tougher for me each year, since I have to sit there as they ritualistically carve the turkey
But do not look at their plates and keep a conversation going. It's best to try as best you can to keep it out of your mind. I know it's difficult. We do, though, have to live among omnis and cannot isolate ourselves; so it's best learn to deal with it.

Good luck
 

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I'm not in the same boat as you, but I'd just refuse to go out where I can't eat. I'm lucky 'cause my family typically eats out at Asian places.
 

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I know it's tough. My family is actually very veg. friendly so they are usually pretty thoughtful about these things...but I live in such a rural area that veg. restaurants are few and far between. I actually have a worse time with meals for work. We take students out for different occasions and there is this one restaurant in town that is everyone's favorite, except mine! They have nothing...I repeat nothing...vegetarian on their menu. The closest thing is a vegetable stir fry that comes with rice pilaf. But, the pilaf is made with chicken broth! They don't serve baked potatoes before 5:00 and we usually go for lunch. I counsel a student who works there and he tells me that just about everything there is made with chicken broth!
I have gotten the stir fry with a side of plain pasta and it's okay.

So, that is a challenge. I am usually able to find something to eat if I am creative and the staff are willing to work with me. It's not always the most exciting thing but it works. I try to focus on the time with friends and family and the conversation!
 

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my family is also veg friendly. But i agree with what's been posted here before. the idea of being able to overlook what other people are eating is a good one.

what i remind myself is that people are free to choose, and many times they are making the right decision for themselves. i have concluded that not everyone can be or needs to be vegetarian. a lot of people can be, and perhaps more people should be, but i don't believe that everyone must be or even can be. Therefore, i must learn to accept that some people will eat meat and some people must eat meat. And with that, i may befriend some of these people and desire to go out to dinner with them.

So, learning to accept other people, regardless of what they eat, as well as learning to accept or overlook what they are eating and not judging that either, is a good skill to learn.

When it comes to family, it can be tough. you feel even more violated by them if they don't "hear" your wishes--or if they brush you off. From friends, you can kinda understand it. Other than the bonds of friendship (which can be easily broken), there is very little that keeps friends together. if they harass you, you can easily leave the situation, find new friends. But family? not so simple.

So, it's hurtful when family either by act or omission really hurts you by not understanding what your needs are. You have to learn how to work with them and around them if you want to continue to participate in family activities.

I find that calling the restaurant ahead is a great idea. Let the manager or the chef or whomever know that your family is coming. Perhaps you should suggest that you make all the reservations for family meals from now on, so that you can effectively communicate to the staff what your needs are. It's tough to do through a family member, who doens't completely understand what your needs are, and may get it wrong.

when you call, let them know what your needs are and find out if the chef/cook can make something special for you. Most of the time, nicer restaurants are happy to come up with something.

This way, not only to you get to participate in family events, but you get to coordinate them as well--giving grandma what will make her happy, while also making sure that you'll be happy as well.

Does this make sense?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Makes sense! I actually made the reservation at the Portuguese veal restaurant.


I've learned to deal with watching others eat meat...

What's really annoying about eating out is when they're like, "well you can always get them to make you something." Yea, SOMETHING. But let me ask you, is a plain baked potato especially appetizing? Is plain pasta that I drizzle my own olive oil on appetizing? Maybe if I were starving.

I'm most annoyed by the fact that my dinner is going to taste like crap. I suppose that'll take some real mental motivation to get over though.
 

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Charity-

Are there any chain restaurants where you live that have veggie burgers? Although I agree that it is good to try not to be bothered by what they are eating, there is another issue. That of your family trying to choose a restaurant that everyone will enjoy. I would hope after watching you eat plain pasta enough times, they might want to go somewhere of your suggestion.

If your family knows there is nothing for you to eat at a restaurant, why are they inviting you? Are you able to suggest a restaurant that serves steaks, but might have some more veggie offerings (even if off the menu)? I think you need to do some research and offer them a compromise restauarant. There's no need to be confrontational, but they probably don't appreciate that there actually are restaurants with veggie food for you that they would also enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've done research. And I always suggest places where we can all eat. But they'll say "well I don't really like that place" or "the wait'll be too long." They don't want to compromise with me. Basically their thinking is, "well we all want to go here and we outnumber you, so. Deal with it."

And I don't know why they keep inviting me. I wish they wouldn't!

Anyway. Enough ranting.
 

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being outnumbered is kind of a valid point. it's one i often have to deal with. i hate feeling like i'm being a hassle. my friends and family are usually really cool about it, but i still feel bad and tend to let majority rule. i want to give veganism a good name by being casual, polite, quiet, yet firm about what i do, rather than being militant and alienating everyone from my lifestyle. i like to show them how easy it can be, in an attempt to possibly encourage them to try it, too.
 

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You are definately not alone on this one. If possible I try to see if the restaurant has a website so I can check out their menu. The worst is the "surprise" dinner out because it's usually Red Lobster or The Keg. Sometimes you just have to opt for the salad for dinner.
 

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It isn't a question of selfish or not. It's a question of compromise. They aren't anymore selfish then you. You both want your own way; you both want to go to a restaurant that you like. It's not more complicated then that.

Approach it like this.

"Thanks for inviting me. I appreicate it. What restaurant were you thinking of going to?"

<answers John's Steakhouse>

"I don't feel comfortable at John's, but <Alice's we try to please everyone's> is quite tasty. How about there?"

<makes snide comments, calls you names>

"I realize that it's inconvinent for you there, but there is nothing I will eat at John's. If it's easier, I won't go this time and maybe we can get together later this <insert time frame - week, month, century>? Maybe we can get together <insert time frame> and I'll cook for everyone."

<makes comments about you overreacting>

"*I* feel hurt that no one considers my feelings when choicing a restaurant. It hurts *me* a lot because *I* feel like my family doesn't care about me. *I* feel like less a member of the family."

<inserts comments about you taking things too seriously, huffs and puffs a lot.>

"I take my beliefs seriously, that's right. And I want to have the respect of my family. But if it's really important for everyone to go to John''s, then I wo'nt go this time and we'll do it later, ok? No hard feelings at all."

The conversation typically ends with more huffing and puffing and people complaining abotu you being a pain in the arse, but let you choose the restaurant OR they refuse to give in and you say...

"Aright then. I understand you wanting to go there instead of Alice's. Let's get together <insert time frame>."

If they go to your restaurant of choice, mention to everyone individually how much you appreicate it.

"Thanks, Uncle Frank for coming to Alice's house of Tofu. It means a lot that you care about my feelings and beliefs, even if they aren't the same as yours."

 

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kristadb, thats a good post. I was also wondering, what if Charity was the one doing the inviting some time, then she suggest something different, and they would be the ones turning down the invite, not you.
 

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When in doubt, saying *I feel* is ALWAYS better then *YOU make me feel*.

There is nothing illegal about Clarity wanting to go to restaurant xyz. Likewise, there is nothing illegal about her family wanting to go to ABC. So, everyone needs to direct the conversation away from the docture and concentrate on a place where everyone can feel welcome. Simple as that.

If you can't decide on a restaurant, then simply arrange another gathering with them when it's convinent.

Not everything is a conspiracy against veg*ans.
 

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Oh another point, calling ahead to a few steakhouse and family type restaurants is a good idea. Get a list of ones that can accomidate you (recording the name of the manager you spoke with), so that you can offer restaurants that will please everyone's palettes.
 
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