Things You Experience When You’re The ONLY Vegan In The Family!
So you’ve decided to go vegan. Excellent. The entire vegan community has your back and you’re doing enough research and learning as much as you can to maintain a vegan lifestyle. Accounts of veganism changing lives are aplenty. While some families might be very supportive of the switch, there could also be some who don't agree with you. These accounts mention the struggles many of us had to go through when we first made the switch, even more so in a complete non-vegan family.
Here are some of the most common things a vegan member could experience in a non-vegan family while making the switch intially!
1. You’re Not Being Taken Seriously!
When you first tell your parents/spouse/siblings you’re vegan, their reaction is to laugh it off as “a phase”. They’ll often forget you don’t add cow’s milk to your coffee and would scoff at your attempts to shuffle the products you stock at home. To be fair, the concept of veganism is unfathomable to most non-vegans or even vegetarians. Non-vegan parents are used to providing nourishment to you with non-vegan food. Suddenly altering your entire lifestyle does not register well with them. If it’s a big change for you, imagine how big a change it’ll be for them?
How to tackle this: Educate them on veganism and tell them why you’ve made this decision and why it is so important to you. Keep reinforcing this frequently.
2. They Are Not So Accommodative!
When you’re the only vegan in a family, the rest of the family has a tendency to overlook your diet. According to them, the group outweighs the individual. A lot of them don’t take your diet seriously and it takes quite a while to ease them into the lifestyle. You’ll have to be determined to convince them about your decision!
How to tackle this: The adjustment period is crucial. Cook your own food and keep stocking up on your vegan supplies so that you don’t have to compromise on the variety of food you eat. Introduce your family to vegan food. If they know how tasty vegan food can be, they’ll be more enthusiastic in welcoming it on their tables.
3. You’ll Feel A Sort Of Discomfort!
It is very common to start feeling discomfort in eating food at a table where meat is being served and eaten, if you’re vegan, especially if you’re an ethical vegan. In turn, this makes the rest of the family uncomfortable and dinner can become a messy affair.
How to tackle this: Unfortunately, unless your whole family turns vegan, this is something that’s going to be common. Do not go to war with your family because of this! Understand that you once were on the other side of the fence too and that they’re not as motivated as you are about compassionate living. Educate them on the hazards of consuming meat, if the ethical argument does not win. Slow and steady is the only way to go.
4. The “But What About Your Protein Intake” Argument!
Ugh. Aren’t we all tired of hearing this by now? It’s even more frustrating when it comes from your family. Most family members, especially our moms have been well-fed with the idea that the only source of protein is cow’s milk, eggs and meat. It’s almost exhausting to break this myth!
How to tackle this: Instead of getting riled up over this, think of it as an opportunity to introduce your family to non-meat and non-dairy sources of protein and explain the protein derivatives that one can gain from a balanced vegan diet. Show them account of vegan athletes who train on vegan protein diets. Educate.
5. Everyone Being Stubborn!
In spite of repeated attempts, there’ll always be those in the family who would simply refuse to hear you out as the idea of confronting their lifestyle is simply too daunting for them. If they’re older members in the family, this stubborn attitude towards veganism comes more naturally. They’re used to living a certain way all their life and facing some harsh realities might be too much to bear for their sensitivities. Hence, they might be dismissive of your choices and stubborn about their stand on their lifestyle.
How to tackle this: While this can be very frustrating, you need to understand that you will gain nothing by hitting the wall repeatedly. Become equally stubborn about your vegan choices, but also, always keep the communication open.
Lastly, you made this choice because your horizons are widened, you understand right from wrong. There are many supportive familes and parents too. For those who don't get it the first time, remeber most people live life according to what they’ve seen and learnt. So give everyone some time to adjust. Ignore certain things, be loving, lead by example not by arguments and slowly everyone will understand why you made this choice!
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