21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: January 2012 Kickstart Forum: Family making it difficult...
Created on: 01/03/12 10:38 PM Views: 3395 Replies: 23
Family making it difficult...
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I was really pumped to do the Kickstart as I have been vegetarian for a couple of years and try to be vegan when I have the choice... I live with my parents and they are AWESOME people, but they have a major prejudice against veganism. I guess it's too "foreign" to them, no matter how much I share my cooking and what I learn and enjoy. It's always "that weird vegan stuff".

I want to do the kickstart... And in my own meals and my own cooking, it's all vegan (often is already, anyways). But when they cook, or they make a dessert to share, they CANNOT understand why I would graciously say "no thank you" but still have tea with them. My mother gets so hurt when I won't have a cake she baked, or dad will be hurt when I ask to cook alongside him so that I can make the "same" recipe as they are eating but with some "tweaks" for my own plate. I feel like I am being extremely diplomatic about the whole thing, not being rude in any way, but they are still rolling their eyes at "that vegan stuff".

Any advice? I feel like their constant misunderstanding and disapproval is going to be the death of my good efforts Sad

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 11:02 PM

I hear you...when I go back home, my parents don't feel comfortable, or I should say, they worry about me not getting enough just eating "vegan"...I try not to "fight" with them...sometimes, I even give up, and eat a little...just a little, I mean, a bit or two...

I know, someone will have different approach, or stick with the "vegan" way...but, I don't want my parents to get worried or upset...they are older, and I don't spend much time with them (only 2 months per year when I go back to my country)...

I remember there is once...I put lots meat on my plate, and make sure they saw theat...but, in the middle of the dinner, I sneaked into kitchen, and trashed the meat...

since I don't see my parents that often, I am a little "loose" on sticking with vegan...but...different when at home...

at first, my husband gave me a hard time, yelled at me, and said what I am eating is BS***t...I was so upset, and believe me, I was thinking of filing a divorce if this situation continued...

I just ignored him, and kept doing what I am doing...I mean, eating...

now, he stops picking on me...and just let me eat what I like to eat...I do cook meat/fish for him and my in-laws if they want...but, always prepare something for me, and for them if they want to have...like salad...or cooked veggie, etc.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 1:08 AM

I have had the same issue with my 83 yr old Mom and our once a week lunches she likes to prepare. I dont use the word vegan with my Mom or my relatives.

She knows I struggle with my weight so I started by letting her know I dont eat cheese anymore as I need to lose weight. She accepted this and now she doesnt prepare meals with all the cheese that used to come on almost everything. Milk in hidden products is still a problem and I occasionally will eat something I am aware has a very small amount of milk in it as a compromise such as bread. (I buy a wholemeal grain bread from a local bakery that is vegan to have at home). I would take her some of the bakery bread but she finds it too heavy. All in all that makes me about 99% vegan rather than 100%.

At my work place there are 3 vegetarians including myself. I used the word vegan to describe myself and was looked at like I had 3 heads by a few people. The word can put off those who know no better.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 2:19 AM

my mom used to be anti, then she saw fat sick and nearly dead.

Show them that!

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 2:20 AM

my mom used to be anti, then she saw fat sick and nearly dead.

Show them that!

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 5:09 AM

It's hard trying to make people understand why you eat the way you do. None of my family are vegetarians let alone vegans! Luckily they don't question me and I don't feel the need to explain but I do have a couple of friends who look at me like I've got two heads when I tell them I don't want to eat certain foods because of my cruelty free lifestyle. People who "don't get it" question - but those who are a little more understanding don't ask my reasons. I just get fed up with people asking really - it's my choice to eat this way and it shouldn't make any difference to anyone. I don't question their lifestyle so why should they question mine? Surprised

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 6:57 AM

Families tend to come around when they see you are serious. My mother assumed I was going through a phase when I adopted a vegan diet, a phase that she clearly wanted me to pass through quickly. But slowly she learned what I knew immediately - it was a lifestyle choice. Cut to fifteen years later, and she has long since accepted my food choices and certainly has seen the benefits.

If someone is genuinely concerned about your health on a vegan diet, you can always relay to that person the American Dietetic Association's official position on vegan diets which says vegan diets are not only nutritionally adequate but offer health benefits including protection against chronic disease including cardiovascular disease.

Susan Levin, MS, RD
PCRM Director of Nutrition Education

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:33 AM

I know for me the reason to stick with it is ethical, even more so than health, though as an RN I do think preventative health care is the way to go. I do talk to my patients about their diets, because no one else will....
I would sit down with your families and watch "Fat, sick and nearly dead", "Forks over knives" and especially "Earthlings". I could not even make it through the 3 minute trailer for Earthlings. Too disturbing.. They need to respect you more than they are.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM

Hi,
Yes families can make it difficult. I have had basically the same experience as Susan. At first family thought it was a phase or i was crazy. Then with a little more knowledge, invites to dinner, and seeing doctor results they are totally on board with me & my husband doing what we want.

it really is kinda funny.. when family comes over for dinner the first few tims..they say things like... hey i had dinner at cindy's and it was goood!! wow, really? was it a surprise? i eat food.. of course it's good. lol..

now they say things like.. i didn't eat any meat yesterday... yeah!! Laughing i still get the i don't eat that much meat...

so we have gone from them worried about me, going thru a phase, to them defending the way they eat.. pretty good huh? just give it time. doctors results don't hurt either.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Momo3 wrote:

I was really pumped to do the Kickstart as I have been vegetarian for a couple of years and try to be vegan when I have the choice... I live with my parents and they are AWESOME people, but they have a major prejudice against veganism. I guess it's too "foreign" to them, no matter how much I share my cooking and what I learn and enjoy. It's always "that weird vegan stuff".

I want to do the kickstart... And in my own meals and my own cooking, it's all vegan (often is already, anyways). But when they cook, or they make a dessert to share, they CANNOT understand why I would graciously say "no thank you" but still have tea with them. My mother gets so hurt when I won't have a cake she baked, or dad will be hurt when I ask to cook alongside him so that I can make the "same" recipe as they are eating but with some "tweaks" for my own plate. I feel like I am being extremely diplomatic about the whole thing, not being rude in any way, but they are still rolling their eyes at "that vegan stuff".

Any advice? I feel like their constant misunderstanding and disapproval is going to be the death of my good efforts Sad

Excellent conversation and thanks Momo3 for bringing up the issue.

I too was the first vegetarian in my family and after a few years, everyone followed suit: My parents and both of my sisters. Vegan was another step and not everone went all the way on that with me, but it still shows the power of having integrity to be true to your own best interests and being a model for change.

But your challenges Momo3 are more immediate and I can completely understand and feel the discomfort that is happening at the table with your parents. I'm not quite sure what your situation or age is, or how much interdependence there is between you and your parents, though these things all flavor the picture.

Under the surface of things, the real issue is probably not so much specifically exactly what you are or are not eatng, but the perceived threat people feel when their practices are brought into question by the choices and action of another. And in this case someone close to them who used to do just as they do.

Knowing that, you might try to address this on another level by finding other ways to give your parents the reassurance that you love them and are not trying to change them. It can be around peripheral issues, not just food and eating. Let them know that you value their voice. That's all people really want anyway, to feel like we have a voice.

When it comes to the dinner table, see how many ways you can 'water' what you want to work. Find as many ways as you can to sincerely compliment anything your parents do that helps you to eat in compliance with your dietary goals. This doesn't mean phony gushy, it means honestly look at everything they do that you DO appreciate. I know, it can be hard with parents sometimes - our patterns can be so cemented! Yet that is part of the issue too.

And sometimes you're just going to have to feel a little uncomfortable, and we can learn to be comfortable with that. Yes, you read that correctly Wink

Hope some of these thoughts are helpful! All the best of luck and success to you.


Lani

Arrow facebook too

Lani Muelrath, M.A. CGFI, CPBN
Fit Quickies: The Plant-Based Fitness Book

www
RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM

As a last resort, utilize allergies or intolerance conditions as an excuse. For whatever reason, people will accept a medically diagnosed reason for eating differently rather than accept that eating differently avoids medical diagnoses in the first place!

I do have a couple of food legitimate allergies that make it easier for everyone to accept.

For example, with lactose intolerance in the mainstream, that is an easy way to take diary out of the equation.

www
RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:11 AM


Quote:

Any advice? I feel like their constant misunderstanding and disapproval is going to be the death of my good efforts

Wow, everyone is so nice. (in how they'd deal with this) to me, it doesn't sound like your parents have any interest whatsoever in your lifestyle choices- mom especially just wants to control you with guilt. Get over convincing them of anything and do not try to blame them for your not eating vegan. Mom's using guilt not a gun.
Stop talking about vegan and just do it, eat around the meat and don't be hungry when the the nutritious cream, eggs, fat and sugar is served- just thirsty for tea.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:22 AM

kgershman wrote:

As a last resort, utilize allergies or intolerance conditions as an excuse. For whatever reason, people will accept a medically diagnosed reason for eating differently rather than accept that eating differently avoids medical diagnoses in the first place!

I do have a couple of food legitimate allergies that make it easier for everyone to accept.

For example, with lactose intolerance in the mainstream, that is an easy way to take diary out of the equation.

Yup. "the doctor told me to" often works when nothing else will - you maybe just don't need to specify WHICH doctor Very Happy After all, the kickstart plan WAS designed by doctors and nutritionists.

The BIG thing that helped when I started the kickstart the first time (Sept 2010), especially since hubby is the household chef, was to emphasize that it's just 3 weeks to 'try it' and see - then we could drop it, adjust it, whatever. Now, he's a proponents of vegan eating and it really helps family and friends (a) to see how much weight we've both lost over the last couple of years (b) to taste the amazing things he cooks that are low fat and vegan. We often don't even say anything about it being 'vegan' - it's "three sisters soup" or "root veggie hash" or his oft-requested veg chili or "spaghetti squash with pumpkin curry sauce". Only once folks have tried it and start asking for more info or the recipe that they find out it's vegan.

But, as I think some have said, the word "vegan" often has baggage in people's heads. We usually just say we eat a plant-based diet. That means people have to think a little bit more before they just react, and maybe ask a question or two. It also makes things a bit easier to explain sometimes because "vegan" is sort of some undefined blob out there somewhere that they've heard of but "plant based" is a bit easier to understand - if it's made from a plant, okay, if it's not a plant, nope.

Then again we're used to the odd questions folks ask since our 13 yr old has never been in school or even "schooled" at home - he's an autodidact (go look it up Laughing )So we've gotten questions on that for years now and we're used to folks thinking we're nice but odd...

--Deb R

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:43 AM

That reminds me, is there any heart disease, cholesterol or diabetes in your family? If so you do know it's avoided by eating vegan. Smile Doctor's orders.
You might talk your mom into watching the CNN special with Dr Sanjay Gupta that got me started too- www.heartattackproof.com scroll down the page and it's there in its entirety on Dr Esselstyn's website.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 9:44 AM

That reminds me, is there any heart disease, cholesterol or diabetes in your family? If so, you do know it's avoided by eating vegan. Smile Doctor's orders.
You might talk your mom into watching the CNN special with Dr Sanjay Gupta that got me started too- www.heartattackproof.com scroll down the page and it's there in its entirety on Dr Esselstyn's website.

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Totally with you on this. To save money I'm not able to move out on my own yet - so residing with my parents can be hard too. They are vegetarian which is nice, but sometimes that can make it harder oddly enough - they will keep asking, 'our diet is already so restrictive, it's so hard being vegetarian. why make it harder on yourself, now come on let's eat some ice cream!' *sigh*

I think you have to remind yourself that you're doing this for you, whatever your goals and personal reasons are. When you live the life that you believe in and adhere to your values, you'll be inspired to continue living this way no matter what others say or think, including family. I know, it's not as easy to put into practice...but, you have all of us for support! =D

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM

cch22 wrote:

I have had basically the same experience as Susan. At first family thought it was a phase or i was crazy.

To be honest, cch, I think in your case it probably is just a phase.

Sorry.

Wash your back

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 11:33 PM

I've been vegetarian for about 3 years and vegan since the beginning of the last quick start. My son has been vegan since the last quick start also. I thought he was just trying it out but he has adopted the lifestyle. My daughter and husband still eat meat, eggs, etc. It's a chore making two meals for 4 people every night. Tonight I made a Thai dish. I took the main ingredients - veggies and sauce - then divided it. I added chicken to half and tempeh to the rest. They had it over white rice and we enjoyed it over wheat noodles. My husband insists brown rice doesn't taste as good as white rice, so I usually have to cook the two. He also won't listen when I tell him iceburg lettuce has no nutritional value, so if I make a salad with romaine, he doesn't eat it most of the time.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

Deborah Smile

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 11:56 PM

iceburg lettuce has no nutritional value??? seriously??? now, I am not going to buy iceburg lettuce...

RE: Family making it difficult...
Posted Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 12:19 AM

It does have some nutritional value but not as much as romaine, kale, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

Take a look at the Vitamins and Minerals paragraph on this page addressing Iceburg vs Romaine -

http://www.livestrong.com/article/408131-nutritional-value-of-romaine-vs-iceberg-lettuce/

Deborah


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