Kale, and tofu, and pleather. Oh my!
The words most parents dread to hear. “Mom. Dad. I’m now vegan.” Talk about putting up resistance. Going vegan or vegetarian will somehow cause anyone you know who isn’t veg to have an opinion, be angry with you, become a nutritionist overnight, and/or suddenly think you’ve lost your mind. I can only speculate as to why there is so much anger towards the V word and us vegans. Believe me, I have my own theories and plenty of dramatic stories to tell. Maybe I’ll share them for another article.
What you’ve heard or can expect to hear from anyone who finds out your vegan.
– You’ll get sick.
– You don’t love me enough to eat my cooking.
– Have you been brainwashed?
– Are you some kind of eco-terrorist, leftist, hippy, nut job? You can fill in your own here.
– Why do you care more about animals than humans?
– What about plants? They have feelings, too.
– God put animals here for us to eat.
– The all-time go to concern- you won’t get enough protein.
Any of them sound familiar?
How to speak your truth and spread the message of compassion without turning people off.
When we all start off on this path, many of us can be pretty preachy. I definitely had my moments and probably still do. The intentions are good, but very few loved ones are going to respond in a way you want- throw away the cheese, ice cream, and leather shoes, and go vegan overnight. The frustration may make you want to preach even more. I highly recommend giving your friends and loved ones some initial information about why you’ve gone vegan. Show them your decision is well thought out and is best for you. After that, lead by example. Be a shining example of how you and your life have improved since making the commitment. Hopefully, they’ll come around or at least mellow out a bit. But be warned, they may not.
How I recommend coming out as a vegan
-Calmly and kindly let them know you’ve made this very important life changing choice and ask that they respect it.
– Recommend documentaries and books to read. It’s really up to you. Would they respond better to Forks Over Knives, Diet for a New America, or Earthlings?
– Send them to sites like nutritionfacts.org or PCRM that have scientific evidence to back it up the fact you’re not going to shrivel up and die. Most likely, you’ll live a much longer, healthier life. I personally like to point out to concerned family the long list of vegan athletes as proof as well. It’s impossible ignore the strength and accomplishments of Scott Jurek, Meagan Duhamel, Lewis Hamilton, Serena Williams, and Mac Danzig.
Raising vegan kids takes the fear and backlash of veganism to a whole new level. That’s when loved ones really love to bring up their PhD (not!) level of knowledge in nutrition.
How to educate
-Let them know, you are supplementing B12, the only real nutrition concern for vegans.
-Explain how you’ve discussed with your pediatrician your options, what you child should eat for a well-balanced diet, and they’re on board.
-Get comprehensive blood tests to make sure you’re really doing it right.
Your healthier than average child will be the real proof. They don’t get sick as often and have tons of energy without sugar or sodas. They are a healthy weight and very active. Most likely, your kids aren’t suffering from asthma and other illnesses that are plaguing most kids today.
Once you’ve given all this information to those who are now terrified you’ve joined a dangerous cult, let go. Many of my friends’ entire families have made the commitment to living cruelty free. My family now makes vegan meals without me being around. So, shifts can happen. I know I have had an impact on their food choices and you can do the same with your family.
Keep in mind your family might never alter their eating and living habits. Remember how you used to think about what you ate and wore before making the switch. Stay focused on the positive impact you’re having on animals and the planet. Appreciate and acknowledge what you and your fellow animal lovers are doing instead.
Live natural. Live well.