When I went vegetarian, no one in my family could understand it. They were (and 99% still are) huge meat eaters and all they seemed to know was that meat was the healthiest thing to eat. Every day at the dinner table, someone would joke around about vegetarianism or pick on me till the point that I saw it as bullying and I actually dreaded eating with family. I did not find one bit of what they had to say funny or appropriate. I did not and still do not like when people in my family try to convince me to eat meat and most of all, I do not like it when they try to coerce me into eating a dairy product or they slip dairy into things they give to me. All I want is for everyone in my family to accept how I choose to eat, especially as I am in my 20s (and stopped eating meat as a preteen).
Most vegans and vegetarians, unfortunately, have to go through this – the disapproval of their family, the scrutiny when eating around family (not when they cook for themselves), et cetera. It is rather heartbreaking, although those on the outside can’t seem to tell.
I can’t give you any advice that will suddenly make everything okay, sadly. However, I will advise you to be true to who you are, to try to enlighten your family and help them understand your decision. Sometimes, that does not help in any way, but it is still good to do. Just remember that being a militant vegan and vocally judging everything your family eats is only going to push them further away from you and make it harder for them to accept your decision.
Why did you go vegetarian/vegan?
I initially went vegetarian because I hate the taste of meat as mentioned on the About page. I moved towards a vegan lifestyle after I developed a dairy allergy and it got worse and more painful the older I got. This is a different reason from that of most plant-based eaters. Most people give up animal products due to a yearning to make a change, not just for their health, but for that of animals and the planet. I find that compassion to be such a beautiful reason to give up animal products. However, sadly, many people don’t see it that way.
It is important to let your family know why you made such a drastic change, whether they believe it or not. If you chose to change your lifestyle for one of the common reasons, you are at an advantage as there are resources out there to help you with explaining your decision to your family. You can show them movies such as What the Health, Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, Food Matters, Hungry for Change and Cowspiracy. You can ask them to read books such as The China Study, and The China Study Expanded. These resources can help you get your points across better and can help your family form an emotional connection with your decision. However, unfortunately, this does not always help.
What can you say to support your new lifestyle?