Advice for asking my parents?

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Hello there! WARNING! A few things might be upsetting, please proceed with caution.

Hey I'm new here, and I want to go vegan (or at least vegetarian) but I don't know how to ask my parents, because I'm worried that they might not approve. On the bright side, I barely eat beef anymore. but sadly my dad sometimes makes burgers and I'm too shy to say anything. :sob:

I'm extremely disgusted by how animals are treated, even with vegetarian products like milk. I remember in February at school we were learning about vegetarianism and the teacher showed us Farm To Fork. I was shaking the whole time, and I was meatless for the whole day. Then a few months later, I saw an advertisement saying "Calves get taken away from their mothers. Go vegan today!" And since then I wanted to go vegan. Do you have any advice on how to ask my parents to let me go vegan?
 
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I'll elaborate, but here's a couple of quick pointers:
  • Be honest, but don't criticize.
  • Stay positive.
  • Be prepared to cook (and be ready to learn how to cook, if you don't know how yet).
  • Have some facts ready in case you need them.
Be honest with them, but also don't sound like you're criticizing them. When you say buzzwords like "disgusted," a lot of meat eaters will think you're calling them disgusting, even though you're referring to the treatment of the animals. Instead of saying anything negative about a diet that includes meat, have some positive reasons to go vegan instead--it'll make it much more likely that they'll be receptive and supportive.

Stay positive and don't use negative phrases. For example, instead of saying "meat is so gross," say something like "I want to improve my health by eating more veggies" or "I want to learn more about the variety of veggies/fruits I can eat" or "I feel that the vegan diet is what's best suited for me." Keeping it positive and pro-vegan instead of negative and anti-meat will make it go much better.

Be ready to cook. I work with a gentleman whose 16-year-old daughter went vegan a few months ago. Him, his other two daughters, and his wife didn't want to change their diet, but the 16-year-old daughter told him how important it is to her to become vegan. She kept it very positive, and said that she wanted to work on being as healthy as possible and eating lots of veggies. He was supportive, but told her that no one else would go vegan or vegetarian and she was responsible for maintaining her diet. So, she started learning how to cook. He buys the groceries for her (since she doesn't have an income), but she does all her own meal planning and cooking. If your parents love to cook and always cook with meat, it can help if you're prepared to start cooking for yourself (and it might even help inspire your parents to eat less meat if they see you making delicious meat-free foods).

My coworker's daughter has learned so much not only about being vegan, but also about cooking. He told me the other day that he's really impressed with how much she's grown her cooking skills. He thought she would stop being vegan and get tired of cooking; he also thought she'd only be eating rice and beans, but she's been cooking up tons of variety. He says it's been incredible to see her so empowered by learning how to cook and take control over that portion of her life.

If you don't know how to cook or don't know what recipes to make, just think of the internet as your menu! In the mood for a burger? Google "vegan burger recipes." Want some mac-n-cheese? Google "vegan mac n cheese recipes." Want something easy to make? Google "easy vegan recipes." There are hundreds of thousands of recipes online, and use this forum as a resource as well. If you don't know how to cook yet, you can also watch scores of how-to videos on YouTube that will guide you. (And you are also more than welcome to ask me any time--I LOVE to cook and have dozens of recipes I've tried, tweaked, and created.)

Have some facts ready. Your parents are your parents, and they'll probably be concerned about your health and wellbeing. There are a lot of misconceptions about the vegan diet, such as all vegans are protein deficient (not true) or malnourished (also not true). Check out some resources (this forum is a great place to start) on where vegans get protein, common misconceptions about veganism, the risks and rewards of being vegan, etc. If you have some good information, you can address any of your parents' concerns in a calm and informative manner.

Best of luck, and if you need anything please just ask!! :)
 
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Thanks. Sorry I didn't mean to be rude when I said that I was disgusted, what I meant was that I'm upset by how animals are treated. I'm not against meat lovers at all, but I'd like to support the animals, and encourage others to reduce their meat intake (I wouldn't be hard on them, I'd say "why not try this for a change?" I'd never force them to do anything)

I think my parents would say yes, but my father is used to me loving his burgers (I loved them before I had thoughts of changing my diet) and it might be a bit weird for him at first. I'm very shy and I barely talk to them, but they support me with school and whatnot. I'm just worried about what they'd say.
 
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Thanks. Sorry I didn't mean to be rude when I said that I was disgusted, what I meant was that I'm upset by how animals are treated. I'm not against meat lovers at all, but I'd like to support the animals, and encourage others to reduce their meat intake (I wouldn't be hard on them, I'd say "why not try this for a change?" I'd never force them to do anything)

I think my parents would say yes, but my father is used to me loving his burgers (I loved them before I had thoughts of changing my diet) and it might be a bit weird for him at first. I'm very shy and I barely talk to them, but they support me with school and whatnot. I'm just worried about what they'd say.
Oh, I'm sorry--I didn't mean to imply you were being rude! You didn't sound rude at all. I'd venture to bet that most people on this forum find meat, eating meat, and/or how its made disgusting... I just meant that the people who do eat meat seem to often think it's a criticism of them personally if someone says it's disgusting.

I totally understand about your dad--my dad loved to BBQ, and always felt amazing to see how much people enjoyed his food. My sister went vegetarian when she was 9, and then I went vegan as an adult. It made my dad sad for a little bit that we wouldn't be eating the BBQ foods he loved to make, but then there was this new side to him--he'd challenge himself to make vegan and vegetarian BBQ foods. (He was even pretty conscious of making sure one side of the BBQ was reserved solely for non-meats, and used separate utensils and everything.) My sister and I would be his "test subjects," and he'd make us all sorts of things! He made a black bean quinoa burger that was absolutely out-of-this-world delicious, I wish he had written the recipe down because I crave that burger, haha.

Maybe your dad will be the same, or maybe you can use it as a new adventure together? After I went vegan, my dad and I found we loved cooking together and blending our unique culinary perspectives. He'd come up with something he'd want to make, and I'd help him design it to be vegan-friendly. One time, he had this idea for grilled stuffed tomatoes... but they were loaded with cheese and butter. So we switched to olive oil instead of butter, and omitted the cheese and filled them with a vegan mushroom rice pilaf instead. They were so delicious, even the meat lovers opted for them over BBQ chicken!

You could use this as an opportunity to build a special hobby with your dad. He could help you learn how to cook (if you don't know how yet, or if you don't know much--I have no idea what your cooking experience is), and you could help him learn how to cook new things. :)
 
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Yeah, maybe I should ask my parents about going vegetarian (my mother at least) then if my diet goes well I'll ask them if I can go vegan for a New Years resolution for 2020. New decade, new me!
 
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Emma JC

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congrats ha954 for learning so early about your health and about caring for animals and the environment and know that we will all be here cheering you on and would love to know how your conversations, with your parents, go

congrats to you also vb Heathen - great thoughtful answers and suggestions!

Emma JC
 
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Yeah, maybe I should ask my parents about going vegetarian (my mother at least) then if my diet goes well I'll ask them if I can go vegan for a New Years resolution for 2020. New decade, new me!
That's a great idea! :) I found that when I went vegetarian, I ended up going "accidentally" vegan, because I just stopped liking dairy products and hadn't been a fan of eggs for years. Going vegetarian first made the transition to vegan super easy.
 
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I found in my experience the best way to introduce vegetarianism and veganism into diet and lifestyle is incremental. There is no rush if you do not want to upset people, so take a slow approach by introducing it in small doses. You do not have to go all in or nothing, that will cause upset as people do not like change sometimes. I hope this helps.
 
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UPDATE:
I think I’m ready to confess.

So today I went out with my mother and for dinner we went to a Japanese restaurant. She noticed that all of the things that I ordered were vegan (except the dessert, I cheated a little bit sorry) and she said “have you gone off the Salmon? Are you going vegan?” (It was a joke she wasn’t being mean) and I just said “I still like meat but I just prefer different things” (I was lying at the “I still like meat” part)

Then she said “you can go vegan if you want, but said might be a bit upset” and I just replied with “no I’m not, I just like different things” dang I blew it! I think I will need to tell her at some point, but I’d only be semi-vegan, a few things will only be vegetarian for now. Then a few weeks later I’ll tell my dad.
 
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Sorry, I forgot to check the “But said might be a bit upset” part.
It was supposed to say “but dad might be upset” dad, not said.
 

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I can see how you might be nervous if you think (or have been told) your parents might be upset. It sounds like (from the outside) your mom might be supportive of you if you told her. No pressure, of course- you can tell her when you're ready. It just sounds like she might be okay with it.
 
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ANOTHER UPDATE:
2 days ago me and my parents went out to have dinner. And my mother talked about another restaurant that I like, and said that I normally eat Jackfruit (meat-free alternative to Pulled Pork) and my father said “I don’t really want her to get into vegan stuff” and I just said “I’m not, I just like it” then they started joking around, and now I feel like they wouldn’t let me go vegan.

However, my mother got a vegan recipe book. And I was half “what the heck, she doesn’t even know” and half “YYYEEEEEESSSS!!!” She doesn’t even know about my desire to go vegan. So I think I might ask her if I do vegan, but I keep forgetting to do it. I need to set a date, and to it on that day, that might help
 

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... my father said “I don’t really want her to get into vegan stuff” and I just said “I’m not, I just like it” then they started joking around, and now I feel like they wouldn’t let me go vegan.

“When all else fails, tell the truth.” Donald T. Regan.

Roger.
 
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However, my mother got a vegan recipe book. And I was half “what the heck, she doesn’t even know” and half “YYYEEEEEESSSS!!!” She doesn’t even know about my desire to go vegan. So I think I might ask her if I do vegan, but I keep forgetting to do it. I need to set a date, and to it on that day, that might help
It sounds like your mom will at least be supportive. :)

Have you found a recipe for you and your parents to try from the new cookbook yet?
 
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It sounds like your mom will at least be supportive. :)

Have you found a recipe for you and your parents to try from the new cookbook yet?
I haven’t found a recipe yet, but I’ve now set a date for when I’m going to tell her. Then if things are successful and my diet goes well, I’ll tell my dad. Of course he might be upset but I think he’ll support me.
 

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I hadn't responded to ask earlier. i saw that you had a bunch of good answers already but it seems like you are still worried so here is something.

I wrote a little essay on this issue a while back. Not sure if I have ever posted it here. So here it is.
_

I’m no expert on this subject but we get this question a lot here so I’ve done a little research.

The Vegetarian Resource Group has a FAQ on this subject. I would think this would be the best place to start.

http://www.vrg.org/teen/telling_your_parents.php

There are a bunch of teenage vegans who have videos on this subject in YouTube. I haven't watched any of them and I imagine that some may not be of any help at all. But you might want to check a few out. Bite Size Vegan is a well-respected adult YouTube vegan. She has a video on the subject.

http://bitesizevegan.com/vegan-lifestyle-2/my-parents-wont-let-me-go-vegan-advice-from-real-vegan-kids/

My best advice is to take your time, be patient and think long term.

See what DVDs are at the library (or Netflix) and try to get the family to watch things like "Forks over Knives" or " Food, Inc.”, or “Cowspiracy”. “After the Flood” is all about Global Warming but touches on eating less meat. “What The Health” is like Forks Over Knives but more interesting. Keep an eye out for the new movie, “Eating You Alive”.

Order some free vegetarian and vegan starter kits (you can find them online and print them). Read them and then leave the pamphlets in the family's bathroom, nightstands, and coffee tables as reading material. And the book “The Vegan's Companion” is worth buying and leaving somewhere strategic. Mine is in my guest bathroom. :)

And this is maybe the best advice you'll get today. Volunteer to help out with the cooking and shopping. It will be good practice for you when you go off on your own. Check out a vegan cookbook from the library or find a recipe online that people might like. Volunteer to cook it. You should also help your mom with the shopping list and maybe even the shopping. And when you help your mom with the shopping you can help her choose ingredients for more vegan meals and snacks.

In the meantime, just eat the non-meat things in the house. Make sure to get all your nutrients no matter what.
 
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Thanks. I’m planning to tell my mother this week, and hopefully before Christmas I’ll tell my father. I hope to become at least a vegetarian before 2019 and a vegan before 2020.
 

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OK. good luck. but don't start procrastinating. It will just make it seem harder.
 

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