Can't you just have some...?

Ámbar

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As a new vegan, my family hasn't adjusted yet, and I'm all for giving them time.
But the other day my mom was making a non-vegan cake and she wanted to know if the frosting needed more sugar, so she asked me to try it (it had cream mixed with chocolate). I refused, but she got a little annoyed and said "Come on, it's just a teaspoon, what difference does it make?".
At the moment, I didn't know how to respond to this. Any recommendations? How can I explain to her that I don't even want to have a teaspoon of animal products?

Btw I'm mostly vegan for the health benefits.
Thanks in advance!
 

Lou

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This is a tuff call. My impression is that if you asked 8 different vegans this - you would get ten different answers.

Now since you asked for recommendations I will give you mine but I will also fuzz things up a bit. I will also take a minute to explain where I am coming from.

I am vegan because of the animal rights issue. Sure, I'm concerned about personal health. I was concerned about my diet and its relation to health way before I became vegan. I'm also concerned about the environment. I was concerned about my personal choice and how they affected the environment way before I became vegan. But I became vegan only after I learned more about factory farms. I know its a stupid joke but I can't resist: all that other stuff is just frosting on the cake.

Colleen Patrick Goudreau was my mentor thru my transition via her podcasts and books. And i have adopted a lot of her points of view. Maybe (IMHO) the most important is the way I view being a vegan. According to her veganism is not a destination. Its a means to an end. And the end is compassion.

So to me when I'm faced with a decision like yours - it's easy. I'm nice to a person. (In fact, I faced a similar dilemma to yours many years ago - but it was even more stark and brutal. My mom has been dead ten years now and not once have I regretted NOT letting my self imposed diet restrictions hurt her feelings.)

Another way to look at it is, I guess somewhat "utilitarian". How many time did you take deciding to be vegan? How many tsp of frosting did you eat during that time period? and if expressed as a fraction - how much difference does that one teaspoon make? What percent of an animal could that frosting contain?

Also, you say you are mostly vegan for health reasons. Compared to all the other teaspoons of frosting you had over your life - how much can that one affect you?

Ok. now I'm going to fuzz things up. but I will come back at the end and try for a moment of clarity.

when you refused that tsp of frosting, how much harm did you cause your mom? Maybe not that much. And maybe it's worth her learning how not to tread on your values. Or maybe its worth giving her more time to learn.

I've asked a lot of questions here. only you can answer them. but I think if there is one point I would like to make here is that veganism IS personal. At the end of the day, it is always up to you. YOU determine the right path. And no matter what You will choose the right one.

Now some people might bring up the slippery slope thing. If eating frosting to please your mom is OK, how about birthday cake for your niece. or ice cream for your boss. or ... or... or...

I don't like the slippery slope thing. Let other people make up what-ifs. Hell, I bet most of the time they don't come up anyway.

But I HAVE spent extra money on making sure my food is as compassionate as possible. I Have spent extra time standing in the bread aisle trying to figure out which bread IS vegan. But in those situations, I'm the only one affected. When other people are affected by my decisions it gets more complicated.
 

Emma JC

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I agree with @Lou and would add that I look at another way too.

If someone offered you something else that you have a moral reason for not doing.... cocaine, alcohol, cheating on your partner, stealing .... just a few examples, would you consider saying yes to a small amount of cocaine even though you might not feel it or get hooked, if you are an alcoholic and someone said "oh a small amount won't hurt" would you? if someone wanted to just "fool around a bit" with you and not go "all the way" would you? and or if you stole only items that were smaller in value?

I think you get the point and maybe if you could put it in some kind of context that your mom could relate then that might be helpful?

Emma JC
 

N1111

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Based on experience with my family, you did the right thing refusing that teaspoon and you are going to have to refuse a million more teaspoons of crap in the future until people realize how serious you are. It may sound ridiculous, but being a serious vegan means not letting your guard down around those that are observing you constantly. Especially your family. And especially since this is a new lifestyle for you. Vegans get tested every day on their "commitment". Some people will even go out of their way to try and find "gotchas" to pull on you. Yes, I made you a cake, but I didn't check that the sugar was organic, so it was filtered through bone char, and so is counter vegan. That may be an extreme example, but you know what I mean. All I am saying is, STAND YOUR GROUND. Simply say, "no thanks". And when someone wants to test you and ask why, the best answer is the honest one. Because you think it's gross, cruelty, unhealthy…. whatever. It is not your responsibility to make others feel better about their choices, only to be your true and honest self. - Spoken from a vegan for over 8 years that turned 3 other family members vegetarian.
 
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Ámbar

Ámbar

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Thanks to all for the insights! It is always enriching to see a fraction of someone's world.
This hasn't happened again, I think my mom has understood. However, of course I am not willing to hurt her feelings, and I did refuse to try that teaspoon in the best, most polite way, but I can't guarantee that she is not going to feel uncomfortable by my choices.

Colleen Patrick Goudreau was my mentor thru my transition via her podcasts and books. And i have adopted a lot of her points of view.

I just love Colleen Patrick Goudreau, have listened to virtually all her podcast episodes and am a part of her Facebook group ♥ And as she says, when you are vegan, you are holding up a mirror for others, and whenever we as vegans encounter hostility (unless we were hostile first) it is usually not directed at us, but at the hostile person themselves, because they are confronted by our actions and thus assessing their own. I am not going to judge my family for their choices, but if they judge themselves based on my choices, that is something out of my control.

I guess I will just politely explain if something like this happens again. Thanks for the support! You people make me feel less alone.

PS: My grandma hasn't understood my veganism (which I don't really mind, she is quite old so I don't expect her to), and although she still comes to visit with a regular chocolate for me as a present every time, she surprised me yesterday coming as wel with a package of crackers "that I saw at the supermarket and thought of you, because it has all those things you are eating now... Look, it says 'chia and flax seeds'"... I thought that was the sweetest thing ever ♥