New vegan-- general advice?

Angel

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Hello!

I decided to join the online community to seek out those similar to me in values and beliefs, and to get support when I need it most!

I decided to become vegan after watching Earthlings, and that was about a month ago-- June 13, to be exact. I've been doing loads of research on ethics, environment, health, etc. and feel incredibly committed to this lifestyle, already. I am finding new challenges every day, though, and was hoping to get a bit of advice from those who have experienced similar situations and learned from them!

Number 1) My husband is NOT vegan, vegetarian, or even considering either changes. I haven't forced anything on him, but we do enjoy watching documentaries together. I am also still cooking his animal products for him... This makes me feel incredibly sad and guilty, like I am still supporting the animal agriculture. I would LOVE for him to give it a try, but he is very unwilling and "stuck in his ways." Any advice on how to cope with the one you love not understanding? He also gets a bit embarrassed when I post activist-related things, like sharing photos and videos of animal mistreatment, or if I even want to post a photo of my vegan meals. He even got upset because I have decided to get rid of all of my animal-tested products (which really is not much) and told me I am being "wasteful" and taking this too far. Am I though? Is it too far to want to commit to something I really believe to be morally correct?

Number 2) Social life... Oh, gosh this has become a slight headache. I work at a supplest store and have been in the fitness scene for a few years now, so a lot of my friends have the classic bodybuilder mindset of MORE PROTEIN!!! It gets difficult sometimes to have even small conversations with them, because they joke about me being vegan and if I try to explain anything to them, it is brushed off. Even with customers I encounter jokes or taunting about veganism... I have even had customers tell me they do not want my advice because of it-- not just random customers, but long-time customers who have trusted me before. Eating out or being in social settings like that do not phase me, b/c I am already used to being the odd ball that orders salad lol, but I would like advice on how to handle awkward or hurtful situations with a professional or kind manner.

Number 3) Understanding. I feel very misunderstood, and almost like my intentions are not clear. Today, for example, I spoke with my mom about a restaurant that she invited us to, and she said, "Oh wait, you're still doing that vegetarian thing, aren't you? How long will that be?" and when I first began my transition, my husband said I was "on one of my kicks." Again, customers and friends give me a hard time, what feels like all the time. It feels like I am not being taken seriously. Maybe I am being too serious or maybe I am so passionate that it comes off aggressive?

Thank you, if you got this far, and I look forward to some tips on how to handle these things!
 

Kaliopy

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Hi Angel! First, congrats on making the "switch!"
I recently did too. I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but find myself in the same situation, especially with my husband. It's hard to cook eggs and bacon or meats for him, but I do it. He has an argument for every one of my vegan points so talking about it is pointless. I am hoping that I can lead by example and become a healthier, happier version of myself. Just hang in there...you are not alone sister!
 
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Plant Muncher

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Sounds like a multitude of nonsupport there Angel. One thing that has worked for me is that instead of calling myself a vegan, I say that I eat a plant-based diet. If it comes from a plant, I'll eat it, if it comes from an animal, I won't eat it. That is about the only explanation of my plant-based diet I have to give anyone. 99% percent of them don't realize that a plant-based diet is veganism so the jokes and grandma trying to slip red meat into my food disappear entirely.
 
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Hi, Angel.
Congratulations on the switch!

Do you do most of the cooking at home? Some couples around me have a vegan setting at home which has been working well for them but if one person is not a vegan they can eat what ever they want when not at home. I really feel for your situation as I have been there myself. What did wonders for me in those awkward social encounters was to think to my self that I am definitely on the right side of history and it makes me feel good even if people are mocking me or being unpleasant. You can also think of this quote by Gandhi :)
 
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Hello!

I decided to join the online community to seek out those similar to me in values and beliefs, and to get support when I need it most!

I decided to become vegan after watching Earthlings, and that was about a month ago-- June 13, to be exact. I've been doing loads of research on ethics, environment, health, etc. and feel incredibly committed to this lifestyle, already. I am finding new challenges every day, though, and was hoping to get a bit of advice from those who have experienced similar situations and learned from them!

Number 1) My husband is NOT vegan, vegetarian, or even considering either changes. I haven't forced anything on him, but we do enjoy watching documentaries together. I am also still cooking his animal products for him... This makes me feel incredibly sad and guilty, like I am still supporting the animal agriculture. I would LOVE for him to give it a try, but he is very unwilling and "stuck in his ways." Any advice on how to cope with the one you love not understanding? He also gets a bit embarrassed when I post activist-related things, like sharing photos and videos of animal mistreatment, or if I even want to post a photo of my vegan meals. He even got upset because I have decided to get rid of all of my animal-tested products (which really is not much) and told me I am being "wasteful" and taking this too far. Am I though? Is it too far to want to commit to something I really believe to be morally correct?

Number 2) Social life... Oh, gosh this has become a slight headache. I work at a supplest store and have been in the fitness scene for a few years now, so a lot of my friends have the classic bodybuilder mindset of MORE PROTEIN!!! It gets difficult sometimes to have even small conversations with them, because they joke about me being vegan and if I try to explain anything to them, it is brushed off. Even with customers I encounter jokes or taunting about veganism... I have even had customers tell me they do not want my advice because of it-- not just random customers, but long-time customers who have trusted me before. Eating out or being in social settings like that do not phase me, b/c I am already used to being the odd ball that orders salad lol, but I would like advice on how to handle awkward or hurtful situations with a professional or kind manner.

Number 3) Understanding. I feel very misunderstood, and almost like my intentions are not clear. Today, for example, I spoke with my mom about a restaurant that she invited us to, and she said, "Oh wait, you're still doing that vegetarian thing, aren't you? How long will that be?" and when I first began my transition, my husband said I was "on one of my kicks." Again, customers and friends give me a hard time, what feels like all the time. It feels like I am not being taken seriously. Maybe I am being too serious or maybe I am so passionate that it comes off aggressive?

Thank you, if you got this far, and I look forward to some tips on how to handle these things!
First of all, well done for making move to a plant based vegan diet and lifestyle :) Cowspiracy is what converted me...

Any advice on how to cope with the one you love not understanding? He also gets a bit embarrassed when I post activist-related things, like sharing photos and videos of animal mistreatment, or if I even want to post a photo of my vegan meals. He even got upset because I have decided to get rid of all of my animal-tested products (which really is not much) and told me I am being "wasteful" and taking this too far. Am I though? Is it too far to want to commit to something I really believe to be morally correct?
I personally went vegan for health reasons and also due to the reason of extensive farming and what impact animal agriculture is doing to the Amazon rainforest. My goal is not to convert anyone. I personally feel that if I was to express my views in a way such as posting pictures of misstreated animals then this can actually lead to people being more "blind" as to what actually goes on. I have found that just by talking to people normally on me being vegan and how great I now feel actually has a greater impact.

I would probably recommend just using the products you currently have and then replacing them with non animal tested versions. This was you make the change more gradual. It seems that your husband is a bit taken back with all the sudden changes.

There's a thing here in the UK called "Meatless Mondays". Maybe this is something you could incorporate into your household.

Number 2) Social life... Oh, gosh this has become a slight headache. I work at a supplest store and have been in the fitness scene for a few years now, so a lot of my friends have the classic bodybuilder mindset of MORE PROTEIN!!! It gets difficult sometimes to have even small conversations with them, because they joke about me being vegan and if I try to explain anything to them, it is brushed off. Even with customers I encounter jokes or taunting about veganism... I have even had customers tell me they do not want my advice because of it-- not just random customers, but long-time customers who have trusted me before. Eating out or being in social settings like that do not phase me, b/c I am already used to being the odd ball that orders salad lol, but I would like advice on how to handle awkward or hurtful situations with a professional or kind manner.
I personally haven't eperienced this however I guess the best thing i can advise is one thing that'll shut them up would be to show them that the whole "Protein is a must" is a myth!! Often when I tell people that i'm vegan they are amazed and actually want to know more about my diet. Make them jealous ;)

Number 3) Understanding. I feel very misunderstood, and almost like my intentions are not clear. Today, for example, I spoke with my mom about a restaurant that she invited us to, and she said, "Oh wait, you're still doing that vegetarian thing, aren't you? How long will that be?" and when I first began my transition, my husband said I was "on one of my kicks." Again, customers and friends give me a hard time, what feels like all the time. It feels like I am not being taken seriously. Maybe I am being too serious or maybe I am so passionate that it comes off aggressive?

Thank you, if you got this far, and I look forward to some tips on how to handle these things!
hahaha, OMG!! this sounds like my life...

Well a few months ago anyways. So I am a sucker for fads and when I told my family and friends i was going vegan they said the same things. However I know in myself this is what I am going to be for the rest of my life so there comments didn't bother me too much. Again, one thing tthat'll shut them up is show them this is not just a short-term thang'.

This will take time but, you're in this for the long run :)
 
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Mark Mywordz

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Hi Angel
Perhaps I should call you Kitchen Slave. I don't remember the bit in the marriage ceremony that says "Thou shalt cook for thy partner". Of course you will cook for him just as he will cook for you but of course you will not cook anything that you find gross, will you? The notion that a woman must always cook for a man who is too lazy or too stupid to cook for himself is unacceptably sexist in my view. You're digging yourself into a big hole here. Stop digging. Just cook vegan food and let him eat it or leave it.
I'm sorry if it seems that I'm giving you a hard time but I feel strongly about this. If you were a farmer's wife, would you wring the chicken's neck as well as cook it? You are betraying your own values. The fact that the chickens are slaughtered by somebody else is irrelevant. You are responsible for their death if you buy the dead chicks and/or cook them.
 
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Plant Muncher

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Hi Angel
Perhaps I should call you Kitchen Slave. I don't remember the bit in the marriage ceremony that says "Thou shalt cook for thy partner". Of course you will cook for him just as he will cook for you but of course you will not cook anything that you find gross, will you? The notion that a woman must always cook for a man who is too lazy or too stupid to cook for himself is unacceptably sexist in my view. You're digging yourself into a big hole here. Stop digging. Just cook vegan food and let him eat it or leave it.
I'm sorry if it seems that I'm giving you a hard time but I feel strongly about this. If you were a farmer's wife, would you wring the chicken's neck as well as cook it? You are betraying your own values. The fact that the chickens are slaughtered by somebody else is irrelevant. You are responsible for their death if you buy the dead chicks and/or cook them.
I am the one who cooks for the family. My wife is vegetarian and my kids, although off to college, return home for breaks and are all meat eating young men. While I may be a vegan, I will cook chicken, ground beef, or any other food they request because I have no intention of making my choices, their choices. I do hope that they learn by example but I am not going to force my decisions on them. I have learned to make foods by adding in a meat product to half the dish at the end so they can have what they want and I don't have to eat meat. Remember, you aren't betraying your own values as much as you are inflicting your values on others. Teach by example, not by cohesion.
 

Mark Mywordz

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I am the one who cooks for the family. My wife is vegetarian and my kids, although off to college, return home for breaks and are all meat eating young men. While I may be a vegan, I will cook chicken, ground beef, or any other food they request because I have no intention of making my choices, their choices. I do hope that they learn by example but I am not going to force my decisions on them. I have learned to make foods by adding in a meat product to half the dish at the end so they can have what they want and I don't have to eat meat. Remember, you aren't betraying your own values as much as you are inflicting your values on others. Teach by example, not by cohesion.
And I thought you were ideologically sound, PM! I too cook for my family when I am in the UK. One of my sons is vegetarian like his partner and their children, so no problem there. The other son and his family are carnivores and I will only cook for them if they have vegan or at least vegetarian meals: that is not normally a big deal because they all like Italian food and have lived in Italy, so I do pizza, pasta and vegetable curry, for example. I will not even walk down the meat section of the supermarket. It makes me feel sick. I make no distinction between animals and we are animals too. I could no more eat cow's meat than I could eat human meat. The principle is exactly the same. If you buy or cook meat, you are supporting the meat industry. Go and visit an abbattoir. I once showed an animal rights video about an abbattoir to a large group of teenagers. Nearly all of them cried. I don't think you have the right to take an animal's life - full stop. In WW2 the French hated collaboraters more than the Nazis. People who cook meat are collaborators.
 
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Plant Muncher

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And I thought you were ideologically sound, PM! I too cook for my family when I am in the UK. One of my sons is vegetarian like his partner and their children, so no problem there. The other son and his family are carnivores and I will only cook for them if they have vegan or at least vegetarian meals: that is not normally a big deal because they all like Italian food and have lived in Italy, so I do pizza, pasta and vegetable curry, for example. I will not even walk down the meat section of the supermarket. It makes me feel sick. I make no distinction between animals and we are animals too. I could no more eat cow's meat than I could eat human meat. The principle is exactly the same. If you buy or cook meat, you are supporting the meat industry. Go and visit an abbattoir. I once showed an animal rights video about an abbattoir to a large group of teenagers. Nearly all of them cried. I don't think you have the right to take an animal's life - full stop. In WW2 the French hated collaboraters more than the Nazis. People who cook meat are collaborators.
I'm just not an ideological purist I guess. You are allowed to have your own values, everyone is, but inflicting them on others is why vegan's get a bad rap. No one can make you cook food you are against, but neither can you decide for others that they must eat as you do or the hell with them. I think we need a new term for vegan ideologues. I won't pose one as not to offend. I am generally wary of absolutism in any form.

ghandi.jpg
 

Mark Mywordz

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My bark is often worse than my bite,PM. I don't like labels but I would like to be a good ideologue of any sort. As far as veganism goes, I'm just a beginner however. But I have a long history of vegetarianism behind me. Why I feel strongly about being vegan is that it is really a question of life and death. Nobody half kills an animal. There's no compromise.It's all or nothing. Another problem for me is that in Western society today we are so far removed from the killing process. I don't even know where the abbattoir is in my town but there must be one. I saw some North Africans going off to ritually kill a goat in the woods near where I live. An Arab woman told me what they were doing because she hated it too. But in a way they were more honest and had more integrity than most westerners have because they were doing the killing themselves. We pay someone else to kill animals for us and we take good care to make sure we never witness it.
I'm not sure about teaching by example. It's just one of the tools that teachers use. Learning on the other hand is definitely an active thing. We learn by doing much more than by watching or listening.
PS an ideologue is an advocate of some ideology. Veganism is an ideology. I would like to be an ideolgue. QED
 
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Plant Muncher

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I understand that the relationship we have to our food sources has been "sanitized" by a large sector of the population these days. I was born on a farm and raised around many farms as an adolescent, so I have seen the reality of meat production first-hand. Killing to survive is as old as the human race. You would probably agree that on the scale of things, those that raise and slaughter their own food are somewhat higher on the acceptability scale than the profiteers of the commercial animal producing class even knowing that murder is murder.
I see veganism as an evolution not a revolution. We don't need animal products as we once did. We can transition to a plant-based food source thanks to the knowledge we have under our belts after millennia of depending on animal protein. I get more angry at those that keep us unhealthy and ignorant of the poisons they are feed us strictly for profit. Nowhere in the world is this more apparent than in the good old USA. Money is king and damn the suffering of the animal and the people consuming them. I have often wondered what would happen if people stopped eating meat cold turkey. Hunger would disappear that's for sure.
 

Mark Mywordz

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Hi PM
I think we're more or less on the same page now. The words are getting in the way of good communication perhaps. I would never force anyone to eat what I eat. But most carnivores eat vegan meals without realizing it from time to time. Children are sometimes given beans on toast, for example. The Italians are very adept at whipping up a pasta meal that has no animal products, if you ask them. Where we differ is that I would find it impossible to cook a meat dish for anyone. It would make me feel sick and nobody has the right to inflict that on me. That is no problem for the carnivores in my family. They do not expect or want me to cook meat for them. My sons and their families have no problem eating vegan meals because they know that vegan food is healthy, even if they do not eat it every day. If I were in your shoes, I would cook vegan for my sons and let them buy and cook meat as an accompaniment to the vegan meal. I bet that over time they would give up eating meat. What I am suggesting is that nobody (including you and me) should be forced to buy, cook or eat things which they find distasteful.
 
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Plant Muncher

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MM, Agreed! As I said, no one can force you to cook anything you don't want to cook and no one can be forced to eat vegan meals if all they really want is animal protein. I think we agree on that. I believe in self-sufficiency when it comes to preparing any type of diet. I have advocated that point here many times. Especially when I hear people say that their parents, or their partners, or their friends, or their relatives won't cook vegan for them. They should not expect others to cater to their life choices. People often say, oh, we can't eat there because what would dad eat? I always say, eat where you want. I will find something or I won't. I don't wish to burden others with my restrictive diet. I have already lost 20 pounds and feel much better than I have felt in years. The animal and environmental considerations are a bonus but my health was my primary driver for a vegan lifestyle. Things are going great.
 

rogerjolly

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Mark Mywordz and Plant Muncher appear to have very different “tolerances” toward non-vegans in their homes. At the risk of possibly being accused of “misinterpretation” or “making too many assumptions” dare I offer a reason for these differences?

Mark, like myself, is primarily vegan for ethical reasons. He feels nauseous in the meat isles of supermarkets and will not prepare “meaty” meals in his own home. I can empathise with this. Guests in our home know (usually) what to expect meal-wise and we have received only compliments. If they want to sample the world famous Whitby fish and chips they know they are welcome to take a trip into Whitby. But they would never dream of introducing non-vegan foods into our home. In the same way, when we visited relatives in Canada, we slightly bowed our heads at the table while grace was said and made no mention of our atheism. This is but common courtesy.

I might add that I even feel somewhat miffed if I take people out for a meal, as my guests, and they choose non-vegan options. There am I pouring money into the coffers of an industry I abhor!

On the other hand PM says he is primarily (though not only) vegan for health reasons. Could this explain why he is prepared to cook meat? He doesn’t feel the same depth of guilt about harm to animals?

I wonder if there is a range within veganism from the “real” vegans through to “diet” vegans.

Don’t get me wrong. If half of Yorkshire were to adopt vegan diets overnight for purely health reasons I would be first to throw my hat into the air simply because it would help the animals.

I don’t see how any of this might help Angel because her situation is very different. However I might add that as the years went by and my distance from meat eating increased so too did my distaste of being anywhere near the stuff. She might well eventually feel her revulsion to be so great that she can no longer be in the kitchen with it.

OK guys. Fire away. I am now prepared for your slings and arrows.

Roger.
 
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Plant Muncher

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I have to say that you are probably spot on in your analysis of Mark and my motivations as far as I am concerned. It is a far less emotional response for me because while I do see the harm eating animals does to the environment and all the harm in general, I simply want to live better and feel healthy and live long enough to be a burden to my children. :) HEY, WE ALL HAVE OUR GOALS.

I feel that there are just a lot of good reasons to be vegan. Even my vegetarian wife is impress with my commitment to veganism. The only downside to cooking meat for others in my opinion, is that I still remember how it tastes. It doesn't make me sick. I just know that if I did actually eat it, it would most likely make me sick. Dairy too. I have never lost my taste for meat, I just will not eat it ever again. I guess that I am a little like a former smoker or an alcoholic. They both still want to imbibe but they know the results are not acceptable. I don't crave meat or dairy but I do remember why I used to eat those things.

No slings and no arrows.

PM
 
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