Newbie: Looking for Support

Jai

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Hi everyone,

A little about me. I'm in my late 40's, and have been feeling increasingly uncomfortable with an animal-based diet, and the dubious ethics surrounding farming. For reasons I can't quite explain, I have also been 'feeling' some different connection to animals for around a year.

So a couple of weeks ago I decided to start moving towards a plant-based diet. Been happy to eat whatever was already in the pantry, but have changed my grocery habits, save for dairy.

However, I am in a bad life situation with financial and mental health issues, and have been seeking help from family. This includes bring given food... Food that makes the difference between eating for days or not eating at all. And, it's not plant based ! I made it clear to my mother (again) that I cannot keep eating in this way.

And here is perhaps my first of many challenges to overcome. When I said that I want to stop eating not only meat, but all animal products, the response was "oh but your meals will be so bland!"

For the record I don't think that, and welcome the challenge as it will get me into a creative mode with food, and into the kitchen, which I enjoy. (I have also often cooked for larger groups on weekend retreats, which were 100% vegan, so I'm not coming into this as a total newbie)

A little later I mentioned that a supermarket chain in my country is selling plant-based mince (honestly hoping to plant a small seed), but the reply was "Gee that must be HORRIBLE stuff".

I also gently explained what I know about industry practices and the inhumane outcome for farmed animals, to be met with "you're so passionate about it" in a slightly condescending tone. I'm no vegan championing for change.... I just want to change my own food intake !

So it's pretty clear that I'm not going to get the support or even the recognition, and this is a bit of a problem. But I'm putting my foot down and not accepting any more food, even though it comes from good intentions to help me in desperate times. I'm just not sure where I'll go from here, but I will work it out.

Anyway that's where I'm at. Maybe I need to chat with some like minded people as I take this step. I don't know anyone IRL so that's why I joined this forum.
 
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Lou

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Hi, welcome aboard.

There are a lot of people here who can give you advice and support. I think you have made the right decision by becoming vegan but I wouldn't be so fast to discourage your friends and family.
IMHO, it's totally Ok to accept help when necessary. EVEN if the help is not vegan or from vegans. Not only do I think it's still ok for you to get support and even food from your family, I think it makes a lot of sense. You weren't vegan for 40 years. You can take as long as you need to make the transition. No one claims you have to do it overnight.

One thing that I keep in mind is that Veganism is more about intent than actions and consequences.
 

Emma JC

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welcome, Jai

Wishing you all the best with your transition. It is a journey for most, as @Lou says, and so do the best that you can do. Is it not possible that they would be just as happy to give you cans of beans or fresh fruit/veggies, even pastas and breads?

Emma JC
 

poivron

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I think I know how you feel. You go vegan and expect that your friends and family will be interested to hear your thoughts and share in your excitement. Instead, they attack you. They criticize your logic, come up with all kinds of reasons why veganism is misguided, and if all else fails, they resort to insults or manipulation. You end up feeling shocked, disappointed, and hurt.

What is going on, in fact, is that they feel threatened by your veganism. Deep down, they know you’re right , but they’re afraid to admit this even to themselves because they think going vegan would mean they would never be ablto enjoy life again.

I suppose the way to deal with this is through gentle assertiveness and patience. Make it clear to your mother that you respect her choices and her right to live her life as she wishes, but that you would like her to respect your choices as well. Tell her that this is what you want to do, and that her support would mean a lot to you. This might help her to see that your choice to go vegan is not a roundabout criticism of her and is only about you. If she loves you, she should be able to accept that and embrace you as a vegan.

Good luck!
 

Lou

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welcome, Jai

Wishing you all the best with your transition. It is a journey for most, as @Lou says, and so do the best that you can do. Is it not possible that they would be just as happy to give you cans of beans or fresh fruit/veggies, even pastas and breads?

Emma JC
OH!! what a good suggestion Emma.
 

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I didn't have much of a problem with my parents because my mother had been a vegetarian since she was 3 years old and she followed my example just about a year later. But you should have seen the look on my grandparents' faces. My grandmother didn't say anything to me (I was a vegetarian before that, which she reluctantly accepted, but veganism was too much for her) but as soon as I went vegan, she started cooking meat and fish again every time I came to visit just so that she could say "oh well, I only have this for a vegan option, as you don't eat much anymore...." and when my cousin (her other grand-daughter) tried veganism she actually said "I'm so disappointed in you."
To be honest, I couldn't help but laugh at this because it's plain ridiculous...

As for your personal choice of lifestyle: Feel no pressure and follow your gut/heart. You don't have to feel forced to refuse support from your loved ones unless you feel comfortable in doing so. Personally, I would probably not want to accept it either, and maybe try and find support elsewhere. If not, I find it to be very relaxing to explore your new lifestyle. It has almost a therapeutic effect on me when I try new recipes or when I experiment in the kitchen, or go to an organic market and buy sustainable products. It makes me feel at ease with myself and consequently with others.

Either way, I wish you the best of luck in your transition, and I dearly hope that your loved-ones will come around!
 

Jai

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Thank you all for the kind words. I'll respond to some of the points raised in summary, rather than quote blocks of text.

It's not that I expect anyone to share in my choice to move towards a plant-based diet, and I can also recognize that as a person from a western culture, it's not the 'norm', since our social conditioning around diet is one that includes animal-sourced products. I'm at a stage of my life where I have stopped caring what others think about the choices I make. I've heard similar incredulous statements in the past regarding the countries I've travelled to, and the manner in which I travel (I like to explore, and travel 'rough' rather than stay in tourist enclaves). I've lost count of the times people have said "why would you go THERE" or "why would you do THAT" haha.

Conversely, I'm telling myself that I want to consciously avoid becoming one of 'those' vegans who stand upon their soap-box and preach to all that 'meat is murder'. I know this does not represent vegans as a whole, but the sheer amount of vitriolic personalities that pervade the YouTube & social media universe might suggest otherwise to an outsider. It seems to be a symptom of the modern era that labels are assigned to choices we make, and in turn this creates a polarization between people in the community. Vegan, Carnivore, Straight, Gay, Left, Right.... none of these attributes in a person should be grounds to create any discord between us. We should all be accepting of everyone who chooses to live however the hell they wish to, without the burden of categorizations. Open dialogue is certainly an opportunity for learning, and I welcome that, but polarizing views as a platform for discrimination is of no value at all.

For me, and for the choices I wish to make regarding food, I can no longer turn a blind eye to the facts. Having seen Conspiracy when it was released, it's planted a seed in my mind, which laid dormant until I very recently saw a small part of footage from Dominion. For around 10 years now I've made some effort to make better food choices regarding 'food miles', overpackaging, environmental impact and avoiding corporate brands, so I know that changing ones' lifestyle choices is a gradual process.

It is an unfortunate circumstance right now that I'm in, being under a major financial burden and not knowing where my next meal might come from, and to be supported a little is something I'm truly grateful for. It's just a strange place to be in, determined to follow a plant based diet and have animal products thrust upon me ! Need to remind myself about the intention here (of others) actually has nothing to do with anyone trying to stop me, but rather to help me in the only way they know how to.

Anyway thanks again for all who are reading and responding, it's of comfort to be able to chat with like minded folks who have undoubtedly faced their own challenges from friends, family & society as a whole. I hope to contribute what I can to this community in the future, as well as take some advice from those with wisdom greater than my own
 

Jai

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I find it to be very relaxing to explore your new lifestyle. It has almost a therapeutic effect on me when I try new recipes or when I experiment in the kitchen
I would like to address this specifically, because I feel the same. Although I don't do so very often these days, I *love* cooking, and formulating recipes myself (rather than relying on step-by-step recipes). And I look forward to the challenge of creating meals & snacks that are meat free, rather than see it as a limitation, or that I'm missing out on something.
 

Meyersaurus

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I would like to address this specifically, because I feel the same. Although I don't do so very often these days, I *love* cooking, and formulating recipes myself (rather than relying on step-by-step recipes). And I look forward to the challenge of creating meals & snacks that are meat free, rather than see it as a limitation, or that I'm missing out on something.
Yes, me too. When I went vegan I suddenly found so many things that I had never eaten before, and you get to create so many different meals that you wouldn't even have thought of otherwise. It made me realize that maybe it's not the vegan who's missing out on stuff, but the person who refuses to get out of the norm.
Also, even if you don't get the same support you used to, I strongly believe that you will get the strength and zen to not need it anymore once you learn to embrace your new lifestyle. -> Knowing that you live a life in which no one else comes to harm, can be very enlightening, and I hope it will be for you too:)
 

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Conversely, I'm telling myself that I want to consciously avoid becoming one of 'those' vegans who stand upon their soap-box and preach to all that 'meat is murder'. I know this does not represent vegans as a whole, but the sheer amount of vitriolic personalities that pervade the YouTube & social media universe might suggest otherwise to an outsider. It seems to be a symptom of the modern era that labels are assigned to choices we make, and in turn this creates a polarization between people in the community. Vegan, Carnivore, Straight, Gay, Left, Right.... none of these attributes in a person should be grounds to create any discord between us. We should all be accepting of everyone who chooses to live however the hell they wish to, without the burden of categorizations. Open dialogue is certainly an opportunity for learning, and I welcome that, but polarizing views as a platform for discrimination is of no value at all.
I wanted to avoid becoming one of "those" vegans as well, when I transitioned because the majority just finds them to be super annoying, and tbh I often get the feeling that these vegans only transitioned so that they could boss other people around.
But, on the other hand, I have also decided to stand up for what I believe in, to defend the environment and to at least open people's eyes. I'm studying sustainable development (for now) and it really pisses me off how people can be so careless about the earth and other beings (even other humans). And if I witness bullying I will scold, if I witness littering, I will scold, and if I witness careless/excessive consumption of McDonalds meat, I will scold. I don't do it because somehow I "like" preaching, but I do it because it's important to act now. Of course I don't scold meat eaters every time they eat meat, and I don't go "eewww" when I see a hot dog, I don't even mind using the same barbecue grill as them. But the thing is my boyfriend's friends hate vegetables, they go hunting (passionately) and they eat meat three times a day, every day. To be honest, I don't even really say anything unless they joke about my "weird" lifestyle or talk in a disrespectful way about animals or nature (they love hunting, and I once heard them talking about how good it feels to stab the animal once it has been (not fatally) shot).
You see, it's not a matter of opinion anymore, because meat is eating our environment. It used to be a matter of opinion, when climate change was still a myth and industry was a matter of the future. But today, it's important for people to know that they have to reduce their consumption in meat, it's important for them to know that they have to change many aspects of their lifestyle (not just diet) because if they don't, the damages we (humans) inflicted on our planet might be irrevocable.
I know I sound very preachy right now, but I just want to make sure, that you don't feel forced to keep quiet because you would be considered annoying. The only reason people find it annoying is because they know you're right.
Don't get me wrong, I used to avoid even saying that I'm vegan because people find that annoying already. And when someone asked me about why and how I went vegan I would always try to cut the conversation short because god forbid I'd come off as preachy. But after having learned more about the circumstances of society, the environment and consumerism, I don't feel like I'm the one who needs to keep quiet. In fact, I feel like I have to be louder than ever and spread the truth as fast as possible. Everyone should hear me, and everyone should hear you too.
 
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poivron

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It's not that I expect anyone to share in my choice to move towards a plant-based diet, and I can also recognize that as a person from a western culture, it's not the 'norm', since our social conditioning around diet is one that includes animal-sourced products. I'm at a stage of my life where I have stopped caring what others think about the choices I make. I've heard similar incredulous statements in the past regarding the countries I've travelled to, and the manner in which I travel (I like to explore, and travel 'rough' rather than stay in tourist enclaves). I've lost count of the times people have said "why would you go THERE" or "why would you do THAT" haha.

Conversely, I'm telling myself that I want to consciously avoid becoming one of 'those' vegans who stand upon their soap-box and preach to all that 'meat is murder'. I know this does not represent vegans as a whole, but the sheer amount of vitriolic personalities that pervade the YouTube & social media universe might suggest otherwise to an outsider. It seems to be a symptom of the modern era that labels are assigned to choices we make, and in turn this creates a polarization between people in the community. Vegan, Carnivore, Straight, Gay, Left, Right.... none of these attributes in a person should be grounds to create any discord between us. We should all be accepting of everyone who chooses to live however the hell they wish to, without the burden of categorizations. Open dialogue is certainly an opportunity for learning, and I welcome that, but polarizing views as a platform for discrimination is of no value at all.

For me, and for the choices I wish to make regarding food, I can no longer turn a blind eye to the facts. Having seen Conspiracy when it was released, it's planted a seed in my mind, which laid dormant until I very recently saw a small part of footage from Dominion. For around 10 years now I've made some effort to make better food choices regarding 'food miles', overpackaging, environmental impact and avoiding corporate brands, so I know that changing ones' lifestyle choices is a gradual process.

It is an unfortunate circumstance right now that I'm in, being under a major financial burden and not knowing where my next meal might come from, and to be supported a little is something I'm truly grateful for. It's just a strange place to be in, determined to follow a plant based diet and have animal products thrust upon me ! Need to remind myself about the intention here (of others) actually has nothing to do with anyone trying to stop me, but rather to help me in the only way they know how to.
I think you misread what I wrote. I didn’t say “share in your choices”; I said, “share in your excitement“. I’m not sure how you got from what I wrote that you should be going around preaching to others about how they’re committing murder. If you had read any of my other posts, you would know that that is not the sort of vegan I am.

Having had the experience of being criticized by my friends upon first going vegan, and having observed people’s reactions to my veganism over the past six years, I simply wanted to offer my opinion about why your mother might be opposing your choices, and how you might be able to turn her into an ally so that she gives you vegan food rather than animal products. But instead I get a lecture about how you don’t care what people think of your choices.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to take the time to reply to these types of posts.
 
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Forest Nymph

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Welcome. If you have financial issues but love to cook, the good news is you can combine simple dried, canned, frozen and found ingredients to prepare simple dishes that are sometimes healthier than products that are pricey. A homemade curry is undoubtedly more nutritious than a Daiya vegan pepperoni pizza, though the latter is fun to have once in a while.

Beans, rice, potatoes, herbs, spices, bouillon, garlic and onions are all pretty cheap. You can also pick up nutritional yeast, canned coconut milk, oil, vinegar, and condiments inexpensively a little at a time. Then each week add or mix up your fresh, canned and or frozen fruits and vegetables. If you have money left over then you can get those vegan products or fancy breads or other special items you prefer. Nuts and seeds are nice to have too.

My experience is that it's easier to tell people you don't like or want meat than anything else. Then they might give you a casserole with dairy in it or something with eggs, a box of granola bars with honey or a loaf of bread that's not vegan, but at least you're not directly purchasing animal products yourself, not eating flesh and likely only eating smaller amounts of animal products in things.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I think you misread what I wrote. I didn’t say “share in your choices”; I said, “share in your excitement“. I’m not sure how you got from what I wrote that you should be going around preaching to others about how they’re committing murder. If you had read any of my other posts, you would know that that is not the sort of vegan I am.

Having had the experience of being criticized by my friends upon first going vegan, and having observed people’s reactions to my veganism over the past six years, I simply wanted to offer my opinion about why your mother might be opposing your choices, and how you might be able to turn her into an ally so that she gives you vegan food rather than animal products. But instead I get a lecture about how you don’t care what people think of your choices.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to take the time to reply to these types of posts.
Your post is so unnecessarily passive aggressive and irritating. Nothing the OP said was inflammatory towards you. I have had to deal with your BS in the past. I would rather deal with a screaming violent vegan all day long than someone who constantly plays self righteous martyr the way you do.
 
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Jai

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I think you misread what I wrote. I didn’t say “share in your choices”; I said, “share in your excitement“. I’m not sure how you got from what I wrote that you should be going around preaching to others about how they’re committing murder. If you had read any of my other posts, you would know that that is not the sort of vegan I am.

Having had the experience of being criticized by my friends upon first going vegan, and having observed people’s reactions to my veganism over the past six years, I simply wanted to offer my opinion about why your mother might be opposing your choices, and how you might be able to turn her into an ally so that she gives you vegan food rather than animal products. But instead I get a lecture about how you don’t care what people think of your choices.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to take the time to reply to these types of posts.
What ridiculous response. Contrary to what you may assume, the world does not revolve around you, there are other people in this thread, and I should feel comfortable in expressing *MY* thoughts without someone assuming it is a critique of *THEIR* thoughts. If I were to be addressing you specifically, I would have quoted you.

Take a deep breath, and chill out. Note that I will not be feeding your desire for conflict after posting this reply, nor responding to you again if you persist with this puerile behaviour.
 

Jai

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@Forest Nymph

Hi, and thanks for the welcome. Yes, those are great suggestions. And it made me consider that I do have it pretty good for cheap food sources. I'm only a few miles from my city's largest providore hub where all the produce that comes into the city for distribution, and which is open to the public twice a week (fruit & veg is 1/3rd of the price compared to the major supermarkets). I also already am comfortable shopping in Indian & Middle Eastern suburbs (spices are way cheaper) & Korean grocery stores where the tofu is cheap, fresh and locally produced. Right now I guess I need to formulate a game plan and think about what I need for a weeks' worth of meals, and get started.

Well I don;t need to just yet, since I have a few days of food in the fridge thanks to well-meaning donations.... most of which are animal based *sigh*. Never mind, I'll eat myself out of stock and start from there. I am also fortunate that there is no temptation in my home apart from what I bring into it, since my housemate is not a meat or fish eater - no wafting bacon aromas tempting me to the dark side haha.
 

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Hi, Jai!

How I understand you. I'm also a newbie in vegan, just of few months.

Three years ago I was trying to become a vegetarian and reduce to eat animal meat. When I said to my family about it, they weren't happy with my decision but they didn't say something. My mother continued cooked meat and all of my friends eat meat, and everybody looked at me like I'm from another planet. So, I can understand you, how it is difficult when you are not getting any support from your family. And after one year I stopped.

Last summer I've been on a cruise to Norway and we've got a vegan group on it. I found new friends and same minded people. And I decided to try one more. Hope this time I will be stronger and will find support here.

And I wish you to be strong with your transition and lifestyle.
 
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Jai

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And I wish you to be strong with your transition and lifestyle.
Today was a bit tough, I had this overwhelming urge to buy myself some salami (it's my weakness!). Funny how the mind works.

It's not as if I'm even totally plant-based yet. As mentioned in my first post I was given food a while ago to help me as I'm in a personal crisis with finances. That's just about gone now, bar one more meal. I felt it would be wasteful to throw away stuff on principal, almost as if an animal died in vain. And I've been adamant to not buying any meat products, so far so good.

Good news is that I'm unlikely to get any more food. Feels like a load off my mind, as it's been a challenge to justify it to myself. I spoke to my mother yesterday, she is mindful of my choices. Still can't quite grasp it though... a comment was "I know you're not eating meat, but do you want a few bacon and mushroom pies?". All I could do was laugh. It's probably the plight of pigs that's been the most influential in my decision.
 

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In my experience, you won't find a whole lot of support from non-vegan friends or family. This is also one of the reasons I am here. My family lives
abroad, so I do not eat with them, nor do I need to endure the kinds of disparaging comments you are starting to experience. However, the resistance and bs sometimes come out in phone conversations when the subject of food or veganism is brought up. With friends (who I do see) there has never been any hard feelings - but I have had to tell them multiple times I am vegan, because they seem to forget and still offer me animal products. Although I have eaten with them at family (their family) gatherings (brought my own food last time to share, which was accepted but it wasn't touched, lol), I noticed just recently that "because they were having dinner now" it was "time for me to go". Ok, that's new. I've never pressured or lectured anyone, so there is no precedent - and I'm guessing it's just because they do not want to think about the fact that someone they know that has been vegan for over 1.5 years now is still a vegan and not dead/weak popping multiple supplements to survive - and they are choosing to eat animal products.

Do not expect support from non-vegans, not family nor friends. They may not be totally against what you are doing - but there will be envy there, and
disbelief, unwarranted skepticism and any health complaint you might have (that could be building up from the whole of your life before going vegan), will likely be blamed on veganism. If you're feeling under the weather because you boozed it up the night before and didn't specifically disclose that - they will be thinking it's your veganism. Not exaggerating, here.
 

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Things are so different now. There are tons of options as more and more companies offer plant-based options. Restaurants too are adding vegan options. And the food is GOOD!!!
 
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