Not wanting to join family and office events...

Anj.reb

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Anyone here finding themselves to be avoiding going to events?

I recently turned vegan and I just no longer want to be attending family and office gatherings because: one, I have nothing to eat; and two, I don't want to keep explaining myself to people.

Anyone here feeling that way?
 

Lou

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Anyone here finding themselves to be avoiding going to events?

I recently turned vegan and I just no longer want to be attending family and office gatherings because: one, I have nothing to eat; and two, I don't want to keep explaining myself to people.

Anyone here feeling that way?

I think for a short period I felt that way. But it didn't last very long. And I think the only reason I felt that way was because I hadn't really "tested the waters".

1 - nothing to eat.
That almost never happens. There is almost always a vegetable tray at parties.* Also, I have found that my own family is accommodating. Some of them are super about it but they are all at least conscious about my concerns. One time I was at a Gallery opening and I was hanging around the vegetable tray and the hummus and "discovered" two more vegans. They were talking about the pros and cons of hummus and I overheard.
You can also take a page out of the weight watchers handbook and eat your "special foods" beforehand.

2- explaining yourself
This is a feature - not a bug. Or an opportunity - not an obstacle. One of my favorite fictional characters has a saying. Never miss an opportunity to befriend and educate.

* nutrition wise, it's not that different to eat a half pound of vegetables from a party tray and eating a half pound of salad. Dr. Fuhrman would think it's a great idea.
 

Anj.reb

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Thanks for your reply, Lou!

I guess it's kind of different here in the Philippines where there are no vegan options during events -- not even salads. I guess I would have to tell the host beforehand about my food preference (and that's what I don't want to do, I don't want other people to feel that I'm trying to make myself seem important). Well I guess, that comes with the newness of being vegan. Same as with the explaining myself. Hopefully, things will be better over time.

Thanks again for replying to my first post ever! :)
 
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We usually prepare beforehand, gauge the offerings based on who is hosting, and fuel up appropriately before we go. We always have snacks stashed in case things drag on. It is a little easier with Little Chickpea, we have an excuse to carry a baby bag full of snacks.

You'll adjust and get used to it over time. There's always little strategies to help get by and get through. In a few situations where I'm stuck without a meal, I try to see the bright side in it. Either, I can eat more of the good stuff later, or maybe I'm trying this new fasting fad and skipping a meal. :p
 

Emma JC

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Anyone here finding themselves to be avoiding going to events?

I recently turned vegan and I just no longer want to be attending family and office gatherings because: one, I have nothing to eat; and two, I don't want to keep explaining myself to people.

Anyone here feeling that way?
Would you not be able to bring something to the event? A simple rice/veggies dish or pasta/veggies dish is not expensive and you could make lots so that others could have some if they wished?

I do understand the feeling and that has been my way of dealing with it. It does sometimes feel like we are 'standing apart' and that is not always a bad thing. Like @Lou finding the other vegans....

Emma JC
 

Anj.reb

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Thank you for all your kind replies!

I thought of all those options as well, I guess it just all boils down to me not wanting to explain myself and being easily affected by negative remarks.

Working on it, though!
 

Jamie in Chile

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Some people report feeling like this at the start and getting used to it.

Bring something to eat.

Make the effort to answer the questions honestly and politely.

You could occasionally skip one that's not particularly important that comes when you are at a low moment, but in general I wouldn't do this.

Good luck.
 

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I agree with most of the people here, the key is preparing for your trip out. Pack your lunch, carry snacks, research restaurants at which everyone can dine together. I'm so overly prepared from being vegan (and probably from traveling on foot and going on camping trips alone) that I sometimes have food to share with vegetarian or omni friends and classmates because they aren't as used to this being their "default" setting.

I hang out at a local cafe a lot with friends and acquaintances, mostly from my uni, and they have scanty vegan selections. However, I have befriended the lone vegan bartender, who informs me when vegan burgers are in stock. Luckily they also sell snacks like granola bars and Complete Cookies, but I usually just go there for coffee, tea or alcohol to socialize. That cuts a lot of the crap. Having drinks with people is a lot less stressful.

There are still situations I won't join though. I'm genuinely offended by environmental groups and clubs that serve red meat at their functions. That's not me speaking as a vegan, that's hardcore me speaking as an environmentalist. I'm like - ham sandwiches and pepperoni pizza? You're not even trying! Can you at least pretend to be a pescatarian for two hours? I've petitioned my own colleges (both of them in California) and have envisioned a grad school project around this completely unacceptable annoyance. It is absolutely okay to draw the line somewhere. For some people that's family trips to the zoo, for me it's redwood chapter meetings serving cow or pig flesh.
 

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I understand your frustation because I was exactly like that at the beginning and what I have found is that this happens to a lot of newbies.

What I also do is to have something worth me as the others are saying but I always have a snack with me like nuts or a bar filled with protein to help me stay fuller should I get to an even and it they forgot to cater for me by mistake (which has happened before by the way).

What I have learnt about being vegan is that you almost have to always be proactive since in most cases you are different and so it is great to show them who you really our because more often than not most of them would envy your lifestyle (we only know people who go vegan for a little while just to loose weight).

Just see your new diet as a blessing to others and overtime all the pressure will be gone.

Remember when you start something new it is always hard and after a while it becomes second nature.
 
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Connie

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I understand your frustrations.
I hate social events .they only exception had been my husband's works events because we've been here a couple of years now and everyone knows we're vegan and that I have a fatal allergy to dairy proteins so everyone is super careful with food for me .
But even with family events when I'm back in my home country it is difficult , super difficult. Some people are more than happy for us to have brought something , others are happy for us to have eaten beforehand or leave early for us to go and easy, but then others get offended if we bring our own food . My mother won't even try to feed me despite it actually being really easy. It just varies from place to place. We have taken to always keeping something with us in the car or knowing of a vegan restaurant we can bale to our get a takeaway from (most of our friends here live in the city or local towns unlike us ,but we've always been able to find something in Australia so far, or home country was much harder ).

When my husband and I are travelling around the world we would avoid eating out in some countries just because of the issues surrounding bring vegan where the concept wasn't even understood , so I really understand the problem and sympathise.
 
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Mbeth

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There’s a lot of great tips here on how to prepare ahead of time and select food to eat at functions, so I’ll just touch on what I do about having to explain my food choices.
I’ve discovered that most of the time I don’t have to say anything at all. I have a lot of lunch meetings that are located at restaurants with no officially vegan options. So far, no one has ever questioned me why I’m only eating a side salad and fries. People are usually more concerned with their own food. And I don’t feel like I have to go into a full explanation of my vegan journey with everyone who asks - just like I can be selective about what I share about any other part of my life. It depends on who is asking, why they’re asking and how much I feel like sharing. You’re not obligated to explain yourself.
 

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For me , l do not like sitting next to people who are eating animal flesh , so l don't go to lunches or dinners socially , unless it is at least a vegetarian affair . I do not wish to see or smell cooked animal flesh , particularly right next to me , as l find it disgusting to my senses .. As it would be to most people to have human flesh ( or dog flesh) on a dinner plate near them ..

No-one is obligated to explain themselves , but when asked , l just say that to me animals are not food , and l use the human-flesh example to convey what it feels like to be around it . Most people get that . If they don't , that's fine - they don't have to understand or relate to my ethics or values , any more than l have to relate to theirs .

All we have to do is be true to ourselves , stand firm in that truth , smile and be kind ( even to people who might make fun of your choices) and just Be the best version of yourself you can possibly be .. Never allow yourself to be dragged into a war of words or ideas with anyone , as this only alienates people from each other and creates division and hostility .. It never wins over any converts , either .

It's always wise to state your case with softness , kindness , and calmness , then move on .. If you appear calm and joyful , no matter what others say or think , that is the best ad for your life-choices , and others will probably be envious of your peaceful state ..

Veganism is , after all , about being peaceful towards all beings - so how can you convey that from a disturbed , upset or bothered state ? It can only be truly conveyed from a peaceful state .

Stay calm and live that peace , and be blessed , everyone !
Joy and love to all , Blissful x
 
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Being offended is a luxury. I do not have the luxury of being offended about by the existence of zoos. I do have the luxury of being offended by bullfighting. I can only be offended when it is politically correct.
 

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I don't like to ever ask anybody to make special accommodations for me and hate to draw any attention at all to myself. I have not told a single person that I'm making the transition to vegan, except for on this forum. I can hide my veganism behind my weight loss diet. I meal prep and usually don't eat anything I didn't pack for myself. People can see how much weight I'm losing and they just see everything I'm eating as "diet food". Fortunately, at work, there are enough vegetarians that at every work party there are vegetarian options and usually some of those happen to be vegan. I must confess to giving in to an occasional cupcake, though......it's so hard to stay away from the desserts. About 75% of the time I turn down dessert. No matter where I go, I can bring food. So - I never have to go hungry. Most of the parties I go to are potluck so it's easy to bring something I like and just eat what I bring.

On the rare occasions I go out to eat with a group, I eat before we leave and then when I get there I just act like I'm not very hungry and get something "light". Chips and salsa (I'm not going to ask the waiter if the chips are vegan, they're "vegan enough" for me at this point in my journey), salad....

People really don't care that much what you eat. They're too busy thinking about themselves. Do you pay much attention to what others are eating? Might there be a "closet vegan" in your midst? Would you notice if there was one? People don't care what you eat, they just don't want a guilt trip, and they don't want to have to make special accommodations for others. Sometimes all it takes to send people on a guilt trip is to mention you don't eat animal products for ethical reasons......I try to avoid any mention of ethics and if anybody asks about something I'm eating I just talk about the health benefits.

Unless you're a kid, of course......then you have well meaning adults looking out for your nutrition. I feel sorry for kids trying to go vegan.
 

Emma JC

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I don't like to ever ask anybody to make special accommodations for me and hate to draw any attention at all to myself. I have not told a single person that I'm making the transition to vegan, except for on this forum. I can hide my veganism behind my weight loss diet. I meal prep and usually don't eat anything I didn't pack for myself. People can see how much weight I'm losing and they just see everything I'm eating as "diet food". Fortunately, at work, there are enough vegetarians that at every work party there are vegetarian options and usually some of those happen to be vegan. I must confess to giving in to an occasional cupcake, though......it's so hard to stay away from the desserts. About 75% of the time I turn down dessert. No matter where I go, I can bring food. So - I never have to go hungry. Most of the parties I go to are potluck so it's easy to bring something I like and just eat what I bring.

On the rare occasions I go out to eat with a group, I eat before we leave and then when I get there I just act like I'm not very hungry and get something "light". Chips and salsa (I'm not going to ask the waiter if the chips are vegan, they're "vegan enough" for me at this point in my journey), salad....

People really don't care that much what you eat. They're too busy thinking about themselves. Do you pay much attention to what others are eating? Might there be a "closet vegan" in your midst? Would you notice if there was one? People don't care what you eat, they just don't want a guilt trip, and they don't want to have to make special accommodations for others. Sometimes all it takes to send people on a guilt trip is to mention you don't eat animal products for ethical reasons......I try to avoid any mention of ethics and if anybody asks about something I'm eating I just talk about the health benefits.

Unless you're a kid, of course......then you have well meaning adults looking out for your nutrition. I feel sorry for kids trying to go vegan.
There are as many different ways of dealing with this as there are people in the world and we each should handle it in a way that keeps us on track, comfortable with our decisions and respectful of those around us.

I live a distance from family and so have rare in person interactions with them however on a recent visit home I was so pleasantly surprised by how supportive they were. My sister-in-law (with whom I stayed) went out of her way to ask what I needed and the night of my arrival cooked a vegan chili (her first ever). I also brought my own food for the Fathers Day event the next night and so no one was inconvenienced and most wanted to try my food. They were also jealous as I had vegan meatballs and they just had lasagna. lol

As you get more and more comfortable and the effects of new "diet" are visible, you will get questions and if you aren't comfortable saying you are vegan then you can say you are following a whole food plant-based "diet" as it is the only diet that has been shown to halt and reverse heart disease. That might get their attention in a good way.

Emma JC
 
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Mom2vegan

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There are as many different ways of dealing with this as there are people in the world and we each should handle it in a way that keeps us on track, comfortable with our decisions and respectful of those around us.

I live a distance from family and so have rare in person interactions with them however on a recent visit home I was so pleasantly surprised by how supportive they were. My sister-in-law (with whom I stayed) went out of her way to ask what I needed and the night of my arrival cooked a vegan chili (her first ever). I also brought my own food for the Fathers Day event the next night and so no one was inconvenienced and most wanted to try my food. They were also jealous as I had vegan meatballs and they just had lasagna. lol

As you get more and more comfortable and the effects of new "diet" are visible, you will get questions and if you aren't comfortable saying you are vegan then you can say you are following a whole food plant-based "diet" as it is the only diet that has been shown to halt and reverse heart disease. That might get their attention in a good way.

Emma JC
Your sister in law must be a lovely woman! I'll bet she enjoyed the chili too, and maybe will cook more meatless meals? Did you share your vegan meatballs and did everyone enjoy them?

When my son and daughter-in-law went vegan, and we weren't vegan, it was hard to plan for their visits. I would look up recipes but my daughter-in-law is allergic to everything under the sun and refuses to eat beans or lentils because she hates the texture so it worked out better when they bought the food.

My husband thinks I'm just cooking a whole food plant-based diet :) He's loving the smell of the pea soup I'm making and I'm sure he'll enjoy a bowl. Now - if I told him it was "vegan" pea soup......he wouldn't get within 10 feet of it. It's something about the word "vegan."
 
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TofuRobot

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1 - nothing to eat.
That almost never happens.
Oh, this can totally happen. You're not hanging out with the right people, @Lou ;) ...This would happen at any holiday event where I work, if I were not to mention anything in advance. And it happens all the time with my son's dad's family. When I first was introduced to these people, my SILs to-be were very concerned about there being something for me to eat. As the years went by they just stopped altogether. One holiday even (NYE/Xmas/can't remember) there wasn't any type of vegetable dish that did not have meat in it. There wasn't even a salad! Even the mashed potatoes had bacon in it (I was pescatarian at the time). I learned to bring my own food, as I'm now having to tell my son to do, as he's experienced the same thing on multiple occasions (he's 16). (And literally everyone is either overweight or has a heart problem, or is no longer alive - due to diet-preventable diseases. It boggles the mind.)

There are as many different ways of dealing with this as there are people in the world and we each should handle it in a way that keeps us on track, comfortable with our decisions and respectful of those around us.
Very true. And, I might add, an equal number of varying moods.

I will say this, though, there is a bonus in making a special request in advance, if you are feeling up to it. Last time I did, I discovered someone else also got the "special sandwich" and everyone was asking us "Oooh, what are you eating?? It looks good!" And I'm super glad then that I did ask, because there was a pasta with marinara sauce and no cheese but it wasn't very good and the chickpea sandwich I did get was super good. At least a couple of people were admiring what we were eating... Who knows - they might think to ask for it next time. The fact that we're out there (when we choose to be), eating something yummy and different (and looking great doing it ;) ), plants a seed. And more people thinking about meals without animal flesh increases demand, which is a good thing. :)