People who aren’t vegan and refuse to research the subject will never understand our ways, which is why arguments often arise. Turn those people into family, and you’ve got yourself a bomb mix. Since family members tend to not keep quiet about other family members’ life decisions, you’re often left bombarded with “facts” on why your choice of being vegan is wrong. Unfortunately, yes, there will always be an Uncle Joe or Aunt Judy who just can’t seem to let it go, regardless of how long you’ve been in this lifestyle. Now that the holidays are coming, with Aunt Judy and Uncle Joe, I feel that it's important to know how to survive family gatherings without screaming on top of your lungs that you will not die from lack of protein.
Here are a few tips.
Don't bring up the subject
There’s honestly no point in mentioning to everyone that you’re vegan. I know it’s tempting, especially when you also want to let your family know about the truth behind the meat industry, but in this case, silence is golden. Your Aunt Judy might insist on you trying her homemade steak pie, but it’s better to say that you don’t like steak pie instead of hearing her go on and on about how you won’t get enough protein by being vegan. We know it’s not true, but others don’t. Share more of your wonderful events and less of your food choices to keep a peaceful family environment.
Make a vegan meal for yourself
If your parents or siblings know and respect your vegan ways, ask them to make a vegan alternative for you, if possible. If no one in your family really appreciates the fact that you chose animals’ lives over a meaty BBQ, make a vegan meal before you go meet everyone and bring it with you. This way, you’ll be able to eat something during dinner without having to mention all the time that you’re vegan and don’t eat animals. Since vegan meals are also extremely delicious, chances are that everyone will ask for the recipe. What better way to tell them that being vegan is awesome than to give them a vegan recipe that they asked for?
If the cat is out of the bag and everyone starts talking about your vegan ways, make sure you are prepared with hard facts on why you decided to go vegan. The goal isn’t to just blast them with facts on the subject, but to actually educate your family about why you decided to go vegan and why they should understand and respect your decision. You can bring with you online research that will help them have a better picture of what being vegan is really about. You know why you’re vegan, so let them know too. If they plan on bringing you down for your choices, which most people tend to do with things they’re not familiar with, be ready to defend yourself.
Bring a vegan friend
If you’re too nervous about meeting the whole family alone, ask if you can bring a friend of yours to the event. Having a friend that is vegan will help you feel more at ease during the family gathering, especially if things start heating up about your food choices. Your partner in crime can support you during dinner and can help you argue facts about the vegan ways, should the discussion rise up.
Be at peace
You know why you decided to become vegan, and you know the benefits of being vegan, so it doesn’t matter than other people think. Be at peace with yourself and realize that not everyone will understand your choices, even those closest to you. If your family wants to talk all night about how you’re not getting the right nutrients by being vegan, let them talk. You did the research and you know what nutrients you need to eat in order to function, that’s all that matters.
It might be hard to see how much your family loves you when they’re hitting on your lifestyle choices, but they just want to make sure that you’re being smart about your food choices. Think about it, if they didn’t care about you, they wouldn’t even ask about why you decided to go vegan, they’d just nod shyly.
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