"Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

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"Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#1 Postby ZenZeta » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:39 pm

First off let me say that my family has always been very vocal about how weird they think I am, and I try to ignore them for the most part. However, I am sure that my new vegan diet is going to raise a few eyebrows.

Here's my dilemma... I am an African American G.R.I.T.S (Girl Raised in the South), so I grew up around meat, meat, and more meat usually prepared in some unhealthy fashion. Where I come from, if it's not battered and deep fried, it ain't good. With the holidays fast approaching, I am sure that I won't be able to hide my new eating habits when I bypass pretty much everything that will be on the table. I have yet to understand why my family thinks LARD is a staple ingredient for vegetables...ewwwww...

I was able to squeak through a family visit a couple of weeks ago incognito. I don't think anyone picked up on the fact that I wasn't eating what they ate (I brought my own food), but I am really not ready to put up with the negative comments about something ELSE I am doing (they blame my fancy education for all these changes. Apparently, I have forgotten where I "came from"...

Anywho... any suggestions on how to deal with this? It's amazing to me that I say nothing about their choices to eat meat or not exercise, etc. (Hence the epidemic of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease in my family), but they always find the need to criticize everything I do.

How can I endure another holiday with my family without being accused of "acting white"???? I never realize that healthy diet choices were race related.... yet I digress.... Thanks!!!

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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#2 Postby Duncan_Idaho » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:44 pm

Just be vegan. Prepare your own food, eat it privately so you don't depend on what they serve on the table. If you still want to sit on their table, have a drink with them (it will be a lot easier for you if you have eaten before it). And if they don't appreciate this, tell them to go to hell (which I would do first but may be you are not me :lol: )
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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#3 Postby Vegercize » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:59 pm

That is a tough one! Whilst i'm sure I didn't get quite the reaction you're expecting... my parents (mainly my dad) fall into the "veganism is weird" department. I still haven't told my grand-parents who are Italian, and like your family they will think it's ridiculous. I too haven't decided how I'm going to approach this when I return to Australia, because on one hand I don't want to upset my 88 year old grandpa who loves cooking spag bol for me, but on the other hand there is no way I can eat meat now (coming up 12months vego).

At the end of the day I am going to have to stick by my decision and face the ridicule. I figure they will get over it after several occasions. I will make sure I won't put them out, i.e buy or make my own food, or suggest we eat out.

I think my dad was concerned I was using it as a weight loss tool, but since going vegan I have gained about 8pounds, mostly muscle. So he can't say sh*t.

All the best with your challenge :mrgreen:
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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#4 Postby Gaia » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:07 am

I do not eat meat because I do not want a living thing to be killed just for me to eat it. I know after 10+ living this way of not eating meat, that my body does not need it to survive/thrive. I do not want to know that I caused an animal suffering. This is my truth. Truth. but it is my truth. I also look to myself and say that I do not want to have or create suffering of any kind because of my truth. I accept this truth gracefully and serenely, and keep that focused in my mind.

It has been awhile since I met someone that would confront me about being vegan (or for them to understand me better I will use the term vegetarian so they can grasp the concept). I answer questions honestly. Opinions that people have are theirs, and sometimes they are very disturbing to me, but I ask myself what is my truth, my reality, and those opinions are not my truth nor my reality. I just smile and respect them that everyone has their own paths and opinions are a reflection of their own path. Some have not gone down my path, and will not comprehend, no matter how I might explain or try to teach them. You can not teach when their cup is full of knowledge and you will not be able fill any more knowledge into the cup for them. No need for you to take on this suffering on as your own. Smile, and remove all suffering from your reality. I usually do not argue, nor disagree, but just smile at them. Happy in my reality (I will smirk though when I overhear the term crazy or hippie . . but only to myself).

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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#5 Postby djshrew » Mon Oct 31, 2011 12:34 pm

This is a tough situation. People react to veganism differently. When I was 12 I became vegetarian, my parents thought it was a phase and that I'd eventually come back to "healthy"eating. When my mom realized it wasn't a phase she said to me that she was fine with my eating as long as I didn't become vegan. She thought I'd be deficient in something. When I became vegan I made it my mission to educate both of my parents that veganism wasn't detrimental to my health. They've come to see that I was right and admire my healthy eating habits (If only I could convince them to become vegan...). Convincing them that my veganism is fine was easy for me since my family holds no strong cultural ties to our eating behaviors. It is interesting how strongly we are tied to the way we eat (it is actually what I wrote about in my Masters Thesis-regarding masculinity and meat).

I wish I had better advice for you and I hope you find a helpful answer. In the meantime, the following websites may help:
I know there a plenty more (these are just the few that came to mind).

Also, maybe when you visit for the holidays you can bring a dish from the book Vegan Soul Kitchen (http://www.amazon.com/Vegan-Soul-Kitche ... 0738212288). Bryant Terry has some great veganized recipes of traditional southern food! If the food is something your family recognizes maybe they won't find it as weird (or even realize it is vegan) =D

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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#6 Postby ICanDoThis » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:03 pm

Well, here's my story. I went vegan for religious reasons then decided to stay when the holiday "fast" was over because I actually felt better than before the so-called fast. In my family the precedent for vegetarianism / veganism had been set by my sister, cousin, and nieces. All women. So I was the first guy to join the club. I felt weird at first but then it was all ok. Mostly, people want to know about protein. Some people couldn't believe it. At a wedding one person couldn't believe I didn't even care for the prime rib option because he thought it was sooooo good. However, another person looked at my veggie plate and thought it looked delicious. It was :)

Recently, I was at another family function and someone said, "you don't know all the good food you're missing." Um...yeah. I haven't tasted meat in a year and a half therefore I've forgotten. The rest of the people at the table were just curious and asked questions which I answered without being preachy.

I have friends who are vegan and have been heartily welcomed into the club. One friend said, "you've finally seen the light!" Yup. We exchange recipes!

At work it's sometimes more practical to order delivery so we can keep our break short and get things done. Some co-workers and clients remark, "you always eat so healthy" or "that looks healthy". Well I do and it is. I just smile inside.

I'll end this now by simply saying you've joined the club. When I meet other vegans & vegetarians there's always a feeling of excitement and unity! Welcome to the club!
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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#7 Postby Petitpois » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:58 pm

ZenZeta wrote:How can I endure another holiday with my family without being accused of "acting white"???? I never realize that healthy diet choices were race related.... yet I digress.... Thanks!!!

Same you had to put with the rest... my problems mainly came from my father, it was the same as you before I was veg, and it turned out to be constant bullying each meals with family (every day) for 6 years (13years old to 19), then I left his home and now have almost no contact with him...

If you can afford it, try to put it in their nose and tell them how you feel about what you just told us, it won't change anything for them (always go to their place with your own food that you can share and they would also like IF they feel like trying it), you would like them trying to understand you and appreciate you the way you are rather than being in opposition... If then can't respect you, that's a real pity but you can't hide it from your family if you still want contact with them.

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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#8 Postby mrveggieman » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:48 am

I became a vegetarian when I was 28 so I was already on my own and responsible for buying my own food. I was living in the MD/DC area back then it was around thanksving time. I sent my mother an email and she was cool 100% cool with it. She just wanted me to come by for the holidays. I also told one of my cousins in OK and he didn't have a problem with it he was just concerned that I would be getting enough protein. Fast forward a few years I moved down to the deep south and got married to a woman from SC. Her family is the poster of typical southern african american meat eaters. (I am also african american btw). Although all of them were very friendly and sweet when I told them that I didn't eat meat most of them look at me like I was from mars. They cook all of their veggies in meat so what I have to do is either bring my own food, go to a restaurant or hope and pray that there is something that has no meat residue in it. They may pick with me from time to time over my eating preference but it is all in good fun. I don't let it get to me because I know that I am the one with a healthier diet and lifestyle and I will reap the benefits from it.
Almost vegan just cant stop with the bk veggie burgers or subway veggiemax. If you want to exchange any good vegan recipies or workout tips just shoot me a pm. Thanks and be blessed.

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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#9 Postby hellguy » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:03 pm

Zen, when I told my parents about my choice to go vegetarian it felt like I was coming out. My dad was like, "Are you sure? Maybe you haven't found the right meat yet." Well, they did what every other family member has done and asked, "What are you gonna eat?"

Be yourself. Be strong. And remember, they aren't you so what may be right for them may not be right for you. Eventually they will see that you are doing what is right for you. Maybe you will even convert a few. Good luck.

" Where the attitude goes, the mind goes. Where the mind goes, the body goes. Where the body goes, others will follow"

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Re: Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#10 Postby hellguy » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:07 pm

ZenZeta wrote:How can I endure another holiday with my family without being accused of "acting white"???? I never realize that healthy diet choices were race related.... yet I digress.... Thanks!!!

One more thing. The next time they accuse you after "eating white" remind them about the increase in health issues such as heart disease, cholesterol and diabetes in the black community. Suggest that if they ate "less black" they would live longer and feel better.

" Where the attitude goes, the mind goes. Where the mind goes, the body goes. Where the body goes, others will follow"

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Re: "Coming Out" to the Family - VENT

#11 Postby sosso » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:05 pm

I like djshrew's advice. I would try learning some good vegan versions of the traditional Southern recipes and as long as they taste great, maybe make some to bring along to share with your family.

I think one of the best ways to approach it is to show them all the things that you CAN eat as a vegan, as opposed to looking at it in terms of what you can't or won't eat now.

For Vegercize, regarding your grandpa cooking spag bol for you - there's lots of veggie mince options over here. You might know about them already. Sanitarium make a good vegan one, which you can find in the fridge at most Coles or Woolworths. You could buy some of that and offer to help him cook and show that you can still have good old spag bol.

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