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I need to vent anyone want to listen?


Amy
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My brother just called me on the phone from his car a few minutes ago. He and his family had just been to a dairy farm in central Illinois. He wanted to let me know how they (him, his wife, and their four children) got to milk a cow and see how cheese was made. He wanted me to know that the animals were not being treated bad at all. He also suggested that I go on the tour of the farm since it was inexpensive. I don't know what he expected me to say. I am ticked. My family has not been supportive of my choice to become vegan. My brother goes out of his way to prove me wrong about my decision. I have shared with him videos and my concerns that have lead me to making the decision to become vegan. He just laughs at me. He will call me from a restaurant and let me know how good the steak is that he is eating. He thinks it is a fun way to tease me. When I get upset with him and let him know that I am upset about what he is doing, he then gets angry with me and tells me that what I am doing is unhealthy.

 

My mom was here visiting this past week. I suggested we get a pizza for dinner. She said I couldn't eat pizza since it had cheese. She then paused and said "You mean you want to order pizza without cheese?????? Amy, why are you doing this to yourself? Can you please explain this to me?" She was furious with me. I offered to show her materials and videos that have helped me to make this decision and she ignored me.

 

My family treats me like I have an eating disorder!!!!!!! I do not force my family to eat what I eat. I do not make them feel guilty for eating meat. I want to scream and cry at the same time. I don't understand why my family can not be supportive.

 

Thanks for letting me vent.

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let me know how good the steak is that he is eating. He thinks it is a fun way to tease me. When I get upset with him and let him know that I am upset about what he is doing, he then gets angry with me and tells me that what I am doing is unhealthy. :

 

Neither is a grown man teasing another adult about their core values, especially an adult who is in a valued relationship with him.

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My brother just called me on the phone from his car a few minutes ago. He and his family had just been to a dairy farm in central Illinois. He wanted to let me know how they (him, his wife, and their four children) got to milk a cow and see how cheese was made. He wanted me to know that the animals were not being treated bad at all. He also suggested that I go on the tour of the farm since it was inexpensive. I don't know what he expected me to say. I am ticked. My family has not been supportive of my choice to become vegan. My brother goes out of his way to prove me wrong about my decision. I have shared with him videos and my concerns that have lead me to making the decision to become vegan. He just laughs at me. He will call me from a restaurant and let me know how good the steak is that he is eating. He thinks it is a fun way to tease me. When I get upset with him and let him know that I am upset about what he is doing, he then gets angry with me and tells me that what I am doing is unhealthy.

 

My mom was here visiting this past week. I suggested we get a pizza for dinner. She said I couldn't eat pizza since it had cheese. She then paused and said "You mean you want to order pizza without cheese?????? Amy, why are you doing this to yourself? Can you please explain this to me?" She was furious with me. I offered to show her materials and videos that have helped me to make this decision and she ignored me.

 

My family treats me like I have an eating disorder!!!!!!! I do not force my family to eat what I eat. I do not make them feel guilty for eating meat. I want to scream and cry at the same time. I don't understand why my family can not be supportive.

 

Thanks for letting me vent.

I'm sorry to hear this; I'd never call my family supportive as such but they rarely get nasty about it.

 

 

I suppose you could say something along the lines of 'empirically prove it or shut up,' but i guess you might have tried this and omnis tend to (when beaten) say a vague 'we naturally eat meat' even if you prove that by not eating corpses you are not actually missing out on vital nutrients. (I also like to point out that a herbivore can actually digest meat i.e a cow given meat feed and a carnivore can live on plants; vegan dog biscuits! so the fact that we can eat meat too means sod all).

 

 

With my omni friends if no one is in the mood for an explanation i just remind them that I could kick their asses...but this isnt v ladylike unfortunately which might kind of put you off

 

 

I suppose if you were super fit and healthy you can always rub this in their faces with a grim compare and contrast and attribute it completely to your vegan diet, oh and maybe point out some ailments that disapeared when you took it up (if there are none I'd personally just exaggerate/lie a little; its for the greater good!)

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I don't know how old you are, as far as parental concerns go. Everyone has right to their opinion. And they do have some valid concerns. People can do themselves damage by following any kind on diet or eating regiment if they are not careful about what it is that they are eating. So don't be to hard on them, even your knuckleheaded bro.

What I think you should do is, let them know that your choice of diet/ lifestyle, is off limits to there discusions/ridicule/ concerns. Let them know that is they wish to be critical about thing, that you will not stand for it, and that they can just keep their opinions to themselves, or just go away. I sometimes use the example of: that if you read all the covers of all the health magazines today you will not read about how so and so cured his heart desease, diabetes, etc. etc. by eating more meat and cholestrerol, but in fact the contrary is what you read. I feel for you. Be strong.

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Thank you to everyone who read my post and expressed support. I don't have any local vegan friends. As to the previous post, I am 36. I have not lived at home since I was 19. My brother is 2 1/2 years older than I am. We live about 20 minutes from each other. My parents live in Kentucky (6 hours away). My family has always been close to each other. We do tease each other on occasion but recently I feel they have ganged up on me. I do care what my family thinks about the decisions I make in my life. When I became a vegetarian my mom was more supportive than my father or brother. When I became vegan, nobody has been supportive. I was even at my brother's house babysitting last weekend. My 12 year old nephew was making comments to me about my food choices. Children soak up so much information from their parents. My nephew is now expressing concern. I guess I need to sit down with my brother and have a talk with him one more time. If I don't soon, I feel that I am going to show up somewhere only to find out that I am in the middle of my own intervention.

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Amy, you're great for staying strong! It doesn't really matter what his parents say to that kid. You're living proof to him that people can think independently and act with conscience. That's such an important lesson. It's too bad other kids don't have role models like you in their lives.

 

Probably your family is acting on 3 different motivations. They must be worried about you. You can counteract that with just really basic info that vegan diets are healthy. If they want more info, give it to them, but in my experience, it's counterproductive to bombard them with it. They probably also see you as rejecting their values. That can hurt pretty bad, but they'll get over it once they fully realize veganism does not equal Jim Jones Koolaid cult style family rejection. They could also see your lifestyle as a threat to the status quo lifestyle they're trying to instill into the next generation. My advice to that is to make their worst fears come true, and turn all the little ones in your family into raging vegan storm troopers, however you can!

 

Keep those vegan fires burning! (unless you go raw, in which case, keep those fires out!)

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My advice to that is to make their worst fears come true, and turn all the little ones in your family into raging vegan storm troopers, however you can!

 

 

I LOVE it! LOL I have 4 little ones in the family. I have my work cut out for me.

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It sucks when people that you'reclose to aren't supportive! But don't worry it'll all end up on a positive note, because they'll end up seeing how much healthier you are.

On another positive note: Yesterday my brother who's only vegetarian finished up some pizza that his girls wouldn't eat, and wound up getting violently ill because of it, and now pretty much want s to be vegan! Not that I'm glad that my brother got sick, , but now at least he knows that dairy products aren't good for him.

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Congrats Amy on being strong! We all need to rant now and again. I bet things will get easier over time!

 

By the way, one rhetorical trick I use when people ask something along the lines of, “Is it safe to be a vegan” or “Are there any nutritional downsides”?

 

I answer, yes, “there certainly are some downsides”. Then I go through issues like B-12, vitamin D, calcium, how people can eat junk vegan food, excessive sodium, eating too many fried things….etc. Then I explain how all of those problems can be overcome, relatively simply. I’ve found that this tactic is pretty good because: 1) you don’t appear brainwashed, 2) you acknowledge their gut skepticism isn’t completely without merit, and 3) you can credibly convey how easy the inherent problems in veganism can be solved, and 4) it gives you a bit more credibility in general because some of the problems that vegans encounter overlap with people on any diet (eating processed/fried foods, excessive sodium). Then, if people are still interested, then you can discuss some of the evidence that shows the huge upsides of avoiding meat, dairy, and eggs and the numerous studies that underline the importance of plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

 

Another strategy to use is to ask them questions that will prove you right. For example:

 

You:“Have you ever heard of any studies that show that vegetables can fight cancer?”

 

Answer, “Yes, I once heard something about tomatoes…etc”

 

You: “Exactly, dozens of studies in the last few years show the phytonutrients and phytochemichals have a key role in preventing cancer”

 

That technique allows them to psychologically take credit for the information that you’re giving them.

 

Another technique to use, when people are joking with you/giving you shit for your diet, ie, saying “I’m eating a juicy steak right now!” is to say something like, “I’m eating some tasty grass and alfalpha right now!” In other words, while joking with the person, minimize what you eat to absurd levels that even the most skeptical meat eater would know to be too limiting. They might then ask, seriously, “where do you get your protein?” Or some other valid question. I think the point is to refuse to engage in a serious discussion when the person is mocking what you eat. If they don’t want to engage in serious discussion, then that’s fine too.

 

Anyway, these are just a few things I’ve done when confronted my skeptical or hostile people. Good luck!

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Sorry to hear you are at odds with your family. It's times like those I was glad that this forum and it's supportive members existed.

 

Try to keep in mind that they have been fed false government created "nutrition" information since they were all very young. It is family tradition to buy into this misinformation. To them you probably do have an eating disorder. To psychologists probably a decade ago we all would have appeared to have eating disorders. Veganism is certainly not the norm and has not been the norm. My family was shocked and confused when I stopped with the meat eating. I had to answer a lot of questions, and I still answer some or make clarifications for those who are not immediate family. My parents and close friends adjusted after a few years, and I've been vegan so long now they don't question it as they see i'm obviously healthy. Who cares if the cows are treated nice thats not really the point of being vegan or not. I think the ethical nature of not needing animal products is the key point. Sure you can eat a vegan diet and not really espouse principles, but I think you're more into this than just the diet. Nobody can really argue that humans need animal products to survive in today's modern world with lab technologies to create synthetic things that may or may not be essential for the body.

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He just laughs at me. He will call me from a restaurant and let me know how good the steak is that he is eating. He thinks it is a fun way to tease me.

That is just mean. A really shitty, mean spirited thing to do. And so very puerile. He sounds like a bully in a school yard.

 

Perhaps this isn't the most mature advice, but what about fighting fire with fire? It sounds as though you've been mature and patient up until now, why not annoy him with his own game? When he calls and tells you about his 'delicious steak', ask him if he can taste the growth hormones and feces? Ask him if he can feel residue from the antibiotics sticking to his colon? Ask him what he thinks that cow's name was? Was she a passive cow or was she a fighter? How long did it take her to die? Does it bother him that his meal was begging for its life just a few days ago? Ask him coolly and unemotionally, don't give in to his temper. Enough responses like that.... and I'd be surprised if he didn't stop bothering you.

 

Not the most mature thing to do..... but I did this to a co-worker who would incessantly talk about how 'stupid' my decision was. It shut him up two times quick. Especially the 'begging for its life' line. That one WORKED.

Edited by VeganDeVil
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yeah good idea. Or also you can show a video showing people who were kind of like him before, eating animal products at every meal, but now are on a vegan diet because it's cool, and they look like fanatics and idiots, but your brother may be apealed by this , he would see that he's not so different than some vegans.

 

But I must admit, what VeganDeVil said is true, no need to exagerate, the reality of meat is horrible. The whole industry is causing a huge deficit and everybody pay the price. And there's 53 billion animals killed per year. Say he's just a necrophagous parasite who's not man enough to kill the beast himself with bare hands and stick his face in the blood and guts to eat the whole animal RAW.

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I think he called to point out the non-abuse of the cow just to counter such arguments of animal cruelty...it's not going on everywhere. If you want to create more division and ridicule go ahead and be immature in your actions. My brother has seen most of what PETA puts out, he's well aware of the issues, but he still will tease me and ask wait staff for "whatever you had to kill." If I got all bent out of shape and started crying or throwing a tantrum when that happens people would lose a lot of respect and not listen to me. Being reasonable and rational, as people like Richard Dawkins are doing, and not being some shrill extremist will get you an audience which listens to you. The things that PETA puts out are emotional appeals. I think reason is more powerful than emotion, at least in the long run. Emotion requires a lot of outside influence, reason is self sustaining.

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I think about most things from a psychological perspective. What i see and hear is that your family is confused and uncomfortanle with your choice because it is making them confront theirs. No amount of reading materials and videos are going to help them until they can get over their gut reactionary feelings. It is a duel world we live in, often times when speaking to meat eaters i hear them say i know its wrong but i cant give up______. most people confronted with the choice of change or continue on a path will continue on that path, if only because it familiar.

 

Also i have a feeling that this vegan transition has also changed your perspective on how you are treated. I believe they are being harder on you now because you are reacting more to what they are saying to you. Anyone new to any lifestyle is going to try to indentify with that lifestyle and usurp or try on a label. aka veganism, because we are proud of ourselves for making this switch as well as nervous or uncertain of how this effects our world around us we become deeply involved for a time. This is the nature of all labels or identification. You family is most likely fearful as you are that because you have chose this lifestyle you are going to be different are going to react different and potentially pull away, so they over compensate for this unconscious fear by expressing worry. Because if they can define you journey to something they can understand, i.e. a fringe diet then they can quantify how to deal with the change. Worry is easy exceptance however is not.

 

As far as advice goes i would say bring back your smile and playfulness that seems to define your family. It is easier to deal with them as well as helping them see what you have chosen as a spiritual/ethical/lifestyle choice if you utilize the same tactics as you did before. When anyone irregardless of what they chose strays from the pack the packs response is to assess and then develop a way in which to bring them back. It is not necessary for you to prove yourself to them but i understand family dynamics being what they are that sometimes because of the desire to be excepted and valued for your knowledge and being it becomes a similar drive to reconcile. Be you, be the wonderful person you are and were, before and after veganism. Although it is new and something in the forefront of your mind it is not the only thing that defines you, however to your family it has become the only thing that they are willing to define you as, because veganism is an unknown quantity.

 

What i guess i am trying to say is the old adage lead by example is most apt. Within my own family while they did not understand specifically why i chose to do it they were already familiar with my antiestablishmentarian views. It was easy for them to accept my change because i constantly invited change and chaos and I am known for my divergent views within my family, but strangely i am also respected for it. This is not meant to be a comparison but more so an extrapolation. If you can learn to relate once more how you use to, you can use that affiliation as a means of reintegration into the family dynamic and through that you may be able to allow people whether passively or actively to start to understand and digest what and why you have chosen.

 

Good luck, and remember you always have support even when you feel you dont. The mere action of your families worry proves at the very least there interest and continuing concern for you however unhealthy their tactics are.

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