I had been following a vegan lifestyle for about a month before going to see my in-laws for Thankgiving. I felt obligated to eat what they did while at their house. I thought I had covered all of my bases before making the trip: I told them about my diet before the visit and I brought some prepared dishes to share. Everyone was incredibly rude and my mother in law actually threw away some of the food I brought! I ended up giving in and eating their menu just to keep the peace. I am so dissapointed about this slip. It would be one thing if I had wanted to eat some meat or dairy, but I didn't. What can I do in the future to keep this from happening? I am just not very assertive.
Hi There, I am so sorry that happened to you. Please don't beat yourself about it. I just heard somewhere how holidays have a way of causing us to revert to our childhoods where we feel powerless. It's not an all or nothing lifestyle. Just do your best. I understand where you are coming from with the inlaw issues - I have a great relationship with my in-laws but my they've been a little confused about all of this and said things like "I don't understand this new religion you are following" and some of my family members have said "chickens like to give up their eggs and cows like to be milked." People don't like change and they certainly don't like feeling like they are being judged for their choices. First, has your spouse been supportive? Maybe he could help out with the whole thing by softening the discussion with your in-laws. It doesn't sound like you are going to win any arguments with these people, so just do your own thing and bring your own yummy dishes to eat. Also, next time call in advance, tell them you don't want the same thing to happen as last time, but that you don't want to be a burden so you will be bringing something you will eat. Politely tell your inlaws to not plan on you eating the meal (so that they can't blame you for it being wasted) and ask that they don't throw any food out that you bring. It's a learning process. Seriously, just do your best.
Thanks so much Chris! I really appreciate your advice and support. My husband is really supportive of my vegan lifestyle, (we eat vegan dinners as a family at home) but we may not have been direct enough with his folks about how seriously I take my lifestyle. Very interesting what you said about reverting to a childlike state when we are home for the holidays. My mother-in-law definately likes to make us feel like we are still children...very controling. Next time, we will be more assertive and remember that we can respect our elders while recognizing that we are adults too. I hope that your family had a nice Thanksgiving! :)
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