I think the best answer is to have them read the China study. If after reading that book, which definatively points out how bad and unhealthy an animal based diet is, they still want to eat animals, well then all you can do is say, "May God bless you". There is really nothing else to do. The China Study is pure science, looking at thousands and thousands of people. It is no small study - it is huge. But teaching others about healthy eating ultimaltely isn't about showing them healthy eating habits backed up by science. That's rational. They resist for emtional reasons. Its about getting them to let go of their ego and admit they are wrong about what they put in their mouths. But rather than admit they are making unhealthy choices, they continue on with their ways becasue that is easier for the ego to handle. Humans are quite stubborn and many would rather live their lives swallowing prescription pills and suffering debilitating diseases, rather than admit the choices they make need to change. I for one readily admit I made terrible choices for years. But now, since January 1, 2010, I thank God everyday that I now have the courage to make healthy (and sometimes difficult) choices everyday. I am 100% vegan. And it is already paying handsome dividends: I have lost 22 lbs, my cholesterol is down 40 points and I now do not have to take any more presciption meds! (I was on 4 heart/bp/cholesterol prescriptions 6 months ago) I feel like I am 20 years old again. I have a second chance at life, after 44 years of bad choices. And the only price for my second chance? I had to admit I made bad choices. That's it. And now I make good, healthy choices everyday. Good luck!
Yes. My family, too, was raised on meat. For my family, meat is a sign of prosperity. They come from a history of starvation and poverty, so being able to eat meat all the time is a sign of doing well. So, when announce that my husband I were no longer eating meat, the reaction was one of "death". It was like I had stabbed my mother in the heart.
However, one month later, she prepared a vegetarian lasagne for us for lunch today...I was amazed. I mentioned to my daughter, that if she can not eat meat for one day a week, because of us, then I feel like she is supporting us.
It will take time, and once they will realize that you're not judging them, it won't be an issue about their choices, but a personal choice for you you.
Great job sticking to your guns! (no hunting pun intended)
That's great. It stinks that your family isn't being supportive, but a lot of people react that way when they find out someone is vegan. It's normal to get defensive about a meat and dairy diet when you know that being vegan is much more compassionate and better for you. No one wants to be "the bad guy" and sometimes when finding out someone is vegan can make a meat/dairy eater feel like "the bad guy" and immediately jumping into the defensive mode.
Hopefully they will come around. You know you are doing the right thing, and that's what's really important!
We also got the "weird tree-hugger" reaction from my husband's family at first, but they have come around and even had a full vegan Christmas dinner for everyone! Well, the hunters of the family were not there, but it was a step in the right direction! My advice is to stick to your guns as you said and find out if there is a vegan group in your area that you can celebrate with around the holidays so that you can have a joyful, and delicious, holiday meal with people who share your beliefs. Good for your mother that she accepts your decisions. Many people take it as a slight against them, and many people think it is just a phase and they are waiting you out. Soon they will come around to the fact that this is your life now and that they better accept it or they won't see you so much. Good luck.
On a side note, I have always been respectful of other people's decisions about food because I understand that most of them are uninformed about where their food comes from. The change to vegan for me was very personal and self-driven and that is how I think it SHOULD be. Thus, when I go out to a dinner with people who do not know that I am vegan, I wait until they inquire. Then I simply state, "I am vegan." No lecture for them, nothing. However, it always turns into a grand inquisition about what I eat, how I get protein, how I get iron, etc and they take it upon themselves to start an argument while I simply answer their questions. I don't go to dinner and question other people's beliefs, and it irritates me that I have to sit through this all of the time. I appreciate sincere interest, but not the 100 questions and their attitude that I am some freak.
Sorry for all the posts, but the funniest reaction I recieved from my father-in-law was "Does this mean that we won't be able to eat hamburgers with our grandchildren when you have kids?!!!" It is sad that this is the ONLY way he can see bonding with grandchildren!
Hello everyone. Thank you so much for all the support and stories. It can be very hard dealing with family alienating you for, in what they term, being "different". Thankfully our friends have been supportive and have shown some interest in vegetarianism and being vegan.
The family that has been negative towards us remains negative still. We have attempted several times to patch things up, even though there should be nothing to patch up, like you all say, it's not like us being vegetarians/vegans is some evil act of God! Yet people portray us that way for wanting to be kind to living things on this planet. All we can do is hope that one day they will see our point of view and accept who we are now and not judge our relationship on meat and dairy for goodness sakes. We both are not ones to judge and not once have we judged them for hunting, eating meat, etc. All that would do is drive a further wedge between us and even show that vegetarians/vegans are judgmental just like them. Instead we kindly point out our reasonings for what we are doing and why it is important to us.
So as time goes along I will update you all as to how things are going with the family! It is nice thought that about 3/4 of our family is supportive of our change in lifestyle
Sorry for not posting in such a long time, we have had some pet issues and a friends mom's cancer to deal with. My wife had hodkins disease as child and we went and visited this lady who Tina has known most of her life to lend her support and for tina to help her emotionally and physically with the cancer since they have that in common. It's been a long and exhausting while but things are nearing normal again!
Hang in there Craig!!! I was raised on a hunting resort in South Texas. I come from the same mindset. My father died from a heart attack and my stepdad just had bypass surgery. It's been easier to explain why I eat so healthy. Everyone in my family has diabetes, except for me. My mom goes out of her way when I come over to make veggie dishes. She's even said she would eat the same way if it wasn't for my stepdad.
You are making your family look at their own life. Their reaction has nothing to do with you. It's their own stuff they are dealing with. It wouldn't bother them if they were cool with their own life. I get the crazy reaction from coworkers. They even try to sabatoge me by bringing me food they know I won't eat. I just kindly decline.
Oh wow I've never heard of such a reaction! I feel thankful for the minimal bitterness/feeling that I put people out that I've experienced! Well most people have already said it all, so I don't have much to add other than at least you feel at peace with yourself! I'm going to piggyback on what Islandgirl said. Someone once told me that their parents lived to be 90 and they ate meat/dairy, etc, so they're going to do the same. So I just said, without having even thought of this before, "Well my grandfather died of a heart attack after having had gastric bypass surgerey, most of my family on my dad's side is obese, and two more have had gastric bypass surgerey as well!" And of course, the same people had to add, on a later date when I politely declined their takeout Chinese food (and I would have eaten the veggies if they had any), "I think food like this is ok once in a while." Well great, then eat it! So I quietly responded, "I"m just trying not to eat meat." They know I started this "experiment" just 5 weeks ago, so I guess they're waiting for me to falter. Of course, it's necessary for them to gang up on me and say "Plants are alive. Plants have feelings." Oh goodness.
Does it make sense for people to look for something wrong in our diet? As if giving up and saying "why bother" is better than trying to make a positive change that still won't make the world perfect?