I am sure that somewhere on this board many people have asked this, but I am going to ask anyway. I have been vegan for about a year, and all my friends accept and support it, as does most of my family. However, today I talked to my Mom and she asked if I was still vegan. I said of course, and she starts in on a "it's so unhealthy, where do you get PROTEIN????" type rant, and I calmly start explaining things to her. Then she interrupts me with an anecdote about a "very smart, very health conscious" coworker of hers who wasn't vegan, but was vegetarian and her doctor forced her to incororate meat into her diet because vegetarians are soooo unhealthy and her friend was having organ and skin issues. I again tried sl-o-o-owly explaining things, but, even though I am a former professiona lathlete and in my thirties, she just scoffed at my apparent lack of knowledge and siliness. I am sure she is well meaning, but boy, did that make me angry! How do you a) deal with ignorant family members, and b) not get drawn into these goofy arguments that you just can't win? I would love to hear your thoughts!
It is a little easier for us because my husband is in medical school so the family already thinks he knows what he is talking about! Otherwise, we cite "The China Study" or other studies that have shown the positive effects of a vegan diet. We remind them that some of the largest animals on earth, elephants and rhinos, etc, are herbivores and obviously have plenty of protein! I suppose I would eventually just tell them that it was my life, I had researched it thoroughly before making my decision, and that it has nothing to do with them. We also explain to them that it is not natural for us to drink another animals milk . . . do they know of any other animal that does this? Then we tell them how the human digestive tract is much more similar to an herbivores than a carnivores. I think they get overwhelmed by our scientific explanations and give up. Haha. Plus, most of what we tell them has been proven and they can't argue with that! You can explain that most doctors are not trained on nutrition, so they are not experts.
I explain the difference between nutrition science and nutritional marketing. The science is clear that a whole foods, plant based diet that minimizes exposure to added sugar and oils is superior for human health and longevity. Marketing is when a specific industry funds research to advance the sales of their products.
So funny, my Mother asked me last week, "Are you still doing that Vegan thing?". People wait for you to "get over it" . When I switched to a vegan diet nine months ago, I was so thrilled with how I felt, I wanted to share it with everyone. While some friends and family were very open to it, many dismissed the idea that a vegan diet could be healthy. It doesn't help when your best friends are clinical doctors, one of which grew up on a beef farm. We had a few heated discussions on the topic, many of which would send me home feeling frustrated and questioning my own choices.
These days I make a point not to get pulled into those draining "goofy" agruements you mention, Erin. I cetainly don't hide the fact that I'm a vegan, but unless I know someone is genuinely interested in exploring a vegan diet, I stay away from the lengthy explanations. I just tell most people that it works for me and I've never felt better. End of Discussion. Also recommending books like "The China Study" and "The Kind Diet" will either provide some valuable resources to people who are truly interested or at the very least, hush the sceptics.
My uncle is soooo against my diet that sometimes it makes me want to cry. He's just so mean about it, one time I ran to the basement bawling my eyes out. I've just learned to ignore what he says. My mother is a vegan as well as my other uncle, and we understand the benefits of a vegan diet and try to present him with evidence, but he is so blind to what is sitting right in front of his eyes. I just don't say anything when he asks me about it. At one point, he asked me to make a bet. He would go vegan for one month if I would take one bite of steak. I declined because 1) he would not be doing it for his heath (he is overweight and incredibly unhealthy), but to get the best of me and 2) I could not be sure that he was following the diet. But mostly because of number one. Most of my friends have asked me if I'm going to be a vegan for the rest of my life, like it's a phase. But on the plus side, I convinced one of my friends to go vegetarian! :D I was so proud, and she's starting to see the benefits. Just try your best to blow it off. They will only see when they are ready, which may unfortunately be never. Some people just can't understand what is different from them. So next time someone gets on to you, just say, 'This is my decision, it works wonders for me, and there is sufficient evidence to back it up. If you're interested, try reading the Kind Diet or checking out the China Study!' If that doesn't work, then end the conversation before you get upset. Good luck!
Have you thought about giving your mother a copy of The Kind Diet? It has been passing around my husband's family for months, and was just passed on to me for Christmas, leading me to this place in my life within mere days (as well as my husband, who is amazingly willing to step forward into veganism with me)!
Just explain to her that you want to alleviate her concerns, you're not trying to convert her; and that many if not all of your reasons for choosing the lifestyle you have are contained in Alicia's book. At least you will have made an attempt at making her feel less worried about you. And, who knows, she might just find her spirit calling her to action as well.
If you've already approached her, let us know how it's been going for you since.
What a wonderful idea, Becca. I'm going to let my Mom read my cherished copy of The Kind Life. She is very supportive but I know she has little motherly worries for me :) Reading the book will greatly help in seeing where I am coming from. Thank you!
My mom is a saboteur. Always has been and always will be. I have mixed feelings about trying to educate her about the health risks of her diet and about trying to "justify" my choices. It makes my head hurt even thinking about it. So you know what.....I'm not going to try. I'm not engaging in any fear based arguments or conversations with her about it. I'm going to avoid any situations in which I will be interagated or challenged by her or her friends. Most of them are ill, overweight, smoke, alcoholic, take many many drugs and have had if not one but several surgeries. These people are toxic and I don't want to spend any time or energy trying to convince them. They aren't stupid....they know they are doing harm to themselves. If my mother is TRULY interested in change, I will give her a copy of The China Study. Then I will talk with her about it. But only then.
This may sound rash. I know. I've learned over my long life that my mother may never love me for who I REALLY am. She does love some phantom girl in her mind....but that girl is not me.
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