Hey Everyone! My name is Amy and I have converted to veganism which can be very difficult in the Midwest (especially when my parents raise cattle). My husband works at a Whole Foods Market, though, so I have a lot of options and resources. However, I am always looking for new ideas and inspiration and would be happy to hear from anyone!
Where in the Midwest are you at? I'm in Wisconsin. I moved here about a year ago from Los Angeles, which has been a crazy transition, but I have found it VERY easy to stick with my vegan diet out here! Welcome to the Kind Life! Also, if you live near Wisconsin, check out the forum post I just posted (Alicia/Anyone, help the Heartland Farm Sanctuary)...if you're interested in volunteering with a midwest farm sanctuary!
I'm in Oklahoma. It's not impossible to stick to it, just sucks being the only one in my family doing it. My husband is vegetarian, but refuses to give up milk/cheese and my son continues to eat meat and dairy, though he has cut back a lot and is now aware of the importance of buying organic/cruelty-free products (I let him read Skinny Bastard and I think it had a lasting effect on hime, not bad for 14 years old).
I don't find a lot of activities like the farm sanctuary around Tulsa, but if you hear of any, I'd love to know. :)
Oklahoma?! I had a dance professor from there in college...she was amazing. And I traveled through once, had the best green chili veggie burger at some random truck stop in the middle of nowhere...this was almost 6 years ago and I still haven't forgotten it...haha! I know what it's like to have family not totally on board. My fiance is basically vegan...he has fish 2-3 times a month, but has cut out all other meat, eggs and dairy...and this was without me asking him to...just through example. My mother was super supportive...I got her to read Skinny Bitch (which is what first got me when if first came out) and then after she saw Alicia on Oprah she got me her book as a gift and bought one for herself, too! My father thinks I'm insane, he even went as far as to take my fiance for a drive on Thanksgiving just to tell him "how disappointed" he was in him that he wasn't eating meat anymore...yes, the man who is on 8 pills a day for his heart and blood pressure and cholesterol issues telling my perfectly healthy fiance that he's a disappointment. Oh well...you can't change them all. My mother is still not vegan by any means, but she is so much more concious of everything she puts in her body, and has cut down on meat and dairy dramatically...she's even gone to vegan meetups where she lives and has stopped purchasing leather, so I know she's trying! I guess even if you are the only one in your family going veg, I think that the best thing you can do is to just lead by example. Don't force it on anyone, just let them see the beautiful and positive transformation within yourself. You should try google-ing Vegan Meetups in Tulsa just to see if there are any vegan communities around you, and just continue to set an awesome example for your family <3
I live in Columbus, OH. There are quite a few vegan restaurants around, but my husband and I usually cook at home. When I am bored with my usual recipes, I like to go a rummage sale or used book store to find new vegetarian cookbooks. Most of the time, there are plenty of vegan recipes, and if not there is usually a pretty simple substitution that can be made. Also, i I have some random ingredients in the fridge, I will hop online and enter a few along with the word "recipe" and quite often I can find a meal I have never tried. Good luck Veganing:)
Welcome, Amy! I'm also in the Midwest (Indiana). I'm glad some of your family has been receptive and believe that you should not give up on the rest of your family but don't try to force it on them. My wife and I have been vegan for a year now, and I know it's a fine line to walk. We try to let our passion show without being overbearing, and I think it's worked out well. Half the dishes at our family Thanksgiving gathering were vegan this year, with my mom and one of my sister-in-law's bringing vegan dishes.
My dad was also raised on a farm, and is diabetic and has had open-heart surgeries. He was a big believer in the Atkins diet, so he ate primarily meat. I had him read the China Study a couple of weeks ago, and he is now starting to transition to a vegan diet which is so exciting for me. He said he's still going to eat some meat, but he's already cut out dairy and mom says he's doing a great job of avoiding meat. Whenever we had gatherings at our house, we always provided lots of yummy vegan food and requested that if people brought any food, it only be vegan. This has been a way for our friends and family to experience how good vegan food is, and how they can also prepare it themselves with a little bit of investment. I think this helped dad to be more positive that he can make the transition.
I'm happy for you and best wishes in your and your family's transition!
Oh, and if you're not aware of happycow.net, that's a good place to find veg-friendly restaurants; although, I certainly understand how limited it can be in the Midwest.