After having been vegetarian I became vegan several months ago. I feel very strongly that this is the right path for health reasons, for environmental reasons and for the sake of the animals. I feel as though I'm finally awake. I had no idea how changing my food would change my life. It has impacted all areas of my life, mostly positively. However, it has caused some challenges with my kids. My 8 year old son is supportive and thriving. My 15 year old daughter has become very resistant. I don't try to dictate what she eats, and she is welcome to eat what she likes, but I don't buy any animal products at home. I don't like the idea of supporting the meat and dairy industry with my consumerism.
Living in a small town, there is not much support for a vegan lifestyle. But I have become an adventurous and avid cook. I find it frustrating that I am often having to defend my choices to the family doctor, the school nurse, the health teacher at the school, even my own family, especially since no one questions parents who provide a diet of Kraft dinner, Big Macs and Fruit Rollups to their children.
Am I wrong to refuse to shop for and prepare animal products for my children?? How do you respond to your teenager when they say "everyone thinks you're crazy"??
Thanks so much for responding Katherine! It's important to know that others are dealing with similar issues and I need to keep my mind on the progress that we have made and not dwell on the issues left to tackle!
I look forward to seeing 'Forks Over Knives' when it comes to my area in March. I will check out the movie "Eating" as well. I'm thankful there are so many great resources out there!
Katherine offers some truly fabulous advice above. The DVD eating is great and Forks over Knives will be even better. The China Study in my Opinion is the Coup de Gras! From a physician's perspective (and a non-parent, so I defer to Katherine) it is the single best thing that you can do for your health which you already know. I say this because I think you should be very proud of yourself for being able to stay committed without the support of your family! Honestly, in my opinion that is truly heroic. --Because in reality, not only you doing the best thing for you and showing what it means to be strong in your convictions, attitudes and beliefs (which in my opinion is the epitome of a super role model) but you are also doing what is best for them... You are ensuring that you are going to be around (and in excellent health) to be there when they need you and when their kids need you one day. Take it from someone who doesn't have parents around... There is no greater gift! You are superhero in my book! Stay strong, it may not feel like it when you hear comments like that from your daughter, but you are doing great and she will see that one day. I promise! Best Wishes and Kindest Regards, Jenna (www.theplantrx.com)
Thank you so much Jenna, your response made me tear up! The support from you guys is so helpful and comforting, especially at times that I question my resolve! The China Study is the book that began this whole journey for me, and I am so thankful to find this forum full of like minded people. This is not always an easy choice, but I am hopeful that as time goes on, it will become easier and even more satisfying!
I didn't mean to do that... but,I did mean every word that I said. =) Like you said, it's not easy. It's even tougher without support but you are doing an amazing thing. Like the old cliche say, sometimes the most difficult things to do are the most worthwhile. :) Have a wonderful week. Jenna
Jenna, I checked out your blog! What amazing work! Keep it up, I will be following you!! This is the site that I will point the doctor and the school health teacher to when they question my beliefs. I can't wait to see the results of your comparative study. Best of luck.
I feel for you, Lynda, about not having much support where you live. When I decided to go veg in 1988, we were living in Texas [of all places!--I'm a native Californian], and it was HORRIBLE. We quickly found that we couldn't even order something like green beans at a restaurant/cafeteria because they'd have chunks of dead animals in them, and I recall explaining to servers that "vegetable soup" made with beef broth didn't qualify as vegetarian. Ugh. I'm SO GLAD to be back home in California now. :)
This is the strategy that has worked for me in converting my mother, a lifelong meat eater, to vegetarianism. She eats dishes that are familiar to her, such as stuffed bell peppers, tacos, stew, sausage, sloppy joes, hot dogs, spaghetti, chili, pepperoni pizza, etc., and LOVES them, and actually has to remind herself that they're meat-free.
For your resistant teenage daughter, how about strategically leaving literature around where she can't help but see it? DON'T push her to read or view anything, as that'll likely just make her more defiant. (I had the opposite issue when my daughter was a teenager, as she dove headlong into vegetarianism after learning about the treatment of "meat" animals--and then LATER reverted to eating meat. *sigh*) For the "everyone thinks you're crazy" issue, respond with a question: "Which part of not wanting to torture and kill animals is crazy?" If that's met with blank stares, pull out some literature or point her to videos online about how meat ends up neatly packaged in the supermarket--and the gorier and more disgusting, the better!
Thanks SAP. Really great suggestions. I have become a very enthusiastic cook since becoming vegan. It's one of the best side effects!! I'm always looking for fun meal ideas. I'm going to try the sloppy joes and them maybe post them on my blog (my-vegan-experiment.blogspot.com).
My mother is a completely different story.... my daughter embraces this transformation whole heartedly compared to my mother! But I think she's softening very slowly.
I love all the great responses and encouragement. This forum has really helped me get through the discouraged slump I was in. Thank you, thank you!!
I am so glad that you posted this. I was hoping that someone had. I started the vegan lifestyle on 01/16/11. I to feel that I am doing what is best for myself as well as my family. My husband calls me passionate... which is his way of saying once I make up my mind there is NO changing it. We have five children... one is on my side and is trying to be a vegan, but she is having a hard time giving up hamburgers.. but she has. All of my other children and my husband are beyond mad. Honestly my husband may leave.. I do not tell them what to eat, just that I will not be buying any meat or dairy anymore. I have a new love for cooking, and best of all it tastes great, which I honestly was worried about. My kids have seen the movie of where the cow is skinned and its legs cut of while it is alive... horrific.. and yet they don't care. That is what bothers me. Forgive me for ranting.. so to speak, I have no one else who might understand. As far as my mom goes, I am afraid to tell her...lol I am so glad that Alicia made a place where people with like minds can come together and support each other. I support all of you, and will be here for anyone who needs to someone on there side... Have a great week, and happy eating.
Candy, I so feel for you. I find as time goes by that things are getting better (it's been almost 5 months now), if that is any consolation. I buy veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs and try to make familiar things that they will like, and I did break down and buy them a big box of hot chocolate which contains dairy. I also find that the more I push it on them, the more they resist.
I know how frustrating and disheartening it can be to feel unsupported. I truly hope you will find the support you need here. Know that we are cheering for you! The best of luck.