Veggie in a meat-eating family?


Hello readers!

My name is Eliana, aka BlueAngel, I’m 23 and I am a new member of the community. I stopped eating meat about 4.5 years ago, and I recently made the transition to a vegan diet. I am also experimenting with raw foods. Please have in mind that English is my second language (I’m Colombian) but I think I have fairly good English writing skills ;)

Feedback will be appreciated.




I remember the shock in my face when a friend in college told me she didn’t eat meat. “What do you eat then?” I asked. “Salad?”.

Before being vegan, I was one of those college girls trying to lose weight on a high protein diet. I was eating ridiculous quantities of steak and eggs and cheese. Although the weight was coming off, I was feeling heavy and sleepy all the time. I thought it was because I was eating a few carbs again (cereal and fruit) so I cut them out, thinking I would feel fine. But I didn’t. Somehow, my body was telling me “this is not for you”. I wasn’t sure what my body wanted, until the day I saw a vegetarian cookbook at my college’s library.

After reading the chapter called “Why vegetarian?” everything made sense to me. And I decided to give it a try. And I told my parents I had decided to become a vegetarian and that meant no more chicken, fish, or meat (at that point I was still eating eggs, cheese and low fat dairy products).  For the look on their faces, becoming a vegetarian was almost like If I had told them I was pregnant. “What are you gonna eat then?” they asked.  Sound familiar?

For days, my parents would ask me if I wanted chicken with my broccoli, or eggs for breakfast. I saw it wouldn’t be easy to convince them about my decision. And since I am sure there are a lot of people in the same position I was back then, I decided to share some tips that made things easier between me and my family.

1. Do your research on the internet and provide them complete information about the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle.

Parent’s biggest concerns are your health and also the possibility of an eating disorder disguised as a change in your diet (I know this not only for my experience with my parents but also from the vegan people I know who are also my age). So I suggest you do your research, print the information you think it’s important, and share it with your family. Tell them calmly and rationally why you want to go veggie, they might get impressed about the maturity of your approach to your new lifestyle.

2.  Listen to your parents’ concerns.

I learnt that arguing doesn’t really lead anywhere. If they have any questions, make sure you are ready to answer them, that way they won’t worry anymore and they will take your wishes to go veggie seriously.

3. Buy a veggie cookbook.

This is really important. If you don’t know enough about being a veggie, you might get bored of eating tomatoes and lettuce. Being veggie is really exciting. In my opinion, the veggie cuisine is more exciting and creative, so look for a cookbook or search for some recipes online, find one that looks right for you and try it out. You might get surprised with your cooking skills. In my case, I became a foodie and a great cook!!

4. Don’t be afraid to try something new

When I bought my first cookbook, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information, and all the new ingredients I wasn’t familiar with. Don’t be scared to try out food you’ve never had before. Take a look around the shelves of your local supermarket and health food shop and get to know as many different vegetarian foods as possible, including meat alternatives, cous cous, quinoa, buckwheat and all sorts of fruit and vegetables.

5. Enjoy great vegetarian food with your family

But take it easy, because they might be so open minded at first. What worked for me was this: At first I was in charge of the side dishes for the entire family, and I would cook some extra tofu or tempeh and ask them if they wanted to have some. They were reluctant at first, but I was asking so much that one day my sister decided to have some of my food. She loves it so much, that now Tofu is one of her favorite foods. Once the family is familiar with the veggie cuisine, offer to cook a veggie meal for the entire family (I do that once every week). They will appreciate the gesture and you will spend some quality time together (when I cook, I have one rule: NO T.V that way we can have some family bonding time)

6. Connect with other veggies

It is easier to sustain one’s beliefs and lifestyle when supported by others who share the same convictions. Joining vegan, vegetarian, or animal rights organizations is a great way to meet other veggies.

The Internet is also a great way to connect with others and you could potentially meet others who live fairly close to you. Even if you don’t develop real-time friendships they still can offer advice, information and a a great deal of support and understanding.

It’s your job to help your family to understand your decision to go veggie, and to ease their fears about a vegetarian diet. Once they are ok with it, you are on your way to an exciting new lifestyle. And maybe even your family will find it exciting! (ok, I haven’t convert anyone but they now eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits!)

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