Posted by Mountainmystic at 08/06/17 14:36:21Katie: The simple answer is just be who you are, and be O.K. with that. You are not alone in your vegan journey. It just feels that way, when your family and friends don't listen to or support your eating and lifestyle choices. When I tell people that I am a vegan or vegetarian, they get defensive and start challenging my eating and lifestyle choices. Then I hear all about restaurants or meat foods that they eat, and I should try meat dishes. I swear it's automatic response with many people. I'm like, do you realize what you are saying? They are not honoring or respecting me.
Basically, they are feeling insecure. They see me as being stronger willed and doing something out of the societal norm. That's threatening to their security and way of life. As a man in the rural Southern U.S., it's even harder, but that makes me stronger in who I am. I have learned to try to educate people about the health benefits of being vegetarian and vegan, rather than try to argue with them. Once people get the health part, I ease into animal rights, and tell them that I honor and respect the animals as beings. It's all about a phased approach. I have learned over the years to be more secure in my identity. I started out debating people a lot and it didn't work--it separated us. I show them by example what I'm eating and how good I feel. I tell them I respect your choice to eat meat. So please respect my choice to eat vegetables, grains, and fruits.
Once one becomes aware (as you have) of eating better, healthier, and lower on the food chain (vegetarian and vegan), you can't go back. As I have found, one does a lot more introspection into ones life (once you become a vegetarian and progress to vegan), and how one fits into the whole of the world. You can never go back to not being aware. But awareness has many benefits, and your life will become easier and better.
Yes, you may have less "friends" now, but your real friends will support you and listen to you. I know a lot of people through work and the community I live in. But I only have a few friends. In the age of social media, in-depth communication is very hard to get people engaged in. They want quick answers and responses. Real friendships cannot be based on this. One has to listen and engage in a conversation and respect the other friends choices. I hope your friends will come to accept you for who you are and your choices, and listen to what you have to say about being a vegan. Otherwise, you have to either be O.K. with those "friends," or seek out others in the vegetarian and vegan communities in your area. Just be who you are.
Posted by ILuvMyPetz at 08/30/17 14:55:07I'm not fully vegan, I'm a vegetarian that's trying to transition to raw / vegan. After my mom died I realized she was the only family I had. Thankfully I met and married my husband back in 2013. My husband is a meat eater, and it doesn't really bother me honestly. I don't let what others do stop me, you have to not let what others do bother you either.
I recommend that you really think about whether those friends are true friends or not. If they're not willing to change that's okay, but they need to at least be supportive towards you. My husband encourages and supports me, I implore you to find someone that encourages and supports you too.