Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Joys of Being the Only Vegan at a Family Dinner

290/365 Take-out

I've been vegan for a little over four months now. It is still something I'm adjusting to, and I guess I've brought my family along for the ride.

My husband has been surprisingly supportive. I think that he sees the positive effect this new way of eating has had on me. My oldest daughter doesn't completely understand, but she knows that I don't eat anything with any animal product in it. My youngest could care less, and that is fine with me.

I haven't made a big deal about it with my extended family. I told my mom first, and she was pretty great. I was surprised she didn't freak out too much. Mom even sent me an article she read about dairy products being a possible cause to cancer. Wow. Mom made me a special dish for dinner on Christmas. When I go over there for dinner, Mom will try to have something for me to eat, and if she doesn't, she's totally cool if I go down the street to hit up the salad bar at the grocery store.

It gets a little more difficult at my husband's family. They don't get it, and I can deal with that. I just hate feeling like I'm the family freak now. My husband picked me up from work this afternoon and we went straight to his parents. Everyone decided to order in Chinese food. When they were counting how many people to feed, I mentioned I wouldn't be eating the combo meal. My husband was actually great. He went through the menu and found a vegetable lo mein with rice noodles. His sister asked me if I couldn't just take the meat out of a dish and that's when I felt like I was being a pain to everyone. I don't want to be difficult. If I had known we were going to have dinner there, I would have been more prepared. I don't want everyone else to feel put out because I choose to eat differently. It's my choice. I'm choosing to be healthy. I'm choosing to make less of an impact on the earth. I'm choosing to be kind to animals.

I wonder what it seems like to everyone else. Am I a pain? Do I sound like the kid who is a picky eater? I guess I have become a picky eater in a way--although I prefer to think of it as being a conscious eater. I am more aware of what I am eating and where it comes from. Does that make me the annoying freak? I hope not, especially since I did share my lo mein! And my sister-in-law let me know where I could find some good soy ice "cream" too.


  1. I don't think you're a pain. Maybe I'm biased. Sure, it's a personal decision and it can affect other people, but I expect people who care about me to be considerate of my beliefs and how I choose to act on those beliefs. I'm not rude to them about their choices, the least they could do is return the favor by not trying to make me feel guilty about mine.

    Honestly, I would have been offended if someone asked me if I could just pick the meat out. If you pay for dead animal, you might as well eat it. You've already cast your vote of support with your dollars. But I know a lot of people don't think about it that way.

    Patience, right? Right. :-)

    You seem pretty gracious about all of this, so really, kudos to you and your husband (for his support).

  2. Thank you, Jaime! I appreciate your comment. Patience is something I will need to bring with me to the dinner table, I guess ;) I've been really surprised by how supportive my husband has been, even though he declares he likes meat too much to give it up...I'm working on him though!