Being the only Vegan is not easy

I have always been about health and fitness. And I was never really a big meat eater. I used to have a lot of dairy in my diet. However I transitioned to eating a very healthy vegan lifestyle almost 2yrs ago. I have no desire to go back to my old ways of eating even though it was considered healthy by American standards. My husband and 2 teenage boys think I am crazy. My oldest son actually has not been afraid to tell me he thinks I stupidly believe things on the internet that he believes are written by alarmists. (You know teenagers think they know everything.) I worry about their diets that are heavily meat, dairy and processed (and very little to no fruit and veggies). Just because my kids are not fat they think they are fine. At least for now (they say) because they are young and don't have to worry about it. My husband is overweight and on meds for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. HE thinks he is ok because the meds keep his numbers in the normal range. (sigh)

I don't preach to anyone about their diets. If you ask me I will tell you what I think in a gentle way -- not as an alarmist. A couple of my husband's friends have asked me about my food choices because they have high blood pressure or had a heart attack already. Those who think I am an extremist are quick to insult me. I have two people that say rude things.

I just keep doing what I am doing hoping that somebody will understand and make a change that could help them. I know that I am doing the right thing. After all I am at a healthy weight and do not have any health issues. I am the one who seems to stay healthy when so many others are catching colds and flus.

Anyone else out there living in similar circumstances? I am strong minded meaning I can take the critism but it does get lonely.
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Replies

  • I'm a vegan too :) I've been vegan for 15 years and veggie for another 7 before that. But I'm pretty lucky in that most people I know don't question me or criticise my food choices. My parents were confused by it at first, but got used to it quite quickly. My fiance is omni but he's very accepting and mostly eats veggie in the apartment, just having meat when we eat out or get takeout. So I don't have too many obstacles in that regard.

    I honestly never try to change other people - it's exhausting and mostly pointless. I say just worry about your own food - and I guess your immediate family's too, but nobody else. Let people continue with what they want to do. I'm not healthy enough to be an example to others - I am overweight after all, I have arthritis and allergies. But people often comment on how young I look and how good my skin is, and I always like to chalk that up to veganism :)
  • mlima14
    mlima14 Posts: 112 Member
    I'm not vegan, but I do have friends who are either vegan or vegetarian where they do eat fish and eggs. I think it should be a process in which you incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your families diet and not restrict them on the meat. You might try to buy lean cuts and add vegetables into the meals.

    I have three teenagers at home so I do understand the difficulty in getting them to eat healthy. My stepdaughters do live with me and in their mother's home where not used to eating any kind of vegetables (their mother would not give them any even when she herself ate them, she would tell them that they wouldn't like it. Yeah! I know what your thinking on that note!) So I had to go slowly with them on the fruits and vegetables. For example I make an omelet with 3 egg whites and one whole egg for one serving with sautéed spinach, onions, tomatoes and peppers. I add a little bit of spinach so as not to shock them too much with the taste. The onions, tomatoes and peppers I cut very tiny so they can't pick them out and since they taste good anyways they eat them. It's just they idea that their mom told them that they wouldn't like it, is stuck in their head but I've made progress, slowly but surely. They eat spinach now, but mixed in with the romaine lettuce. Green beans with a bit of salt or olive oil. Sweet peas. Broccoli, cauliflower, and squash with cheese or butter sauce. They don't eat a lot of fruits but they seem to like green apples, pears, strawberries, cherries and grapes. The only fruit that their mom bought were bananas and grapes, but they were limited with the grapes, they were for the other son, not for them (the mom has a son from her second marriage and has a lot of preference with him).

    Don't try to make your family vegan just try to show them how to eat healthy with the same foods that they consume. You could try whole wheat white bread it has the same amount of fiber as regular whole wheat but what might bother them is the color I buy the whole wheat white and no one has complained (I don't think they've noticed). The ground beef, 97% lean, I mix it with lean turkey so there's a bit less of fat and they get used to the turkey taste since it's mixed with the regular ground.

    These are just some of the things I do. There are others that there is no way to mask the change but since I do the cooking and I refuse to make different meals they kind of have to eat it. An example of that is the brown rice, at first no one liked it but I started tweaking it, a bit less water than the instructions, and I use coconut oil in it and that gives it a better taste. Now it's the only rice I make at home. Whole wheat pasta doesn't have a lot of difference in taste but you must boil it longer than it says in the instructions or else its too stiff not like regular pasta which softens up really fast.

    Try tweaking here and there and they might surprise you by eating healthier if not vegan or vegetarian. They might try some vegan down the line I buy certain vegan foods and my kids do try them with me since they don't feel any pressure of changing their eating life style.
  • girlschmoopie
    girlschmoopie Posts: 140 Member
    Honestly, two years is probably still considered "recent" for most of the people who know you. They have known you to eat meat for a longer amount of time than they have known you to abstain. I say, stay the course and in time people will see that it is a life long change you have made for yourself.
  • kris727ta
    kris727ta Posts: 44 Member
    I don't try to make anyone Vegan. My kitchen is basically my stuff and their stuff. I will make things that I think they would like and as soon as they know it is "healthy" they want no part of it. The only recipe I managed to fool them with is stuffed shells. You honestly can't tell the cheese is actually tofu. I just hate that even though I am not preaching to anyone that people see what I am doing and I get criticized. It's weird. Like if someone said "i am going out to smoke a cig, or I am going to Mcdonald's...." that is ok. But if you say I going to eat better then they think it's bad. hahaha.... strange world.
  • kris727ta
    kris727ta Posts: 44 Member
    My brother in law said "you still doing that?" (meaning eating vegan) He said I need iron. I need a steak! It's amazing how much people don't know about nutrition. And how many nutrients are in those plant foods. Well the good thing is it is catching on. Slowly.... it's catching on. Just not in my group of peeps yet.
  • orthetiger
    orthetiger Posts: 22 Member
    Ready to share that stuffed shells recipe?

    I'm a vegetarian 10+ years, but being vegetarian certainly hasn't always meant eating healthy foods. You might try to merge the foods a bit more--make a side dish that is healthy that everyone can have so they cut back on their meat and processed-heavy main courses to try some of the side.
  • I don't try to make anyone Vegan. My kitchen is basically my stuff and their stuff. I will make things that I think they would like and as soon as they know it is "healthy" they want no part of it. The only recipe I managed to fool them with is stuffed shells. You honestly can't tell the cheese is actually tofu. I just hate that even though I am not preaching to anyone that people see what I am doing and I get criticized. It's weird. Like if someone said "i am going out to smoke a cig, or I am going to Mcdonald's...." that is ok. But if you say I going to eat better then they think it's bad. hahaha.... strange world.

    I totally agree about no one having an issue if you're going to McDonald's on a regular basis, but go vegan and they're all like "But where do you get your protein?"
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,027 Member
    Maybe talk to your family about just eating more nutritionally in general. There is nothing inherently unhealthy about eating meat...I started out with cholesterol issues among a host of other health issues...I'm a big meat eater, but just balancing out my diet has put me into the normal range for everything and off my meds. I would be a miserable vegetarian or vegan, but eating a well balanced diet that is rich in nutrition is really easy.
  • divedo
    divedo Posts: 2 Member
    Stick to your guns! I turned Veggie about 7/8 years ago and my family still haven't adjusted to it. At first they will say "it just a phase"
    Over time your family will get thats just how you think and as you start to introduce certain meals etc into the household there will be ones they like and ones they don't. Once they see its not all so bad they will be a bit more open minded. I personally couldn't be vegan because i love dairy and use eggs as common protein source but each to their own.

    Just stick to it and try not to flip out when someone asks you " do you eat fish though" for the millionth time.
  • I've been vegan/sometimes raw vegan for 13 years. I got kinda teased by family members at first, but I haven't been bothered or ridiculed by it ever. ...and I've lived in Missouri, Oklahoma, and now Texas too....:) I thought when I moved to Oregon that i would meet more vegans, but nope! I've met more people like me here in Houston more than anywhere else I've been. I'm an introvert though, so I don't get out much;) I've raised my two teen girls vegan and they are the healthiest kids we know. Their friends love to come over and try all of our different foods and think our lifestyle is pretty awesome...my 15 yr old's boyfriend just went vegetarian a month ago, but his twin sister has been that way for 6 yrs so it wasn't that hard for him. My hubby has been vegan for 2 weeks, but vegetarian for only a year. It was really hard on me for the past 12 years because I'm a staunch animal rights vegan. I don't go out there preaching to the masses about it though....I think people find it for themselves if they get sick enough. That's exactly what happened to him. His cholesterol went up, he had 3 really bad gallbladder attacks, and he got 70lbs overweight. He's a new person today:) He has only lost about 30lbs so far, but he feels way better. I had felt alone about veganism a lot in the early years, but as time has progressed, the people around me have adjusted and the restaurants have added more options. Glad there are some on this forum:)
  • kris727ta
    kris727ta Posts: 44 Member
    Ready to share that stuffed shells recipe?

    I'm a vegetarian 10+ years, but being vegetarian certainly hasn't always meant eating healthy foods. You might try to merge the foods a bit more--make a side dish that is healthy that everyone can have so they cut back on their meat and processed-heavy main courses to try some of the side.

    Here is the stuffed shells recipe:

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sure-to-fool-em-vegan-stuffed-shells/

    Enjoy!
  • kris727ta
    kris727ta Posts: 44 Member
    I've been vegan/sometimes raw vegan for 13 years. I got kinda teased by family members at first, but I haven't been bothered or ridiculed by it ever. ...and I've lived in Missouri, Oklahoma, and now Texas too....:) I thought when I moved to Oregon that i would meet more vegans, but nope! I've met more people like me here in Houston more than anywhere else I've been. I'm an introvert though, so I don't get out much;) I've raised my two teen girls vegan and they are the healthiest kids we know. Their friends love to come over and try all of our different foods and think our lifestyle is pretty awesome...my 15 yr old's boyfriend just went vegetarian a month ago, but his twin sister has been that way for 6 yrs so it wasn't that hard for him. My hubby has been vegan for 2 weeks, but vegetarian for only a year. It was really hard on me for the past 12 years because I'm a staunch animal rights vegan. I don't go out there preaching to the masses about it though....I think people find it for themselves if they get sick enough. That's exactly what happened to him. His cholesterol went up, he had 3 really bad gallbladder attacks, and he got 70lbs overweight. He's a new person today:) He has only lost about 30lbs so far, but he feels way better. I had felt alone about veganism a lot in the early years, but as time has progressed, the people around me have adjusted and the restaurants have added more options. Glad there are some on this forum:)

    Good luck with your hubby. Glad he is getting better. Unfortunately I feel like it will take a heart attack to change my hubby over to vegan. He eats his salads and occassional wraps but he loves his steaks! It started out a healthy diet for me until I learned more about what is going on in the food industry as a whole. The animals.... it just blows me away what is going on. Our population is getting bigger and other countries are adopting our eating habits. It's just crazy. In the grocery store I will look for something to make for the guys and I just can't get myself to buy that giant steak or chicken anymore. Well, it's slowly catching on in our society. Slowly....
  • illuvatree
    illuvatree Posts: 189 Member
    My brother in law said "you still doing that?" (meaning eating vegan) He said I need iron. I need a steak! It's amazing how much people don't know about nutrition. And how many nutrients are in those plant foods. Well the good thing is it is catching on. Slowly.... it's catching on. Just not in my group of peeps yet.

    Tell me about it.

    A few weeks ago, my uncle was like, "So if you don't drink milk anymore, where do you get your calcium?" I was like, "Almond milk." And he was all skeptical about it. But honestly? One cup of almond milk has 45% of our daily calcium.

    He also asked where I get my protein, which made me lol.

    But yeah, I get you. My immediate family doesn't really understand it either. They're misinformed and think it's stupid and inconvenient. I personally feel much better after cutting animal products out of my diet. I didn't realize before how much my body didn't like it. Even though I still slip up on occasion, I feel better. I think it's MORE convenient not having to cook meat anyway. My individual meals are less complicated and time-consuming than the ones my mom makes for herself and my dad... and they taste better.
  • I definitely agree that being the only vegan is not easy... It get's really annoying when people question you about your food choices when they don't really know anything about them...
    Being vegan is healthy and, if you are a healthy vegan, there are a lot of nutrients! I wasn't always a 'healthy vegan', since I used to eat processed vegan foods like vegan cookies... But now I am eating more fruits and veggies and feel great! Eating healthy isn't hard and being vegan is not bad for your health... I just wish other people that are not vegan could understand that and not hate the vegan diet! :) Sorry just venting lol
  • ihateroses
    ihateroses Posts: 893 Member
    I know this is a bit off topic but I'll ask anyway!

    What is an easy way to transition to being vegan without feeling like you "need" meat? I know this sounds strange but I've always wanted to at least try it for a little bit to see how it goes and I end up feeling like I'm starving so I'm assuming I'm not doing it right.

    That stuffed shell recipe looks amazing btw!
  • LovingLifeInCalifornia
    LovingLifeInCalifornia Posts: 9,362 Member
    I could have wrote this, too. :Sigh: I am newly vegan...it's been a little over a month. I was already eating primarily plant-based anyhow....and was vegan a couple months last year as well. My husband doesn't think I can continue it - or maybe doesn't want me to? Not sure. It's "inconvenient" since the entire family all eats meat. And he feeds the kids "bad" foods - lunchables, ramen, etc. on a regular basis. It's like he doesn't want to "fight" them on teh veggies, but I know they eat some.

    Anyhow, would write more, but I'm headed out the door. Will come back later to read everyone's post. :)
  • I'm not the perfect-HEALTHY-choices-only vegan. I sometimes lean on pre-packaged vegan foods...then cut them out entirely. Sometimes I eat too much sugar...then cut it out entirely. I had been vegetarian for over 20 years, and became vegan a couple years ago. I know that the entire time I was vegetarian, I had tried to become vegan easily 4 or 5 times. The last time has stuck finally. But change doesn't happen the same way for everyone. Maybe some of your family members will change their preferences, but I wouldn't count on it happening quickly, and for some it will never happen. Love folks where they are (of course you are doing that; that's why you worry about their health) Just be a healthy role model, and don't expect change. For my family change began to happen just in the last year or so, in little bits and tiny ways. One day my sis asked for a tofu "egg" salad recipe. My husband made tofu fajitas and offered them to passersby at the football tailgater. My son asked for a portion of the vegan lasagne instead of the meat one. Some people just make incremental changes. But it didn't happen in the first two years. It's taken many, many years. And lots of short-order cooking on my part, (yes. I make two meals. The meat one and vegan one. I hv for years.) For everything there is a season...
  • craftywitch_63
    craftywitch_63 Posts: 829 Member
    I'm not vegan, but I do have friends who are either vegan or vegetarian where they do eat fish and eggs.

    Despite what your friends tell you, vegetarians do not eat fish, chicken, beef, pork or anything with a face, really, although American vegetarians eat eggs. The friends that eat fish are pescatarians.

    I only write this because I'm a vegetarian (I eat eggs and dairy) and I constantly hear, "Well, my [insert relative here] is a vegetarian but he eats fish and chicken." This is then followed by, "Well, you can have a little (fish, chicken, beef, pork, duck, snake, whatever) right?" sigh.

    My kids decided to be meat eaters. I let them make the choice because they are the ones that have to live with the choice, so the compromise we made is this: If they want meat, they will have to prepare it, and I will make the vegetable dishes. They get their meat but I don't have to smell or see it cooking.
  • nurssassy
    nurssassy Posts: 71 Member
    I'm a quiet vegetarian. I don't feel the need to tell people I'm a vegetarian anymore than omnivores feel the need to tell me that they are an omnivore. My dietary habits are second nature to me, I just don't think about it. Also when people take notice or a close friend feels the need to announce that I am a vegetarian one of two scenarios usually plays out. The scenario that troubles me most is that I make someone feel uncomfortable eating meat in front of me or that they feel like they have to make an extra effort to bring a vegetarian dish to a potluck if I am there, etc. The other scenario just frustrates and angers me. The people who feel the need to belittle my choice, try to change my mind, lecture me on the importance of protein (as if protein can only be found in meat), etc.
    There are so many vegan recipes that we have tried (my husband is an omnivore but he loves to dabble on the veggie side) that we now have a vegan day in our house.
    Cheese and yogurt keep me from being a vegan :ohwell:
  • jamiesillimandunn
    jamiesillimandunn Posts: 270 Member
    more power to you !! Serious,y I would love to have a healthier mindset and eat vegan or vegetarian , my step daughter go through phases of vegetarian then back to the norm , I completely respect her decision when she is " doing it " but at the same time , ( with her) I have to watch her food plan , because she will miss out on a lot of nutrients including protein ...only because she's picky on what veggies and fruit she will eat , so I supplement her with vitamins ... But as a kid she doesn't have the education and still needs a hand ( 15) my 3 yr old on the other hand , eats extremely healthy , we believe she is an old soul lol....mainly eating fruits and veggies and usually her meat left on her plate ???? Crazy . The only kid I know that won't finish a piece of cake !! No kidding ... So any vegan vegetarian haters are just misunderstanding . I'm not a vegan or vegetarian but can understand why people choose to eat in that way ;) so go for it !