Dealing with omnivore family dinners as a new vegetarian

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Julio Raudales
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Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:18 am
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Course: Introduction

Hello all:

I just started a vegetarian diet like 5 weeks ago; I thought of going vegan before (like 1 year ago) because I started to watch videos of factory farming and it disgusted me very much, but it was just recently that I started my journey towards veganism;

I already avoid any dairy or egg products but not 100% yet; but the more I get informed about factory farming practices I get more disgusted of it, which is making me very angry at my family because of the exaggerated amount of meat and dairy being bought for the holidays.

Do any of you have any advice to give so I can deal with this anger I have in me? I can't stop showing it off; I hope I don't spoil the family dinner tomorrow at christmass dinner. I just got into an argument with my wife and she is really worried about me; she supports my decision of becoming a vegan, yet she is not fully in to get into it herself.

Take care all of you, and thanks in advance.

(sorry for my english, it is not my first language)
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David Pickett
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Joined: Fri Dec 25, 2020 4:56 am
Course: Introduction

Hi, I'm Vegan. Always respect your family. I am on the same boat as yourself; I believe to have fun and talk to your family like nothing is wrong. But, you don't have to eat the food. Just say: thank you, I am on a diet. I have parents that don't understand or respect my Vegan diet: they don't know how to change and sometimes are scared to change. I hope this helped. I am Vegan for LIFE. I DON'T WANT to live on 20 pills when I get old and I feel like a God off this planet based diet (life style).
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Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 4:06 pm
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hey, congrats on starting the transition to being vegan.

The anger is definitely something I dealt with a lot. I think it's important to focus on what is the most effective behaviour you can adopt to influence your family and have them think positively of what you're doing and perhaps consider it for themselves. You probably know that being angry sometimes your brain doesn't function at its best and you are very likely to say things that you will regret later or have to clean up later. The best policy is to not say anything when you're angry, especially since you've already had several arguments. Think through all the things you want to say, organize them logically, come back and say it when you're able to do it calmly.

It can get very messy trying to convert family members, and it's best to not expect too much of them but just think of ways to engage them in productive conversations, where neither of you are angry but discussing and getting them to think about the ethics of their food. If you're not in a space to have these types of conversations without getting angry, that's ok, put them off until you are. Have faith that if they have good hearts, they will go vegan when they understand all the facts.

Short of them turning vegan the next best thing you can get is accommodation. It isn't too much to ask for them to be respectful of your feelings, tell them that seeing all these things upset you because you think of how these animals are treated. It would be much appreciated if they try to do that away from you or if they can watch a video or two about these industries to understand why this hurts you. Maybe get them to compromise and have a completely vegan day every week or half a week. This isn't much to ask for and they will very likely accommodate you (or maybe I am very lucky to have the friends and family I have).

On the other hand if you're very angry a lot, and you're worried about saying the wrong things and causing fights when people say infuriating things that are seemingly harmless to them, one way to deal with it is to expect it. When I tell non-vegans about my food I expect them to ask about protein, what I eat, am I healthy, etc. In fact whenever I talk to non-vegans I just naturally think about all the possible "vegan questions" that can come up and I expect them and I smile and think of a light and fun way to respond (which is not to say I don't bring up the relevant facts, I do). I even expect "plants feel pain". If you're not ready to do that, think through the possible topics you talk to them about and avoid the ones that will cause issues. I know it sucks, but it's less stressful than getting into fights over and over again.
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Heather Jenkins
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Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2021 4:48 pm
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I am also the only aspiring vegan in my house. I REFUSE to change my beliefs or the way that I eat, but I am always having to cook meals for my family that simply disgust me. I just wish that I could bring everyone around to my way of thinking.
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Valerie Shepard
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Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:17 pm
Course: Dominion

Dealing with family is the hardest. Very well established activists haven't been able to make their families move. I'm talking the likes of Earthling Ed! In the end, leading by example and setting boundaries is the best thing to do. Every situation with the family is different, and there are a lot of unseen dynamics that come into play. I highly suggest those struggling with it look into the work of Melanie Joy - she's a psychologist who has studied familial dynamics in detail. The best advice can probably be found in her work.
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An jis la pou gadé
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Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2023 8:19 pm

Hi, Maybe you could try and tell what you think with NVC ( NonViolentCommu ication) check out their fondation. They have facilitated progress in plenty of liberations movements . You can look for a way to use NVC to do the same.
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