My Family and #1 Vegan Rule, Part II

funny santa

My #1 vegan rule: In-apartment veganism imposed on all guests in my apartment, including family! This means all food and meals bought to be brought back to my apartment must be free from animal products!

So, how have my brother and mom fared? Are they still alive and do they hate me yet?

Yes! They are still alive, but haven’t exactly embraced the vegan lifestyle outside of my 900 sq. feet animal cruelty-free zone (aka my apartment). They’ve been here for almost a week now and while I am grateful they have honored my rule, they’ve made up for it every time we’ve dined out which is often because they are on vacation…and of course they need to sample the delicious Portland cuisine! I definitely can’t and don’t try to sway their food choices when we dine out and I always make vegan work for me, it’s possible no matter where you go! But, without being pushy and annoying, I don’t think they will change 😦

vegan_christmas_wish_greeting_cardI was pretty much defeated after the last conversation I had with my brother when he saw the video narrated by Steve-O (read more about our conversation and see the video in Part 1). Maybe I am just too far gone on the vegan bandwagon, but I was floored by his assertion that animals are just food. In his eyes, when he sees a pig I think he truly just sees bacon.

In my mom’s case, sometimes I feel like I am on the brink of success…but for every two steps forward I feel like we take one step back. She agrees with me about how wrong the factory farming practices are and how unhealthy people are in America because of the broken food system. I believe that the compassionate animal-lover in her empathizes with the animals that are eaten and exploited, she loves her dogs and as vegans often say, “Why love one and eat the other?” But even though she doesn’t eat a lot of meat (she actually just doesn’t eat a lot period, I’ve often envied her natural ability to portion-control) she still doesn’t have faith that the vegan diet alone is enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle, even though her daughter (me) tries to be a living, breathing, successfully athletic example. It’s a combination of too much health misinformation and a traditional upbringing that makes her ask, “But where will I get my protein?” It’s the ubiquitous go-vegan-live-longeradvertisements paid for by the dairy industry that induces her to think it is a fact that dairy creates strong bones and is the prime source for calcium. It’s the “magic bullet” phenomenon of certain superfoods that are touted by popular news media that provides the surplus of confusing information and always the overarching message that veganism is unhealthy, restrictive, unsustainable and extremist. It’s the pervasive slogan from figures of authority that “everything is okay in moderation”….(like smoking, right?) All those things, key components in keeping the current American food industry in place, also serves to keep well-intentioned, health-minded individuals like my mom, from being able to change. *I had my mom read over my perception of her, and she okay-ed it ❤

If you hear something repeated often enough, you start to believe it as fact.

VEGAN (1)As I write this post, they are leaving to go eat something for dinner 😦 I’m gonna stay home, I need a little break from the constant family presence, and I am missing my vegetables! Honestly, I was starting to feel vegetable deficient after eating out most meals yesterday. For lunch we went to a rotary sushi, I ate my weight in veggie, cucumber, avocado, and seaweed salad rolls and for dinner we went to a Thai restaurant where I ate a vegan Papaya salad and 3 sides of sticky rice (the third time I ordered another sticky rice, the server looked at me like I was crazy). Anyway, I am happy to stay home today to eat my veggie-heavy (ab)normal vegan food. At least we’ve all been vegan for breakfast! We’ve been eating oatmeal jazzed up with different fruit, cinnamon and ginger (except my brother, who has a bad habit of skipping breakfast entirely).

But, with all this discussion surrounding veganism…I am starting to doubt myself. Have I become obsessive? Is it really just food, should I stop caring so much?

I’ve addressed this before in this post (Sorry, I’m NOT sorry for being a picky eater).  I don’t like to make people uncomfortable, I don’t set out to insult anyone or make them feel guilty about their lifestyle. But where is the line between me telling it like it is and the point when I start to step on other’s toes? I know it is impossible to please everyone, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. This goes back to when I was posting images like this one (below) on my Facebook page and a friend asked me to stop because he didn’t ‘subscribe’ to that. Or a week ago, when another close friend asked me if I thought non-vegans (like himself) were murderers! I was aghast, and hurt. I NEVER ever paint my non-vegan friends or family in that light! My perception of them is too colored by the wonderful character and spirits that I know they have. They are good, kind, caring people, that’s why they are my friends! So it really makes me feel terrible that they might think or feel that I am judging them harshly. vegan extremistI’ll never be in-your-face, that’s not my style…but on my blog and my social media I should be able to tell it (or show it and share it) like it is. Animal cruelty for the sake of our current eating habits is the truth. So why do I doubt myself? Is it all really just food? Or as someone else in my life just told me, “there are just too many terrible things happening.” Or my brother, “there are more important things to worry about.”

vegansidekick head in sand

Does all this mean that I should give up? Throw in the towel? Sometimes I just feel like a pest, annoying everyone else. To reiterate, I am not in the habit of spouting veganism 24/7 to everyone I meet or hang out with. When it comes up, I talk about it because my vegan lifestyle means a lot to me and I want other people to know about it. I desperately want the people I know to wake up and realize how wrong eating animals is! But even when I don’t say anything, I feel like my mere existence in living my life the way I do is a burden to others…my parent’s cross to bear: their crazy vegan daughter…so sad, sigh. It gets to me, it makes me feel like I need to apologize (even though I am not supposed to!), it makes me want to quit trying. I don’t feel like I am helping, mostly I feel like an annoyance at best.

KH_ROSIE-009-magDon’t worry though, I am not going to give up the fight! I’ll never stop being vegan and I’ll keep on blogging the truth. The information has to be available to inspire people to change. I never know who might stumble across my blog and become motivated…so I’ll keep going. In my daily life I’ll keep living my truth. When I find the balance between being in-your-face or acquiescing and unprotesting, believe me I’ll blog about it! Vegans everywhere will rejoice!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “My Family and #1 Vegan Rule, Part II

  1. It can be very frustrating when it (veganism) is something that you know is right, but the people around you just. don’t. get. it. I also keep a vegan household (as a result we usually have holiday dinners at my son’s house now, so not-vegan is my family). Usually my guests are perfectly happy with that, and sometimes surprised at how delicious the food is. I guess all we can do is continue to try to educate people and hope that some of it sticks. Gentle prodding I guess (though I’d like to smack that brother of your upside the head if he sees bacon instead of a pig. I’m the exact opposite..if I see bacon I see the beautiful pig that it once was. So sad).

    Like

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s frustrated! Have you any tips for successfully prodding…I mean educating friends and family? And yes, I was just stunned and pretty much speechless at my brother’s remark. I know there are people who truly don’t care about animals, but I didn’t think my own brother would be one of them!

      Thank you for reading, and happy holidays to you and your family!

      Like

  2. I think you’re highlighting the core dilemma that 99% of vegans face: how to balance compassion for animals with being equally kind to people, even when the latter are engaging in activities which harm the former. It’s something I’ve never managed to get quite right…that’s for sure! I share similar images on Facebook and fortunately no-one has ever taken offence, but I know I have inadvertently hurt some people and made them feel bad about themselves with my posts. I had to clarify that I don’t judge or hate people; only the behavior patterns that are ingrained in our culture and some people participate in.

    It’s particularly hard because you believe eating meat is terrible (and it is!) but you never want to say that eating meat makes someone a terrible person. I’ve vacillated between pushy, activist vegan and apologetic vegan and I’m struggling constantly to find the middle ground. Your Mom sounds very similar to mine, except for the fact that mine has been battling anorexia for coming up on 50 years now and I cannot ever bring myself to mention anything to do with food unless she asks me about it. It simultaneously breaks my heart to see her eat meat (when she does actually eat) and makes me so relieved and happy because…well, I don’t want her to die.

    Some people, who are openly cruel to animals and/or who attack veganism DO deserve to feel awful about themselves, and I have no compunction about showing them the truth in an openly aggressive manner. However, how to ‘sell’ veganism very much depends upon the individual. It’s incredibly frustrating because it’s easy to tell that most people do genuinely feel guilty as Hell about eating meat, and yet they are still so reluctant to change. I agree with Debbie that perhaps gentle prodding is the best approach for most, but occasionally a good smack upside the head can be beneficial too!

    Like

    • I feel like it is especially difficult for people my age, I already struggle to be taken seriously as a 21 year old, and I feel like most people think my vegan activism is a “phase” and my passion about it will fizzle…I hope not, the only thing I can see happening is that the good fight might get beaten out of me by society!

      I’m really sorry to hear about your mom, I don’t know if you read my post about my own struggles with eating disorders…but I know how hard it can be to break free from the grip of it. I also know that it’s hard for you to watch and not be able to do anything about it…it’s such a precarious situation. When I was bulimic, the first time I dabbled in veganism, I would still binge on animal products (luckily I was such a staunch vegetarian that I never ate meat, ever!) but in my eating disordered mindset, I didn’t have the capacity to care about the animals. I hope she gets better.

      I agree with you on your last point, it IS easy to tell that people are uncomfortable with their diet, on so many levels. On one level, they know it is cruel to animals…and they also know that it is not healthy either! But as I’ve often heard, people feel overwhelmed by the changes they have to make and by the stigma they might face from society, it’s just easier for them to stay in their comfort zone and continue to live the way they have been. I’m glad that there are several others, like you and Debbie who can help me continue to keep prodding along!

      Happy holidays to your family, and thanks for commenting and reading!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s