Holiday Spirits, Family Visits and My #1 Vegan Rule

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Below is a festive  picture of my family from 2006 at one of my favorite holiday events on Guam, the Jingle Bell run which I just discovered from my mom has been discontinued…sad face. Those were the good ol’ days when my whole family ran together, now it’s just my mom and I who get up and log regular miles each morning. Also, eight years have passed, and none of us (except my mom, she’s got good genes and seems not to have aged at all!) look like that anymore (see us from last year, above).

Speaking of, my mom just finished the Honolulu Marathon a few days ago when my brother and she were en route from Guam to come visit me in Portland for Christmas!

Jingle Bell 5k 2006That’s how I literally just discovered the Jingle Bell run is no longer in existence….she corrected my out-loud musings as I am typing this post. The real reason for this blog post though, is to discuss my imposed in-apartment veganism on my brother and mom. So, how do they feel about that? What’s my reasoning? And, is it working?

So first, what are the parameters? Basically, I keep my apartment a sacred space free from animal products and it is going to stay that way! Personally, the smell of meat cooking in my kitchen, or seeing milk and eggs in my fridge might physically make me sick. I know enough about how those products make it to the supermarket to never want to be a cause of the process. I also know that meat, milk and eggs can never be a part of a healthy diet, and I care about my mom and brother. I could not in good conscious watch them eat those things and not say something about it. My rule is that all food brought into my apartment needs to be vegan and that all meals eaten in my apartment needs to be vegan as well. But when we go out to eat as I am sure we will often in the next ten days they are here, they can consume what they wish. I can’t control that, but a tiny part of me hopes that they feel good enough eating vegan that they won’t want to go back to eating animals!

vegan kitchenSo far, they’ve agreed to this rule and they’ve been animal product free for their first day here 🙂 small victories! Unfortunately, I had a discussion about eating animals and factory farming practices with my brother this morning…which did not go well. His quote, “Animals are there for us to eat,” really blew my mind, especially because this was after he watched a short video narrated by Steve-O (I thought that Steve-O might peak my brother’s interest) which depicted some of the cruelties condoned by the industry. I was kind and showed him a less graphic version of the cruel practices of factory farming, I’ve inserted the same video below if you are curious. It’s only 12 minutes long and I highly recommend it! Even if you are already vegan, it’s always a good idea to check in with yourself to make sure that your values and lifestyle are continuing to align.

But back to my brother’s statement. Animals are NOT put here on earth for us to eat. I sometimes forget how misinformed the general public can be. I was in the same boat until I decided to change my diet. With that decision came a lot of personal research. I had to seek out the knowledge myself, and find support in others online to succeed in going vegan. It’s not easy to change years of deeply ingrained habits and beliefs (even if they aren’t correct). I definitely have some work to do! My hopes are that his interest in building muscles and having a strong physique will at least compel him to eat plant based in the meantime and that the compassion for animals will follow. For men, it is especially important to show examples of ripped, strong and healthy male vegans to those who are considering changing their diet. I know I am generalizing here, but it’s been my experience that guys are usually scared of looking like a stereotypical, weakling vegan. I am not exactly reassuring myself because of my skinniness, but that is probably a product of my runninveganproblems 2g and my diet, not an inevitable consequence of being vegan. There are many resources for vegan athletes, and I hope to (slowly) educate my brother and show him how much stronger and healthier he can be. How can he argue with Rip Esselstyn of the Engine 2 Diet? Or Rich Roll author of Finding Ultra, Scott Jurek author of Eat & Run, or Brendan Brazier of ThriveThose are just the guys I can name off the top of my head! There are also so many plant-based athletes and fit guys on YouTube as well. Some of my favorites include Jay of PlantbasedAthlete, Chris of ChrisGoneRaw, and Ben of WholeFuture. Some are athletes, some are not. But all are well-informed, healthy and inspiring examples of how to succeed as a plant-based male.

To be continued….how have the days been treating them? What’s my mom’s take on all this? And why am I doubting my rule?

Part 2 is on it’s way!