I still don't understand HOW anyone finds my words helpful, but the fact they do, makes me very happy.
An email I got today inspired me to write as much of a reply as I could. Olivia got me at a good time. I've had a lovely long holiday in Cornwall, and am sitting on a seven-hour train journey home. It felt like a perfect time to thank her for her lovely words and, as much as I can, help her with this tricky situation....
I sat down on the train, to write Olivia as decent of a reply as I could, which I hope may be useful to anyone out there having the same concern. For any "intense" vegans out there, you may not like my reply - as I do not tell her "GO VEGAN NO MATTER WHAT!" because I'm not insane. I hope this is sound, USEFUL advice that can truly help you Olivia, and anyone else out there....
Also - I'm going to litter this post with AMAZING vegan food pictures - you know, any extra inspiration ;)
Thank you so much for your lovely message. It really made my day. I’m happy you found my website that inspiring.
I really sympathise with your situation. It’s very difficult to go against what our families do. Diet and most lifestyle choices really are quite personal things and we don’t want to feel like we are critiquing others by choosing a path different to them. Especially our parents! When I went vegan, there was definitely a difficult “patch” when my family didn’t understand what I was doing and had concerns. However, I must confess, I was 22 at the time, not 15 like you are - so it will likely be even more challenging for you.
My honest advice would be to sit down with your parents in a really calm, reasonable way and tell them that you’re thinking about giving up meat and animal products (or maybe just start with meat if that feels too scary?) and ask them how they would feel about that? Tell them it feels important for you to try because you feel vegetarianism might be the right way forward for you. You’ve done lots of research and know it’s a healthy way to live and would like to give it a try. I think having a sense of flexibility, calmness and kindness in the air, will get a better reaction than announcing you’re now vegan and they have to “like it or lump it” ;) I don’t think anything like that would ever get a good response!
I don’t know your parents, of course, so maybe tailor how you tell them to what you think will work best. But i imagine that most parents would want to feel they have some input into their children’s lives and they want to know you value their opinion.
My personal advice on nutrition would be to just eat as much FRESH fruit and vegetables as you can, with some nuts and good starchy potatoes/sweet potatoes/parsnips in there. Obviously get in some vegan sweets and fun recipes (like burgers, pastas, etc) - but as long as you’re getting in some fresh stuff every day, you will be right as rain. I DO recommend supplementing vitamin B12, but primarily because all studies done on B12 suggest that almost every human on the planet is deficient and we should all be supplementing, due to the lack of nutrients left in our soil, but it can often get palmed off as a “vegan issue”, when the evidence proves otherwise.
As a last resort, I believe a really nice option for you could be to just do whatever you can at this time in your life. Maybe eat as little meat as you can at home, choose vegetarian or vegan when you go out with friends for meals, or when you cook for yourself, but don’t feel you have to rock the boat too much if you feel it will upset things too much? Then, when you move out, you are free to eat and do as you please! You can eat a fully vegan diet and feel the benefits for yourself, without the negativity of having to do it at home. Having said that, I hope, and do truly believe, that by finding this path and doing it in a very positive, happy way, you can bring some new information and inspiration into your parents' household. You can introduce new yummy vegan recipes, some very healthy choices, and best of all, that compassion for animals, which so many people are completely closed to until someone opens their eyes. You can do that for your parents, as I did mine.
My Mum is now a vegan and my Dad is a vegetarian, something I didn’t think would EVER happen when I made the decision to go vegan. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen in time. It’s amazing what a positive influence we can have on people without even knowing it.
I really hope that helps, Olivia.
Love and Sweet Potatoes!
- Hannah xx