Thursday, December 25, 2008

Is My Family Vegan Too?

A quick response to a question posted on my Vegan Mexican Casserole post:

"When you went vegan, did you take your family too?"

Well, yes and no. I guess I'm a little different than some vegans, because I don't have any desire/need to try to force my views on anyone else, even my own family. Call it old age, but I've found over the years that trying to force your views on someone is a pretty good way to get them to do the opposite of what you want.

Instead, I favor the "lead by example" approach. I do what I do, and if someone else is interested, great. If not, then pushing isn't going to help.

When I decided to go from vegetarian to vegan, I sat down with my wife and discussed the changes that would naturally surface as a result of this choice. Since I am the one who spends most of the time in the kitchen, I knew that going vegan might translate into a kind of "force", because I would be cooking and serving vegan meals for the family.

Fortunately, my wife was very supportive of the change, and decided to go vegan with me. Our motivations are primarily health-related, so it wasn't too hard for us both to get on the same page.

Aria, for the most part, is vegetarian by choice. She's old enough to understand that hamburgers come from cows, etc., and she's decided that she doesn't want any part of that. We were vegetarians long before she was born, so she didn't have to deal with any major "omnivore to vegetarian" shift.

Obviously, if and when she decides to go vegan, we'll support that, too. I don't feel it's right for me to tell her that she can't have cheese pizza at school, or ice cream at a friend's party. I know my daughter well enought to understand that this would only foster resentment.

Some of you may disagree with my approach, and I respect that. But I know I don't deal well with having changes forced on me, and I don't think most other people do either. My daughter sure as hell doesn't take kindly to it. My job is to educate and support, and the rest is up to her.

So there you go, a very long-winded answer to a simple question. The support I've received from my family has been wonderful (why else would my wife agree to record my silly videos), and I've been very fortunate that they've been receptive to my journey into veganism.


Ricki said...

It's the same way in our house. My honey is an omni and we just live and let live (though he's very supportive at home--always eats pretty much whatever I cook; he just cooks his own "additions" when he feels like it).

Hope you had a great Christmas!

laci said...

Thanks for the family story! I understand what you mean about being a modal, not a punishment. People listen when they are inspired,not when they feel forced. Another question; if Aria (sorry about Samantha) went vegan, would in interfere with her socially as she got older? Also, what do you do when it comes to family dinners and they say "this is what you can bring" but it's kinda light for a main for your self, and you don't want to insult the chef by only eating what you bring? Thanks! =]
Merry chritsmas and happy newyear!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation. I had been wondering how to convince my family to go vegan with me. My dad argued over me just being vegan, so I was at a loss. The "lead by example" is probably the best idea.

And great job for respecting your daughter and allowing her to make her own choices! If only everyone were that way.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Hey, thanks for adding me to your blogroll! You have a great blog; I’ll definitely add you to mine when I next update.

Maida said...

I really, really appreciate this post. My husband is mostly vegan, but doesn't really have the motivation to go fully vegan (which is fine with me). Our daughter has always been vegetarian, but I've really had issues turning her fully vegan because I don't want to force it on her but at the same time I think it's best. At home, she eats a vegan diet because that's what we eat. When we're visiting family or eating out, though, the "rules" loosen up a bit and she can have real cheese and sometimes eggs. I've really had issues with this, though, so thanks for enlightening me to the fact that nothing bad will happen if she isn't exactly like me.

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