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SV9910's Photo SV9910 Posts: 23
6/23/13 9:58 A

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I usually don't talk about it unless someone is truly interested for health reasons. I carry small meals and snacks with me when I visit family. Most people who respond harshly to my vegetarian diet choices are people who are far from healthy so it doesn't bother me.

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6/22/13 3:31 P

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Yes, 40 grams max is what I've heard also. We are getting way too much protein in this country and it puts a big stress on the kidneys and digestive organs. When our body is overloaded we are more open to diseases like cancer.

Edited by: SWEETMAGNOLIA2 at: 6/22/2013 (15:32)
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6/22/13 2:52 P

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I always get asked "what about your protein, where do you get it. From the research I have done at the maximum a person should get is 40 grams of protein, and that may be to high. Any extra goes through the kidneys and makes them work extra hard and can damage them. Then I ask the person "when was the last time that you met or knew a person that is protein deficient?" I get no answer.
:)

Thus the days flee away in like manner and in like manner follow each other, and are always new. For that which was previously is left behind, and that takes place which never was; and every moment of time is replaced by another.
Ovid


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6/21/13 1:08 P

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SH:

Great responses! I'll have to keep this in mind when I
go to my family's reunion/father-in-law's 90th birthday
party next month!

emoticon


CHERRY666's Photo CHERRY666 Posts: 545
6/21/13 11:57 A

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SINGINGHEART, thank you! I don't have much practice yet with responses and it seems like it always winds up awkward and they think I'm being judgemental when I'm really not, etc. I really appreciate the insight!

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5/18/13 5:19 P

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Thanks sweetmagnolia!

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5/15/13 1:21 P

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Singing heart, I like your insight!

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5/15/13 7:13 A

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Dietary criticism usually stems from fear.

The first type are afraid of being judged. It's not about me. I realized they're not attacking my choices, they're just defending their own.

Keep the focus on them, and keep it positive. "I don't need a cheeseburger to have a great time at your BBQ! I just love spending time with you! How is (insert happy chatty topic). Boom. Done.

The second type is usually afraid you're going to drop dead of malnutrition. I love this kind of "criticism" because these people just want me to live forever, and have been taught that dairy and meat will keep me strong to live long!

These are the people who need information and reassurance that your doctor supports and encourages this. I love these folks because the worried criticism turns to advocacy and support, almost as if you said you had a severe nut allergy.

I don't tell people I'm a vegetarian-it's not their business. But people are smart and figure it out. If they have a critical response, that's how I handle it. I hope that helps!


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SUPER_CIARA's Photo SUPER_CIARA Posts: 847
5/5/13 3:09 A

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I've stopped being nice when I get dietary criticism. I was nice for 14 years about it. Now I just tell them straight out: I don't harass them for eating meat. I don't ask them why they decided to start eating meat instead of staying a vegetarian like they were when they were babies (babies just drink milk after all). Me not eating meat doesn't affect their lives so they should stay out of mine.

Hugs, Ciara
"What should you do to put your body to good use? Most people have no idea. A craftsman who borrows some tools will try to make the best possible use of them while they are available. Your body, too, is actually on loan to you for the time being, for the brief period left before it is taken back from you by death. Had you better not use it to practice the dharma while you can?" --The Day After You Die


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5/5/13 1:28 A

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I tell them that I eat meat substitutes and other high protein foods to meet my dietary needs. I even take a multi-vitamin to help me.

Push harder!!

My minor setbacks are nothing compared to where i'm going


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FEISTYLIZARD's Photo FEISTYLIZARD SparkPoints: (9,186)
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5/3/13 5:16 P

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Thank you everyone for the helpful advice and ideas! You all have way more patience than I do, clearly.

Cheers!


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4/28/13 5:28 P

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GO STELLASPIKE!!

I believe in myself, I am a strong woman. I will reach my goals, NOTHING & NOBODY will hold me down. I will live my life with integrity and intention. I will set a good example for my daughters and my son. I will be a woman that makes my grand children proud when they look at pictures of me long after I've left this earth.
STELLASPIKE's Photo STELLASPIKE Posts: 16
4/28/13 5:26 P

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I have been vegan for almost 5 months, I love it , and I wish I had done it sooner but, I always seem to have one or two completely obnoxious vegans around me making me feel like if you chose to eat this way you had to be a jerk about it too- by default.

So now that I have made the transition here is what I do socially:

1. I always pack something to eat for myself regardless of what people say. I also will eat before going out. I do not get pissy when there is cheese on every green thing at the meal I simple just don't eat what I don't want to eat. I do not get an attitude with anyone. I do not lecture people.

2. I don't offer up dietary restrictions unless asked by the hostess. People who ask usually know are willing to try. I offer them up websites like post punk kitchen and Engine 2 for recipes.

3. If the host does not ask about my needs I offer to bring a dish, something I know I can eat, and also will be tasty for the carnivores, so they see that vegan food is *awesome*

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VEGSARA's Photo VEGSARA SparkPoints: (383)
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4/28/13 1:19 P

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I just avoid the topic or gove very basic responses. I get asked all the time about why I became vegetarian. I always say, "Well, for me it was about the animals, my health, and the emvironment." If they want to know more details, they can ask- but they never do. So i just give them that basic broad overview, which people tend to not find intimidating or uncomfortable. I believe this avoids a slew of banter.

What usually happens is people will say stuff like "Oh well I've been trying to eat less red meat" and instead of informing them why all meat is unhealthy, I simply nod along politely. I consciously make sure not to lecture people or make them uncomfortable. If they persue an intense discussion, I am happy to oblige with information, but that almost never happens.

If people are rude about it, I will shrug and say it's what works for me. These people wouldn't understand if you tried explaining.

I once came across horrible rudeness in extended family. They said we were going out to eat but changed their minds last minute without informing us. So I hadnt brought anything for me to eat. And they put meat into any veggie sides which I couldve otherwise eaten. They told others, "well, that's her problem." And created an uncomfortable atmosphere where it was clear I couldnt ask for a yogurt or anything. When people behave like that, theres really nothing to do but go hungry and avoid returning for another visit. If you do return, bring your own food and just be quiet until you leave. There are some people that dont listen as soon as you suggest their behavior was rude.

"You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face."



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4/28/13 12:49 P

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I don't feel the need to carry pictures of diseased hearts with me to gatherings emoticon

I survived my visit with my Mom. My nephews wife was asking me a lot of questions about veganism - recipes, etc. She even made sure to bring a bag of Oreos for me so I didn't feel left out when they brought in some lovely looking cookies from an Italian bakery. I do find it a bit incredible that some people get so offended by the fact that I am a Vegan. I don't preach to anyone about what they're eating; I don't know why some people feel the need to criticize.

Small people have small minds.

I believe in myself, I am a strong woman. I will reach my goals, NOTHING & NOBODY will hold me down. I will live my life with integrity and intention. I will set a good example for my daughters and my son. I will be a woman that makes my grand children proud when they look at pictures of me long after I've left this earth.
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4/27/13 11:21 P

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Yes - we have a lot of difficulty with some relatives who get downright mean
about our vegetarian choices. In a lot of cases, I know they feel very
threatened. They seem to take it personally; we're undermining everything
they believe in. We usually bring our own food, or make visits short.
We're going to a big family reunion this summer and plan on bringing several
vegetarian appetizers. We'll have no problem filling up on those - and will
still enjoy ourselves.

emoticon


CRAGNCRUDE Posts: 243
4/27/13 6:31 A

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Hey, I'm German AND vegan. emoticon

You have to know that there is a strong meat/dietary lobby here in Germany.
They have a strong influence on the German Agency for Diet (or whatever could be a translation for the DGE) as well.

I know some good websites with strong arguments for vegan/vegetarian diet, but only in German.

I always tell myself, that everyone can do his/her health any harm (I am convinced that vegan wholefood is the healthiest food for most of us) whenever I see them eating their meat etc. But this is not the be-all and end-all - I am still working on that, too.

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4/26/13 1:34 P

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It is sometimes very difficult to deal with people who refuse to accept our differences.

What usually works for me when they do not take polite hints to drop the subject is a statement something like this, "I promise not to discuss the many diseases caused by your eating choices if you will simply stop trying to force your choices on me (or "tease me about my own choices)."

Then if they continue, have some really graphic pictures of heart disease & tumors to show them. Works (almost) every time.


Julia
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Joyfully owned by two retired racing greyhounds.
Happily vegetarian for over 40 years.

Team Co-Leader: SP Class of May 6-12, 2012


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4/26/13 5:56 A

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We are going to visit my mother this weekend and she's already calling me names and criticizing my Vegan choice - I told her I'd bring my own food. SO not looking forward to this visit.

I believe in myself, I am a strong woman. I will reach my goals, NOTHING & NOBODY will hold me down. I will live my life with integrity and intention. I will set a good example for my daughters and my son. I will be a woman that makes my grand children proud when they look at pictures of me long after I've left this earth.
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4/25/13 11:47 P

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I have only experienced negativity from my mother in law. She didn't understand why I wouldn't eat turkey, as it is not meat it's fowl. Then tried to get me to eat a hamburger stew by telling me that it was a vegetable stew. Then another night during our visit we went out to dinner and I ordered a pizza without cheese, and they put cheese on it. She was embarrassed that I sent it back. Then mockingly stated that she was proud of me for sticking to my principles. I chock most of it up to lack of understanding. I do my best to educate on the fact that this way of eating has made me feel healthier than I have ever felt and I am not willing to give that up. I am down almost 40 lbs and I have been able to stop taking the plethera of medication that I was on. I feel that this is the best explantaion for the change in my diet.

I always bring my own meals or dishes. I find this to be easier since I am the only one in the family that eats in this manner. This way I can be assured that there are no surprises in what I am eating. And it takes some stress of the host/ess.

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PAMDAQTPI's Photo PAMDAQTPI Posts: 599
4/25/13 1:04 P

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Great comments on here so far. I'm new to a more vegetarian lifestyle and my in-laws are big into meats. They don't know about my shift in eating style yet and I'm keeping it to myself as long as I can so that I don't have to discuss it. If it does come up I plan to let them know that I've read some books that cited many credible studies that suggest a plant based diet improves your health, so I'm trying it out. "If you want to give it a read I can lend it to you."

I'm not looking for a fight or a debate on which eating style is best and I'm no where near educated enough to get into a debate anyway. I'm just going to say, I've read this and I'm trying it. If she wants to lend me a book that explains why a meat based diet is better I'll be happy to read it and take that information into account but I won't get into a verbal debate about it with someone who hasn't even read up about it.

I have seen the reverse and it puts people on the defensive. An extended family member tried to tell my mother-in-law that she eats badly because she eats animal products and tried to bully her into agreeing with him. I've seen a couple of vegetarians (probably well meaning) try to force others to eat the way they eat and it makes people defensive and judgmental of a plant based diet. So, I make no claims that it is better for everyone, I can just share the information I have and my own personal results.

Bringing your own dish is an awesome idea, it'll give them a chance to try it and see for themselves.

"I'm in the race but I've already won
And getting there can be half the fun
So don't stop me until I'm good and done
Don't you try to rain on my, Perfect Day"


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DAVEED's Photo DAVEED Posts: 2,925
4/25/13 11:03 A

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I tell people I am responsible for my health not you.

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4/25/13 8:04 A

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People are generally amazed even after years of knowing my immediate family doesn't eat meat, especially the older ones who I think sometimes forget. "You mean you don't even eat Fish"! We just smile and say "No, not ANY flesh foods".

I always bring an entree and dessert (I enjoy baking). Sometimes a favorite side dish. I let everyone know there's enough for any who want to try something new. They ALWAYS take the dessert. LOL

By politely answering their questions, genuinely enjoying the food, and not appearing either judgmental or as a martyr has worked for us. We have gained their respect and can focus on being together as a family no matter the food preferences.



Edited by: SWEETMAGNOLIA2 at: 4/25/2013 (08:14)
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LAGENBL's Photo LAGENBL Posts: 9
4/25/13 6:07 A

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My family didn't react well at first. They were joking or insisted on making me eat meat.

At one point, I decided to bring my own food and to make it look so good that people want to taste it. Usually I make a full meal (entrée to dessert, even drinks) and I'm having a load of real fun.

I think that the key is not to wait for people to understand or to prepare food for you. This way you won't be disappointed. Bring food that you like (enough to others to have a bit of it) and enjoy their surrounding. Often,they just need time to understand that your way of living isn't a threat or a judgment of theirs, but just an other option.

Acting this way, I did make some members of my family change their attitude, and now, my boyfriend is vegan, my mother prepare vegan option of dessert and main dish. She want so much to make me eat her super duper cake..

. If you're affirmative, non too reactive and joyful, people tend to get used to your diet with out comment.

Edited by: LAGENBL at: 4/27/2013 (08:17)
LITTLEIM's Photo LITTLEIM Posts: 80
4/25/13 2:10 A

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I can totally relate to this as I'm veggie and married to a German. His family are actually very kind until they've had a few drinks and then they start to joke that I should just try some meat. They are not being mean. They just genuinely don't get it. That said I think the best thing to say to anyone who asks is that you are a 'please-my-selfist' and that you eat whatever you want to just like anyone else! There is an element of choice in all we eat, you're just exercising that right. Then change the subject and ask them about religion or politics - something bound to distract them all from you ha ha!
Good luck, don't let it make you unhappy, people are really odd about food.

Edited by: LITTLEIM at: 4/25/2013 (02:11)
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FEISTYLIZARD's Photo FEISTYLIZARD SparkPoints: (9,186)
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4/25/13 1:55 A

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I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for nearly 8 years and my immediate family are super supportive and have no problem with it (they've even created their own vegetarian versions of holiday food for me), but my extended family, all of whom are of German descent, can be really negative about it, and they think they're being funny. It has gotten to the point where I don't attend family gatherings or meals because I don't wish to deal with it. I mean, there are only so many times a person wants to launch into the reasons they gave up meat over Thanksgiving dinner. When I am invited and I do attend, I always bring my own entrees because they won't provide me an option. Most of the sides have meat or gravy in them too, so I end up scowling over potatoes the whole meal. Am I overreacting? It's not like I am a fad dieter. Is it wrong to find this behavior simply classless? Do any of you have to deal with criticism of your vegetarian/vegan diets from friends or family? If so, how much? And how do you deal with it?

Cheers!


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