I am the authority on how to be vegan when your family isn’t.
I’m not just saying that.
Sure, my parents fed us a lot of veggie stuff when I was a kid, but mainly because you got more bang for your buck both with regards to money and nutrition.
My parents also refuse to buy caged eggs (we’ve always had hens in the garden), would never let us have ultra-processed meat like teddy-bear ham (even though we begged) and always buy British meat.
However, they also go up to the hunt meet every boxing day (so did I until about five years ago), are fairly wary of veganism, and my younger brother is a gamekeeper on a grouse moor.
I was very lucky when I announced that I was going vegetarian. My parents never tried to dissuade me and were happy as long as I was healthy.
Previous to actually transitioning to vegetarianism my mum always said we were welcome to give it a go but we’d have to cook for ourselves, but she very kindly still cooked my meals for me, though I was more than old enough to do so.
So, yeah, it could have been worse.
My boyfriend isn’t vegan or even veggie but is happy to eat anything I cook.
Except *ahem* he does most of the cooking (I’M BUSY). Still, he happily cooks me vegan food.
So how do we manage? READ ON AND FIND OUT:
1. Don’t wang on about it all the time
I’m one of those sad cliches that love telling people I’m vegan.
I actually cringe inwardly every time I mention it, but the words are out before my brain can drag ’em back in. It’s a nightmare.
Because here’s the thing: few people care.
Eating meat is so intrinsic to some people’s lives that they would never ever consider giving it up.
I’m not saying to never mention it, or don’t educate people, but leave them alone sometimes.
Save some of your activism for big corporations so they stop testing on animals and start making really good vegan chicken kievs (if you know of any, for the love of god, please comment below).
2. Cook delicious vegan food for them
This is more for me than you. You’re probs not a lazy bones that gets her dinner cooked for her all the time.
But on occasion, I like to knock up a nice vegan chilli using Sainsbury’s soya mince, or make a lush veggie risotto.
You know what else is nice and extremely lazy? Mash with Linda McCartney sausages (not the rosemary ones; they’re rank). I fry onions and mushrooms and then add in Bisto (the caramelised onion one) and then pop in the (cooked) sausages and some frozen brussels sprouts. Tis lush.
Top tip: for the best ever mash, bake the potatoes in the oven and then scoop out the flesh when they’re cooked. Dip the skins in Nando’s medium sauce for a delicious starter.
3. Take your own food (or offer to)
You might not think being vegan is complicated, but it reeeeally is to your grandma/uncle/friend (these are only examples, not specific groups, at least as far as I’m aware).
So take your own.
And try not to cry when your mum cooks the roast potatoes in goose fat and is clearly horrified her only daughter couldn’t have them.
Or when my dad put cows milk in my coffee at his father’s funeral and looked like he’d just shot a dolphin in the face, whilst I tried to assure him it was fine whilst simultaneously making my sister in law drink it.
ANYWAY take your own food to places.
But take plenty. Oh yes.
DO we have any newbies here that have never been to a buffet with vegan options?
Because every omni will try the vegan option, and then come and find you to tell you how delicious it was whilst gnawing on a chicken leg. When it’s your turn to get up there THERE’S NONE LEFT.
This is a THING. I wonder if there’s a support group on Facebook for us.
4. Answer any questions calmly
Because, Jesus, people will ask you some stupid questions, and no one like an angry vegan.
Which is so unfair, because I’m a naturally angry person (let’s call it passionate, shall we?) that just so happens to be vegan.
So when people ask things like ‘how do you get your protein?’, ‘wouldn’t we be over-run with animals if we didn’t eat them, and that classic ‘don’t plants have feelings too?’ it’s not the vegan in me that wants to punch their chin out through their cranium, I’m just like that.
Luckily I’m not actually the violent type – I like to keep it all healthily bottled up tight in my soul (yes, I do cry when I run, why do you ask?)
Final thoughts on being vegan when your family isn’t
I get that some people are very against being a relationship with a non-vegan and I respect that, but it’s not something that bothers me that much.
It would bother me if my boyfriend was shoving the fact he eats meat in my face, refusing to try anything vegan and complaining about it all the time, but he doesn’t. He happily eats vegan food and is very supportive.
He actually only eats vegan yoghurt now, which may be my fault. I do a lot of the washing up and used to refuse to wash up his greek yoghurt pots for the recycling, and now he’s switched to Alpro. I’m pretty sure it’s mainly because the vanilla Alpro yoghurt tastes like melted ice cream but I like to think I helped a bit.
So yes, to wrap up:
- Don’t berate your family constantly about veganism – I like to sneak into their twitter timeline
- Cook delicious vegan food and share it far and wide
- Always make sure you’re first in line for the buffet.
This is just a little reminder: if anyone knows of any vegan chicken kievs, plz let me know. With the garlic sauce in the middle, obvs.