Going Vegan Between A Rock And A Hard Place
After reading the book “Skinny Bitch” and realizing the crap that’s in food, working Mom wonders how to go vegan and not die of exhaustion
I recently decided to go vegan after reading the book, “Skinny Bitch” and realizing the crap that is in the food I eat. However, I am between a rock and a hard place.
I have 4 kids and a full time job. I come from a family that strongly resists vegetarians, to the point of ostracizing and joking about them.
How do I follow what I believe is right for my children and myself, prepare 2 separate meals three times a day, and not die of exhaustion?
I really want to do this, but I’m worried about the fight ahead of me. I already struggle finding meals without restrictions, so finding vegan meals my family will eat without the battle feels very overwhelming.
Do you have any advice? – S.S.
Savvy Vegetarian Advice
Hi S. It’s a worthy goal to go vegan, but I think it’s something you need to do gradually. Very gradually, in your case. It should be a challenge, but not a big fight, and it certainly shouldn’t be exhausting. It should make your life better, not harder.
As you say, you don’t have just yourself to think of, which would be challenge enough. You’ve got your kids, maybe a husband (not mentioned), your full time job, and your anti-vegetarian family. You already struggle to make everybody happy, and juggle everything you have to do.
My advice is along the lines of ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’.
First, start giving equal importance to your own needs. IMHO, a Happy Mom is a Good Mom. If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of all those other people?
I’m not talking about being selfish or self-centered. I’m talking about self-love. You not only have to re-program yourself to accept that, but also your family. It doesn’t have to be a fight or a struggle, but it does need to happen. Y
You should get some help with that – a neutral, yet empathetic person you can talk to, yoga or meditation practice, whatever works for you. Make time for yourself. It’s important.
Second: Don’t worry about going fully vegan or even vegetarian at this point. Keeping the Big Picture in mind, take practical baby steps toward your goal.
Introduce one plant based dish at a time to family meals, with the least disruptive timing and frequency. Give some thought to what your family will eat, but make it something you want to eat. It should be something they can eat with their meal, as a side. Like a salad, soup, veggie or grain dish (e.g. plain rice or noodles).
Pitch the changes as part of a campaign to make your family’s diet healthier, more nutritious, more balanced. Don’t force them but involve them in the process, and aim for acceptance of each step. Progress over time to a meatless meal, say once a week.
After they’ve absorbed the concept of eating healthy, then introduce the topics of animal cruelty, global warming etc. Maybe watch the movie ‘Forks Over Knives’ together – but don’t preach. You’ll be more successful if you let your family make up their own minds.
Gradually reduce or eliminate red meat from your diet and the family diet first, and progress to the smaller animals. Don’t substitute tofu or other exotic foods yet. Serve more familiar foods involving beans or even eggs & cheese – e.g. bean based soups, salads, chili, sloppy joes, burritos with refried beans.
After some time, try out things like tofu burgers or stir fry with fried tofu. Make vegan desserts – they’ll never know the difference.
Savvy Veg has lot’s of kid friendly recipes!
Also, read the free Savvy Veg report, Veg and Non-Veg Eat Together, for more in-depth suggestions for blending veg and non-veg eating styles.
Please write if you have any comments or questions. And I’d love to hear from others who’ve been in similar situations.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian