Thursday, April 5, 2007

#4 Be Helpful

Before I start, here's another Hawaii picture:
It's only a teensy snapshot of the Banyan tree in Lahaina- a almost-135-year-old giant that takes up pretty much a whole city block. (!)

In any case,


By wanting to be vegan or even just vegetarian, you are challenging your family's habits and forcing a change. It's like a little earthquake. I know that personally, becoming vegan was SO easy and just a snap- however, my family hadn't been enlightened with the same information that I had, so my decision to live compassionately wasn't rational to them.

Consequentely, it's best to do whatever you can for the MOST peace in your family- without going back to omnivorism, of course! For one, that would mean helping to make your meat-free alternative when it comes to dinnertime. If your mother is already making dinner your a picky family of 6 (like mine), chances are that she won't be too happy cooking up 1 or more other dishes. SO, by being helpful, you can ease up the load on your poor mother, make your family more comfortable about veganism- and ensure something yummy for yourself!

In the situation above, you could show your mom some delicious vegan recipes that your whole family could enjoy. Or, show how a stir-fry (for example) could be separated before the chicken is added, so that you can add your own tofu to the vegetables. Also, there's my favourite solution- make your own "entree"! Admittedly, I just love cooking, but through indepedence, I've earned the respect of my family considerably more than leaving my mom to do extra work.

You can be helpful in other ways, too- not just cooking and doing dishes.

Remember, you're much more informed than the rest of your family probably is. So, it might be a good idea to gently enlighten them with some of what you've learned. I say "gently" because you don't want to come on too strong and make your family hostile towards you and veganism. It can be as simple as pointing out some article in the newspaper showing the link between red meat and cancer, or another pointing out the benefits of soy foods. As an aspiring nutritionist, I'm always reading up on nutrition and the benefits of veganism, so I often tell my family about the newest news on vegan diets. Just a little "hey, did you know that a high carbohydrate diets are the best? and that the only animal products that contain carbs are milk and honey?".

And this helpfulness DOES INDEED make a difference. In my case, it's been HUGE! Just this morning, my dad (proudly) told me that yesterday he hadn't eaten any meat. Coming from someone who once preached the importance of eating sausage for good health! In fact, I've noticed a remarkably large drop in the amount of meat the rest of my family eats since I've gone vegan. Maybe they'll end up vegan someday!

In any case, being helpful doesn't JUST apply to your family (and friends). It can extend to the whole movement as well- do your own activism, whether it be handing out pamphlets or helping with local vegetarian events.

That's all for now- I hope you've all enjoyed reading about my 4 tips and that you'll take something from them. They've worked for me, maybe they're help you survive your family too!

And, I'll be back real soon with some yummy RECIPES- don't worry!

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