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Slow process
Ross Posted at 2006/11/11 11:41pm reply to

Ross
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yeah that's sort of how my parents are actually...my dad was veg for a couple years back when he was a skinny hippie, but now he's a rancher/hunter. they thought i was nuts when i switched, but they're ok with it now.

if you choose to go all the way, just explain to them fully your reasons for doing so, so they can understand why you're making the decision.
Meghanpolkadot Posted at 2006/11/11 11:44pm reply to

Meghanpolkadot
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there also scared becuase my cousin who was vegan for a really long time got really sick and becuase we wasnt healthy enough  like he got some skin deficency and his hair started falling out
Ross Posted at 2006/11/11 11:58pm reply to

Ross
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ah i see. if you can manage to have a fairly balanced diet then it's rare to ever run into any of these problems. unfortunately, one person doing it wrong can freak out all sorts of people about veganism. there are fast food vegans and healthy vegans, just as there are fast food omnivores and healthy omnivores.
Ross Posted at 2006/11/11 11:59pm reply to

Ross
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well i'm off to bed, nice talking to you!
Meghanpolkadot Posted at 2006/11/11 11:59pm reply to

Meghanpolkadot
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true true i think its preatty lame that im the youngest person here except for the ppl sho claim to be 0
Jacob Posted at 2006/11/12 12:28am reply to

Jacob
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>true true i think its preatty lame that im the youngest person here except for the ppl sho claim to be 0

There are younger people that go to the meetups, but they are too young for the internets though.
peter Posted at 2006/11/12 1:18am reply to

peter
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Hey Meggirl -

Good luck going vegan! Once you get into the swing of things, it's fairly easy. There are substitutes for just about anything, and once you find the right products you'll find yourself doing a lot less label reading. I personally second the recommendation of Follow Your Heart's "Vegan Gourmet" Soy Cheese. Melting it is somewhat tricky, but it's delish once you succeed. Most soy cheese contains a milk protein called casein to help it melt, or they taste like crap, but Vegan Gourmet is obviously vegan and quite tasty. You can find in Whole Foods or Wheatsville with the dairy substitutes.

This site can be a great resource. I recommend the FAQ and checking out the monthly meetups with the vegan crew. You probably will be the youngest person there but they will still make you feel welcome. I found it to be quite helpful to have such a supportive community when I was in Austin (I'm in Galveston now).

I'm sure there are others who will add to this. The only thing I would add right now is that veganism is not extreme, it's just not something the mainstream public is used to. The word "vegan" is actually from the beginning and end of the word "vegetarian" - following vegetarianism to its logical conclusion. Basically, the same reasons of animal welfare, health, the environment, etc., for going vegetarian can be extended further into veganism.

Again, welcome!
lisatalev Posted at 2006/11/12 9:22pm reply to

lisatalev
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i have a few things to offer you.  like ross i went vegan toward the end of my senior year.  i had slowly processed to vegetarianism over 12 months, and it took about 2 mo. to be vegan.  i went one meal at a time, rather than saying "i'm never...(whatever)...again"  as far as being at the mercy of your folks, my dad wasn't supportive at all--even of just being veggie.  he was downright rude about it.  but i'm a good cook and he didn't want to see me starve.  so if i added a bunch of stuff to the grocery list, he'd either get it or ask me to go shopping w/ him so i could pick it out, b/c he knew i wouldn't eat it if it wasn't vegan.  i cooked my own meals at home, and always made enough to share the yummy stuff w/ the folks.  over time my dad even started eating veggies b/c of me!

also, on the whole "extremist" thing, i think it helps to remind people that dairy and egg animals are raised in the same awful conditions that "meat" animals are, and that if your reason behind being veg was for humane interests, you are just being consistent with your ideals by being vegan.  veganism is mainstream enough today that most restaurants have something vegan on the menu, and most groceries carry tofu and soy milk.  also, PCRM, the physicians committee for responsible medicine (a D.C. based preventive medicine group that does clinical medical studies), endorses the vegan diet for health reasons.  it's the only diet that's 100% cholesterol-free.  maybe that one can warm them up to it a little?

finally, your parents probably just think you're going through a phase.  like you'll go vegan today and punk rock tomorrow and be a junkie by the next day??  they just don't want to see you getting wrapped up in something cultist and "weird" for the sake of rebelling.  just smile peacefully at them and say, "this is something i believe in" like a responsible girl who does her homework, and learn to speak intelligently (not emotionally) about the subject.  over time, when they see it's not a phase, and that you're healthy and emotionally stable, they will grow to respect it.  even my dad now looks for vegan stuff at the store when i visit, and makes sure to cook side dishes with oil instead of butter so i'm not left out of holiday meals.  your folks love you.  just remember that and be cheerfully stubborn.  you'll do great!
jen Posted at 2006/11/12 9:55pm reply to

jen
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as for the parents..i wanted to be veg at like 9happy and my parents told me i don't live in a restaurant.  i totally remember going to them all grownup and everything and then being shut down.  i tried it for a day and being 9 it didn't go so well.    anyway, i gave up red meat and pork my first year in college and then went slowly from there.  after about 4 years of being veg i made the choice to become vegan and took the first step by giving all my cheese puffs and crap to my roommates.  i told myself (and still tell myself) if i don't like it then i'll stop...but almost 8 years later i still love being vegan.

as for the parents, it took a few years but now my family is totally supportive.  more then supportive.  they are wonderful and have learned to cook things i can eat and although mom forgets and buys the casein cheese every freakin time i go home, they finally believe my diet to be healthy and don't nag me anymore about b12.

i guess my point is, stay strong and do what you feel is right, and if the parents don't agree, just do your thing as best you can and do it smart and healthily and they'll come around.
peter Posted at 2006/11/13 12:12am reply to

peter
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Lisatalev -

PCRM is not exactly the non-biased center of knowledge you may think it to be. They are pretty much a front for promoting animal rights and the vegan diet. For instance, Neal Barnard, the doctor behind all their studies, is actually a psychologist. I happen to agree with their bias, but let's be honest - they're not exactly neutral.

But to help Meggirl with her parents...you can tell them that most mainstream big-time medical organizations say that a vegan diet is safe for all stages of life *if planned correctly*. That last part in asterisks is important. The FAQ has more on that.

I went veg right before my sophomore year in high school, and vegan shortly after graduating. My parents were used to the idea since my stepbrother went vegan years before me (he's not even veg anymore), so they were fairly understanding. Even now, 4 healthy years later, they still need to be educated here and there. But there's hope: my dad is a very non-health oriented person, and he just finished reading Fast Food Nation and enjoyed it.
lisatalev Posted at 2006/11/13 11:23am reply to

lisatalev
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"PCRM is not exactly the non-biased center of knowledge you may think it to be. They are pretty much a front for promoting animal rights and the vegan diet."

yeah, this is not news to me.  i was a cooking teacher for one of their medical studies and worked closely with neal.  however, as far as what to tell your folks, sometimes it can help to mention preventive medicine groups by name, so you don't sound like you're pulling stuff out of your ass.  having worked on one of their studies, it was nice to see how much they really do care for human health (regardless of the 'hidden' agenda), and how they seek to promote veganism for optimal health, based on the premise that our bodies were designed to be herbivores.
Gabriel Posted at 2006/11/13 8:12pm reply to

Gabriel
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Actually Neal Barnard is a psychiatrist, not a psychologist.  So, not only is he a medical doctor, but he is also a specialist.  
lisatalev Posted at 2006/11/14 12:37am reply to

lisatalev
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yeah, and considering how insanely little most medical doctors know about nutrition, i'd rather listen to his advice than theirs.  seriously, most massage therapists learn more about nutrition than most general practitioners do in school, and on the whole that's not saying much!  at least neal's a psychiatrist who has taken on the close study of the effects of the vegan diet on improving human health, and what measures people can take to optimize that diet.  more than we can say about the average 'know it all' doctor who thinks that iron only comes from red meat and protein can't be found in vegetable sources!!!  that shit drives me crazy!  

i know what point you're trying to make though peter, that it's probably not best to go on and on about pcrm, since they're not the most impartial resource one could quote.  still, i think being able to point to some sort of authority that supports veganism for health can be good for "meggirl" as she tries to convince her parents she's not doing something reckless or ill-informed.  being a psychiatrist/psychologist, neal does present himself very rationally and professionally, and i think has a disarming way of speaking that makes people stop and think.  perhaps one of his health books on the coffee table may help to ease her parents' worries?
peter Posted at 2006/11/14 10:59am reply to

peter
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Points well taken from both of you. happy My bad on the mislabeling of Barnard's profession.
lisatalev Posted at 2006/11/14 9:39pm reply to

lisatalev
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it's all good.  happy  you brought up a point that is an important one to know how to address, should one of us ever want to cite pcrm for their work in medical studies and vegan nutrition.
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