I don't eat anything that previously had a face :)
Changing your diet isn’t just something that inevitably affects you. A lifestyle change that big and dramatic is something that will affect everyone around you as well, specifically your family. They will need to know why you’ve decided why you want to become a vegetarian, and what they’ll need from you in return. So if you’ve just decided to convert our diet over or are seriously considering it, here’s what you should know about talking to your family.
The first thing you’ll need to do is sit your family down and lay it all out on the table. This is it, no hiding from them. You will be at your most vulnerable, and so will they, but it needs to be told, specifically why you’ve decided to become a vegetarian or a vegan. If it has to do with wanting to eat healthier, be clear on that. If you feel uncomfortable eating animals and feel it’s not right for you anymore, come right out and say that. If you’re having concerns about the environment and decided that you’d prefer to reduce your own personal environmental impact, be straight with it. Essentially, this is your chance to explain your reasoning, and especially that this isn’t just something you’ve come to on a whim. You need to show that this is something you do indeed feel strongly about and can talk about it if need be.
Be Firm In Your Conviction
Along with knowing your facts, you need to be strong in the way you act. Don’t falter around your family and suddenly backslide here. And don’t be wishy-washy about certain aspects. If you’re against the consumption of animals because you feel it’s cruel, you shouldn’t then be wearing shoes made with alligator skin or makeup that’s tested on animals. As much as your family will generally be supportive when you’re serious about your lifestyle, they aren’t going to be as helpful when they see that you yourself aren’t really in for the long haul. Presumably, you’ll hope that your family will join you in your new lifestyle, so you have the responsibility of being an outstanding role model. Don’t blow it now!
Ask for Help and Understanding
When coming right out with what you’re changing and why, you also need to be clear on what you expect from your family in return. Ask them to respect your decision and to help by compromising with you on meals, so perhaps they can make vegetarian options during group meals or they can allow you to cook once in a while. But do be careful not to demand they change as well. The initial goal here is integration and your own personal life change. Just because this will involve everyone around you doesn’t mean that the best solution is to try and pin this same diet on everyone as well. Still, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help when you need it. Look for support with those that know and love you best as they’ll typically be some of your greatest fans.
Be Understanding Right Back
Still, no matter what you think about your own life change, you cannot expect it to be universally accepted or understood. You may experience some initial difficulty in the stages before complete understanding, which is to be expected. This isn’t necessarily resistance on their part but simply hesitation toward a change that they don’t understand themselves. And how can they if you aren’t open and clear with why you’re doing this and how you’re going about it? Sometimes all your family needs is reassurance right back that you haven’t come to this choice lightly, but also that you don’t expect them to change their personal lives to accommodate your new one. Understand that they may not be ready to follow you on this new journey and make an attempt to make them comfortable, so if for instance you make dinner or take them to a restaurant, make sure there’s food everyone can enjoy (though that doesn’t just mean that it’s something that includes meat). For instance, salad is a hard sell for a lot of people, or something heavy in vegetables, so plan accordingly for all occasions.
Becoming a vegetarian can be scary, but it’s not as simple as a choice that only you’ll be affected by. Keep your family in mind and work with them to meet your goals. Who knows, maybe someday they’ll join you!
For more tips on how to become a vegetarian, including easy vegetarian recipes, head to VegOnline.org!