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I have been Vegan for nearly 4 years now and I have had some great arguments with friends and especially family members about my lifestyle.
Besides the usual things vegans do not eat, I also don't eat white meal products, industrial sugar and alcohol. I enjoy the way I eat really very much with all its limits and I don't wish do have it in any other way. It would be a torture for me to change.
However the limitations don't allow me to go out for example in a restaurant with others. I don't mind to just have a cup of tea or just be with them without ordering something, but the others don't seem to like that. For them it actually means to go out and eat together and it's offending if you don't. Then you kind of "don't belong" there. Even ordering a green salad causes discomfort in me because there could be some sauce which has additional sugar or milk in it.
I had an argument with my sister, why I could not be a little more “freely” towards food so that I could eat with others and “enjoy” life. (I DO enjoy my nourishment, why do people always nag at me and think that I do restrict myself too greatly and it's not good for me?) The special diet has great constraints in society. I feel like an outsider because I'm not accepted as I want to be. I talked with a friend about it and he agreed that I either keep to my vegan lifestyle and am rather on my own or I adjust myself to the norms the majority in our society eats and in return I am integrated in society. I don't like that view at all. Why do I have to be like others in order to be accepted, why is it so important for humans to being able to “eat” together? Why do they set this great value upon that? I don't want to change myself for the sake of others when I stand up to my principles, is this so wrong of me?
Has anybody experienced any similar problems with “integration into society” since being vegan? How DO you integrate yourself without being able to go out for dinner etc.?
I am looking forward to some helpful answers,
Honestly sometimes you can't. I don't know where you live but where i am (in BC, CANADA) there are a couple places that offer vegan menu choices, mind you only maybe two in the whole city im in. I tell my friends and family that if they want to go out that those are the places that i can eat at. Sometimes they don't respect that and want to go other places anyways so i just tell them honestly that i will accompany them but i will not be able to eat if i go there. It's awesome that you are sticking to your morals no matter the societal pressure, i know it's a really hard thing to do. My family raises chickens and makes everything with eggs when i go visit and they pressure me about the "humane eggs" they grow and i should eat them otherwise im calling them animal abusers.
The best thing i have found is to just sit down with those people and explain honestly and without blame why i choose to eat the way i do, and show my compassion to them with hopes that they respect me enough to respect my choices and work together with me. I did this to my work (i work at a beauty store that works mainly with cruelty free products) and they always ask me where we should go for work dinners so that i can be included. communication is everything :)
Yes, I also struggle with that! I usually explain my self-imposed restrictions by saying I have a sensitive stomach. It's true, but it's also like that because I've weaned myself off of foods that everyone else eats. Power to you taking the moral high road and sticking to your food principles. I've bowed to others and eaten not-vegan food just to avoid any snide remarks or confrontation. I CAN stick to my vegan lifestyle, just as others do, despite opposition from friends and family. Thanks and hope my advice may help some.
Yes, you are not alone in your feelings. I will NOT go back to eating animals, but I get so tired of being treated like the "crazy one" by all those that continue to do so.
Good for you for sticking with it, I'm a veggie but have had no problems, I think I am lucky as my parents went veggie 5 years before I did so they had no problem when I went veggie, my granddad didn't like it when we all went veggie, he was a very meat man if you know what I mean but he accepted it. My friends all know im veggie and have accepted too. I very rarely eat out as and if I go to a party that I know is going to have a buffet I eat first as so many times I have gone and all the meat eaters eat all the veggie stuff so im left with nothing, is such a pain!