Katie shares her views and top tips on how to take on Veganuary when your whole family eats meat.
Vegan in a house full of meat eaters? It seems daunting I know, because I was once in the exact same position as you. However, there are small changes that you can make which makes the process a whole lot less challenging and stressful. Trust me, I know that when your environment isn’t accommodating, change can be tough and therefore I am here to help you.
The Vegan Society found there are 600,000 vegan in Great Britain in 2018, or 1.16% of the population.
“The number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2018”, and this month a few hundred people may just find that they want to join this positive movement as Veganuary takes place.
In a world where Veganism is continually in the rise it is becoming more accessible and simpler to incorporate into your daily lifestyle taking part in this Veganuary could be that very first step into that hugely positive lifestyle change.
I have only been vegan for 8 months, and at first I found it tough to be around friends and family when making the change, especially when they are all such avid meat eaters. I, however, found there are a few simple ways which can make the transition a whole lot easier and much more enjoyable.
Let the people you live with know that you are taking part and ask that they are conscious and considerate, maybe even ask if they’d like to join you.
Be open about your choice. There is no need to keep it a secret or to feel embarrassed about the choice you are making. Remember that you are doing it for you and you are entitled to that choice just like anyone else is entitled to their non-vegan diets. When I first chose to make the change I let my mum and dad know that that is what I was going to do and asked that they respected that choice. I also asked that they respected that it was a process, and that I may or may not choose to continue, but that I wanted to give it a go and that that was a personal choice I was wanting to make for myself – and here we are 8 months later and still going strong.
Offer to cook for everyone.
This I found particularly helpful, eating is a social event and therefore cooking for the whole family or for your flatmates can be an excellent way to not feel closed off from this aspect of life. I have also found that when you offer to cook for someone the answer is hardly ever no and that it is also an opportunity to show your friends and family that vegan food is not boring and is very enjoyable.
Do your research.
When going out to eat ask whether it would be okay if you chose the restaurant, therefore you can choose a restaurant that suits everyone’s preferences. Personally, I have found the HappyCow app very useful when needing to find vegan-friendly restaurants in your area. Also, if your friends have selected a restaurant, don’t be shy to ask the chef if he is willing to accommodate to your dietary preferences. Today it is rare that chefs don’t no what vegan is and more often that not don’t mind adjusting a dish.
Furthermore, educate yourself around all things vegan. This means that when people display and interest and ask you why you are making the choice to try veganism you are able to answer them well informed an are able to articulate yourself properly. Lastly, looking for recipe inspiration online and within recipe books is an excellent way to help you become accustomed to a plant-based way of cooking which will become easier with time.
It is also important to remember that often you will find that people display an interest in the choice that you have made display this interests as it is different to what they know, not because they are judging you.
Write a shopping list. and do your own shopping.
When I am with my family, I make sure to make my own shopping list and make the effort to go to the supermarket with my mum so that I have the things I need in the fridge. Displaying this kind of independence will, especially if your parents are concerned about cooking for you, alleviate some of the pressure that they may feel with the choice that you have made and will make them appreciate and accept your choice much more quickly.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and be patient.
It is a process, and you will undoubtedly make mistakes. Don’t worry, because I definitely did and you shouldn’t be under the illusion that all vegans live a perfectly ethical lifestyle. Unfortunately we still live in a very ‘un-vegan’ world, and therefore at times it can be difficult and you may trip up.
The best thing to do when this happens is to be kind to yourself, accept your mistake, don’t dwell on it, and continue in a positive and healthy way.
Lastly, be patient. Not everyone will accept your choice and you just need to accept that. What is important to remember is that you are making the choice for you, no one else. In the end you need to do what’s best for you and try and help people understand that choice, whether they accept that or not.
You can visit my blog for recipe inspiration, I post simple plant-based recipes which are truly delicious and nutritious as well as posting helpful food guides to help you find the best vegan-friendly restaurants.
Below I have linked some helpful websites that I found helpful and inspirations when making the initial transition: