How To Cope When You're The Only Vegan In Your House

 

Boyfriend, wife, kids, parents or friends - spending your life with people who don’t share your values or actions can be hard. When we are enthusiastic about a lifestyle, it is only natural to want to share this with the people we love and spend time with. It’s not so easy being the odd one out, and realising that our passion and enthusiasm isn’t quite matched by those around us. So what to do when you’re the only vegan in the house, to not only cope with the challenges, but to thrive? Read below for some of my tips.

 

Let them know

First of all, it’s important to explain to people why you have chosen this lifestyle, and what it means for you. Sometimes, we expect people to know what Veganism means. Though some people really don’t understand how it really looks in practise. They may have heard something like ‘vegans don’t eat meat’, and their definition of meat is ‘red meat’, therefore, cook you fish for dinner. It’s not just that - some restaurants, friends, families, or restaurant staff are well meaning, and unknowing. Some will also think it is only about what you eat. So if you’re sharing a life, house, or fridge, with people who aren’t vegan you may need to clearly express to them how your lifestyle is different from theirs. It can also be helpful to share your favourite brands, products, and of course - Buddy Scrub product with your loved ones, so that come holidays and birthdays they will be able to give you gifts that are aligned with your lifestyle.

 

Share Your Passion

There are so many ways to feel connected to those you live with, whilst staying strong in your beliefs and understanding of others. There is a big difference between lecturing our loved ones, and sharing some interesting information. Knowing how to find the balance with sharing information is key to helping people in your life better understand the vegan lifestyle.

Rather than demand that all members eat the same as you, or begin to tell them how their meal is not ethical or compassionate, why not gently share your efforts by offering to cook for the whole house once (or more!) a week? Offer from a place of genuinely wanting to share and nourish them, and stay humble through the process. They will see - and taste - for themselves, how delicious and accessible this lifestyle can be. They don’t need to convert, or even hear why the meal is ethical and cruelty free - and sometimes they may just ask themselves! When something is shoved down out throats (literally and figuratively) then they may be far less likely to want to absorb the information and be open to it. You may find that the less ‘intense’ you are about trying to convert your family in particular, the more curious they may be on their own to ask about your lifestyle and reasons.

If you can, offer to buy some more groceries for the house, stocking up full of vegan products and ingredients. Explaining how to use these products and how to cook with the ingredients is a way to include others in your lifestyle. They may even like that vegan cheese more than the dairy!

 

Have a sense of humour

People like to tease, annoy, and make jokes. Maybe your family is super supportive and happy for you, or maybe some remarks get to you and leave you feeling disconnected and frustrated. Remember, not everyone will understand your decision, and not everyone is where you are at with their values. Maybe one day… but for now, try to keep a sense of humour and not take others so seriously when they make comments about your choices. You can stay strong and steady with your own boundaries, without having to get defensive or senstitive about their comments. Often people’s comments and jokes come from a lack of understanding about Veganism. Staying strong in these moments helps to ensure that your compassionate energy remains strong.

 

Stay Informed

If you are newly transitioning, or unsure o f which items in your household are suited to your lifestyle, make sure you keep yourself informed by looking up information online. When it comes to nutrition, there is a great amount of resources about nutrient sources, vitamins and minerals and everything you need to know and consume. This will also keep you prepared when you’re asked the question you’ll probably hear countless times in your life: ‘where do you get your protein?!’

 

Keep Snacks

Vegan snacks can be delicious. Bliss balls, exotic fruits, nuts, granola, crackers, and so much more. So delicious that others may want to nibble on them too! Make sure you are clear in what is yours, and whether you are up for sharing or not. You can even suggest replacing their cheese dips with hummus if they really like it, and help the whole household in the process! Otherwise, respect their snacks, and ask for respect for yours.

 

Compassion is Key

Know that we are all on our own journey, and if being compassionate and giving more love is one of your values and reasons for living a vegan lifestyle, then it only makes sense to treat all others - no matter their lifestyle - with compassion and love. Though it can be easy to get stuck in feelings of helplessness and sadness when we see injustice and a lack of understanding, know that you can contribute your knowledge and action to helping to create changes in yours and others lives, whilst still staying open and inclusive of everyone. Stay confident in your choices, and you may see others having more confidence in your choices as well.

 

Join a group

If you find that you’re continuing to feel isolated as a vegan in your household, then there are many ways to connect with others who have a vegan lifestyle. There are many communities that you can join, such as Instagram pages, Facebook groups, groups via meetup.com.au or attending vegan community events in your city. Connecting with people who have a similar lifestyle and values to you, will help you to feel less isolated and perhaps even make some new friends.

 

 

For more tips:

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/how-to-survive-as-a-vegan-in-a-non-vegan-household

https://www.plantbuilt.com/vegan-understanding-everyone-understands/

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Being Vegan Is About More Than Just What You Eat

 

…It’s about how you live.

For many people who have turned vegan, or who are newly transitioning, there’s a lot to consider when you assess the changes that you’ll be making.

It’s much more than just not eating animal products, as many people may still perhaps think. It is a holistic way of living… a lifestyle.

If you define vegans solely by what they put in their mouth - then this only covers one aspect of veganism, and misses the point of the movement. Veganism is much more than just a plant-based diet, as there are many other non-food products, behaviours and processes that also exploit animals. This can be demonstrated by the irony of leather-wearing vegans, who would really be considered to be choosing a plant-based diet rather than a vegan lifestyle.

Most of the time, defining veganism by food consumption can be due to a lack of information or understanding about what it means to be vegan, or because many vegans choose to make the transition into this lifestyle by beginning with their food choices. So here’s an overview of what a #veganlifestyle actually means, and how to bring your actions in line with your principles. Not only does it do a great amount for the environment, the animals and your health – but also that feeling of aligning with what you believe is wonderful!

First, it’s important to be clear that consumption covers more than just food. There is a large emphasis on ‘diets’ in society and the vegan food movement has received a lot of exposure recently. For example, in Australia between 2014 and 2016, the number of vegan food products rose by 92%!

However, your consumption extends beyond food and beverages. Consumption is the driver for social, economic and environmental change. This is one of the biggest reasons why vegans are so passionate about the movement, as they truly believe that the way that society ‘consumes’ will make a huge difference to the functioning and sustainability of the world.

So when people talk about vegan consumption, they need to not only be talking about what they eat and drink; but also what non-food items they purchase, the events they attend and the processes/actions that they support. Consumption can even extend to the energy we consume, the people we spend time with, the thoughts we think, and the mindset we hold. Below I’ll step through some of the ways that vegan consumption is about much more than just food:


Beverages
There are a number of beverages that contain animal by-products. Some are more obvious such as milk or milk drinks, but some are less obvious. Many protein shake powder is made from whey, which is a by-product from cow’s milk. There are many vegan protein powders available now so that you don’t need to skip on your daily shake! Collagen drinks and powders are also rising in popularity, however collagen is also derived from animals and is not considered vegan. It’s also common for wine to be filtered with animal products, such as eggs. This is not well advertised but you will often see on the back of wine bottles whether any animal products have been used during filtration. There are also a number of vegan wines available and can be researched online.

Personal Care Products
Not only do products often contain ingredients that have been tested on animals, but they can also contain animal derived ingredients. Quick tip - here's some commonly used animal derived personal care ingredients to avoid: Cochineal Dye/Carmine, Guanine, Tallow, Lanolin, Squalene, Ambergris, Collagen, Beeswax, Estrogen/Estradiol, and most forms of Retinol. Many of the skincare or cosmetic products that you own may not be vegan and could contain animal derived ingredients as well as irritating synthetic chemicals. Opt for skincare and cosmetics that are advertised as vegan – such as the entire Buddy Scrub range!

 
Clothing + Accessories
This may be an area of the vegan lifestyle that you haven’t considered, and a great example of how veganism extends beyond food consumption. Clothing and accessories that contain leather, fur, feathers, snakeskin or other ‘skins’ from animals are not considered vegan, and animals are often subjected to significant pain and suffering for the use of their skins. You may think that purchasing leather doesn’t contribute to the death of livestock, however farmers sell their cows for their meat as well as their hides so all of these aspects contribute to the animal’s demise. Fashion brands are becoming more conscious of the ethics behind the materials that they use and many are now going ‘fur free’ or ditching animal materials altogether. There are many alternatives to traditional leather, fur and other animal derived fashion, and simply searching online for ‘vegan fashion’ will give you a whole range of results for brands, companies and sites dedicated to offering this.


Home/Lifestyle Products
Similar to above, there are many household products that contain animal derived ingredients. Examples of this include goose or duck ‘down’ pillows and duvets which use the feathers of geese and ducks, wool blankets or slippers made from sheep’s wool, some brands of mattresses, ivory or leather goods, and even products such as glue or candles can contain animal derived ingredients. Many people who change to a vegan lifestyle will find that they have many more products left over which may not suit their new lifestyle. That's ok. What you can do is donate what products you may already have to charity, so that others benefit. You can then replace them with vegan alternatives to support those companies who are supporting the world!

 
Events exploiting animals
Consumption also extends to the activities and behaviours that you take part in. Again, your purchasing power is a driver for change, and avoiding companies, experiences and activities that add to the suffering of animals will keep you aligned in your vegan lifestyle; you'll be one less person taking part in these acts. Some of the events or activities that involve the exploitation or killing of animals includes animal acts in circuses, sea parks, zoos and hunting. There are so many alternative activities that you can get involved in such as going on a hike, having a picnic in the park, lunch dates at plant-based cafe, yoga, dance, beach days...there are endless options that don’t need to involve animals for your entertainment.


Gifts for others
Being vegan is more than just being mindful of purchases and consumption for yourself, but also for others. Purchasing gifts or products that contain animal products is generally avoided by vegans, even if they are being gifted to someone who isn’t vegan. The reason for this is they ensure that their money is not going towards funding the businesses that are using animals for their products. Examples of products or gifts could include chocolate, wines, clothing and beeswax candles. This notion also extends to products that are used in conjunction with animal products such as BBQ sauces, ice-cream makers, meat accessories and more. There are many vegan friendly gifts that you can give to those you care about – why not get creative. They might even like coconut chocolate more than normal chocolate!

 
Mindset/Commitment
Going vegan does involve a large mindset shift and a newfound sense of compassion to consider the environment and animals in all that the person does. It can be quite an adjustment and one that may take place over a number of months to ensure that the lifestyle shift is sustainable and enjoyable. Going vegan involves cultivating a mindset that animals have rights to their lives and that society is able to create a more sustainable future without the exploitation of animals.  If you are considering becoming vegan, not everyone will agree with your choice and that’s ok. Building and strengthening your own mindset and commitment to veganism with a strong sense of your ‘why’, will help you to continue with this lifestyle in a sustainable way. The more that you are able to support and educate people to understand the vegan lifestyle, the more likely we are as a society to move towards more sustainable and kind practices.


As you can see, vegan consumption is more than just what someone puts into their mouth, but also regards products, clothing, experiences, purchases, behaviours, thoughts, efforts and action. It does take a large mindset shift and commitment to embrace a vegan lifestyle, however by embracing veganism beyond just a plant based diet is how real change will begin to emerge and we will see the benefits for animals, the environment and our society.




References:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/common-cosmetic-ingredients-derived-from-animal-products/

https://foodrevolution.org/blog/vegan-statistics-global/

https://www.vrg.org/nutshell/leather.php

https://foodtolive.com/healthy-blog/go-vegan-diet/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28728684

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