It’s November, which means one thing for vegans: dealing with non-vegan family members who feel the need to comment on our choices. It starts with Thanksgiving when we bring our Celebration Roast to the family dinner and continues at Christmas when we bake our own vegan cookies.
It can be hard, daunting, and just unpleasant fielding unnecessary (and often rude) questions, comments, and (unwanted) advice, especially if it’s your first holiday as a vegan. Luckily, it isn’t hard to predict what comments you’ll hear, so you can be prepared to respond!
1. But this meat is so delicious! How can you live without it? Don’t you miss it?
Most vegans didn’t change their diet and lifestyle because they didn’t like the taste of meat (or eggs or cheese). Instead, it is because we couldn’t bare to take part in the suffering and death of innocent animals everywhere. But it’s so easy to live without it! There are plenty of vegan alternatives in stores, and you can make your own with tofu, vital wheat gluten, and more if you flavor it properly.
Here’s how you can respond: Nope! Just because I don’t eat meat, it doesn’t mean I don’t like the taste. Luckily, all I need is the right seasoning and flavors to recreate it! You can have a bite of my homemade roast. I think you’ll be surprised!
2. But it’s tradition to eat turkey/ham on Thanksgiving/Christmas!
Did you know that traditions aren’t necessarily “good”? There are plenty of practices that used to be normal that you would be appalled by today. Slavery was commonplace, women were not allowed to have property, the list goes on…Something might be a tradition, but that doesn’t mean it should still occur.
Here’s how you can respond: Traditions don’t always last, and quite frankly, some shouldn’t. I think we should start new holiday traditions. A good way to start would be by bringing more plant-based choices to the dinner table.
3. Turkey is healthy though! I heard about it on Dr. Oz.
Here’s the truth: eating animals isn’t really healthy, not in the long-run., and especially not at the rate in which humans generally consume them. It doesn’t matter if it’s white meat or dark meat, if it’s “organic” or not. Turkeys might be healthier, but that’s not exactly the point. Vegans don’t necessarily care about all the health benefits or if your turkey is healthier than their “processed” alternative. Junk food vegans exist!
Here’s how you can respond: I’m not vegan just because of its health benefits, but while we’re on the subject, did you know eating vegan is actually a lot healthier for you than eating meat? You should try my homemade lentil loaf. It’s packed with protein and other nutrients!
4. Just have some turkey! What harm will it do?
What harm will it do? Well, if you care about animals…the answer is “a lot!” Approximately 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving every year. That sounds like some harm to me. As vegans, we try to avoid causing that harm. Maybe it won’t hurt us personally, but we’re not really thinking about ourselves: we’re thinking about the turkeys.
Here’s how you can respond: Actually, it causes a lot of harm to turkeys. I’d rather cause no harm – or at least as little as possible – so I’ll eat my Tofurky roast instead. You should try it! It’s just as good as turkey, and no animals were harmed!
5. You know that you not eating this meat won’t change anything.
This one hurts because so many vegans get told this all the time. However, we soldier on because we know that we are creating change in the world. If we weren’t, the meat and dairy industry wouldn’t be trying to get vegan products to call themselves things like “oat drink” instead of “oat milk.” If we weren’t, restaurants, food companies, and even Burger King wouldn’t be creating vegan-friendly items. We are changing something. And change is good.
Here’s how you can respond: Sorry, but I don’t believe that! It might not seem like I’m making that huge of a difference , but with all other vegans just like me, we’re doing a lot of good.
What’s the most annoying thing a non-vegan has said to you during the holidays? How did you handle it?
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