Vegan Daughter Refuses to eat with Non-Vegans

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MamaofaVegan
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Vegan Daughter Refuses to eat with Non-Vegans

Post by MamaofaVegan » Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:55 am

My 22 year old daughter is vegan, my husband is vegetarian, I eat vegan 85% of the time (occasionally eggs, meat, and dairy in very small amounts), and the rest of the family enjoys meat on the regular. We always make sure she has options at family meals and regularly go to vegan restaurants when we are dining out with her.

This year I’m hosting Thanksgiving and my daughter-in-law is hosting Christmas. My vegan daughter has politely declined to attend either event if meat is served.

My philosophy on food is that we each do the best we can in our given circumstances and we allow others to do the same. I’ve shared this with her. I’ve also suggested that she promote her choice to be vegan as a positive alternative when around non-vegans.

My question is do I request that we turn these events into vegan affairs to accommodate her or do I allow each person to share and enjoy food they prefer and risk her not attending the holidays with our family.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Nov 12, 2018 12:03 pm

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

First, it's important to remember that teens aren't always that excited about family gatherings in the first place. Most of the reason teens are persuaded to go at all is all of the yummy food. If that food is more limited and she has to look at a dead turkey or chunk of pig next to it (and smell all of those things, which do not smell appetizing), that's kind of a mood killer. She's also very likely to be teased and mocked for being vegan there, even if it's just bad jokes people are making because they think they're clever.

There are legit reasons she may not really want to be there. This may have much less to do with trying to get others to eat vegan, and more to do with making an environment she actually wants to be in.

A lot of kids, not just vegan kids, have to be motivated to attend these things. Making it vegan is something that would motivate her, making it more appealing.
MamaofaVegan wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:55 am
My question is do I request that we turn these events into vegan affairs to accommodate her or do I allow each person to share and enjoy food they prefer and risk her not attending the holidays with our family.
Are you hosting the events?

Perhaps offer a compromise: you could turn one of them 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan (probably Christmas since there's more time to plan) if she will attend both, or course assuring as you always do that there are many vegan options at the non-vegan one.
MamaofaVegan wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:55 am
My philosophy on food is that we each do the best we can in our given circumstances and we allow others to do the same. I’ve shared this with her. I’ve also suggested that she promote her choice to be vegan as a positive alternative when around non-vegans.
The best people can do is often a lot better than they're doing. However, they don't always know that.
By turning a gathering vegan or almost completely vegan, you may have the opportunity to expose them to a lot more options they may not have known about.

I don't know your family, so the details of their reaction would not be easy to predict for me. A lot of people would just go with it as long as the food tastes good. It wouldn't even be necessary to tell them ahead of time, just let them know not to bring anything because there's going to be too much food. Or ask them to just bring drinks (which is where some dairy or something could get in, but unlikely meat). Some of them might not even figure out pretty much everything is vegan if you don't tell them.

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Post by Lay Vegan » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:09 pm

Welcome, MamaofaVegan

My advice would be to create an environment that is as welcoming and supportive of your daughter's lifestyle as possible. Be sure to (vocally) acknowledge and support her values, and recognize the good she’s doing. Let her know that you take her concerns seriously. Would it hurt to serve the animal-based dishes in a separate room/away from your daughter? For example, you could keep the bird in the kitchen and place vegetarian dishes on the dining room table.

My parents have been doing this for years and this works for the whole family.
MamaofaVegan wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:55 am
This year I’m hosting Thanksgiving and my daughter-in-law is hosting Christmas. My vegan daughter has politely declined to attend either event if meat is served.
How receptive is the remainder of your family on plant-based cuisine? A vegan Thanksgiving might be more difficult to host, since turkey is widely considered the pinnacle of the Thanksgiving meal.

People do eat turkey on Christmas, but it’s not synonymous with Christmas itself. You’d have more room to work with for Christmas dinner, and you’d have more to time to experiment with cooking vegan food.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:40 pm

Lay Vegan wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:09 pm
MamaofaVegan wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:55 am
This year I’m hosting Thanksgiving and my daughter-in-law is hosting Christmas. My vegan daughter has politely declined to attend either event if meat is served.
How receptive is the remainder of your family on plant-based cuisine? A vegan Thanksgiving might be more difficult to host, since turkey is widely considered the pinnacle of the Thanksgiving meal.

People do eat turkey on Christmas, but it’s not synonymous with Christmas itself. You’d have more room to work with for Christmas dinner, and you’d have more to time to experiment with cooking vegan food.
Good point.
I missed that she was only hosting Thanksgiving. She might have little influence over Christmas if not hosting it.

Maybe there's time to switch who is hosting which event? Still over a week to U.S. Thanksgiving I think.

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DarlBundren
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Post by DarlBundren » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:42 am

I'll offer a slightly contrarian opinion.

At 22 you are not a child anymore and I think it's necessary to learn that the world doesn't bend to your will. How long has she been vegan? If the answer is "more than two years" (it has already become part of her identity), then what I'd do is talk with her about the virtues of tolerance. We live at a time where eating next to an omnivore is not akin to eating next to a slaveholder (not yet, at least), and I think it's important to learn to deal with such social situations. I wouldn't force her to attend the family gathering, but I'd still voice my opinion about her decision.

That being said, If I were the one who hosts Thanksgiving, I would not offer any meat. I'd let people bring their own food, though.

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Post by MamaofaVegan » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:12 pm

First, I really appreciate everyone's points of view. It's extremely helpful to hear how others would manage this.

She wants the event to be completely meat and dairy free or 100% vegan and wants me to insist that everyone who comes adhere to this. She is the only invited guest who is vegan.

I told her that for me the holidays are about the people and that what is important to me is that everyone who shows up enjoys themselves. I told her that I hope she will be with us but that if she can't; I will understand and respect her decision.

That being said, we did not have turkey last year and I assured her I will not make one this year either. Nobody in our family likes it and it was voted out. I'm also completely open and willing to make the sides and deserts vegan with a few exceptions.

The issue comes with invited guests (we have several non-family members joining us). I told her that I do not want to have to "police" what people bring to the event by insisting on vegan only. If someone shows up with something I don't want to eat; I won't eat it. I suggested that she do the same.

She's a new vegan and very dedicated. She loves to share her way of life and wants to convince others to be vegan as well. I admire her dedication. Her friend, who was there when we were discussing this, pointed out that most people like to enjoy their food without judgement. I'm hoping he got through to her.

I'm going to pull a slew of recipes for vegan sides and deserts and see how it goes. Hopefully, she will join us and let her amazing cooking skills do the talking.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:02 am

NonZeroSum wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:13 pm
Heya, sorry this is just weird plus insensitive if true, but I feel like I have to advise a smidgin of doubt.
I thought that too, but it's safer to just give everybody the benefit of the doubt.

@MamaofaVegan I think you have a good argument not wanting to police what people bring, but if you can, you should certainly consider making all of the dishes that you prepare vegan. That would be a more than reasonable gesture.

A turkey is pretty much impossible to make vegan, but things like suffing are easy. All desserts are easy. All kinds of salads are easy.
Thanksgiving is not really a time for pizza (convincing cheese is hard, but that shouldn't be an issue).
Anything with small chopped up pieces of meat is easy, since mock meats can be pretty convincing when mixed in with things as small pieces.

Let us know which dishes you're having trouble with, and we'll try to help.

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Jebus
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Post by Jebus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:02 am

I don't think this is a troll post. It's too similar to the last vegan daughter post. It's possible that it is a completely new troll, but our old friend would try to come up with something a bit more original.

@MamaofaVegan vegan, would it be possible to encourage your daughter to join our forum. We often discuss the optimal way of forwarding the vegan cause, and most of us here agree that a too militant stance can cause more harm than good.
How to become vegan in 4.5 hours:
1.Watch Forks over Knives (Health)
2.Watch Cowspiracy (Environment)
3. Watch Earthlings (Ethics)
Congratulations, unless you are a complete idiot you are now a vegan.

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Post by Jamie in Chile » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:49 pm

I think refusing to eat with others is a perfectly justifiable moral stance. Although it's more debatable if it's effective.

If your goal is to keep everyone happy then going 100% vegan for everyone won't work because someone else will find out what happened and get annoyed.

I suggest two separate table, perhaps in the same room, and see if she will go for it.

Newer younger vegans are sometimes more militant at first, and then change later.

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Post by MamaofaVegan » Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:17 pm

So...to follow-up, I decided to host a vegan Thanksgiving dinner. As a family, we had voted out turkey the previous year, so I already wasn't planning to serve the bird anyway. I realized that we could eliminate non-vegan dishes where no substitute is available (shrimp cocktail), substitute ingredients for many of the dishes without compromising the dish for others (mashed potatoes), and add new vegan dishes.

I did this without discussing it with anybody. I literally said not one word to any guest.

One guest brought a dish to share and made it vegan. Another guest brought the regular version of his family's recipe and then made a vegan option. They did this because they know she's vegan and are wonderful humans.

Everyone enjoyed a fantastic dinner and a lovely time together...which is what the holiday is about, si?. Nobody complained at all.

My daughter appreciated the gesture.

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