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(Enjoying) Family Gatherings as a Vegan?

By 16:31 ,

It's that time of the year again. Christmas, New Year's and not long after, Chinese New Year. Important holidays that mean having a meal with your family and most likely, extended family.


I find that family gatherings to be quite an... ordeal. Other than the excuseatarian questions, there's also having to sit and eat at a table full of dead animals.


This reaction may seem strange to those who are not yet vegan who may think "It’s just a food choice, after all.  What’s the big deal?"  But as one moves along the vegan path, they often become more connected to their consumer choices.  They begin to learn where their food comes from, who suffered and who benefited.  To some, eating “chicken” might not seem like a big deal.  It’s just a meal and they like the taste.  But to those further along the vegan path, "chicken" becomes “a chicken.”  “Meat” is seen for what it is -- the actual flesh of someone once living, once happy, then terrified, then killed.  Milk comes from a grieving mother.  Cows' and goats' cheese oozes pain and death. {All quotes here are via http://www.livevegan.org/social-situations}
Well, it's not that I hate family gatherings, but it's not something that I'm particularly fond of either. Going out with friends is fine, because younger and yet matured enough people tend to be more open-minded about this. (Except for some times when I feel really burdensome for them having to accommodate me by eating at some place with vegan options.) Plus one of my good friends recently turned vegan, which makes eating out easier because I'm not the only 'odd' one! :)

I think it's quite okay-ish on my maternal side, because my grandma eats vegetarian one day each month (for Buddhist reasons) so she knows what to cook for me. She thinks that people can't go without meat though. But still, family gatherings are fine on the maternal side. Probably also because there are fewer people and no veggie hating kids!

On the other hand, its slightly different on the paternal side. For one, they eat more meat than veggies on a daily basis. Also, the kids hate veggies -_- They stare at me in horror when they see the amount of veggies I eat LOL. And adults and kids alike think that vegetarians eat nothing but grass. How close-minded. (Sorry for the negativity.)

As for gatherings at my house where family friends come over, my dad almost always bakes chicken (leaving the smell of death in the oven, which only disperses with much difficulty after a week), amongst many other meat dishes. I did suggest not having that and having more vegan food instead, but dad was like "it makes us seem like we're poor". Excuseatarian much?!?!?! Isn't he the one complaining about my weekly grocery bills?!
Straying from tradition can be intimidating for some people -- traditions are easy, traditions are comforting. But NEW traditions are ready to be made – traditions dedicated to health, justice, and compassion.
Okay, I guess he's just afraid that people won't like his cooking. Sigh.

Well this is interesting; I've never thought of it this way before:
Don’t be disheartened by the vocal opposition in the room – in fact, be encouraged by it.  Sometimes the most vocal people are the ones who are so close to “getting it” that they feel the heat of their own consumer dissonance.  That discomfort drives them to speak up – perhaps to try to convince themselves that what they're saying is true and what they are doing is OK more than to convince anyone else.  Let them get it out; it's an important part of the process of change. 
There are also those relatives who I meet just once a year, for Chinese New Year. Some are quite a skeptical lot. But this coming CNY should be better since the last CNY (this year) was the first one where I was vegan.

Maybe... it's not as bad as I think. At least I always get to eat my fill. ._. And more often then not, they'll make sure that I've got things to eat. <3


Well I guess that's all I have to share for now! Sorry for the negativity and rant-iness of this; it feels good to get it out though. I hope that gatherings this holiday season goes well for all of you! :)

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