Yeah, so, it turns out the hardest part of going vegan isn’t the not eating meat or dairy part. For me, the hardest part of going vegan has been dealing with my fear of the shit I’m going to get from people when I tell them I’m vegan.
This, of course, is ridiculous. Who cares what I eat, right? But, it’s my nightmare to be high maintenance, and I don’t want to come across to people as a high maintenance pain in the ass about food. It’s also my nightmare that I will get cancer again … or that a big, hairy spider will even look at me. Seriously. Eww.
In the past I’ve cringed when I’ve told people, almost like I’m embarrassed that I’m vegan. But now, I’m feeling more confident about my decision, and I’m totally over feeling like I need to apologize for it. And, just in time for the holidays, too. Wheeee!
So, since starting the vegan diet back in July I’ve encountered three different types of responses when I tell people.
#1: They get it.
#2: They want me to confess that being a vegan sucks.
Every once in a while someone wants me to admit that the diet is difficult, and they want me to admit to that I secretly eat meat or dairy on occasion. I don’t know if it’s because they want to feel better about what they are eating or what. The truth is I feel great. I’m really enjoying it, and it’s helping me eat healthier than I ever have before. I have even discovered the joy of vegan. Check out my Instagram to see for yourself.
The vegan diet hasn’t been as difficult as I thought, and I don’t secretly eat meat or dairy. I might accidentally eat meat or dairy, because sometimes food has secret meat or dairy, and I’m still learning what I can and can’t eat. I’m doing the best I can. And yeah, if I really just had to have something like ice cream I would, or if I was at a fancy dinner such as a work holiday party and they had no vegan options for me, I’d go vegetarian and do the very best I could, because I don’t want to be a dick about it.
And speaking of being a dick, that brings me to the third type of response I encounter …
#3: They think vegans are idiots, and therefore I’m an idiot.
This person thinks vegans are morons; this person is also known as my dad.
This is pretty much the reaction I expected from The Man, though. I’m not surprised. I mean, look at his room filled with dead animals.
Are you shocked that the person who killed all these animals isn’t cool with the idea of his daughter being a vegan? Other things my dad isn’t cool with: 1) Obama; 2) Gun control; 3) Animated TV shows.
Even though I’ve been vegan for about five months, my dad didn’t know or didn’t care to know. I’m not sure which. Last week, I was having dinner with my parents, my sister and my nieces Lorelei and Lucy. After dinner, Lorelei asked me something about how my vegan diet was going, and before I could respond my dad chimed in.
Dad: “Vegans are weirdos.”
Me: “OK then.”
Dad: “It’s just stupid. We’re humans. We’re carnivores.”
[Lorelei pushes her glasses up her nose]
Lorelei: “Actually, we’re omnivores, Grandpa.”
Lorelei: “I don’t think vegans are stupid. Asa [she has always referred to me Asa – a combination of Aunt Sonia] is a vegan, and she’s not stupid.”
I know, right? Lorelei is fuckin’ rad.
Me: “It’s fine, Lorelei. Grandpa can think whatever he wants. The truth is I feel great. Dad, I don’t care what you eat. I care what I eat. My vegan diet has no effect on you at all. If anything, now there’s more meat and dairy for you. You’re welcome.”
Of course, his reaction is ridiculous. It’s not like I sit at the family dinner table with an empty plate in front of me and bitch that there’s nothing being served that I can eat. I also don’t cry at the table about how they are eating an adorable animal or how I think eating meat is unhealthy or whatever. I make myself a plate of what I can eat, and I eat it without drawing attention to myself, because I don’t want people to watch me eat anyway. That’s weird. There’s no judgement from me whatsoever, but unfortunately, my dad doesn’t want to extend me the same courtesy.
Thanksgiving is going to be fun.