Hi folks, I am new to this lifestyle. I've never been vegan or vegetarian before. I agree that it is likely the healthiest lifestyle out there, and that is what drew me in in the first place.
But six days in, I'm floundering. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and Christmas soon after. Those are HUGE traditions in my large extended family, and I will be the only vegan there. Other important family events are coming up as well, and I will be excluded from them.
I have had a terrible time with this every night for dinner. I live at home for the time being, and my mother is a good cook. It is a pretty important meal for us, where we all come together and talk. But I cannot partake in family meals because I need to eat my rice, potatoes, and broccoli. Whenever I am with my friends (usually 1-3 nights a week), we would eat dinner. I can't do that now, either.
I can't expect people to cater their lives around my self-imposed dietary restrictions. Everyone I know has been very supportive so far, but I am barely able to keep this up because of the reality that I can't participate in any normal social function unless I move to a community with only vegans.
I feel so isolated by this, and the winter holidays will only make it worse. I shouldn't have started in November.
Another problem I've been facing is that for the past three days, I haven't been able to meet my bare calorie requirements. I've been getting ~2500 kcals. But I don't feel hungry for more. Even when there is a slight hunger pang, I can't bring myself to eat any more fruit. I love fruit, don't get me wrong, but I am beginning to feel repulsed by it during meal times because I can't eat that much.
I've been lying to myself since Day 3, telling myself that this is going well, it'll work out, and I'll learn to enjoy it. But I feel like collapsing and giving up.
Hey, I think it's awesome that you've looked at raw veganism and seen how healthy it is, but maybe it's possible that you can take it just a step at a time? Eating a cooked vegan diet is waaay healthier for you than a cooked carnivorous diet, and if right now it's not working to be raw all the time, you can even try being raw until 4:00 o'clock. For thanksgiving meals, try bringing something to share. That way, others can participate in your lifestyle too!
If you haven't lost an unhealthy amount of weight or faced other health issues due to eating only 2500 calories, it might be best just to listen to your body.
Remember, be proud of your decision to take care of your health, and your contribution to the planet and animals. Setting an example with your family might even make them consider it! Don't give up. Read more about how awesomely healthy this lifestyle is for you and for the planet, and keep going!
Thank you, Maria.
I actually do eat RT4. I should have explained that better. It's not the lack of cooked foods that's the problem, it's the self-imposed isolation. Meals are such a big social thing in my family and with most of my friends, and I never realized it until this week. For Thanksgiving, I could bring something, but I would be the only one eating it. Everyone else would be eating the other foods. I could still be part of the group, but in my head I feel like I'm not. What we eat there is as much a part of our traditions as being together. It'd be like being Italian and not eating pasta, or Chinese and not eating rice. I feel like I am losing my identity.
I realized today that Freelee, Durianrider, BestTransformation, Simply Vegan, and all the other vegan vloggers I watch who got me into this don't ever talk about their families. They all seem to be pretty independent and not tied down to their families and traditions. I am not like that. I thrive on those connections, and I feel like I've been wilting away all week.
I don't think I've lost any weight yet, but I haven't weighed myself in a few days. I definitely need to lose weight, though.
I do want to take care of my health. That is the only reason I've kept up for six days.
I mean, does eating differently HAVE to be isolating? Maybe it really is for you, and I don't want to downplay what you've experienced, but if I am not mistaken, did you say that you've been vegan for six days now?
I've been vegan for almost a year now, and before I "came out" to my family, I was sort of worried it would be socially isolating too. The strange thing is, that I realized that food is a way to get people to come together, but the food itself is not what makes you feel most connected, at least not for me, and I think you might be surprised too about how little it affects how you fit in. Getting together (even over food) is really more about conversation, catching up with people you haven't seen in a while. Life and social events are more than about food. I ate a vegan thanksgiving last year alongside my omnivorous family, and I thought it'd be awkward with bringing my own food, but I found I could still eat their elaborate salads and brussel sprouts (which I actually like), and I just had a good time seeing my family again. There's more that connects people than just what you are eating. And you might be surprised, if you find something really tasty-looking to share, they *will* want to try it!
I'd say give it a shot, and don't automatically expect a negative outcome. Do you really know that you're going to feel alone, or is this a fear? You can't really know unless you try with an open mind. Maybe make it a personal challenge-goal for yourself to be extra-social and positive-minded as if what was on your plate didn't matter. If the issue is that they'll tease you, laugh along and shrug it off, I've learned to just smile and know inwardly that I'm satisfied with my choice no matter what they say. My family for a while gave me a hard time at first when I told them I wouldn't eat dairy/eggs/meat, but my parents and siblings still love me.
I wish you best of luck, man. I hope things work out.
Thank you for your support. It means a lot.
I guess you're right, that it's just a fear. Though I explained in my reply to Catherine that I really don't get to participate the same way with my family as I did before. They don't give me a hard time for it or anything, but I am still isolated. For example:
I get home from work around 5:30 (sometimes closer to 6). By 6:30, my family has dinner. For me, though, I have to cook around my mom's cooking, so I usually don't get to eat until at least 7. I miss their entire meal, but still have to smell it and watch them eat it. Then I clean up, have maybe an hour to unwind/apply for jobs, and then I have to go to bed if I want to get enough sleep.
My spending has also been outrageous on this diet. I may have solved that by finding a few inexpensive wholesalers, but still I am living with my parents because I can't afford an apartment. Spending so much extra on food kind of defeats the purpose of that because I never had to pay them for meals. I only paid for what I ate socially.
If you can't tell, I am vomiting all of the excuses onto the screen. I really don't want to keep going in this lifestyle, but I also know I probably should. Please bear with me as I work this out to make a decision.
Hm, I'm sorry that you miss your meal with your family. I kind of "live" with my family, but not my whole time (I'm a college student, but I'm home for breaks). What's really been helpful for me as far as saving time and cooking around my mother, is using a rice-cooker. They're amazing! You just plug it into an outlet, put your rice and water (and mine comes with a steamer for veggies, and I put those in on top), and you just wait for that to cook, and I eat my rice and veggies with my family while they eat their food. I can also just boil water to cook potatoes, or pasta. The rice-cooker has been wonderful for me because I don't have to really cook around my mother, I just drop in the rice (or potatoes, or pasta--I've done lentils before too!) into the water, add the veggies or whatever, and then wait until the light turns on and it's ready. Then I can eat with my family and have my own food.
I tend to make my budget cheaper on food by eating a lot of rice and potatoes and pasta ($2.77 for an 8lb bag of potatos, and $1 for a pound of rice w/ 2,000 calories, $1 for a box of spaghetti w/ 1800 calories), but it's true that it's harder to make the diet more varied if you focus too much on a single staple food. This is a side-question I want to ask because I'm interested in for myself, which whole-saler have you been buying produce from? I personally would like to include cheaper produce too, but have been unsuccessful finding whole-salers that are good for my budget or sell to individuals.
I'm sorry you have to watch your family eat meals with meat and food that you know in your mind you'd rather not eat, that's really hard. I hope you figure out what's best for you, that will help you figure out how to eat and live the way you want to. Good luck!
I think it might be good for me to get one of those rice cookers you have. I jumped into RT4 unprepared, and am having a hard time with rethinking things.
The wholesaler I visited said they could do a 40 lb box of bananas for $20. I doubt they're organic, but I didn't think to ask. The bananas I currently got are organic, and I got them for $32. But that price was marked down for "customer appreciation week". Normally they'd be $37.
I think I need to pause my progress and invest in a rice cooker and better blender. Hopefully that'll help.
Rice-cookers are really great, I think it'd really help with saving time and not having to "cook around" people (I know how that goes, my mother makes all our meals from scratch and our kitchen isn't too big).
I get my bananas for 59 cents a pound at my local Harris Teeter grocery store which isn't so bad (it'd only be a few dollars above the $20 box you got of 40 lbs of banana), but if those were organic that would be really impressive. $32 for 40 lbs organic bananas is a little out of my price range. Is this wholesaler more local to you then? Or can you order online? If so, what are they called, I might want to check them out.
It's a local wholesaler, unfortunately. I haven't tried finding an online vendor.
I second this comment. Eating large dinners is more of a social event now, and it might not be as bad as you think. Throughout the years, the friends that i hang out with, here and there, have changed and when i used to work at Burger King, i would go out with my friends afterwards every night. I used to eat the chicken salads back then which was one of the best things on the menu, but still not that healthy, and i would start bringing bananas to work and just eat salads, which was one big step in the next direction. Man, this was over 10 years ago and brings back memories lol.
Anyways, we would close the store and get off work between midnight and 1am normall and we would all go out to perkins, denny's or another 24 hour restaurant. I would normally eat bananas, or some sort of fruit on the way so that when i got there, i would just drink water while everyone else ate. My friends understood and had better things to talk about then worrying about me not eating with them and just enjoyed the company.
So, in my opinion, eating fruit that is quicker to eat and digest is good for times like those when you have to go to an additional meal you are not going to eat in. Or, if you do, just get a side salad or bring a salad if it's at a home. I only have one friend now that is annoyed when i stow up at the bar and pull out a pomegranate and start peeling it, but i have brought fruit there many times before and he's the only one that minds, but he's a big lover of all sorts of food except for most fruits it seems :( Just remember, your health is one of the most important things in your life, you can't help out your parents, friends or family members when you are stuck in bed sick all day. Good luck! :)
Hi you know there are a lot of great recipes on you tube. And you can even have pumpkin pie vegan of course and its better than the regular one. I follow freefree , vegan corner, rise and raw, happy healthy vegan, high carb vegan recipe, Robyn sweet sugar crumble. Check it out. Hope this helps.
Thank you, I will look into them.
It is hard for me to even cook though because I work 8:30-5, get home by 5:30, and don't get to eat till about 7 because I have to cook around my family eating. So not only am I starving by then, but I have to be around them while they eat food that smells delicious.
Also I have no YouTube access at work, so I have to do that when I'm home. But to get 9 hrs of sleep, have time to exercise, and make it to work on time, I have to go to sleep by 9:30. I'm also trying to find a better job, so that takes up a good deal of the evening. I don't know when I'll have time to prepare a meal.
Do you have weekends off? If so, on Sunday, you could try to prepare some meals for the week ahead. Salads are always easy to prepare ahead of time. Also, things like pasta and rice don't take that long to prepare.. Maybe you could pop them on the stove when you get home from work first thing so they would be ready before/around the time your family is eating.