How to Tell Your Parents That You're Vegan

You've decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle.  That's awesome!  You have your diet planned out, restaurants to eat at, and places to buy animal free clothes on your map.  Now it's time to face the parents.  This can be a daunting task.  Are they going to be pissed?  Will they understand?  Will they be supportive?  There's only one way to find out - tell them!

There's a saying that "an idiot with a plan can beat a genius without a plan any day."  If you go into this with facts and a plan, you are a lot more likely to come out unscathed.  Better for you and for your family.  I'll assume that you've been vegetarian for a little while, so this conversation with your parents won't be coming totally out of left field.  I'll also assume that you are committed to making this work.  If you weren't you probably wouldn't have read this far...

Here's where the plan begins.  Arm yourself with as many facts as possible.  I mean real facts, not "I heard vegans live longer" or "milk is filled with pus."  Get the facts behind these statements so you can support your "presentation".  Define a clear reason why you want to change your life and become vegan.  PETA is a great place to start, but don't rely on them for everything.  Print things out if you need to.  Make a brochure or outline for them to follow while you're talking.  There are a million things you could do to beef up (pun intended) your "presentation" to convey how serious you are about being vegan.  This will have a double pronged effect; they will be impressed that you've done so much research and you'll become an aficionado on vegan lifestyle.  Browse through the Reasons People Don't Stay Vegan posts here at Stay Vegan for more info.

Do more research on nutrition.  One thing that I ran into with my parents were the usual vegan protein and vegan B12 questions.  Explain to them that a balanced vegan diet covers all nutritional needs (and have the facts to back that statement up!).  Also explain all of the good things that you're going to eat and cook (more on that later).  Again, research is as important for them as it is for you.  When I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan I spent the majority of my time reading and researching, and I feel it's had a profound effect on my life since.

Here's where you sell it.  Explain that all of this means no extra work for them (focus on the benefits).  You're going to help cook meals and make something for yourself so that you can eat dinner with the family every night.  Also, you're going to cook some meals by yourself for the entire family so they can see how great you eat.  I know I sound a little bossy, but this really works.  If you really want to sell this to them, you have to do your part too!  Cooking is the key for me to stay vegan.  Check out some great vegan cookbooks here at our bookstore.  Books like How It All Vegan and Veganomicon have great sections for beginner vegan cooks to help teach you how to work confidently in the kitchen.

Don't you feel good now that you told them?  It might have gone well, it might not have, but you did it nonetheless.  Nice job!  Not only are you a better vegan now, you're also smarter and better informed.

Stay Vegan!

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