I have been asked a lot lately how I manage being vegan in a family of omnivores. Chickpea Magazine recently published an article I wrote with my advice and the popular vegan blog, World of Vegan, also shared my must-have ground rules for navigating a vegan/omni family. Today, I share a few more tips for being vegan in a family of omnivores.
1. Accept that you cannot force your family to change.
I accepted that I could not force my husband to change (or my children) and could only hope that over time, they will come to the same conclusion and choice that I have in adopting a vegan lifestyle. I feel strongly that it should be their choice made with full awareness and information.
Once I was able to accept that I could not force my family to change, I got to work on what I could control – like sharing delicious vegan meals, making easy switch-outs like butter and mayonnaise with vegan versions, and veganizing favorite baked treats.
2. Coordinate ground rules.
I figured out what I could live with, without giving up my vegan values. Ground rules are key. These are a few of the ground rules that work in my home: worldofvegan.com/vegan-omni-family/
I suggest making a list of things that are deal breakers and others with which you are more flexible. As a family, set up some ground rules that respect everyone’s needs and values.
3. Lead by example.
I lead by example and use every mealtime or social situation where vegan comes up as an opportunity to teach and model.
I engage my children in discussions about the origin of their food. I teach them how to be mindful of their choices and acknowledge the process it goes through to get to their plate. I share stories of animal abuse and let them catch me crying as I read stores of animal slaughter in vegan publications so they become curious, ask me questions, and become more compassionate. I cook delicious vegan food for them every day.
Kids are naturally curious so I get asked a lot of questions and do my best to answer without preaching, but objectively with facts and information so they can come to their own conclusions and choices.
4. Cook delicious and kid-friendly vegan dishes
Taco Tuesday is a mainstay in our house! I make several fillings to choose from: refried beans, tons of veggies, guacamole, this black bean and corn mixture, and this Beyond Meat Fiesta “Ground Beef” mix. Everyone can fill their taco shell (or romaine leaf!) as they please. It’s a family favorite.
We also love vegan sushi bowls and soba noodle bowls. I love to serve all the ingredients on the table family style and let everyone make their bowl to their liking!
5. Don’t compare your family to other families.
Every family is different. What feels comfortable for yours will differ from another. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Do what works best for you and your family and realize it is a journey.
For more tips and strategies on navigating a vegan lifestyle, check out my eBook, VeegMama’s Guide To Going Vegan.
This post was originally published on AstigVegan on July 8, 2015.