After the last instalment of our blog series, we asked the community to share any questions or concerns they have about taking the plunge into plant-based living. We received an outpouring of thoughtful questions. So, we decided to answer some of the questions a part of this week's post where we discuss how to survive social scenarios as a vegan or plant-based family.
My vegan kid was teased in school for his (vegan) lunches; what should I do?
According to data collected by Vegan Inclusive Education in the UK, over 70% of vegan kids have been subjected to casual teasing. A whopping 42% have even been bullied due to their lifestyle. While this is heartbreaking, it does not mean that your kid and family have to abandon your journey. There are many ways to deal with bullies.
The best thing you can do is talk to your child about what they are experiencing. This will help them understand their feelings and give them the tools to deal with the situation. For example, explain to them about empathy and how to put themselves in the shoes of others.
In this case, ask them how they are feeling and see if there is anything they would like to change about their lunchbox contents or presentation. It might be helpful to involve them in the lunch-packing process so they feel more ownership over what goes in their box.
Encourage them to stand up for themselves and be assertive. If the teasing or bullying escalates, you may need to speak to the school about the situation. Finally, ensure they know they can always come to you if they need help or support.
I struggle with plant-based options for my family in social gatherings
Many social gatherings revolve around food, making things tricky for vegans. However, you can do a few things to ensure your family is included in the fun.
First, find out what will be served at the event beforehand. You can bring some vegan dishes or let the host know about your dietary requirements. Remember, you are not alone in being concerned about what food will be put out. Australia has one of the world's highest rates of food allergies, so there will be other parents with similar questions - there's no need to feel guilty about it!
If you're unable to check in advance, don't worry. There are always options available, even if it's just a salad or some fruit. And remember, it's perfectly okay to decline food you don't want to eat politely.
Finally, try to focus on the social aspect of the gathering rather than the food. This way, you can still enjoy spending time with your loved ones, even if you're not eating the same thing. Adopting a vegan lifestyle as a family is possible with some planning and preparation! Just remember to be patient, and take things one step at a time.
Our relatives are not vegan and insist that we aren't feeding our kids proper food.
Sometimes older relatives insist on feeding your children meat or dairy products, so it is essential to be firm but polite in these situations. After all, they come from a place of love - even if that feels a little misguided. Helping your family into a plant-based life is a journey - you decide where you are comfortable drawing the line and which battles are worth fighting.
The most important thing is that you and your family are happy and healthy. Adopting a vegan lifestyle is a great way to improve your health, but it's also essential to ensure that everyone in the family is on board with the change. With patience and understanding, you can make the transition to a plant-based diet work for your entire family.
My teenage daughter wants to go vegan, but I disagree
While our previous post was about how to transition to veganism as a family, we were asked an important question: what if your child wants to go vegan, but you don't?
This is a difficult situation, as supporting a child's decision can be hard when you disagree. However, remember that this is their decision, and they have the right to make it.
The best thing you can do is speak to them to understand their motivations. Get some informative recourses for yourself and your child about the vegan lifestyle. This way, you can make a decision together.
You could also talk to other vegan families and individuals to better understand what it's like. Remember that this does not have to be a permanent decision. Make it clear to your kid that you will revisit the decision if it doesn't work out or if it affects their health. At the same time, you can show your support by cooking and eating vegan meals together (even if you aren't vegan) or going out to vegan restaurants together.
The most important thing is that you remain open-minded and respectful throughout the process. This way, you can ensure that your child feels confident and supported in their decision - even if you disagree with it.
Next week on the blog...
Next week we will continue with our scheduled topics for our blog series, where we will get deep and philosophical to discuss the morality of veganism!