Are you a new vegan in a household of people who are still eating meat? This article in the Washington Post provides tips for parents on understanding the nutritional needs of their vegan children — but we’re here to provide tips to the children (and siblings and spouses, etc.) who want to share their compassionate lifestyle with their loved ones.
Share your Knowledge (and vegan food!)
You most likely went vegan because you learned something new, whether it was the ethical or environmental impact of factory farms, the health benefits of a plant-based diet, or that vegan cupcakes taste incredible. Casually start a conversation with your family in which you gently explain how you came to this decision, and invite them to ask questions — and be sure to share those incredible vegan cupcakes while you’re at it!
Expand your Community
It’s also nice to forge a community outside your family that you can turn to for social support. Like-minded people who understand your choice can provide advice (and recipes!) to help you stay on track with your goals, as well as make your vegan lifestyle more meaningful. Volunteer with an animal protection organization or join a local Meetup group to connect with other vegans and vegetarians, and remember to make your pre-vegan family and friends feel included by inviting them to participate in events you’re attending.
Shop and Cook Together
Sometimes we need to be reminded that what makes family dinners special is not the food; it’s the family! For vegan children with omnivore parents, offer to grocery shop and cook together — parents will appreciate your interest in household responsibilities and relish the opportunity to spend time with you. Start by veganizing a few of your family’s favorite foods such as these chocolate chip cookies and delicious mac and cheese.
Looking for more inspiration? Vegan author Ellen Jaffe Jones wrote a terrific book on this subject called The Kitchen Divided: Vegan Dishes for Semi-Vegan Households. It includes versatile vegan recipes that everyone will love. After all, the best way to change hearts and minds is through the stomach!