By Lindsay Geller
So you have gone vegan, hmm? Awesome! But maybe your parents aren’t too thrilled. Whether you’re in high school or home from school for summer, here are a few tips to help you navigate.
- Be flexible. If your parents are in charge of grocery shopping and cooking, then chances are that you are not going to be living the ideal vegan lifestyle your first couple of years. That’s okay. Just do the best you can, offer to help with cooking, and try not to get frustrated with them– especially if they are trying.
- Get creative…and a food processor. Don’t be afraid to experiment with food. Find recipes online or invent your own using your favorite veggies, grains, etc. Veganize some family favorites. If you really want to have some fun, get a food processor. I bought mine for twenty dollars, and although it is nowhere near Cuisinart standards, it gets the job done. I know I’ll have time in the future to get my big, fancy food processor, but for now I’m just happy making my own hummus, smoothies, pesto, etc.
- Avoid too many pre-made, frozen vegan foods. They’re just as processed (or even more so) as their carnivorous forerunners, so they’re not good a good staple. Try to make real fruits and veggies being the center of every meal, using tofu, seitan, or quinoa as an added source of protein. Sub in pre-made stuff only when necessary—like that family BBQ.
- Get involved with grocery shopping. Accompany your parent(s) to the store, farmers market, CSA, etc. If you can drive, don’t be afraid to go by yourself. Just remember that you are shopping for everyone, not just yourself, and stay within your family’s budget.
- Be patient. Your family may not understand your lifestyle change at first. That is fine, as long as everyone maintains a mutual sense of respect. Don’t lecture them or try to make them feel guilty. Just give them some time to get used to the idea. Eventually, your veganism will become just another fact about yourself, as uncontestable as your eye color or height.
So how do you handle being a vegan in an omni house?
Lindsay Geller is a Writing, Literature, and Publishing and Marketing Communications double major at Emerson College in Boston, MA. (She’s only double majoring to please her parents and because it sounds impressive.) She originally hails from rural northeastern Pennsylvania where the first day of hunting season merits a day off from school. She often writes on her blog, www.lindsaygeller.blogspot.com, and also enjoys making 140 character diary entries comparing her life to a Lifetime movie via her Twitter handle, @LGells.