Monday, 5 November 2007

Conversation with Mom

I knew the conversation was coming and yet still wasn't fully prepared for it. As a new vegan, I had all my arguments ready yet my family seemed fairly quiet. Time passed and I sort of forgot about the lack of opposition. So today I am in the middle of a normal conversation with mom when we start to discuss our visit to the UK after Christmas. I will happily relay the conversation as I'm sure my mom will agree that she is guilty of asking questions she knows will upset me a little but she still asks them. We started by mom asking what food she needs to get in for the family when we visit. So, we are two adults, a two year old and our youngest will be 9 months. So I suggest (bear in mind it is just early November now and we are visiting end of december but mom is thoughtful and plans ahead) fortified soya milk, dairy free margarine, vegan substitutes eg veggie mince, pasta, beans, lentils etc. Hmm, a bit much, will send it on an email later, mom. So the kids need their own rooms now, I am still nursing but Miller sleeps better in his own space and just wakes once now in the night. Anyway, back to the diet… Are you sure it is a good thing for such young children to be on a strict diet? Yes, I am sure, I've done the research. So what don't you eat exactly? Well, animals or animal products. Umm. Well, that's meat, eggs, cheese, milk… Oh, it's quite restrictive then? Not really, you'll be surprised. We can eat cereal and soya milk, toast, pasta, casseroles, rice, soups…I'll even make you a vegan chocolate cake when we come. Are the children getting all they need? Yes, I think they are healthier than before. Heidi used to eat crisps as a snack, now she has almonds, hazelnuts and grapes. She used to eat heaps of cheese on toast, eggy bread and drink cups of milk and not much else. Now she eats veggie soups, casseroles, paella, basically all the healthy stuff she wouldn't eat before. She also has a supplement as a safe guard. Are you sure it's healthy. Yes, I've been researching it well. I think we have a better diet than meat eaters, meat eating has been related to many conditions including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and other things. We get all the protein we need from lentils, tofu… But what about calcium? Um, we have calcium fortified soya milk and you can get calcium from the veggies we eat. Where's your research from? I bought a vegan nutrition book, it tells me all we need to know. It's written by doctors. Um, are they vegan doctors? (Not sure about this one!) Um, not sure mom, think so. Have you read research by non-vegan doctor? At this point I was interrupted by my son getting into mischief – Miller is at pulling to standing stage and can easily get into sticky situations! So, have to go mom, not to do with the vegan stuff, just need to go….

Needless to say I left the conversation feeling a bit deflated. Shame as it had started with Heidi first talking with my dad and calling him 'Gramps' which she has had some difficulty saying and then singing songs to my mom. I did add late in the conversation that I hoped my mom knew I would not do anything other than give my children the best things they needed… I guess a lot of vegans can relate to this.


Marina said...

I sympathize.

You can tell her that:

- The vast majority of the research that states that meat is bad is conducted by omnis.

- We don't need fortified foods, let alone milk, for calcium. Ask her where she thinks elephants, who have the biggest bones of all land animals, get their calcium. No other animal on the planet drinks the milk of another species unless it is handed to him/her by a human (like cats - which are lactose intolerant by the way, but will drink the stuff for the same reason we do: taste).

- Remind her that there are over 800 million Hindus (who may not be vegan, but are vegetarian) in this world as well as millions of others who live vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. You are not an anomaly.

Go to: for extra ammunition (it lists a few of the more commonly asked omni questions and gives answers that should make them think).

I hope your visit home won't be strained by all of this. I suppose you can always end the conversation and tell mom you won't discuss anymore of this until she reads the information you've brought her (print out some of the fact sheets from and give them to her).

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill,

I'm so proud of you. I know those conversations can be tough, but you know, as I've said before, it's helpful to keep in mind that this is new for her, too. You've had a total change of heart, mind, and spirit, and it's very clear to you. It's very foreign to her. So even though your answers were perfect, I know it's exhausting. I can tell you it gets easier as everyone around adjusts and acclimates. You're doing great! Just wanted to send some veggie love from California! :)

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