My poor father. When I told him I was becoming a vegetarian, he became confused. He does not understand what I eat. He understands I no longer eat meat, but he doesn’t see what comes in place of it. He thinks all I am allowed to eat is vegetables. He will still ask me if I am still only eating vegetables. I have to explain to him what I eat on a regular basis. I have sent him recipes for very simple vegetarian cooking (he asked), but that didn’t seem to help.
So now I want to do a 30-day vegan challenge. Boy, if my father was confused be the vegetarian thing he’s really screwed up by the vegan one! His first response was something like, “Ok. So now, you’re only going to eat vegetables, right?” I don’t know why he thinks I can’t eat fruit.
I asked him if he knew what it meant to be vegan, and he did! He understood it meant I couldn’t eat anything that contained any products from an animal. So, vegetables, right? 🙂
I sent him the link to the 30-day vegan challenge and invited him to join me. Now, I know this is a very hard thing I am asking him to do. He’s not even a vegetarian. I don’t expect someone to just drop everything and go vegan unless they are motivated to do so. My father does not have that level of motivation. He has only a curiosity.
I suggested he go vegan for one meal a day – any meal. His choice. Of course there are other ways to craft the challenge like one full day a week or one dinner a week and so on….He thought that those ideas seemed reasonable. BUT, he immediately started crafting different scenarios where it would be challenging for him to stick with it. Well, hey, it is a challenge. I think it should be a challenge that makes sense to your life, but it’s not always going to be a walk in the park.
My dad’s concern, and he is retired, is how to be vegan if he’s out fishing. That’s his concern. It may seem silly (oh – and the thought that he might eat a vegan lunch while catching fish, I don’t think he caught on to the absurdity of that), but it’s his concern. I told him he was in control of his food and what he packed for his lunch. He can recgonize that but would still like for everyone to know he thinks it’s hard to do.
You know what? It is hard to do. It is hard to wrap your brain around a different way of eating and break out of old dietary habits. Look at me with butter. I am spending an unholy amount of time lately thinking about butter. I even found recipes for making my own vegan butter and am considering it. But for someone new to all this? Thinking so much about one ingredient, and likely a major ingredient, can be overwhelming. It could be enough to make you walk away from it.
I tried to show him how simple it could be – spaghetti with tomato sauce and no cheese. So if you’re reading this and thinking it would be nice to make a dietary change like becoming vegetarian or vegan or giving up soda (or whatever!) but feel like you don’t know where to start, know that’s just normal. You don’t need to do an overhaul. You just need to do one thing. For example, my new favorite lunch this week has been a grilled cheese sandwich using vegan Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese. The bread is probably not vegan. The butter I am cooking it in is not vegan. But I also know I can only handle so much at once. Finding a vegan cheese that would work for me was the first step, and that took several experiments to get right. My next step would be fixing the bread or butter to be vegan. That is progress. And that is how I think you change your lifestyle and eating habits – one baby step at a time.