How to be Vegan when your Family is Not

by Alena
Apr 8, 2016
brown haired woman with rose shirt walking next to a flowery wallpaper along the hallway

Sometimes when you get a wake-up call or open your eyes towards the truth, you can get really excited. It feels like you’ve finally come in touch with something really important, authentic, and wonderful. Unfortunately, the world around you doesn’t always immediately change the way you do. But how can you be vegan when your family is not?

Making the decision to make a diet and lifestyle overhaul is brave and doing it on your own can be tough enough.

So what if you are surrounded by people who don’t support your choice at all? When you have to swim against a stream of arguments as to why you’re doing something useless, maybe even harmful?

It seems like the media has done a great job brainwashing people’s minds into thinking we would need:

  • Meat and eggs for protein
  • Dairy for calcium
  • Fish for omega 3 fatty acids
  • Even most doctors and many nutritionists have joined in, and together they praise the importance of animal foods – even though there are plenty of studies who prove this wrong.

    It’s no wonder that your friends and family believe this too – which is why they aren’t particularly positive towards a plant-based. They continuously offer you animal products, comment every single cough with “malnourished/deficient”, or even try to ridicule you for your choices.

    Let me tell you this: you are not wrong. And you’re probably not making the wrong decisions here. I know what it feels like to be standing alone against so many people being worried about you, or even insulting you for being weird and crazy.

    So, what are the best things to do in this case?

    How to Be Vegan When Your Family Is Not

    We hope that the following 5 tips will help you feel less alone, frustrated, or even like giving up. Most of us have "been there" and we highly encourage you to join our free community and online eCourse to get support and even more tips or ammunition. 

    1. Education

    First off, it’s important that you get to know the reasons behind the whole idea of eating plant-based foods and switching to a vegan lifestyle. Your personal emphasis can range from not harming any animals, to protecting the environment, getting healthier, losing weight, or becoming fitter.

    There are endless reasons for taking on this path. When you get behind all of this and grow a knowledge base, you can easily refute their arguments with actual science and proof. You’ll get more confident, motivate yourself, and are prepared for any half-baked statement coming your way.

    For beginners, I would suggest you watch the documentaries Forks over Knives, Vegucated, and Cowspiracy. If you’re into reading, then check the books The China Study, How Not to Die and The Starch Solution. Here's our full article on the best 40 vegan books!


    2. Compassion

    Whether it’s obvious or not: there’s always a reason as to why people think and react the way they do. Like I wrote above, many believe what the media and doctors tell them without questioning it.

    No wonder they think you’re doing something wrong (a.k.a. not behaving like everyone else), harming yourself, or are downright lunatic. Their inner blockade can be a result of honest worry about your health, or even jealousy they might not be aware of.

    You see, by taking action and changing for the better, you show everyone around you that they are NOT doing it. That they stay kind of unsatisfied and stuck because they are not proactive. Maybe they themselves have failed in the past and don’t think you could actually succeed in changing your diet for good.

    Opening their eyes to reality and truth can be painful and come with many consequences – not everyone is there yet, and that is okay. You should allow them to arrive at their own time and pace.

    3. Preparation

    Invited over to a dinner party or grandma’s house? That’s always a little challenging. Especially when you’re a newbie and not everyone knows about your lifestyle change yet or is accustomed to it.

    Let’s face it, many people simply forget about the current dietary preferences of their friends and family members, especially since there often is a lot of changing from one fad diet to the next these days. You can’t blame them here.

    But what you can do is taking your own little dish with you! Of course, not every occasion calls for this type of move, but most of the time, people are a lot more confident with you bringing your own food to enjoy – so they don’t accidentally mess something up and you end up eating nothing at all.

    A good idea is to prepare a huge batch of your favorite food and bring it along for everyone to take a look at, maybe even try a bite. The experience of it tasting delicious, despite being a vegan dish, can be eye-opening. Talk about convincing people on a whole different level!


    4. Flexibility

    Being very strict about what you do and don’t eat can not only lead to a lot of awkwardness and discussions with people around you, but also make you unhappy or even obsessed. Believe me, I know what it’s like to dive head over heels into the topic of health, animal welfare, and changing yourself for the better.

    But what you have to realize is that change does take time. You have a lot of habits to unlearn, taste buds to retrain, and brain wiring to undo. Most people ease into a new way of eating and being, and I would suggest you do the same. And no, we don't suggest you keep on eating animal products when you're not at home, but a little bit of oil or sugar won't hurt you too much.

    So when you’re invited for dinner and the host tried to create a great meal for you but forgot to not sprinkle a certain ingredient on top of it – you could consider honoring the gesture, giving them a quick tip for next time, and then just eat some of that food.

    It’s not going to mess up your diet, it’s not being weak or out of control. You ate this food a lot of times in the past without thinking of it as being a “bad food”, I am sure of that. So forget about that label, do what feels best for you in that moment – and what won’t make you sick afterwards of course.

    When going out to restaurants that aren’t completely vegan, you can never be sure whether all people involved in the process of preparing your food succeeded in not adding any unwanted ingredient.

    There is a fine line when it comes to obsession and I would love for you to not get caught up into details all of the time. All the healthy food in the world won’t make you feel better if your mind is constantly stressed and preoccupied.

    5. Connection

    If you’re not lucky enough to have vegans or at least vegetarians in your family or circle of friends, you can always go online and reach out for like-minded people. Back when I chose to become vegan, I didn’t know a single soul who was thinking the same way I did.

    But luckily, there were a couple of forums and even a few YouTube channels that made me feel less alone. For the first year or so, these were the only motivators I had to keep me going. When I finally got a Facebook account, the number of people I met who were eating the same way I did increased exponentially.

    Read More: The 50+ Best Vegan YouTubers

    Today, there are endless possibilities and platforms where you can find food buddies, meet up in person, organize an event, and so much more. Sharing tips, tricks and even personal struggles can be very beneficial to you as well as the whole community! By learning from each other, inspiring and motivating, you will be a lot more successful and create real friendships.

    A great way to start is by following us around on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest

    What are your biggest struggles when it comes to non-vegan family and friends? What do you commonly hear from them and how do you stay true to your decision? Feel free to share it with us in the comments below.

    Full transparency: We’re part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and this post contains affiliate links that earn us a small commission at no additional cost for you. None of our work is sponsored and we only recommend products we personally use and love, or think our readers will find useful, so this is a simple way of getting compensated for the time and love we put into this website.

    about alena.

    Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.


    72 thoughts on “How to be Vegan when your Family is Not”

    1. Wonderful article, guys. One of the best ones I’ve read on this topic. Well done with this and the beautiful website in general ?

      • Hey Nas,
        thanks for the feedback! We thought this was such a fundamental topic that really needs to be covered so that more people feel it’s possible to change their diet no matter what.
        We’re so happy to hear it’s a helpful one and that you like our website :)
        Thank you so much.
        All the best!

    2. Hi,
      I’m considering becoming a vegan. Non of my family is vegan, and my boyfriend is a body builder so protein protein protein for him. He says (because I’m petite) that I’d probably die if I become vegan. So I really have no support system here. And it seems pretty impossible. When I tell my mom or sister this brand or that brand is really bad on the animal cruelty spectrum, they usually buy it anyway. I’m also a Buddhist, in a Christian family. Which is also hard and I get ridiculed a lot for that too. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I would really like to make some friends that might be able to help me transition into the vegan lifestyle. And build a strong support system, and maybe even help me help my man understand the vegan lifestyle, not saying try to make him vegan, just help him understand better that it isn’t all salad and rice. Maybe give me some good resources, he’s very understanding when shown proof of things.


      • Hi Chelsey,
        thanks for reaching out. Seems like you turned out to be very different from the rest of your family and I understand that this is a tough position to be in. Unfortunately, most people in the western world are “proteinaholics” (book by Dr. Garth Davis) and think this is the single most important nutrient – all the while it’s actually killing people. Plus there is no such thing as a protein deficiency if you eat enough whole plant-based foods. All of them contain protein, even oranges. The WHO states we need around 5-10% protein in our diet, which is easily met by eating whole grains, legumes, nuts etc.
        I’m sorry to hear that your family doesn’t make the ethical, compassionate connection right now. Maybe because they haven’t seen footage of the cruelty yet, it’s easy to just disconnect from how animal products are made if you never get in touch with these images and videos.
        I’d highly encourage you join tons of vegan groups on Facebook to fill your newsfeed with topics you can resonate with and learn from (we do have a little private group too which you can look out for).
        Not everyone loses weight on a vegan diet, some even gain weight, so this shouldn’t be a concern if you eat enough calories. Maybe your boyfriend would like the videos which Vegan Gains posts on YouTube? Warning though, he’s got a potty mouth.
        Other than that, like Deepa said, is a great resource as well as the books and DVDs mentioned in the article above.
        Feel free to email me if you need more support :)

    3. Hi Chelsea – the above youtube channels might have some videos to help you out. The documentaries can help too. Theres also a group of vegan body builders out there. Also check out by Dr. Michael Greger for some helpful videos

    4. The hardest part for me is that when I stopped eating meat, my husband started eating more. I get not trying to push my diet on him, but when I choose for cruelty reasons not to eat meat – and then he eats what would have been my portion (meaning what I am doing makes no difference at all) I get upset. Besides, I need my portion of the food budget for my own food. It is hard to explain that to him (especially since he is a generation older than me, and doesn’t ‘get it’ at all.)

      • Hi Jennifer,
        I feel you. Once you can look behind the curtain, you don’t understand how anyone can feel and act differently and why not everyone wants to reduce and avoid suffering. The sad truth is that you can only be responsible for your own life and actions – you cannot really change others. You can aducate and motivate them, yes. But not too much either since soon this topic will become a blind spot as they always feel hit on or accused (which they should to some extend – after all, they cause terrible suffering).
        I understand that it’s even tougher if you have a shared budget and animal products tend to be the most expensive items in the grocery store. Do you like mock meat? Maybe you guys could make a deal and start buying mock meat here and there which you can try together (different brands always, since you need to find the ones you really like). Can you show him that he uses more of the money for himself and that it’s a little unfair to you?
        We’re trying to get Lars’ father to convince to eat a more plant-based diet and he’s in his 70’s… so I know that this generation is different. My own father (he’s in his 50’s) does quite well to understand and partly follow through).
        Hope this helps at all!
        Good luck & all the best,

      • I was having a similar issue with my partner, so I started buying smaller packages of meat for him. Or when buying larger sizes (on special, etc), I will separate it into portions and freeze the extra portions! This way I don’t cook more, so he doesn’t have the opportunity to eat more!! It has been working great for me! Congratulations on your decision to go vegan! ?

    5. My family pushes meat on me and is the opposite of supportive. Online vegan support groups that I’ve joined did share info I found helpful in transitioning to vegan but also turned out to be full of a lot of high and mighty judgemental vegans who bully and bash people who are not vegan and ridicule people who haven’t forced it on their significant other or kids yet. So I grew tired of that. After a year I feel like my efforts to be vegan or even vegetarian are slowly slipping away.

      • Hey Maia,
        I feel you. There are unpleasant people everywhere and I’m sorry you’ve had this experience. Veganism should be about love, compassion, and inclusion – everything else is irrational and counterproductive.
        You can tell your family that you are the one how is in control of your body and that you want to fuel it with the best ingredients only. Or that you don’t want to eat the pain of other creatures, whatever it is that keeps you going.
        I’m sorry, but your family should be more respectful towards your choices. If they really want to know why you don’t eat meat, then sit them down and show them earthlings or forks over knives. There’s no arguing against that! You can re-watch these videos too, or even anything on YouTube you find regarding this topic to keep you motivated and see how other people do this every day.
        I really wish for you to be able to follow what’s authentic and best for you! Is there a way you can move out soon?
        All my best,

    6. Hi, im 12 and vegan my mom says it isnt good for kids to be vegan because they are still growing, i really want to continue to be vegan. Any advice?

      • Hi Kaylin,
        thank you so much for your comment. Wow I wish I knew about veganism when I was 12! Understandably, your mom is worried about you when she listens to mainstream media who loves to bash vegan diets.
        So let’s hear it from another source: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” (you can find that here:
        Doesn’t that sound a lot better and well-researched? Who would be a better authority on this than the ADA?
        Hopefully this helps. I would love for you to be able to follow your heart and ethics as well as taking good care of your body by eating plants… any other foods are unnecessary and cause more harm than good.
        All our best!

      • Thanks for creating this topic,Ive been vegan for 1 week and Im delighted with the benefits,now my mother is back home and iM gonna have a hard time with her.. Im 36 years old but still she likes cooking for us and is the kind of woman that thinks she knows it all on any subjet…
        We are going to have a huge argument on this,cause she defends the a bit of everything rule.also she has kidney failure,not too bad early stage but she is not suposed to eat too much meat fish or egs. But she does and feels guilty about it.
        So I know she is going to feel guilty eating chiken wigs next to me while I have the will power to eat brocoli when I dont even have an illness and she does…
        Shes gonna push meat and fish and eggs on me,she STILL thinks that is good.I cant present her information cause she prefers choose to believe that there are many studies on both sidesand keep eatingeggs with bacon.
        Ive been able to at list given that she has no intention of changing her diet I convince her to take natural supplements for her kidney and cholesterol.And she trust me on that.BUt still will try to push meat,make me feel fear for not eatin enough protein,make fun of me…anything to make me change my mind.
        I apreciate your post but in my case confrontation is inevitable and I dont want to start a dialog ofering her data cause shes Miss know it all and it will end up in a big argument. So all I can say is anybody who is in this situation..please be strong.You are not alone.This is probably the best decision you will ever take in your whole life. My skin was a mess I had fatigue and erectyl disfunction and mild depression in 1 week Ive seen awesome improvements in all those areas.Dont alow anybody stop you from makin this decision.its your body,its your life.Feel free eto comment back and i will support you.
        The ironic thing is since I was a little baby my mother pushed on me bread,potatos,rice,sauce,meat, fish..and the only thing I liked was fruit. Before society corrupts the mind of children their instinct is eating jus fruit.If it taste good in your tongue and sweet is because God and if you dont believe in God MOther Nature made it that way so early on we could be atracted to eat consume it and survive.theres no way a baby can kill a cow or catch a fish.But a baby can definately eat apples and bananas from a tree and survive into adulthood and more…Its just so sad that the world is bullying us for eating the way we are suposed to eat. at the begining there was no fire,no knifes

        • hi Carlos,
          thank you so much for writting this! I know exactly how you feel. I just strated my journey, so its hard for anyone in my life to even understand my reasons. My mom is just like yours. And guess what? I dont care anymore. I stoped carrying when she began to yell at me because not eating meat. The more she yells the more i know I will be fine without her on my side. Yes, I love her, very much. But its my choice to tell if I want someone to kill a animal for me or not. I allways loved animals, I gave names to all animals we had home on farm and I remember the day when I stopped doing that because we had dinner with my family and I asked if anyone saw Jinny today, that she might have gone lost. and my dad said “Jinny is dead, you have just eaten her”…. that just… broke my heart so bad I stopped eating bunnies, cows or other animals execpt chickens, because we never had them so i didnt have the right connection to them. But now Im stronger enough to face them all (meat-eaters) and I dont care anymore. I want animals to be my friends again, not to fight for their life. Thats why i want this to happen. So thanks again for writting this down, now I know im not alone with a family of selfish shortighted people who think they are better than any being on this planet just because they have the power to kill.. I dont so i wont.
          Take care :)
          hugs and kisses Radka

    7. Awesome article. I wish I found stuff like this when i first tried veganism at 16. Im 25 now and have been vegan for a year now. Its a little harder with non vegan kids and husband but hes very supportive and we eat only vegan dinners :)

    8. Hi, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.
      Great advice and tips.
      Though I have a very different problem.
      My family is on a very tight budget as it is, we can’t even afford education at this moment and the rest of my family are meat eaters which means buying in bulk for them is easy.
      I’m already a vegetarian, have been for 3 years(4 in November) but I aspire to change to vegan.
      I’ve convinced myself that I should sustain from this until I have moved out and have a job where I can support my own diet.
      It already makes me feel guilty that my parents have to spend extra money to support my diet(though I’d feel more guilty about eating meat lol) I guess what I’m trying to say or ask is how can I make this easier? Do you think it’s a good idea to wait until I can support myself?
      Thank you for this post and advice. ☺

      • Hey Denise,
        thanks for your lovely comment! I understand that it’s not the easiest situation you’re in – but fortunately, vegan staple foods are amongst the cheapest you could get. Think rice, pasta, beans, corn, oats. Then look for seasonal produce to add to your starches like apples, oranges, cabbage etc! I promise that this type of food is cheaper than meat – and if not, that’s some really really crappy meat.
        Here’s an article on eating a healthy vegan diet on a budget:
        Just do the best you can and avoid animal products as much as possible. You can still go 100% vegan when you’re on your own – but like I said, it shouldn’t really be a financial issue.
        Let me know if you need further support! And check out the channel “cheap lazy vegan” on YouTube :)
        All my best x

    9. Hey there, I have a strong feeling to what you said.And I just feel so rejective about eating outside with my family, but unfortunately I have to do the social activies and my family’s members always judge me about my weight, they do know nothing about my workout though.But I am still happy to be a vegan even it’s a little bit hard to find some ingrefients in China.

      • Honestly, just do the best you can. If it’s not always possible to have 100% vegan ingredients, then you either have to settle for this or try harder. Stick to whole plant-based foods as much as you can and your weight & energy will be just fine. Eat as much as you like of these foods!
        Yes veganism is about doing the least harm and being positive, so stay in this mindset when eating out with your family. You can always just get a tiny dish of rice with some veggies.
        Hope this article helped – we’re planning and writing more about this topic in the future.
        All my best

    10. Hey guys, thank you for the amazing article. I have recently become began and I am so happy about the change. I am mostly just so happy that I can be so passionate about something and make a change to the world with every meal I eat. I have recently also turned 30 so it’s been a wonderful year to welcome this change. I have a husband and two amazing little boys (3 years and the other is 7months). My husband has such a negative attitude towards my new change and is digging up every article he can find to prove that being vegan isn’t healthy and in fact isn’t going to save the planet. He thinks I have legitimately been brainwashed. I am SO frustrated. He says he will support my decision but that he will never stop eating meat. He hasn’t yet watched anything with me and I think we’ll start with Cowspiracy. He says we can vow to only buy free range but even that isn’t good enough for me. I know I need to respect and be gentle on him and I am doing so. He’s not an a**hole – he just doesn’t know the truth and thinks that the change is too inconvenient and too expensive. I was wondering if you had any amazing resources cooking vegan with non vegans in the house? Its going to be a nightmare cooking two different meals each night. Eek.

      • Hi Nikki,
        thanks so much for your comment! Wow, I really feel your struggle and am grateful to have a vegan partner. Let me assure you, though: you’re not alone. There are many women who want to make the change but feel weighed down by their unsupportive family who gives them a hard time for doing something so wonderful. I think it’s great that your husband is open towards letting you convince him with actual facts – the irony is that within the community of nutritional researchers and experts, it’s not even a question that plant-based diets are optimal! The message only gets confusing on its way out to the public. I’d like you to look up a few things: any interview or speech by Brenda Davis RD, Dr. Michael Greger’s website and his talk on YouTube called “How Not To Die” (about 1 hr long). Then I have this article on vegan meals for the whole family here: (follow the links in the recipes for even more ideas) and then this info on eating vegan on a budget:
        Cowspiracy sums up a lot of things pretty nicely and it doesn’t seem biased at all. If you are looking for more documentaries, check out our list:
        Keep us posted and feel free to email us any time for further advice. I’d love to know how things go.
        Stay strong & brave! The world needs you ;)
        All my best x

    11. Hi, I was wondering if you could maybe help with some things to say, when I am confronted with the questions and judgements of friends and family when I go home for Christmas this year. I am not a outspoken or confident person and the upcoming questions terrify me. (I need to practice and really think about what I am going to say before) I just want to live my way and everyone feels that my choices at the moment are an attack on them.
      Thanks for reading my mish-mash here. Love from sunning South Africa xxx

      • Hi Daniella,
        I totally understand your situation. If you want to, you can just tell people that you feel best eating that way and that some health issues have gotten better. This will usually stop them from asking more questions. Unless you want to make an ethical point, then you could say that you’re against unnecessary killing and that you want to live a more compassionate life. Here’s an article that shows how you can answer the most common questions:
        If you’d like, you can email me with the exact questions or comments you think will come up and I’ll let you know some good answers for them :)
        Sending love back to beautiful South Africa! xx

    12. Such a great article and I’m so glad that you talk about flexibility!
      I became a vegetarian 2 years ago and even though I miss some things, (like fish or go into a random restaurant when I’m out with friends) I’m so happy that I made this decision!
      It’s a hard transition for my family (especially for my dad) and some of them talk of my decision as if it’s just a face and I will be eating meat again soon.
      I call myself vegetarian, but I stopped buying eggs and dairy products, but not products containing them (unless I know there is an alternativ). And I would eat dairy and eggs if it was served to me when I was eating out in a try to ease friends and family into the change I was making. Being the only vegetarian/vegan in my circle of friends and family they all found me cutting out meat, annoying and difficult. (If I want anything dairy now I have to find a lactose free alternative, because it turned out that I’m also lactose intolerant)
      I prefer eating as little animal product as possible, but I accept that some people need a little time to get used to all the change and I realised I needed to help them.

      Something I also find important to do when you are the only vegetarian/vegan in our social circle, is to offer your help or offer to make something of your own if they feel overwhelmed! One of my friends don’t know what to do if she got to cook something for me, so she know that I will happily cook somethin myself or come and help her.

      • Hi Signe,
        thank you so much for your comment! We all need to find the best way to deal with these situations and see how fast or slow our transition is going to be. I think you’re doing well! It’s much easier to just swap cow’s milk for almond milk or soy milk than to get rid of all the packaged foods that contain some dairy. Maybe you’ll find alternatives there, too.
        I have personally been a vegetarian since the age of 6 and never had any trouble finding food at restaurants or friend’s places. Everyone has bread, rice, or potatoes :) I’m just very easy to please I guess.
        Totally agree with the helping others out part! Bringing your food to share with everyone or making meal suggestions goes a long way. And not being able to offer vegetarian dishes is so 1999 ;)
        Hope this finds you well,

    13. Hi!
      I’m an animal lover and new vegan! (two months exactly: ))
      Felt completely identified with this article, so thanks: )
      Has been hard for me, living in a city of Mexico, in a meat eaters society (in which I grew up). People are not conscious, they ignore facts, or they simply don’t care. And I had felt sad about the attacks I had received, so thank again. Now I know I’m not the only one.
      Best decision ever. I feel better, happier and stronger. And sure this has been a decition for life, because I everyday reminds myself my “why” (for the millions of animals in the world that suffer cruelty and horrible lifes). The only I regret is not having started years ago.



      • Hi Karla,
        what a lovely comment, thank you so much! I’m very glad to know that this article resonated with you. Most of us have been there because almost nobody lives with a vegan family (because they would already be vegan then!).
        It’s so awesome that you make your new diet work even in your situation. I know how frustrating it is to have people around you who ignore solid facts just because “it’s always been that way”. Even when the WHO or the ADA bring out new papers saying that meat causes cancer and plant-based diets are the healthiest for all stages of life. I just think it has to become more and more normal until people start to believe it.
        All my best,

          • It’s up to their ethical stance. If they don’t want to support the industry at all, they can simply deny or get something else. If they want to support their relative and just buy the food they want to have, that’s fine! There’s no vegan handbook and rules that would state one or the other is correct :) Hope that makes sense

    14. hi there!
      im just starting vegan and the earlier response i get from my friends are not really positive. they made fun of me. but slowly, they began to accept and understand me.
      i am currently studying in a college and living here.
      my family doesnt know about this change yet. i wanted to tell them earlier before going back home for semester break (so that it wont be a big surprise for them, i hope) but i don’t know how bcs im afraid the response i’ll get is negative and i am mostly nervous that they’ll go insinuate me.


      • Hey Carmen,
        thanks so much for reaching out! We know how tough things are in the beginning, especially when you don’t have support from your family or friends. Here are 2 other articles that might be helpful right now:
        When talking to your family, make sure that you tell them this diet change is only about you and not about them. That YOU need to live in your own body and that you need to take care of it properly. Many doctors and dieticians agree these days that plant-based diets are incredibly healthy, just take a look at the position paper of the ADA:
        By avoiding the ethical aspect of this lifestyle, you give them fewer reasons to feel insulted and go into defense mode. You can tell them that you have been trying this (eating more plants) in college for a while now and have been feeling better which is why you just keep doing it to see where it goes. This is very loosely and doesn’t imply that “you’re right and they are wrong”. Do you know what I mean?
        I hope this helps so far. Feel free to reach out in our FB group or via email.
        Much love,

    15. I literally just had this argument with my husband!! He refuses to even hear me out. He says “I like meat so stop trying to convert me just because you’ve changed”. I tell him that if he only knew the truth he’d have a different opinion! Plain ignorance! It’s so hard with no support, especially since I’m just starting out but after doing the research I know it’s the right thing to do!

      • Hey dear,
        I feel you so much. Maybe it’s time to be the shining example of a healthy vegan diet first so he starts to think about changing his way of eating? I have come to understand that if you keep poking in the same hole, people are getting blind and deaf and numb. You can have health documentaries playing in the background here and there or books lying around which he might pick up when you’re not around. These little seeds are like hands he can reach out to when he feels like it. Cook him awesome plant-based meals which make him feel better than greasy meat stuff so he can understand the difference. Here’s another helpful article:

        When you’re looking for crowd-pleasing plant-based recipes, check out this article:
        There’s much more information in our Vegan Starter Kit (including recipes, nutritional information etc) which you can find here:

        All my best,

    16. These are honestly so great! I’ll definitely use them. However, I still have a few questions. I live with my grandma who is 80 years old and my brother who is 24. I haven’t told either of them (or anyone in the family) that I’m going to go vegan. My main issue is that it’s hard to buy vegan food under someone else’s house. The thing to keep in mind about my grandma is that she’s very forgetful, and when I tell her stories or about something I learned, I usually have to tell it about 5 separate times because she forgets. This is no exaggeration, and it sort of sucks because she used to be really good about staying on top of things. So, this could go one of three scenarios. She could not like the idea of me being vegan until I explain it to her, but forget that I’m vegan or forget the points I made. (for instance, she constantly forgets that I don’t like sausage, ketchup, or peas.) Second scenario could be that she’d be completely okay with it, but would forget I’m vegan or may still remember but buy something not realizing it isn’t vegan. Third scenario would be that she wouldn’t approve of it at all and all attempts would be useless. At least with my brother being lactose intolerant, I can bum almond milk off of him. (However, he usually isn’t too happy about me eating is food.) I also think that I’m going to use the excuse that my stomach is too sensitive to digest meat. (I gave up pop a year ago because it was destroying my stomach to the point that I’d feel like death anytime I ate something, and I actually ended up eating a lot less junk food because of how junk food also makes me feel like crap.) I also don’t have a job, so it’s kind of hard to buy my own. Cooking doesn’t really bother me at all, but my grandma can be a bit of a neat freak and doesn’t like the kitchen a mess, and somehow how I clean never seems to be to her standards. All things considered, what is my best course of action?

      • Hi Andrea,
        thanks for your comment! Quite a complex situation. First, did you know that Alzheimer’s and dementia can be caused by high cholesterol levels which lead to atherosclerosis (thickening of artery walls) and affect the blood supply to the brain? Maybe a cholesterol-free and low fat vegan diet could help improve your grandma’s situation. If you offer to cook for the three of you, there’s a chance she’ll feel better or remember stuff more vividly. Also, getting more fresh antioxidants would be a good idea.
        Overall, having more influence in the kitchen would be helpful for you personally. Sure, you can use the excuse of your sensitive stomach – many people cannot digest dairy well, so you can already cut out meat and dairy. High fat meals can also be hard on the tummy: this means cutting out butter and eggs would be the right step. Maybe you can even tell her that it’s on your doctor’s orders! Older people often respect MDs very much and won’t question it. I understand that it’s going to be hard to explain, especially if you want to argue for ethical veganism. Is it an option to cook meals for everyone here and there?
        Besides that, you could make sure to clean the kitchen very well after using it. Or just meal prep for a few days in advance by pre-cooking grains, beans, and veggies and having them in the fridge in separate containers. You don’t even have to tell anyone about your decision just yet, your reason could be tummy troubles and that these plant foods feel way better in your body (which is probably true!).
        I hope this was somehow helpful! Let me know if you need more support.
        Best wishes,

    17. Hi Alena,
      I turned 50 this year and eliminated dairy after having problems recovering from knee replacement surgery because of inflammation. My eldest son suggested I try it and encouraged me to watch Cowspiracy. He had recently became a vegan but had kept it to himself. That did it for me, I couldn’t get enough education about being a vegan after that and transitioned to a meat free diet over the next 5 months. I am very social and go to lots of parties and events with non vegans and live with a meat eater that despises most veggies. It’s been difficult dealing with the naysayers that call me a pain in the a$$ or try to bully me into eating meat/dairy. However, I have had an impact and that’s how I stay motivated. I’ve had many friends watch Cowspiracy and other documentaries now and have had tons of conversations. In lieu of gifts for my bday I asked people to committ to meatless Mondays and/or watch a few of my favorite documentaries. I bring the yummiest vegan protein packed dishes to each event to share. One of the ladies in my small group even made a vegan key lime pie for our latest event! Almost everyone tried it and liked it! We all need to stay motivated through these small victories. This movement is so important for our planet, the animals that we love and our health. The worst thing we can do is just quit trying to educate and motivate because someone doesn’t understand. If you aren’t getting thru one way, try another way. It might not happen that often but helping just one other person make the change, even if they just eliminate dairy is a wonderful achievement! Remember we were just like the people we are surrounded by not too long ago! Good luck everyone and stay strong for the planet.

      Mary Jo

      • Dear Mary Jo,
        thank you SO MUCH for sharing all of this! How inspirational, really goes to show that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I’m sorry to hear you’re in such a tough situation but I’m pretty sure that the truth about plant-based diets will soon spread even more so people won’t be able to criticize it as much.
        We’re all inspired by your words! Keep it up and let us know if we can help you out in any way.
        Special thanks to your awesome son!
        Best wishes,

    18. Hello, great post here!
      When I first went vegan, I just woke up one day and decided it was the day for it. I told my husband and never looked back. I told him that I would no longer be purchasing meat or cooking it, and if he wanted it he could buy it and cook it. It made for an awkward first week but he said okay and we went on this way for about 6 months. I asked him at this point if he would do this with me and he said no. I never brought it up again, but I am sure curiosity held him to do his own research and 6 months after that he decided to join me. We now raise a plant based vegan family. Its been a few years since but, we are now closer than ever. Our parents live out of state or several cities away, they are actually very understanding and will make us vegan substitutes, but its still not a fun experience to sit and eat in front of the body of half a cow on the table..and watching them eat it always turns my stomach. Great tips for sure! Thanks for the awesome post!

      Xx Caroline

      • Hi Caroline,
        wow, thanks so much for sharing your story! How inspiring, seems like you did everything right. So happy to know that both your husband and then your children have joined you and made the connection. I totally understand how hard it is to sit down to eat with loved ones who bite into dead bodies or secretions… makes me shiver every time I have to. Gladly, my in-laws are very interested in our plant-based diet and happy to let us cook for everyone when we’re over.
        Glad you enjoyed the article!
        Best wishes,

        PS: Your website is so cute & beautiful! Keep up the great work.

    19. Hey,
      Thank you for the website it will help when people ask and wonder about my health (sometimes even random strangers)…
      I have slowly transitioned into veganism since I was 19 (Not eating meat at home at first) then I discovered I have intolerance to lactose and I also have an allergies to eggs. Last year (I’m 23) I became vegan since meat has been slowly (ever since I can remember) putting me off and difficult to eat.
      I am lucky my mum understands and has transitioned last year towards veganism but unfortunately my father, brother, cousins and my best friends don’t understand. They either say that eating meat won’t kill me, that I should restrict my diet so (although I eat way more balanced than them and more vegetables) that I should try this food (although has milk or eggs in it) or simply they could never not eat meat.
      When I make them try mock meat (seitan, firm tofu or tempeth) in sauces without telling them they like it but as soon as I tell them what it is they say that it tastes off or isn’t as good as meat.
      My boyfriend although he loves meat ( when he comes to my place I buy him organic and he cooks his meat while I do the vegies) is always willing to try vegan options with me so there’s that :)
      But going to restaurant in France saying you are vegan is still extremely difficult. I can get away better IF stating i have a dairy and egg allergy but sometimes they still bring the plate with cheese or is cooked with butter (I can tell stray away with 1 bite due to the nausea headache and upset stomack)
      I just wish people were more accepting and not all putting us in the ‘die hard’ vegan categorie who berate anyone eating meat . So again thank you for this website and the recipes :)

      • Thanks so much for sharing, Alexandra! You’re doing great, I understand the pushback from others around you. Veganism will become more popular, even in cheese-loving France, and the news about its health and environmental benefits will spread. Sorry to hear you’re having a hard time… it’s awesome that you’re still making the effort! Have you argued using the ethical argument? Because killing sentient beings that don’t want to die needlessly is always wrong and doesn’t have anything to do with your personal health.
        Hope things will get easier for you soon!

    20. My father accused me of “being an idiot” and saying I was harming myself with this life style because I have “emotional issues”, something he says about people he doesn’t like or agree with (ex. Liberals, women, or vegans.)

      • Oh my goodness, so sorry to hear you’re dealing with this! He probably just doesn’t know any better or feels threatened by your choice. Parents tend to think they raised you wrong when you change your life like that… because they taught you to eat animals but now you understand that it’s wrong on so many levels.
        Might be good to distance yourself from him if he’s emotionally draining and claiming you have “issues”? Just smile and tell him let’s see what happens to you on this diet <3

    21. And I’m still puzzled over a commet an acquaintance made when he saw me watching a vegan cooking video, saying, “if you don’t eat meat your brain will rot”. I thought that was only an argument against watching too much TV as a kid?

      • Quite the opposite, I guess – there is a way better chance of being actual parasites in meat products which will feed on your body ;)

    22. Hello, I love your article. I’m vegan, and have been vegetarian. My family is okay with me choosing not to eat animals, but they refuse to acknowledge the harm their eating habits are causing, and get mad whenever I try to explain to them my point of view on the topic. This bothers me greatly and makes me feel like they don’t care. Any advice?

      • Hi Torri,
        thanks for reaching out. I sympathize so much with you! Somehow, it’s always hardest to convince your own family in this regard. I guess especially parents take it the wrong way, thinking you criticize their upbringing because they used to feed you animal products etc. It’s good that they let you do your thing but I totally get how frustrating it is that they don’t see any wrongdoing in eating animals themselves… it’s such a deeply ingrained part in our society that it takes a lot of questioning and being open to change that and become vegan. Maybe you could show them some awesome speeches? James Aspey’s work is awesome. Check out for some inspiration :)
        Other than that, be the shining example and stop fighting them – this isn’t how you win people over. Instead, share your delicious vegan meals and be a happy, healthy example. I know you go through phases as a vegan (from anger to acceptance, peacefully fighting dor the animals etc.) – maybe connect with people who understand so you have an outlet?
        Wishing you all the best,

    23. …”not everyone is there yet, and that is okay. You should allow them to arrive at their own time and pace”. That’s flat out speciesist! What if we were not talking about other animals than our own species here, but suppose women or little children would be the ones being abused and killed and you found out this was terribly wrong, would you also claim ‘not everyone is there yet, and that is okay. You should allow them to arrive at their own time and pace’ or would you freak out about the fact that they continue the abuse from thesame perspective you hereby falsely allow them “to arrive there in their own time’: the idea that ‘they are only animals’? Falsely, for you and I have no position to grant such ‘understanding’ for we are NOT the ones standing in line to be slaughtered, here, which would be the ONLY position from which you could ever say: ‘It’s almost my turn to be ripped apart, but hey!, not everyone is there yet, and that is okay. I allow you to arrive at your own time and pace’, which you would never claim seeing a bolt being shot into the head of the ones before you. So please re-write the article on how to deal with the real issue here: relatives who do not end abuse that should be ended immediately…

      • Hi there Robert,
        I totally get what you mean. We’re very much in touch with the reality of the animal agriculture industry as we often watch footage as well as the work of vegan activists – the ethical aspect of veganism always comes first for us.
        And this is why we think it’s so important that people make the choice to not consume any animal products anymore themselves. There has to be a foundation, they need to be inspired, educated, passionate. And this won’t happen by shaming anyone, cutting them out from your life or pressuring them. Although I wished for everyone to go vegan right this second, I understand that they need to decide for themselves. Of course it’s a horrible crime what happens to animals but it’s something that’s considered “normal” and people have to work through deep beliefs whilst everyone around them keeps eating/using animals. Not so easy to do!
        Just think of it like this: how would YOU like to be approached? Would you have felt inspired and empowered if someone talked to you like you suggested?
        We used to be like that and talk to people rather aggressively because we felt the hurt in our heart every second. Family is always hardest to change and almost every wise, respected animal rights activist will tell you that you need to approach others kindly and let them make the choice. Nothing else will work long-term. Wished it was different!
        Maybe you’ll change your mind one day, too. There’s no wrong way to spread veganism :)
        Best wishes,

    24. So I’m 16 in a non vegan family, meaning that I don’t buy my own food. How do I become vegan in this situation? I’ve seen plenty of things about becoming vegan before, but it wasn’t until today when I saw a video on the animal abuse in the milk/meat process and now I’m seriously considering making the change. I’m feeling disgusted and sick to my stomach at what I saw, But like I said, I’m 16 and I have no idea on how to go about it. HHHHEEEELLLLPPPPP!!!! (also, I’m not sure if it makes a difference but I’m also an athlete and I want to make sure that I get enough protein and etc. and I know my mom will too so any suggestions for that are greatly appreciated)

      • Hey Katia,
        glad you reached out! As you’ll see in the comment section, a lot of people are in a similar situation. Maybe you could ask your mom (or whoever is responsible for buying and making food at your home) which staple foods can easily be made vegan – or already are vegan – like steamed rice, cooked potatoes or pasta, breads and more. You surely already have these at home. Go through your kitchen to see which of the other foods are plant-based as well: all fruits, veggies, salads, legumes, nuts, seeds, and maybe some sauces or condiments. If all else fails, you could just have some raw veggies at mealtime until you can show your mom how to make large stews which you could eat over the course of a few days – based on lentils or beans perhaps, so they are more satiating.
        There are a couple of good YouTube videos on this, too. Go look for this topic over there :)
        Hope this helped a little!
        Best wishes x

    25. Hi Alena,

      I just wanted to write you a quick thank you for writing this article. I turned vegan when living abroad for a year, and having moved back has been the hardest challenge as of yet, not because of the ‘temptations’ but because of watching my family eat meat in front of me. I find it extremely difficult and I can’t help but to grow more quiet and lock myself in my room sometimes after dinner to regain energy. I am on very good terms with my family and they are highly aware of the unethical choice meat is, yet the eating of meat is so rooted in tradition that they seem to be unable to make less hurtful choices.
      I am glad that we can all recognize this is difficult, I just wish it would hurt less, because, even though knowing its the worst thing to do, I can feel myself growing more bitter and disconnected from my family. On most occasions I can be chill and smiley, supportive and compassionate, but there are these little occasions in which I am just done and want to break into tears. It might sound silly to refuse those that have been in your life the longest because of a diet, but for me veganism has become much more than just a food choice, and to see my family so ignorant of how they are hurting the animals, themselves and me, I just wish it would hurt less.

      • Oh yes, these situations can be so painful – especially because you feel you cannot be authentic in front of your loved ones because then you’re “that vegan” :/ You might want to look into mindfulness, Lani Muelrath just wrote a wonderful book for vegans regarding both mindful eating and being a happy & peaceful person in social situations (authentically!)
        Sending lots of healing vibes x

    26. Hi there!

      I really appreciated this article. I have been interested in veganism for quite a while now. I follow a lot of vegan YouTubers and have tried out a couple recipes so far. (I’m also ordering Gaz Oakley’s Vegan 100 cook book which I am so excited about) At one point, I almost committed. I was very excited and ready to jump into it but after talking with my parents, my excitement kind of dulled and I just went back to my meat-eating ways. I made a new friend and just found out today that she is vegan so I decided to look into it and find that excitement again. I’m just worried about eating out with my family. My dream is also to travel all over and I was feeling like I’d miss out on several cultural foods..but I guess there are plenty of vegan restaurants in the ther countries I look for them. Do you have any advice? Sorry this is so long

      • Hey Alaina,
        so happy you’re interested in going vegan! Think about it as taking different steps… replacing one food item at a time, so your parents won’t be as shocked maybe. Start with the easy ones and do your best when eating out to order “no cheese” on the pizza or in the bean burrito. Have your salad as a main dish along with potatoes or fries, go for the pasta marinara, the veggie spring rolls, the coconut curries…
        We’re currently traveling and there are honestly so many delicious choices for us. Traditional foods in many countries are based on plants and you might just have to tweak them a little when eating out!
        We’ll send out an email with travel tips for vegans soon ;)
        Hope this helps!

    27. Thank you for this article!

      I consider myself a pescatarian (6 months) although I don’t eat fish anymore (because I don’t want to be crucified for saying I’m vegetarian even though the fish products I’ve had I have only accidentally eaten). I aspire to be vegan one day. Sometimes a relative cooks our food, and although she knows I don’t eat meat, she puts some teensy bit of ingredients in the food that aren’t vegan, a bit of fish sauce or shrimp paste, for example. These are things I have no control over, and no matter how much I explain, they still think that fish or seafood products aren’t meat. You’re right… although I make vegan choices every time, I’ve since stopped stressing over every bit of what goes into my food. Having fun with my family and creating a moment with them seems more important.

      It doesn’t stop me from explaining myself to those who do not understand my choices, though. And I will continue to do so but with compassion, and an understanding that change doesn’t happen overnight.

      • Hi Chenne,
        thanks for sharing! Glad you liked the article. I think you’re doing a great job of finding your personal balance between wanting to have some control over your food, letting others know that your choices are important to you, and being relaxed. I know it can be so frustrating and relationships sometimes really struggle because of food choices (they can be as controversial as religion sometimes!).
        Keep up the great work and know that when you’re preparing food for yourself, you can make it exactly as you want. Maybe you can do this more often in the future.
        Best wishes,

    28. Hi I really like your website, I hope you can give me some advice. I want to go vegan but my family isn’t really interested but I do all the cooking. So how I do juggle cooking for me and them? I.e. my mom and siblings.

      • Hey Megan,
        thanks for reaching out. So, you’re the one doing the cooking? That’s not a bad situation to be in if you want to change your diet :)
        First option would be to just sneak some veggie meals in without telling them about it. A hearty bean chili or falafel, smokey tofu burgers, grain salads, pasta with veggie bolognese… these are filling meals where people usually don’t “miss” anything. Check out for ideas on how to prepare your usual meals in a vegan version. You don’t necessarily have to use vegan meats or cheeses, either, keeping your costs lower that way. But you totally can if you want!
        Second option would be to cook the main part of the meal for everyone, keeping it plant-based, and letting them add the animal products they want to it. This could be a veggie curry over rice and they add some chicken, or a bean burrito where they add some cheese on top. You could also meal-prep some of these to save some time. Do you feel okay with preparing animal products in general or not so much? This is the first question you need to ask yourself. I totally understand the uncomfortable situation you’re in, but at the end of the day you need to find out what works for you right now.
        Hope this was helpful! Feel free to join our FB group and ask the people there, lots of them are in a similar position.

    29. Thank you so much for these options and writing back! This has really be bothering me but I feel a lot better about making this change. Thanks again!

    30. Had the worst Mother’s Day of my life because my suddenly vegan daughter, whose vegan behavior is now bordering on obsessive to the point of pondering if it has become an eating disorder, won’t sit at the family dinner table. We can’t go to a restaurant together unless no one orders meat. My son has celiac disease and recovered from an eating disorder as a teen, which required 2 months of hospitalization. He is now a weight lifter and protienaholic, and is still extremely rigid about getting his “protein exchanges” on the dietary program he was medically advised to follow. Eating disorders are very genetic in the family, with almost 80% of the extended family still having or having had issues with food. We have been told by counselors to NOT make food an issue. I have coped and recovered only be disengaging with food as much as possible. I was vegetarian for 15 years, but started eating meat again during my 30s as a result of nutritional deficiencies, and to pull my own health together enough to maintain a pregnancy. My son wouldn’t give up meat for one day to honor me on Mother’s Day and my daughter wouldn’t sit next to a meat eater. Instead, they screamed at each other and I left the house. My husband took my son’s side. Both of my kids are adults and it means the world to me to have them over, but it seems I am never going to enjoy that sense of togetherness again. I dread the holidays and want to run away! It has my entire family falling apart, as I can’t stand how my husband is treating my daughter, and yet she is not being reasonable with her expectations from us. What do I do with this picture?

    31. I recently went vegan due to my husband ha ing a stroke. We are both in our 40s so I wanted to change our diet completely so we can live longer and healthier. I would be considered in shape so most people were surprised when they found out I did this. My husband is still struggling some with the change. However I have not made the rest of my kids change. They do have to try what we cook and then they can make a sandwich. They are surprised when they like something.
      I really liked these tips. Especially the one about eating what a family member/friend prepares. My 15yo does do the vegan diet with me. She threw a huge fit at our friends house because she had nothing to eat. My friend mistakenly assumed vegetarian and vegan are the same. I pulled my daughter aside and talked to her and made her apologize.
      Other vegans I know said I should have supported my daughter but I feel like she was very ungrateful for our friends attempt to accommodate our diet.
      Your thoughts?

    32. This was a great read! I recently switched to a vegan diet and I haven’t told very many people in my family yet(I’m still struggling a bit with that) I’ve always been a fairly healthy person and I workout regularly. I have a 2 year old and a one year old and I still breastfeed, so at first I was concerned about not meeting my calories and protein mark. Surprisingly, I’ve found that I can easily meet all my nutritional needs and I actually have more breastmilk supply than before!

    33. I am coming at it from a different standpoint, having one vegan adult child, one teen vegitarian child, and a husband who eats meat. We all make an effort to respect one anothers choices. As the kids made their choices as teens, we did research, found acceptable ratios of macro and mocro nutrients and had each kid learn to cook. I handle family meals by fixing things like tacos with plenty of different fixings and they can build their own choices. Or vegetable curries with a side of shrimp which can be added for those who want it. We do not become judgemental or militant with one another. Im a good cook and can do tasty vegan and vegitarian choices which even the husband likes. But family togetherness and respect for one another is important to me. It has taken a few years but we’ve worked it out so kids don’t refuse to sit next to meat eaters and husband doesn’t fuss about the need for meat. When the kids were learning, we had regular doctor visits to check for anemia and other health issues so the husband had nothing to fuss about, Now, with some practice, kids know how to make healthy choices and everyone is calm with each other.

    34. My son who is 20 yrs old has became vegan a 2nd time. He began again in Jan of this year. After watching the documentary DOMINION he has become more radical in his fews. The reason I am concerned is that I feel he is isolating himself from family functions. It’s seems obsessive to me for him to stay away completely from our family dinners where meat is served. I offered a compromise. I asked him if he could attend after all the food is put away. He at this time has said no. That to attend at all would be condowning the behavior. I have to say I am very hurt by his absence of our gathering and with the holidays around the corner I am looking for advise as I don’t want to push him further away with my reactions.

    35. These are great tips, I have been vegan for a year now and I am not sure how to act around my family when we are all eating together because its so awkward, when they are eating a dead person and I have to sit and watch, it just makes me feel so sick. Near the start my grandma even gave me sausage and said “its made of just plants” but I found out later it wasn’t. I also managed to get my sister to begin to connect with the animals on her plate but my mum stopped me and refused her to eat vegan, even though my blood tests are fine. I also don’t have any vegan friends and some people criticise me for my lifestyle. I also struggle with my education , I know I shouldn’t say this but we were learning about how the nazis indoctrinated the German people to hate the jews and we were given an example of a textbook and it looked awfully similar to today and I just couldn’t help think that we are being indoctronated by the meat and dairy industry. I mean no offence to anyone I am just really concerned with the way animals are treated and am not disrespecting and jew, who I respect greatly.

    36. I have very recently become a vegetarian and even THAT is hard. My family always snares at me when I don’t eat the meat at the table, and when they ask me why I give an explanation: cruelty and the environment. Their answer? “I think your going a little over board.” It’s like no matter what I say I’m crazy. And my mom won’t stop getting mad at me that I won’t eat meat, and begs me to eat at least chicken. Just today her doctor told her SHE wasn’t getting enough protein, so now she’s grinding me about mine. Feel like there is no way out of the constant arguments about my lifestyle choice.

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