Hello everyone!

I've been vegetarian for 17 years and vegan for 7 months. I know the topic of vegetarian/vegan criticism is often debated here, but I need advice.

My family doesn't have a problem with my choice of being vegan, except for my father and grandmother. If I'm sick, my grandmother immediately thinks it's because of my diet and she criticizes it.My father thinks he has a very ecological lifestyle, but eats meat three times a day (and I'm not joking!). He is difficult for him to accept my diet. He keeps saying that my food is disgusting and it's very annoying. As for me, I never criticize his diet and I am always respectful, even though sometimes I'd like to talk to him about the impact of meat-consumption on the environment. Soon, I'll have to spend a week with my family (we're going on holiday). I need advice. I'm a sensitive person and it's very hard for me to handle the criticism. 

Thanks very much ;-)

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You're right Humberto, non-veg's never question their illnesses. I started juicing two years ago so I literally eat 8 to 12 servings of raw fruit and veg per day. My allergies cleared up, my skin cleared up and I haven't had so much as a sniffle that entire time. For someone who typically got sick two to three times per year, this is all the proof I need.

Handling criticism is something everyone must learn to live peacefully. No matter what effort you gave to be pleasing, someone is not pleased. The major reason is envy. And there is no way you can take away envy from others' hearts. You can only reduce your own envy of others. Vegetarians, being a minority will definitely be criticized by many carnivores and omnivores. How to handle criticism from others, start by self-introspection. Try to see all your weaknesses, shortcomings, and misbehavior. Only when you learn to be humble, that you can handle the worst criticism you received. The higher the false pride, the more sensitive to criticism.

Brush that dirt off your shoulders. Criticism stems from ignorance. People judge and criticize because they are ignorant of the facts. Brush it off and you should be able to talk about the harms of eating meat...especially 3 times a day (yikes!)...but never do it when you're eating. People are most sensitive when they eat. Hang in there! :)

Hey there Elma :) I've been in a very similar situation before. Your father wants to lead a very ecological lifestyle, I think you can really diffuse the situation by explaining why you thought he'd be in favor of your diet! Very calmly, whenever he brings it up, just counter with some facts :) My parents too were not supportive of my switch, they are big meat-eaters, and they thought I'd get sick and start fainting and crap. The more they saw how my diet benefits me, they began to become curious, rather than incredulous. Little by little, you can give over information to help them if not agree with your way of life, understand and respect it :)! I wish you lots of luck. I've been veggie for a year now, and still encounter things from family every now and then, but I look at it now as an opportunity to educate them. 

Rule number 1: you can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. The meat industry is more polluting than transportation by sea, land and air combined. Show your father some statistics. I am personally mocked by my entire family for my food choices (been a vegetarian for 2 and 1/2 years and a vegan for 2 months), so I did not announce my switch ti veganism to avoid criticism. Meat-eaters are more prone to diseases than vegetarians and vegans, diseases ranging from cancer (all types) to cardiocascular diseases. Sure vegans get sick but they have the ability to bounce back much faster than meat eaters because they eat raw, unprocessed, healthy fuel (provided you do not feast on chips, fries, etc). I avoid eating with the rest of the family to avoid criticism. As for your trip, the golden rule is planning and organisation. Plan all your meals and pack things you might need (grains, seeds, legumes). Fruits and vegetables are widely available everywhere. Good luck and turn a deaf ear to criticism: people often criticize what they cannot understand or because they themselves do not have the will to do what you have been doing.

I find that people who regularly go out of their way to point out how my food is weird or I'm missing out or whatever they are compensating for something.  It could be that your dad feels judged and threatened by your dietary choices (but he probably doesn't really realize this).  This is the most common I think.  People start to question what they are eating and their ethical stances and it's scary and they react by criticizing and being negative overall.  While it's hard to do try and stay positive for your own sake.  Remember that they are projecting their own ignorance and issues on you and it's not worth stressing over. Like already mentioned, keep countering comments with facts and keep making delicious food.  As you go on and stay healthy (yes everyone gets colds and flus) they may start asking genuine questions and opening a dialogue with you.  You'll  need to stay nice and approachable for when that happens.

I don't know what else to say other than, "Who cares what they think about it?"  They may never quit riding you, and that's reality.

You should be flattered when others criticized you for being a vegetarian. They can't see other faults from you. Critics in general are faultfinders. Take it as a compliment. No need to thank them of course :)

Oh my goodness I know how that goes! My family has always been supportive but friends and other acquaintances...Not so much! 

My family has a genetic immune disorder, I used to miss weeks and sometimes months out of school. I've been a vegetarian for 15 years now and I'm working my way into a vegan diet this year. The more vegan I behaved the better all my medical tests came back. I still get sick more often than a lot of people, but its far far less than it used to be, and I bounce back faster than ever. I feel better and no longer have to take any medications. 

But still, the moment I say I've caught a cold or that I'm not feeling well, lots of people pipe up with "You need to try eating some meat!" >.< Nooo! My health isn't perfect, but sense I've changed my diet and life style, its improved 10 fold, yet so many people refuse to see that ~eye roll~ Oh well, you can only control yourself, so thats what I do :) Good luck!

I love what Giselle and Lauren said. Take their advice!

When a meat-eater gets sick: "Oh that's terrible, flu is going around, feel better soon."

When a veg*n gets sick: OMG it's your diet! You are not getting enough protein! This is killing you! Ahhhh!

There was a Scientific study done where a slaughter house video was shown to several hundred different people some were vegetarian/vegan some were not. Their brains were hooked up to a machine that would measure activity in the area where compassion is located. The vegetarian and vegans had much more brain wave activity in the compassion area. We are all definitely different. You may want to tell your grandmother and your father that you have respected their choices and would appreciate them respecting yours. Also let them know that if they would like to discuss it with you, you would be more than willing, but only if there is a dialogue with no insults and only if they are willing to listen to the facts that you have too. If they cannot do that then just turn it off when that topic comes up. Let them know that you are eating healthy and paying attention to how your body feels. Good luck.

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