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My Dilemmas

Veganism, activism and lifestyle, oh my!

1 - 6 of 6 posts

Sally Jane Sally Jane United States Posts: 52
1 20 Nov 2012
Hello there! I am new to the forum. I wasn't sure where to put this topic, so feel free to move it if it is in the wrong place. Please skip to the bottom if you don't want to read my life story. tongue

First of all, I suppose I will tell you a little bit about myself. My name Is Sally, I'm 19 and live on the Sunshine Coast, QLD. I have loved animals and nature my entire life, but one school trip changed everything for me. I was about 5 or 6 and because I lived in such a little town my school didn't have many options for school trips, so we went to the local butchers. We were allowed into the back of the butchers where all the dead, skinned, cows were hanging, waiting to be cut up to be sold at the front of the store. That is when I made the connection. The butcher gave us all a sausage to eat afterwards and I watched with horror as all the other kids and teachers ate theirs without a care. I stuffed mine in my bag in disgust (much to my mothers horror when she discovered it a few days later). After that, growing up I had a strong dislike to meat and have been very sensitive about it. I became a vegetarian when I was 13. That was all fine, I met my current partner who was also a vegetarian and everything was ok. I suffer from anemia, and have to have a lot of iron to stay healthy.

Unfortunately we were lazy. We did not plan a proper diet. We just cut meat out of what we would have normally eaten. It was a stressful time in our lives and we lived off pasta and chips. Needless to say I became anemic. I suffered from the occasional lightheadedness and fainted every now and then (although I have been a fainter my whole life, I still am to this day). One day I passed out in the shower, hit my head and nearly drowned because I had blocked the drain. My partner found me and essentially saved my life.

From that time we have eaten meat, although I can't really say our diet is much better. I faint less, and am less lethargic, but that is about it. I find it hard to forgive myself for letting it get so bad and not planning my diet properly. I never blamed the vegetarianism, only our own laziness and lack of planning.

Anyway, a few months ago I saw something via the RSPCA about caged eggs, which led me to look into other farming welfare issues, which led  me to read more and more and look deeper and deeper and now I am horrified. I have been doing a lot of 'from home' activism to help make some kind of change, I have been on the phone to Woolworths, emailed every fast food place I could, written letters to the government about animal welfare issues, spoken to my family about their choices... But the one big issue is staring me right in the face.

I am still eating meat.

I don't want to. I want to become a vegan. I am willing to put the planning, the time and energy into it. I am a lot older now and I from what I have seen there is no reason why I can't be perfectly healthy and be vegan, as long as I am not lazy. The problem? My boyfriend refuses. He wont even become a vegetarian. I wouldn't mind if I could be a vegan and let him still eat meat and dairy, but he is adamant that we both remain eating meat. (I know, I know, I am a grown woman who can make her own choices). It is not that he has the right to tell me what I can and can't eat, but it is the way it distresses him so much. He has heard all the stories about vegan parents feeding their children soy milk and apple juice and their children dying of malnutrition and it scares him he now likens veganism to child abuse. confused Also, I really feel he doesn't understand what is happening to animals that are farmed and killed for our 'benefit'.

I know what you are thinking, but his feelings on the matter are very important to me. We are very, very close and his distress about such a huge lifestyle change distresses me. (It would be nice if he took quite as much concern with my distress about eating animals). He has agreed to only buy 'higher welfare' meats, but I really don't feel this is enough. If I didn't care about him I would just change my lifestyle and let him deal with it, but he stuggles with this stuff. He is ok with cutting down, but it seems as though veganism is totally out of the picture for him, whereas it is more or less a 'must have' for my future. At the moment, he is cooking all the meals and buying all the groceries due to our work schedules. He is also very skeptical of everything which makes it hard.


Ok, I will outline my questions below.

-How can I encourage him (and others) to take more interest in a vegan lifestyle?
-How can I make him (and others) understand what animals go through to get to our plate?
-How can I be more active in my activism without annoying people? (a whole other problem)

I just thought I would share some of my problems on here and see if I can get some advise or inspiration to help me. Sorry for the long post. There is still so much more I could have written.  ashamed2

Deborah3 Deborah3 QLD Posts: 73
2 20 Nov 2012
not that i really know much but you could get him to watch earthlings my friend watched it he said its horrific these so many products out there you don't need to plan too much now there's vegn sausages hot dogs  schnitzels and the soy milk is fortifies with all the vitamins you ll ever need im sure the sanitarium one is any way there is  tofu so its no where as hard as it used to be im only vegetarian with a leaning to veagn so try that ii dident even get thro the trailer on  earthlings  which is free to watch online just click the vidos link on the top of this page hope it helps  peace

Sally Jane Sally Jane United States Posts: 52
3 22 Nov 2012
Thank you Deborah3. I haven't seen Earthlings yet. I will have to watch it.

I am happy to say that I am now a vegetarian, on the road to Veganism!


NickM NickM NSW Posts: 71
4 22 Nov 2012
Here are your questions:

Ok, I will outline my questions below.

-How can I encourage him (and others) to take more interest in a vegan lifestyle?
-How can I make him (and others) understand what animals go through to get to our plate?
-How can I be more active in my activism without annoying people? (a whole other problem)

I just thought I would share some of my problems on here and see if I can get some advise or inspiration to help me. Sorry for the long post. There is still so much more I could have written.  

Here is my response:

After having this post up for so long (2 days is pretty long!) I think you deserve the best advice I am able to give you.

Now, you have asked a few questions that are all very broad and I could spend a long time answering them for you. But I don't have that sort of time.

I'll try to address the issue you have more holistically. In essence, you are facing pressures from your morals and the respect and care you have from your partner. You NEED to reconcile this situation. Caving to one or the other will not solve the problem. You need to compromise, until you find an inner satisfaction. Ultimately, I believe our morals should be our highest priority. Your partner needs to respect your choices as well as you considering his concerns.

My direct advice for you would be to bookmark, print and provide as much evidence to him to support your case. This will show him that you are not going to take your dietary choices for granted and go back onto the horrible diet you adopted the last time you were vegetarian. If he is STILL adamant that he is right, then there is little else to do other than be vegan on the 'sly' until he finally changes his mind. It might take months or even years, but if you care as you say you do, then you should be patient in your efforts. Most people I know ate meat well into their 30's before being vegan, so don't beat yourself up over it. It's an education, timing and patience game. Don't force it, if it's just not going to happen right now.

Encouraging people to adopt a vegan lifestyle may include constant posts on facebook, chatting to people proactively during meal times (with appropriate, respectful dialogue suitable for the dinner table eg. health benefits of plant based diet, rather than graphic details of how animals are treated/killed). Attend rallies wearing a cool vegan t-shirt and TALK to people. Keep being active on these sites, as I'm sure you can help meat eaters go vego and vegos turn vegan. It's all about critical mass and ongoing mutual support.

Continue your vegan education forever. There is always new ideas, new science, more rallies to attend and more vegans to meet.

My ultimate advice: Be patient, compassionate (to humans as well as animals), tactful, respectful and KNOW the ARGUMENTS, don't just resort to appealing to people's emotion for change. We have brains to rationalise as well as feel emotion.

I really appreciated reading your story. You are so lucky to be alive (after the shower incident). Share your passion and your story. It is beautiful and enriching. Your partner is blessed to have you with him.

Kind regards,

Sally Jane Sally Jane United States Posts: 52
5 26 Nov 2012

Thank you so much for your detailed response! I really appreciate it.

Through a lot of talking and encouragement, he has changed his perspective quite a bit. He now only eats meat about once or twice a week, which is a great start. I am meat free, but it is not so much of a big deal for him now that we eat mostly vegetarian foods anyway. He is also accepting that being a vegetarian is something that is achievable for his future. We are also buying a lot less of other animal products, such as dairy, so we are slowly making our way towards the possibility of a vegan future. happy

Thanks again for your advice and encouragement.

doobie1 doobie1 VIC Posts: 6
6 26 Nov 2012
Sally, listen to your heart. Your higher conscience is telling you to speak on animals behalf. Your partners objections are just that. Please don't take this the wrong way but if I had listened to everyone who objected to or made fun of me being vegetarian I would have given up years ago. Ask yourself one question. How important is it to you? As far as changing others opinions, you have to develop the art of appropriateness. Know when and how to talk to others. KNOW WHO YOU CAN TALK TO,