Keep­ing The Peace

Nav­i­gat­ing the hol­i­days with a non- ve­gan part­ner

Raise Vegan - - Contents - Siri Steven theve­g­ansteven. com @ theve­gan. steven @ theve­g­ansteven33

Are you rais­ing your chil­dren ve­gan with a part­ner who fol­lows a non- ve­gan diet? You’re not alone. While this dy­namic proves to be dif­fi­cult at times, es­pe­cially when it comes to hol­i­day get to­geth­ers, it is en­tirely pos­si­ble to suc­cess­fully raise a ve­gan child in a house­hold with mixed di­etary pref­er­ences. As long as there is re­spect, proper com­mu­ni­ca­tion, gen­uine un­der­stand­ing and suf­fi­cient plan­ning, your hol­i­days will be stress and worry free.

First and fore­most, both par­ents need to re­spect the other’s choices and main­tain a united front when it comes to food op­tions for their chil­dren. If the non- ve­gan part­ner says they are sup­port­ive of rais­ing their chil­dren ve­gan, they shouldn’t be slip­ping the kids non- ve­gan food when their part­ner isn’t look­ing. If you are new to a ve­gan life­style and want to tran­si­tion your kids as well, sit down with your part­ner and ex­plain why it is im­por­tant to you and be pre­pared with re­search, facts, charts and di­a­grams to ease any of their con­cerns. If they can see where you’re com­ing from, they will be much more likely to be sup­port­ive of the change. In turn, if they have a real un­der­stand­ing of the life­style and are sup­port­ive of it, they will be able to help field the un­avoid­able ques­tions about pro­tein from the nag­ging in- laws at Thanks­giv­ing din­ner.

When it comes to the hol­i­days, there are al­ways those un­avoid­able get to­geth­ers with fam­ily or friends that leave you feel­ing dis­re­spected, an­noyed and hope­lessly hun­gry. If you sus­pect there won’t be any ap­pro­pri­ate food op­tions for you, it can be help­ful to con­tact the host and ask if there will be ve­gan food avail­able, and if not, of­fer to bring food to share. There’s noth­ing worse than show­ing up to a party starv­ing and re­al­iz­ing that all the food con­tains an­i­mal prod­ucts. This is where that re­spect and com­mu­ni­ca­tion come in. If your part­ner isn’t sup­port­ive or doesn’t fully un­der­stand the life­style, so­cial gath­er­ings may put them on the spot if they don’t know now to nav­i­gate the sit­u­a­tion. Again, arm them with in­for­ma­tion to help back you up if any­one gives you a hard time about your life­style choices. It may be help­ful to write a list of non- ve­gan foods at the party that are off lim­its to your lit­tle one, or find ve­gan al­ter­na­tives, so both par­ents can feel con­fi­dent in what they’re feed­ing their chil­dren out­side of the home. A lot of times, peo­ple don’t un­der­stand that if you are ve­gan, you don’t con­sume eggs or dairy, so be as ex­plicit as pos­si­ble. Be­ing able to com­mu­ni­cate in a clear and un­apolo­getic way as to why you are rais­ing your chil­dren ve­gan can help en­sure that ev­ery­one is on the same page.

If friends or fam­ily mem­bers want to share their non- ve­gan food with your lit­tle one, gen­tly stop them, ex­plain that they don’t eat an­i­mal prod­ucts and give them a ve­gan op­tion that’s okay to share. For ex­am­ple, if a grand­par­ent is keen on shar­ing ice cream with their grand­kids, pick­ing up a small pint of dairy- free ice cream can be a great com­pro­mise.

Food has such a pro­found im­pact on our tra­di­tions and cel­e­bra­tions. For our fam­i­lies and friends that aren’t fa­mil­iar with a ve­gan diet, it can be con­fus­ing or seem strict, even ex­treme to some, but it doesn’t have to be! Keep liv­ing your truth and shar­ing your de­li­cious ve­gan food with oth­ers. Rais­ing ve­gan chil­dren is an im­pact­ful way to pro­mote healing and com­pas­sion for the earth, the an­i­mals and our­selves.

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