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From: Brenda W. (dial-172.r16.ncbrvr.infoave.net)
Subject: Re: grl vegan
Date: March 8, 2005 at 3:44 am PST

In Reply to: grl vegan posted by starfruit on March 6, 2005 at 7:22 pm:

Hi!

I think you are going to find that your current experiences are the norm for the vast majority of locales in the US (Ashland Oregon is a delightful exception to that norm, but definitely the exception!!)

I live in rural NC, and am surrounded by folks for whom meat is the primary ingredient of all 3 meals.

What has worked well for me, is that any meals I bring to work (and yes, I have to pack my lunch EVERY day .. our cafeteria has no vegan options other than a tossed salad) is to bring food that smells absolutely WONDERFUL when I heat it up. Luscious looking, fabulous smelling food. Never fails, that when I'm heating up my lunch, SOMEBODY walks in and says, "Mmmmmm what smells so good?"

We have weekly pot lucks, and I always bring something "normal" looking and great tasting, and just put it in with everyone else (bringing no attention to it at all). Folks just dig in to it, along with all the other dishes, since it looks good (and when they try it, tastes good).

When I'm going out to eat w/ others, I always eat BEFORE I leave, and that way I can enjoy the time out with others, without focusing on what I'm NOT getting to eat. I have yet to go to a place that doesn't have SOMETHING vegan I can order, and I've found that as long as I have food in front of me, the socialization part of meals out works just fine.

You mentioned you are having trouble integrating yourself and your veganism into your current community .... what I've found has worked best is to make my veganism a "non-entity" for others. I don't initiate the subject ... if folks ask me about why I eat/live the way I do, I say "For animal welfare issues" and leave it at that. The few times I get a follow up question (like ... "Well what about eggs and milk ... the animal doesn't die then" I'll say something like, "Well, I found there really is alot of cruelty involved in those industries ... if your'e interested, let me know, and I'll tell you more about it." I have YET to get a SINGLE person ask to follow up!!!

I also make sure to put folks at ease when I get the ubiquitous "I hope you don't mind that I'm eating a hamburger" type of statement when I go out w/ others or whatever. I usually just answer with a very sincere, "Oh not at all!"

At 52 years old, and 30 of those years as a vegetarian, and 15 as vegan, I've found that as long as I affirm other folks lifestyle choices, don't push MY lifestyle choice, my veganism really doesn't interfere with socialization.

Hope this helps!!



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