It’s been a while since I’ve written here, hello!
As someone who lives in their truth and refuses to bite their tongue, my opinions are seen as controversial and I have been subject to harassment and hurtful messages as a result of my last few blog posts here. In a world that is violently anti-Black it’s difficult to be my full-self here without a white person having something irrelevant to say about it. So, if you’re interested in receiving weekly recipes and blog posts like this, head over to patreon.com/zipporahthevegan !
Anywho, I came here to share a few tips that helped me deal with FOMO (fear of missing out) on my culture due to going vegan. Someone asked me this on tik tok and I realized that I haven’t shared any publicly.
When I first went vegan, I felt like I was missing out because I was the only one in my family who ate plant-based and I was relatively young so my family would easily belittle my decision and dismiss my veganism as a phase. It was also difficult to join in on the social aspect around eating food because I felt guilty joking around with my family as they ate animals. That being said, I was in their shoes not to long ago so I managed to put my feelings aside, slap a smile on my face, and be pleasant regardless. It’s not like I had much choice: Caribbean parents are quick to tell you to “fix your attitude”. Anyway, when I went vegan, I had to deal with a lot of banter and (bad) jokes around my veganism, so I developed some strategies over the years that you may find helpful.
1- Beat them to the joke
Let’s face it, your family, friends, colleagues, etc. will most likely poke fun of you being vegan so beat them to the joke! I would come to Christmas dinner with fried plantain and jerk tofu, but instead of saying that, I said ” I brought twigs and grass y’all!”. Lightening up the mood and beating your fam to the punch is a great way to show them that you’re not going to sit around and let them roast you and it also shows them that vegans can have fun too.
2- Bring a plant-based meal to gatherings AND eat before
Always bring a plant-based version (or 2) of your traditional meals to family gatherings and make sure it’s tasty! This is not the time for bland tofu and kale salads folks: it is imperative that the plant-based dish you bring is flavorful, hearty, and visually appealing (ideally!). If your family is not vegan, they more than likely are not exposed to vegan food regularly so it is your duty to make it count. Find a recipe, test it out before the event, do whatever, but make sure that you show up to the gathering with a TASTY vegan meal in hand. Oh, and eat before going ! In my experience non-vegans are not the best at making bomb vegan food (no tea, no shade) so the options available to you may be slim and underwhelming. So, arrive to the function fed. Not full, but fed: you want to keep up the good vibes and you can’t do that if you’re hungry and sad about the lack of tasty vegan options.
3- Veganize your traditional meals
Many people will be shocked to know that most cultures actually have plant-based histories. Contrary to popular belief, most cultures aren’t meat-based. When I went vegan, my family didn’t quite get it, but once I dug into my Caribbean ancestry and referred to the rastafarian people, my dad totally got why I would eat “ital” or plant-based. Even if your culture may not be plant-based or have a big history of that, your family mainly wants to ensure that you aren’t going to lose any of your heritage by going vegan. So, find a vegan cookbook that features some of your family’s traditional meals. Just google your heritage/background + vegan cook book or vegan recipes and you’re more than likely to find something. I’ve been vegan for almost 4 years and there are only 2 Caribbean dishes I haven’t been able to veganize myself, but I’ve seen others veganize oxtail and curry goat so maybe one day soon I’ll be able to as well. Even then, for me someone’s life always takes precedent over my tastebuds. While you may have to “give up” certain foods when you go vegan, always remember that animals never belonged to you in the first place. Perspective is key.
4- Know your reasons for going vegan
Going off the last point, you need to know your reasons for going vegan and be confident in your veganism. If you aren’t confident in your veganism, you will be hard-pressed to convince your family that it is the right choice. Not only this, but if you walk around moping about the lack of vegan options at the cookout or if you give off the impression that you are deprived, your family will think that veganism = deprivation so PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE and live your best vegan life.
That’s it for today folks! For resources around veganism and more, check out my podcast goats and oats podcast. For more blog posts and for vegan recipes, check out my patreon and be sure to keep in touch via social media on instagram and twitter.