My dad and step mom came to visit this past week. I had expected ted them to criticize the way I eat, as they did not understand it last year. In fact, my step mom called the diet "borderline anorexic", which made no sense at all.
But this year, aside from the few comments that they could never eat the way I do, there was no criticism. They instead commented on how healthy I looked. I think the 20 pounds of muscle helped too, from the last time they saw me.
It can be uncomfortable for someone who is plant based to hang with family members who do not share the same ideals. My dad's side of the family has some big time hunters. I listen to chatter from my uncle as he describes his latest hunting excursion and I obviously don't have much to add to the conversation unless I try to argue with them, which I did not intend to do.
As much as I have no interest in harming animals, I know I can't change others opinions. It's best to let them talk about their interests. I lead by example anyway. People know I'm a plant based athlete at the gym and I rarely get any negative talk about it there.
I did end up going to a fair with my dad too, something I really had no interest in doing. He didn't see things the way I saw them... cramped cages, animals suffering... someone selling pizza in the same barn where cows were on display for viewing. Fairs are not for me and this just reaffirmed it, but at least my dad had a good time. Hey, I'm the only vegan in the family, so they are definitely not going to understand my views. Last year, my step mom ordered a cheeseburger after commenting how pretty a cow is. I guess people who eat the standard American diet really have some sort of disconnect between the food they eat and what goes on in the farms.
Anyway, I think anxiety over how to eat healthy in front of family and friends is tough for every plant based person out there... at first. But there are so many health benefits and energy from eating healthy, I don't think people should hide the way they eat. Yes, some people will never understand healthy eating, but in my case, my dad and step mom could care less, as long as I don't judge what they eat. As long as you can find some things to eat when you are eating with them, it's all good!