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Coping with co-workers

Hi everyone, i am new here, and i've been eating SAD for 55 years. Is it too late for me? I've been a vegan for the past 4 months. A lot of what i eat is also raw, but not 100%. I work in a hospital, mostly around nurses, and when they just found out i'm a vegan, they just about flipped!! I was peppered with so many questions, and one co-worker, when she thought i wasn't looking, was shaking her head. Now this small gesture really got to me, because it implies either a) i'm nuts or b) i'm stupid or c) both............. she is obese, has rotten teeth and a 400 pound husband, and she is shaking her head at me!! So i guess i'll just stay low key and stick to what i've learned on my own. It's tough though, dealing with questions, looks, head-shaking and the like.


  • Hi Gabriele,

    I "hear" you. I have not told many coworkers about my choice to go vegetarian for fear of ridicule. Though the ones I have told seemed understanding (maybe cause I live in California). Just remember you are doing this for yourself and try to join in the work celebrations when possible. I've been eating more cooked food since the weather turned colder and can tell a difference in how I feel (sluggish).

    Also, I got my protein and cholesterol checked recently and both were good! My cholesterol decreased 30 points after 3 months high raw eating (about 75-80% raw).

    Stick in there!

  • Hey Juliette, thanks for the advice. Actually, my birthday was on Monday, shared with my boss, and the whole office gave us a little party and this time the theme was SALAD!! Only one other person knew what diet i'm on and she must have said something. i was very tickled by this, thought it was a very nice gesture. So of course that's when everyone else found out. My favorite question was (get this) "WHERE ARE YOU GETTING YOUR NUTRIENTS FROM?" huh??? What????? oh, let's see, NOT from vegetables and fruits and nuts, i guess i'm not getting the nutrients you are from your charred meat and booze!!! hahaha They were polite and had many questions but the head-shaker really got to me. :(

  • "she is obese, has rotten teeth and a 400 pound husband..."

    i know it sucks to feel judged, but it doesn't seem like this lady has good judgment in the first place! it's so strange that people in the health profession can be so unhealthy. and to even go so far as to judge you for making good choices? that seems both nutty and stupid to me. quite likely, she's secretly jealous! regardless, good for _you_ and for _your_ good judgment!

    people at my work think i'm pretty funny with my chia seeds and green smoothies, but i let them taste my crazy food if they're curious. green smoothies are regularly a hit, but just yesterday someone excused himself to spit out the dulse he tried into the trashcan. hey, he gets mad points for trying.

    i rarely, if ever, talk about being a raw foodist at work. they look at the food i eat and think that it's healthy, maybe strange, but just healthy and that's that. when asked about my diet, i tell them that i eat mostly fruits and vegetables. leaving out the "raw foodie" label keeps the controversy down. i'm already known for being a little off-center; i don't need to press the point. outside of work, when i'm among friends or people who are open-minded, i'll sing the praises of the raw food diet, but i figure, unlike my social circle, i'm more or less stuck with these people. besides, "healthy" is a good label and ultimately the one i'm really going for.

    so that's my strategy.

  • All great points, Tangerina. Yes, they see me too drinking my crazy green concoctions. My immediate boss is my age and very supportive, she came in and handed me something she printed out just for me about vegan thanksgiving recipes. So that was nice.

    It is quite an irony that we are all working in a hospital but it is not a healthy place. The cure for everything is drugs, not nutrition.

    To be honest though, it took me 2 years of researching on the internet before i realized what i needed to do. So the average person, eating SAD, doing no research and having no motivation to do any, would not stumble across any of this information. I wouldn't have either if i didn't end up having a surprise heart catherization (sucks to not feel well at work, i was whisked into my own ER). So they think that to get calcium of course you have to drink milk. They think that to get protein of course they have to eat meat. They would think i was deranged if i told them "the truth" about these things. The headshaker, by the way, is not a nurse, thankfully.

    So frustrating to do so much reading and learning only to have everyone think you are starving for nutrients and are eating in a deranged way. :))

  • Oy, that's scary (the headshaker)... and annoying. You handled it well, I think, by not overreacting. I might have been wasting energy, but I'd have honestly been fuming inside- I *hate* it when people judge me without having any good judgement to do it with!

  • sv3sv3

    It's annoying and also worrying that your colleagues haven't a clue about nutrition, but give it time and you may well notice they start changing their habits too. The curiosity normally gets to people and once you start them thinking, they might just well start making healthy choices themselves.

    My workmates are fine, but they did do my head in a bit when I first started raw. They used to ask me SO MANY questions! It got really tiring but I did my best to be patient and answer them.

    Now though, I've noticed they eat loads more fruit and the amount of junk food/snacks has definitely gone down in the office. For my birthday last year, instead of a cake, they bought pineapples, grapes, sunflower & pumpkin seeds - so sweet!

    You'd be suprised the difference one person's presence/actions can make.

    Good luck to you!

  • My family is this way. They drive me nuts about it - so much so, that I have started avoiding meals that involve extended family. I don't mind hanging out with them, but I HATE eating with them.

    My coworkers mostly find my veganism endearing. One of them bothers me all the time about it though. I can't tell if he's genuinely curious, or just trying to get me to snap, but his astonishment at my answers (EVERY TIME) drives me up the wall. I had to attend a potluck yesterday, where I brought some raw brownies, and they were gone in a heartbeat - the whole time everyone was asking me what I could possibly eat at the potluck and what I could possibly eat at Thanksgiving. (and where I get my protein, and how could I possibly be getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need to survive) ^_^ Those kind of open questions I appreciate because I know they are really curious, not just trying to push buttons.

    Generally, I avoid the subject of what I eat. When it comes up, I answer honestly, and in the most non-defensive way possible. - for me this is easy to do, but SAD eaters often immediately get defensive when on the subject, so I am VERY careful to sound completely non-judgemental.

    There is a really great article in the Nov/Dec Vegetarian Times about family meals and how to handle omnis and veg*ns eating at the same dinner table. I recommend checking it out..

    I truly hope your coworkers stop being horrible about it, and start being curious about it. Let them ask as many questions as they need to, answer as many as you can and/or feel comfortable with - honestly. In my experience with my family, being able to brush things off or shrug and laugh it off helps alot. I imagine your coworkers feel a little intimidated by your drastic change of lifestyle, and perhaps, that is why you are seeing this reaction.

    Best of luck!

  • Sorry, that was really rambling. Its still early here. ^_^

  • me and a friend discussed peoples (particulary health care peoples) reactions to someone being on a vegan diet. He said "If a person has little or no knowledge about a subject they will immediatly react negativly towards it because they try to proctect themselves (from showing their lack of knowledge)". I think there is a lot of truth to that. Those who are sceptical will eventually turn when they see how healthy and happy you are. Those who are down right hostile (meaning head shakers) are maybe that way because they deep down are too afraid to help themselves.

    I get alot of very stupid questions about my diet, and always alot of attention during lunch hour. I try my best to answere their silly questions respectfully and always try to offer them a taste of what i have made. This way i hope to give them a more positive viewpoint on veganism/rawfood.

    ps there is a reason why dr. oz turns people on a vegan diet: http://www.welikeitraw.com/rawfood/2009/11/dr-oz-turns-meateating-cowboy-vegan.html

  • What wonderful responses you have all given me, thank you so much.

    Bean, she didn't see me standing in the hallway, she didn't know i could see her shaking her head. It was the smallest of gestures (which i'm making such a big deal about here) but it really struck me hard.

    sV3 so true!! Since i have begun this journey, i have turned my meat-eating, weight-lifting New Jersey husband into a total and complete animal loving VEGAN!! My grown daughter, who still eats taboo foods, is trying to be a vegetarian now, and forces her coworkers to eat big salads for lunch (and they do too) and my son who is in college in Chicago is giving lectures in the inner city (he's in nursing school) on the benefits of smoothies!! He tells them his mother hast lost 45 pounds (in 4 months of being vegan) and so all of those around me have picked up some ideas and motivation from me and are quietly spreading it into their little worlds. I am so touched by this fact.

    Silystarrfish, you certainly were not rambling, i appreciate every word. There is one person at work who doesn't know me well who, every time she sees me, keeps asking me more questions, all in earnest - i can tell she is thinking about making some kind of change.

    Mariannes - yes, i have read a lot on this issue of defensiveness of SAD eaters, even have a book which i haven't started yet - it is so interesting. I think on a deep human level they know what you are doing is somehow "right" and this means what they are doing is probably somehow "wrong". Also, i think chosing veganism is mostly an ethical decision (at least it's mixed in there) as opposed to saying you're on a grapefruit diet, or Adkins, nobody would even say much to that. But this, this touches something in everyone and they just can't stop asking about it.

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