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I need to vent!!

So I have been vegetarian about 10 years, vegan about 5 or 6 years and raw less than a year. My SAD eating family is used to me “being a finicky eater”. Ever since I first discovered raw less than a year ago, I have been trying to educate my family a little bit at a time about the damage that meat and dairy and processed foods and diet sodas, etc. are doing to their bodies. My mom is really sick with multiple ailments including fibromyalgia and she is on a ton of medication so I am trying to help her get healthier. Even just suggesting adding more raw fruits and veggies to their diet. I introduced them to green smoothies. Have an apple instead of a cookie when craving something sweet, etc. I even emailed them the “mystery meat” link that was posted on a forum here, and have given them the “Eating” DVD and the Skinny Bitch book. I suggested they watch the movie Fast Food Nation.

I don’t expect them to change overnight. They have been receptive to what I have presented them with and raw food (and even vegan cooked food) that I have served them. They have made some changes like no more diet soda for mom (dad still drinks it). Regardless of what they put in their own bodies, they know how I feel about what I put in mine, and they know I am pretty passionate about wanting to help others get healthy.

So (here’s the part I need to vent about…) I get an email from my mom about planning our upcoming family reunion. Each family group has a day of the week that they host (cook, clean, etc.) for everyone else. So my mom suggests having a Ballpark theme, where everyone wears their fave team gear, we have a softball game, and (drum roll please…..) serve HOT DOGS, HAMBURGERS, and walk around saying “Come get your ice cream and cotton candy here!” Are you kidding me?!

I get that not all 75 people at the reunion are on board with healthy eating, but does my mom really expect me to participate in that!? Sure, why not slowly kill my family by serving them processed colored/flavored sugar, high sugar and fat cow’s milk (with pus and blood, no less), patties with cow shit, and hotdogs with God only knows what animal parts are in them!!

Whew. Thanks for listening!



  • Oh, and she also had nachos and french fries on the menu….


  • Renoir, believe me, I understand your frustration. My father ultimately died from a very unhealthy lifestyle, and my mother is dying of one very, very slowly (she is also a truly toxic individual). If you love your family, you have to make peace with their choices and know you are not responsible for them. You can either be with them and not partake of all the crap they eat, or make a choice not to be around them at all. You sound like a very nice person, so I have a feeling, you’d rather find some way of being around them. You can absolutely make it clear to your mom that you can’t participate in “Ballpark” day, but that you are happy to bring your own food and share if anyone wants it. It’s so hard for us to realize we are not responsible for what others do. We can only make the best choices for ourselves. Best of luck—I know you’ll make the right choice for yourself.

  • KhaasLadkiKhaasLadki Raw Newbie

    *Oh man, I know how you feel.

    My family thinks I’m crazy for not eating processed foods, they don’t even know that I’m wanting to go raw (they’re partially the reason I’m not 100% raw). Like last night, they made this fish, and I usually don’t mind eating fish a time or two per month, I just keep it simple, small and I just eat TONS of veggies and a tiny bit of fish. Well last night they made this potato encrusted cod, and I pulled the box out of the trash (note: they threw it away before I could find the box) and read the ingredients. Modified Corn Starch, HFCS, tons of sodium, cholesterol insanely, and so many ingredients my eyes hurt by the time I was done reading it. But instead of saying what I WANTED to say: “I cannot believe you expect me to EAT THIS! You know you’re lucky I even eat fish – it’s just for YOU since you think I’m so crazy!”, I just pretended to taste it and said “ew I don’t like Cod”. Sigh. Anyway, they didn’t even have a veggie to go with the fish – they had packaged butter noodles – which they should know I don’t either, and how could they stand to eat a meal without even a piece of a vegetable! So I had to make my own dinner, which took another 30 mins after I got home from work late, and then they all were like “Why aren’t you eating what we made blah blah”.

    It’s just really sad, because it makes me sound evil or something but I’m not, I only want what’s best for them and I don’t like to see them all scarfing down this ‘food’ without a second thought. My dad has already been in the hospital three times in the last year due to high bp, but he just keeps saying “eating healthy is too hard.” And when I cook for him and make healthy stuff, he won’t even taste it! He just gets a bowl of Frosted Flakes for dinner instead, and uses only whole cow’s milk. I was proud of him today for not eating a burger for lunch, though. Maybe he’s starting to think about it more as I tell them more and more about what’s wrong with the food in American diets.

    And my mom has Hypothyroidism, and she refuses to change her eating habits. She walks around all day, “I’m hungry, I need something to snack on.” so I tell her, “You bought yourself some nice plums and some really good yogurt, why don’t you have that? Or what about those pecans?” and she refuses – she’s like “No, I need something ELSE - something that will make me feel good.” sigh. she thinks food is for pleasure, which is fine if you take pleasure in it, but you shouldn’t eat because you want to get happy! I personally think that’s part of her weight gain, not just her thyroid, but she won’t listen and I respect her too much to just say it outright.

    Anyway sorry I’ve needed to get that off me for a while, as well.

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    BLAARRRRGH. are you expected to contribute monetarily or by volunteer work in getting this food purchased/setup/prepared? because I COULDNT do it. i think it’s fine if you respectfully decline contributing to the day, and explain why. Perhaps you can suggest an alternative? Maybe she can agree to remove a couple of the items, and instead serve… (for example, grilled corn is a very very popular item at these events. or some healthy coleslaw). and maybe only serve grilled chicken instead of uber nasty dogs/patties. that sounds like a barbecue that even as a vegetarian, i liked! mmm it’s corn season too – i eat it raw off the cob.

  • I can kind of relate, but not really. I am sorry. It does seem a bit inconsiderate, uncaring, and unsupporting. Maybe it would be possible to work with her. you take over some of the dishes and make them raw. If you are skilled you could make some dishes that mimic the non raw items. that way you are not butting heads with your mom or appearing to be a party pooper, but you are sill not responsible for poisoning your family. I have to deal with my mom’s apathy. I try telling her very nicely that she is killing me…but she isn’t too concerned with feeding me better items than hamburger helper….we’ll think of something. :)

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    I avoid family events like the plaque specifically for these reasons and others. I know it pisses my mom off but I can’t stand all the stupid questions from my relatives about my diet and stuff. It just depresses me. So, I have been successfully avoiding all family events for the past few years (since I don’t live near my relatives anymore it is better).

    My parents have all sorts of health problems too and they normally don’t listen to my advice. My mom did take my advice about starting MSM for her joint problems and scar tissue and she said they were helping. I think they still drink diet soda but my does try to eat healthy but her idea of healthy is carrot sticks and non-fat youghurt with aspartame in it. But she is better than my dad.

    I remember one Christmas we brought hummus (it wasn’t raw) and some of my relatives had never even had hummus before! It was unbelievable – they all liked it and it was gone!

    But yes, my relatives are sort of like yours – very American food at family reunions – hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, chips and dips.

    I am guessing you HAVE to go to this right? Unfortunately, since you are the only healthy one there, majority rules on the food I guess since your mom is putting this things together.

    If I were you I would bring food for myself and extra for your relatives to try – believe me they will be interested in your food because it is different. Even if you get the weird snide comments it will give you a chance to explain your food to your relatives (if you want to do that that is).

    Make stuff that SAD eaters will love – like raw potatoe chips, the raw bacon recipes that I and RawClaire have posted on here (meat eaters will love those), make raw hummus with veggies – anything that raw that you like to eat that you think your relatives will try. If you can, make a raw dessert – I am sure your if your relatives eat it, they will notice how they don’t want to take a nap after they eat it! Even better is to make something raw that your mom is having cooked. – like raw nachoes or fries!

    I haven’t had the chance to make any raw stuff for my relatives yet (since like I said I have been avoiding family events for so long) but I would do it and I have gotten to the point where I really don’t care anymore what they think of me. If they want to not like me because of my diet well that is their loss. Families are never perfect anyhow – I mean, who gets along with everyone in their families anyhow?

    I have bought veggie/vegan stuff to family events before (and my bf and I have brought raw things to his family events before) and people are always interested in it even though it may not be favorable at first. I usually answer questions about my diet if people ask me – I don’t even bring it up otherwise because I can’t stand to get into all the preachy stuff. Yeah, I know all their diets suck and they all have big health problems but if they don’t want to change I can’t make them. But if they want to know, I am happy to tell them – they honestly end up being interested esp if it will help them feel better. Disputing their doctors orders is definatley a toughie – I don’t even go there.

  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    I can definitely relate to your frustration, but your Mom is probably choosing these inexpensive items so as not to tax each family too much monetarily – that’s what happens quite a bit with my family (the more you feed, the more unhealthy and cheap the food becomes). It is possible that you could bring some delicious raw food that goes along with the theme (check out the burger category) – this will be so much more delicious and healthy than burgers/hot dogs that you might have family trying yours out.

  • I found the best way to work with my SAD family was to start bringing one or two palatable dishes to family functions. To teach them that hey, this can taste good and be healthy! They still eat all sorts of garbage, but they seem willing to compromise by trying the dishes i bring. i even made a great lentil salad for easter that they want me to bring back!

    it’s frustrating, nonetheless, i know.

  • jsorensens2jsorensens2 Raw Jr. Superstar

    I don’t live near any of my relatives, and I am only very new to eating raw so I can’t really relate, except that my caveman husband is a daily resistant factor and I have to cook traditional food for him so I’m faced with it daily. The way I look at it is this: live and let live. I don’t want them preaching to me to eat their way and I’m sure they wouldn’t want me preaching to them to eat mine. If your health is an inspiration to them in such a way that they reach out to you, then that’s great. If not, then that fine too. If I were you I’d just bring my own food without making a big deal out of it and quietly join the family, but help out with the food prep for them if you can. We’re all going to die, right? Some of us will die without suffering, and some of us will. It’s a personal choice. Just like religion is a personal choice. Live and let live goes both ways.

  • alpdesignsalpdesigns Raw Newbie

    I think that you should just go along with it and have fun. You made your dietary choices and they’ve made theirs. You can’t make them eat as you do, but you can enjoy your time together.

  • They could bring their gear. And your mom could contribute the food she likes to contribute. I usually contribute a salad or a bowl of cut cantaloupe to large work parties. I won’t eat much meat, but it is one of the times of the year when I partake in pasta salads, and I eat everything on the desert table (my weakness)

  • I think Kandace makes a good argument about budgeting. Can you think of a practical idea for food that would fit your dietary choices but which you could provide for 75 people? Maybe this means going mostly raw with some non-raw vegetarian items. Once you think of some foods that could work, quickly come up with a creative spin in which to framework your food ideas and then get to work convincing your mom and immediate family to get on board. Tell them you bet someone else is going to think of hamburgers/hot dogs, and your group can do something totally different and fresh. Honestly though, my mind reels at the thought of trying to do raw for 75 on any kind of budget. I’d be like Come and Get Your Carrots!

  • Ok – I have an idea. If you’re okay with healthy vegan and not all raw – what about a Made in China theme, where you make big batches of (healthy!) buckwheat soba noodles and then provide all the fixings for people to make their own noodle bowls? You can have grilled veggies, raw veggies, and maybe some tofu.

  • Thank you all for your responses! It’s nice to have some support.

    I actually really really really LOVE my family. I grew up in a HUGE very close-knit family and I am close with all of my cousins. My dad is one of 13 kids and my mom is one of 7. I have about 65 cousins on my dad’s side alone, and every summer we get together and go camping together for 10 days and it is called “Cousin Camp”. We having been doing this since I was really little so I grew up loving this time. On the same note, because I love my family so much is why I hate to feed them toxic food. I feel like I am poisoning them!! Even though it is what most of them would choose to eat themselves. They aren’t judgemental at all, and I always do bring my own food to family events. I even try to be “funny” when talking to them about the terrors of meat (i.e.” There’s shit in the meat!!), and my dad will joke back with me any time he eats vegan or raw food I make by saying “it could use some bacon fat.” I have one other cousin who is raw, another vegan, and 1 (sometimes 2?) vegetarian cousins who always love the food I bring to potlucks and stuff.

    At camp, each immediate family group has one whole day that they cook for everyone else, so we are just trying to figure out what to have on our day. I wouldn’t try to feed raw food to 75 people… that definitely would be too expensive, time consuming, and unappreciated! I would even rather serve whole wheat pasta in my dad’s marinara sauce (See my recipe for “Uncle Steve’s Sauce). It was just hard to see my mom make that suggestion to me, of all people, after I feel like I have been working really hard to help her get healthy. Every time she eats a piece of fruit instead of a cookie, she is so proud of herself that she calls and tells me about it. Having her suggest hot dogs just feels like one step forward, two steps back.

    Here is a portion of the email response I sent to my mom: As far as themes, I like the idea of “Fan” Day. That would be a good day to bring the “We’re #4!” foam fingers. I’m sure everyone has clothes for their favorite sports teams and it would be a good softball day (giants v. a’s or niners v. raiders). I don’t think a keg will go over very well at Cousin Camp. But we can still serve juice and stuff out of the team cups.

    My only objection is that you obviously never watched Fast Food Nation or looked at the link I sent on “Mystery meat” if you think I am a fan of serving people hamburgers or hot dogs…


    If you guys are set on serving junk food, that’s fine… in case we need to split up I can be on a day where I serve healthy things like fruit and vegetables. And food without cow shit in it. I know I am one of only a few people in the family that opposes such things, so I am sure that everyone will love fan day with hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream. I personally don’t want to partake in the food portion of the event though.

  • carrie6292carrie6292 Raw Newbie

    I completely understand where you are coming from! It kills me that my husband still wants to eat meat (of any sort) – even after knowing all of this! Thank you for the link – i’ve never seen this site, but i’m going to forward it to a few people who do think i’m crazy for eating this way (mainly my parents and in-laws). I began eating raw because i was having horrible stomach pains and realized i was allergic to a lot of foods – mostly processed foods and sugar and wheat, etc… so, i switched over to raw foods and never had the pain again (exept for when i “cheat”). So, i eat this way for different health reason, but they’ve turned into the same health concerns that you have. I’m trying to find good alternatives for my 3 1/2 year old son. Unfortunately, he’s gotten used to eating regular “junk” food for kids. But, i’m trying!

    Have you tried the Broccoli Salad off this site? It’s using sunflowers as the “mayo” and it really is good! Fairly inexpensive and a little goes a long way! You could always make fresh veggie kebabs with a nice BBQ sauce on it… Almost like the Hawaiian BBQ Kebabs on this site.

    It’s hard when your family is unsupportive and “rebels” against you… my mother does it all the time. I think she bans veggies and fruits from her house just because i’m coming and she wants to make me suffer :) Certainly seems like it! She now gets offended because i bring my own food with me whenever i visit. This is just easier for me all around. I made Bryan Au’s raw tuna fish last time i went down to visit and my little brother loved it and kept talking about it in front of my parents – i think this sometimes makes them even more mad!

    I wouldn’t skip the reunion – i would bring dishes with me, make your plate as your putting out your dishes, then go for a walk or hike while everyone is poisoning their bodies – alteast your doing what you can to be the healthiest you!

    Good luck!

  • I think if i were not already a long-term vegetarian, i would be pretty put-off by the ‘there’s shit in the meat’ conversations. i think it’s gross and alienating. there’s a crazy guy that always stands outside the grill booth at the big farmers market here in san francisco with a sign that there is shit in the meat – and I, as a 20 year vegetarian and over a year mostly raw eater – still think he’s nuts and disgusting. i like to focus more on how bad meat is for our bodies and the planet than to constantly invoke scatological images that most people will dismiss as being way too over the top.

  • I tend to use the gross out factor with my family sometimes since the “what it does to your body” isn’t always effective. My dad (and mom sometimes) still smokes and has been smoking since he was a teenager, and drinking too. So they aren’t as concerned with the damage they are doing with food, when they are willing to do damage with what they consider “worse” vices. The gross out factor sometimes goes a little farther, especially with my mom since she can be kind of a germiphobe sometimes.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    I have been through so much with my family with eating! So has my husband being that I have been vegetarian for over 15 years and not eating wheat. Then became vegan and was vegan police! I threw out all the meat in the house when I came home and just sobbed about how sad I felt for the animals. So in order to still be able to see me without me going crazy they caved and started to eat at vegetarian places and eat more vegetarian food. Then my Dad got a heart condition and it pretty much sealed the deal. So they are totally willing to eat vegan with me and they eat a lot of raw veggies and fruits for omnivores.

    But the extended family stuff can be tricky. When my husband and I got married, we refused to serve food to cater to the crowd, we served what we loved from a local vegan restaurant that caters. Then at our second reception, we had a raw food restaurant cater a cake, appetizers, and some salads. Everybody loved it. They kept asking what the cake was made of. There was another cake that was white flour and more people ate the raw strawberry cake.

    That goes to show that people will try stuff if they don’t label it in their head as “vegan” or “raw”. Just make a salad to go along with stuff. My strategy for family events, parties, and staff social events is to at least have one or two dishes that I can eat. Then I will be happy and other people get to try new stuff.

    Kids need to be given more credit. As a teacher I know that if kids make the food and grow it themselves they eat produce. They need time to get used to new stuff but they are often more open-minded than adults.

  • if hot dogs are definitely on the menu, you should consider doing what shannonmarie did in a similar hot dog family event. http://www.rawdorable.blogspot.com/ (check the 4/16 post) looks yummy!

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    Check out this plate of raw that definitely rivals a nonraw plate: woohoo raw plate

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    Cute! And in the photo, did you notice the Chum Bucket and the Crusty Crab? I NEED those toys!!!

  • tdgtdg Raw Newbie

    jsorensons2: I can totally relate about the caveman husband. He tries to be supportive but always reverts to his caveman ways. Last night I was making a batch of raw chips when he walked in. He says “Oh look, mom is making dog poop for dinner…” It hacked me off. I told him not to make those types of remarks in front of the kids because I do not want him prejudicing (is that a word??) the kids opinions with his own twisted opinions. Grr!!! I try to allow him to have his own defective diet. I even made him a batch of jerky in MY new dehydrator. He was all for that but didn’t like my raw chips. I get really tired of making 2 seperate meals for him and I but I am not going to eat the crap that he insists on eating!

  • kevin7197kevin7197 Raw Newbie

    Hmmmm…I’m approaching my choice of a raw diet the same way I approach my recovery from drugs, alcohol and smoking. The only change I can control is for me. It’s been my experience that as I go thru this journey, others notice the changes and if they desire what I have, they ask. I quietly take favorite raw dishes that I enjoy and watch the surprise as my SAD family and friends experience what real food tastes like. Just yesterday I had to print off several copies of a recipe that I prepared for my co-workers due to being swamped with requests. I guess the rule for me is attraction rather than promotion!

  • tdgtdg Raw Newbie

    Kevin7197: I like that approach. Kudos to you for continuing in your efforts.

    We have a family gathering coming up and mom wants to do a “high tea” type thing. I was surfing this site yesterday for recipes and found some that I think I may be able to use for it. I would love to take something good for us all. My family could sure use it. They are resistant to the idea but maybe if I sneak it in like a Trojan Horse, they will like it and start eating better. I can always dream anyway…

  • BluedolfinBluedolfin Raw Newbie

    tdg~ Not that you are asking for ideas for the high tea… but… since cucumber sandwiches are a big thang for high tea, you could make either open-face or sandwichy cucumber goodies by using cucumber slices for the bread… fill with a pate, salsa, or avo mayo or tuna… or make filled sliced lettuce or seaweed rolls… just a few ideas…

    Have a great time creating and at the tea.

  • So I proposed a compromise to the family… My suggestion was to serve all veggie dogs or boca burgers or even Tofurky sausages (obviously not raw, but at least meatless!). I’m sure half the people wouldn’t even know the difference. My sister objects to “tricking people with fake food.” I am not suggesting tricking people, I am suggesting not feeding people unidentifiable leftover animal parts. My sister agrees with that part. I may be getting somewhere.

  • sounds like a good compromise. maybe instead of your mom’s cotton candy idea, you can set up some pots of chocolate & caramel and have people dip/make their own candy apples. then at least you know people are getting some fruit! (ok – now i totally have a craving for candy apples, which probably haven’t eaten in 20 years).

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    Maybe tell your sister that it is not tricking – you are doing this out of concern for your families health. :) Maybe they need to be tricked a little – it is for their own good!:)

    Are you planning on bringing a raw plate or two?

  • I’m with 123 and KEVIN….

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    I agree with Kevin. Also bringing something like watermelon – most everyone loves watermelon – it’s just a summer thing, and no one would ever think you’re weird for bringing watermelon to a summer party! I just take my own food, and if people ask what it is, I offer them a taste. At work, school, parties, etc. I have a cousin who loves to see what I am going to bring to family potlucks. Last summer, she told me she missed out on my food by coming too late, and she was disappointed, but the funny thing is that she had eaten it and didn’t know it was raw (it was a taco dip that I put out with some tortilla chips and sliced veggies). Everyone liked it, even though my sister had heard me telling someone else about it at another family event a few months before and thought it sounded disgusting! I learned to “trick” people – not tell them what’s in something and just let them try it instead :) I love to share the joy and beauty of real, good, raw, happy food!

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