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telling family and friends you are becoming raw

Okay, I’ve put up with many questions and some ridicule over the years when I became vegetarian. People even went so far as to tell me I needed meat while I was pregnant in order to have a healthy baby (which of course I didn’t listen to). I’ve commited myself to making a major change in lifestyle, I’m absolutely loving how good and healthy I feel since I’ve been eating primarily raw foods. I haven’t told anyone (even my husband-who supports my vegetarianism whole-heartedly), I think because I’m afraid of people’s reactions, I know most won’t understand. How did you tell your loved ones and friends, how did they react, and how are they today? Thanks so much for your thoughts! Shelley


  • I totally understand what you are going through. This is tough because most people (it is getting better) are still going after quantity over quality, deadly high protein diets, full of dead animal and fat. But you really want to know why they disagree with you or insult you? Either because they are afraid that giving up what they are use to will bring them unhappines, because veggies aren’t manly, or because they are just plain jealous of you. Believe me some people wish they could have the determination that you do. Now with family and other loved ones, it is quite difficult. But I ask you now to get into their bodies and feel what they are feeling when ever you tell them ” I just want to eat raw fruits and vegetables”. They would feel scared or worried about you’re health. They fear that you are starving your self. I believe that the best way to approach this would be to sit them down and very calmly tell them that what you are doing is very important to you. Explain how what you’re doing makes you feel. Do you know what took my parents to to realize that I was healthy and was getting required nutrients? A blood test :) It made me feel reassured, and it gave them a lot of reassurence as well. Good luck, stand you’re ground, and be strong!

  • Well, I’m 34 now, and I’ve been eating at least a vegetarian diet since I was 18, so people are pretty used to me eating weird stuff. :) But as for going vegan, then raw, that wasn’t that hard because I live with the co-creator of Gone Raw! Plus, I have a rather understanding mother, who has tried the raw food diet as well.

    For just about everyone else, oh I tell them… and then just politely smile through all the “can you eat X?” “can you eat Y?” questions that follow. And if they are worried about my health, I tell them that I appreciate their concern but I’m pretty solid on the science behind my choices, and I feel great. That usually does the trick.

  • Hi Shelley: I hear where you are coming from! After 10 years + of vegetarianism, I went to vegan and largely raw. It was fairly sudden and a bit of a surprise to the family. I initially noted a great deal of concern from them – especially as I began loosing weight quickly. But, after a few months, they’re much less concerned because my weight is stable and I look and feel healthier than I ever have. That gets noticed, too. I still hear, “I could never do what you’re doing” once in a while, but they’ve come to recognize that I am much healthier than ever before.

    One of my families greatest hesitations was that they wouldn’t know what to serve when I am over (one of my motivations to participate in building Gone Raw was to help educate my family about the new food in my diet). I’ve started slowly getting family used to the idea of raw. For example, when visiting for meals, I’ll ask what the meal is and often offer to bring along a salad and appetizer (and bring enough for everyone). Raw hummus is an easy appetizer to share and cucumber slices are really good as dippers. Or, when the family has a taco night, I’ll bring pico-de-gallo or guacamole for everyone as well as raw taco meat and wrapping lettuce leaves for myself. My dad now requests my pico-de-gallo each time I visit – so much so that my parents use the recipe now in their own cooking.

    Hang in there. Your family and friends will get used to the new food you are creating. And, they’ll likely start trying a few recipes here and there with you.

    Vaughn: Your advice to put yourself in the shoes of others is right on. I’m sure many family members react out of love and concern.

  • ZoeZoe

    I was really apprehensive about telling my family I was raw.

    My Dad is a G.P. – a family Doctor, my Mum is a nurse and my brother is a heart surgeon, and his wife runs her family’s business which is a sheep farm – they don’t farm them for wool, but lamb meat.

    So I expected them to laugh at me and poke fun. I have been vegan for 12 years and I thought they’d be bringing in the straight jacket for me when I arrived armed with my pumpkin butter and raw bread.

    Well, guess what, the opposite happened! Not only has my brother offered to help us with our research into raw food from a medical perspective, but my Mum and Dad are coming over to stay and learn about raw food and how to make it. They are seriously considering going raw themselves.

    They listened and read the info on the internet and agreed with it. And I am amazed. Just goes to show, you never should underestimate others ability to see the truth!

  • That is great Zoe ! My mother is getting into raw too. I still have some problems with my brother,and I was very scare to tell my mother in law,but at the end all went well.I still having problems with my brother,though,he doesn’t understand how can I not eat meat.

  • Wow Zoe, that is awesome!

    Honestly, I just don’t tell people. I only tell those closest to me, whom I eat with on a semi-regular basis. At this point, only my in-laws, my best friend, and of course my husband and two kids (who are raw with me) know I am a raw foodist. Other people notice I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but just assume I am very healthy. When I eat somewhere else, or if I’m invited out, I just order a large salad and a fresh fruit plate. People just assume you’re a health addict or on a diet, and I let them assume as they will.

    I’ve noticed that people especially get worried about you if you have kids, afriad you’re creating “malnourished” children. Haha – these are the same people feeding their kids flesh and twinkies. But, they are the status quo, so I don’t bother fighting them. Those who seek understanding will receive it; those who are antagonists aren’t worth my time and energy to fight and argue.

  • ZoeZoe

    Hi Skyespice, I totally understand your keeping your rawness quiet. It is alot for people to take in…being vegan is tricky enough for most to understand. And I didn’t tell anyone else when I first went raw, I wanted to protect yourself by not ‘putting myself out there’ with other people. And take my own time to get used to it all and let it unfold in me naturally. I only told my family once I was strong, 100% raw, and had read dozens of books about it, and could answer any concern or question with confidence.

    When I mention that I’m raw, people want to know all about it and it does take a bit of explaining to get the point across about why I eat this way, so they know I haven’t just got an eating disporder or something. I think I will write a leaflet to hand out to people instead!!

    Chris – my husband, is American and therefore much, much more outgoing and friendly than me. Sorry about the sterotype but I am typical English and reserved and he is the opposite! He talks to EVERYONE about being raw, people on the bus, on the train, in the shops, everyone, everywhere! There was one guy he talked to who on the train to work, who was very overweight and it was making him ill. Chris talked to him about food and he came over for a raw dinner. We showed him the film “eating”, a very hardcore vegan film. And he then went vegan! He was a totally normal meat and two veg before. He calls us now and again and his cholestrol has plummeted, he has lost weight, and his doctors are shocked with how much healthier he has become, and he feels better in himself too. I have to remind myself of him when I get embarrassed and shy as Chris tells another stranger about raw food!

  • it’s amazing how sensitive we are about food, even when we’re comfortable and happy with the personal choices we make. people who claim not to take much of an interest in issues related to food have expressed real concern at my being raw, and assume that i’m “punishing” myself, or have taken on the raw mantle only to hide a fear of food, or an eating disorder. for the most part i’m not bothered by it, because i do make an attempt to explain why i’m making this choice, and many of my close friends are receptive to it, at least in part. more recently though, i’ve found myself becoming more and more angry when people shift their eyes to me when we talk about a restaurant or are making plans, because they assume that i can’t eat and make other people at the table uncomfortable. is this just a learning process? could it be any more obvious that the same government who could care less about it’s people would actively be responsible for the poisoning of our food supply? my friends are liberals. why are we so close-minded when it comes to the politics of food?? i flipped out on my mother the other day - who has been tolerant, if not moderately understanding - because she planned an easter meal that i couldn’t contribute to, around cooked, animal based foods. i began to feel that she was subtly trying to change my habits, by not addressing the issue directly, but by putting me in a position that would have been extremely problematic. sigh. why should we ever have to feel shamed by a personal choice? i suppose the only person who can change that is me, but recently i’ve just been so put out by many of the reactions or faces i receive from people. i’m ready to adopt Skyspice’s M.O. and keep quiet—but i don’t think that’s a position we should have to be put in. i live in new york city…it’s not as though there aren’t a fair share of raw-foodies around.

  • joescjoesc Raw Master

    I told everyone I went raw. I even posted it in a blog on my myspace. I thought I would get more why questions but most people just want to know what it was. Their reaction after asking what is that, was, I couldn’t do it. Then the subject changes. I never had issues with breaking the news because I grew up as a pescetarian I didn’t eat meat so not eating seafood and dairy really didn’t shock anyone. Also in Jamaica there are people called Rastafarians whom based on their religion don’t eat anything processed and do not consume salt. The ones who are truly strict in there religion only eat fruits, and leafs. Most of them don’t live anywhere and don’t own machines because they believe in living on the lands. So unless I say I will try to be a Rasta then my family will just move on.

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