“Should I date someone who isn’t vegan?”

Who you choose to date is a purely personal decision, and no one can really answer this one for you. It’s something I get asked a lot though, so I’ll just try to run through some of the main issues people experience with dating non-vegans and some things to keep in mind.

It’s important to realise that there aren’t that many vegans in the world. While there has been no international polling on vegan numbers, most estimates place it at 1% of the population or less. If you have a particular gender preference as well, that lowers the number of compatible vegans quite considerably, making your chances of finding a suitable vegan partner pretty low. There is always the chance that you will meet someone who isn’t vegan and becomes one while they’re with you, due to finding out more about animal agriculture from their conversations with you, but you’d have to be willing to date someone who isn’t vegan in the first place for that to have any chance to happen. If you’re willing to settle for vegetarianism that improves your chances considerably, but they too are still in minority in most countries. Despite the lower chances, there are some obvious reasons why you might want to hold out for one, or at least someone open to it.

Firstly, on a purely practical basis it makes life easier, being able to share the same food makes living together a great deal easier (and cheaper), and sitting down to eat a meal you have prepared for the both of you is an intimate thing. If you are vegan you may be uncomfortable with having animal products in your fridge too, so if you’re with a vegan you have the opportunity to have an entirely vegan household. There is also the issue that you will probably be unhappy for your money to go towards paying for animal products, so your partner may end up having to buy and pay for some of their food separately to you, as well as preparing it separately. You will also enjoy going to the same sorts of restaurants, meaning a more enjoyable experience dining out for the both of you. Finally, there is the disgust factor from watching someone cook and eat animals in front of you, particularly if you are sharing a cooking space.

What will likely be a bigger issue than any of these will be the divide it creates between people when their views on a particular topic are in direct opposition. This is especially prominent with animal rights, because it tends to be something that vegans are extremely passion about, and in contrast, the general public tend to have a very negative view of it. You can explain the principles behind veganism to your partner, and they can understand the logic, but they will never understand how you feel about it, nor will you ever be able to really understand how they could know what you have told them about animal agriculture and still eat animals. These things do create a divide and can limit how close you can get to someone.

As to whether or not you should, my advice would be to have an honest conversation with your potential partner about veganism, make sure they are at the very least open-minded about the concept, and they aren’t going to mock you for it. If you do decide to start dating someone who eats animals, while it is possible they will become vegan while they are with you, you should never enter a relationship with this as the goal you have in mind. You either need to enter a relationship with them accepting who they are, or stay single, but you shouldn’t start dating someone with the intention of changing them later, even if you think it would be changing them for the better. Nor should you get into a relationship with someone if you suspect you might not be able to handle the fact that they aren’t vegan, or it’ll result in unnecessary pain for the both of you.

If you do decide to date someone who isn’t vegan, it’s important you set some boundaries in place. Help them understand why you’re vegan, ask them to watch documentaries with you, this doesn’t take long and anyone who really cares about you should want to understand you better. This will help make sure they treat your veganism with the seriousness and the respect it deserves, and will make them appreciate why you feel so strongly about the issue. If you don’t want animal products in your house then warn them of that from the outset, equally, you should tell them if you have any other limits, like not kissing them after they’ve eaten meat, or not wanting them to eat it in front of you.

Ultimately this has to be your decision to make. It doesn’t make you any less of a vegan to be dating someone who eats animals, and we don’t all have the luxury of being able to have a partner who shares our values, and we can’t always choose who we develop feelings for. Relationships can work even if you are very different people, but in those cases having absolute honesty from the outset is even more importance, so that both of you know what to expect from the other. Regardless of what you decide, stick to your values and don’t be willing to bend on them for anyone else, but nor should you expect anyone else to change theirs for you.

“What if I can’t go vegan?”

Veganism is generally very accessible, affordable and healthy, and the wide range of plant based options make it an option for the vast majority of people. However, there does exist some significant barriers to eating and living 100% plant based, ranging from those in recovery form eating disorders, to lack of food availability and extreme food sensitivity.

It is important to acknowledge however, that veganism is not about perfection, it is about doing the most you can to reduce the harm you cause., given your situation. The definition of veganism is  a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. This definition contains an acknowledgement of the fact that it is not always possible or practicable to avoid all animal products all of the time, it asks only that we do our absolute best at all times, and anyone can do that. No vegan is perfect, and there are things which are just not possible to completely avoid, such as animal tested medication, but no good vegan will ever criticise you for falling short if it is essential and no reasonable vegan alternative exists.

In terms of food, I find that most of the time when someone says they cannot go vegan, they usually can. It is not that they are lying, it is often just that people are not aware of the wide variety of plant based options, or alternatives for food they are allergic to or intolerant of. Sometimes it is also the case that they have been advised by a doctor that they cannot go vegan, but keep in mind that doctors are generally very poorly informed on nutrition as do not receive much training on it, and don’t tend be any better informed about veganism than the general population is. A qualified nutritionist with a knowledge of plant based nutrition will be better placed to advise, but even then, find out specifically what it is you need, and you will almost definitely be able to find a viable plant based source for it. There is no know physical health issue that absolutely necessities the consumption of animal products, and there is no vitamin, mineral or nutrient which cannot be obtained on a vegan diet.

In cases where a 100% plant based diet is not achievable, people often assume that it is an “all or nothing” kind of lifestyle, and that if you can’t do it all you shouldn’t do any of it. The best thing to do in this situation however, is to try to eat as plant based as you are able to and follow vegan principles as much as your condition or situation allows. This means eating vegan whenever it is in your power to do so, whether that is ordering out, or just replacing meats and animal products with good plant based foods whenever possible. There is no health reason why someone would not be able to stop using animal fabrics, for example, or to boycott animal tested cosmetics and cleaning products. By doing these things, you would be doing everything you can to avoid cruelty to and exploitation of animals as far as is practicable for you, which is what veganism is all about. I would suggest having a look at my guide to going veganand just seeing which of these things you can do and which you don’t feel able to attempt yet, and using one of the incremental methods to take it slowly.

We are in a situation where animal agriculture is destroying our planet, is driving species extinction, is using an unconscionable amount of resources, is exploiting humans and killing trillions of animals per year. In that context, we all need to do everything we can to oppose it, even if what we can do isn’t a complete boycott. Veganism is not about moral puritanism, no good vegan will ever judge you if you are doing all you physically can. Besides, regardless money you can take away from animal agriculture industries is a good thing, and if everyone couldn’t eat completely plant based did this it would have real impact. Just do what you can, no one can ask more than that. If you need any help and support doing this, whether it’s general advice or personalised meal plans, then feel free to send me an ask or a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

“Is it okay to raise my child vegan?”

Despite the rising popularity of veganism, the topic of vegan children remains a very controversial one. People usually object to the idea of raising a child vegan for one of two reasons, either they think it is unsafe, or they think that parents shouldn’t force their views on their children. Whether you think it is okay for you to raise your own child vegan is completely up to you, but when we are discussing people criticising someone else’s parenting or accusing them of neglect on the sole basis that their child is vegan, it is a different matter entirely.

Firstly, it is demonstrably false that in normal circumstances raising child vegan is unsafe. A vegan diet provides every nutrient and vitamin the human body requires, it is perfectly safe to raise your child vegan, and to be vegan while nursing. I’ve met quite a few people raising healthy vegan children, as well as adults who were raised vegan, there is no evidence whatsoever that it is harmful. You can read personal accounts of raising vegan children here here, and read short individual biographies of healthy vegan children here. The NHS have said that vegan babies and children can be perfectly healthy, and the American Dietic Association says that well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets are appropriate for all stages of life, including infancy.

The loudest voices are always those of the animal agriculture industry, and they spend a significant amount of money convincing the world that we need to buy their products. From our earliest years we are taught the food pyramid (an initiative heavily funded by animal agriculture industries) and we carry this ignorance with us into adulthood. This has led to a lot of myths surrounding raising children vegan, some of which are dispelled here.  Besides, a child is much more likely to be made ill from eating processed meats than plants; and this is undeniable. How many children are raised on processed meats and then when they’re older don’t even have the choice to be healthy because their diet has permanently damaged them? Those numbers must be in the millions, but this argument is never used against people who raise their kids to eat known carcinogens.

As for the claim that vegans shouldn’t force their beliefs on their children, what really bothers me about this argument is that it assumes that only raising your child vegan is a choice, as if raising the to eat animals isn’t also making a choice on their behalf. All parents try to impart their values onto their children, that’s part of what parenting is. If you force your child to be vegan later in life when they are old enough to choose for themselves then that is a separate issue, but when you are making decisions on behalf of someone who cannot do so for themselves then you choose what you think is in their best interests, for vegan parents that will naturally be a vegan diet. Besides, is unlikely a child raised vegan will experience any distress or guilt later in life because they ate plants, whereas all vegans can relate to the regret they now feel that they ever ate animals at all, even though they didn’t know better at the time.

It is necessary here to mention the isolated cases which are always bought up, of children supposedly dying because they were raised vegan. In every such published case, the child has suffered because their parents neglected them and failed to provide an adequate diet, not because they were vegan. A child who dies because vegan parents fail to feed them anything but soy milk are victims of abuse and neglect, but that cannot be used to determine the healthfulness of a vegan diet any more than a child dying from being fed nothing but chicken nuggets can be used to judge how healthy an omnivorous diet is, and people almost never want to talk about the damage meat can to do children. Dr Russell Bunnai, a practising paediatrician, when asked what single change in the American diet would produce the greatest health benefit, his answer was: “Eliminating dairy products.” The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which studied both humans and adults, concluded that diets high in meat, eggs and dairy could be as harmful to health as smoking.

You are well within your rights to choose your child’s diet and lifestyle, so long as it well-planned, healthy, and subject to regular check ups. Not only is veganism perfectly healthy for children, it is by far the most responsible option for your child, for animals and the environment. Children are far more likely to grow up kind to animals and socially conscious if they are introduced to these ideas early on, and they watch their parents put these principles into practice by living an ethical, vegan lifestyle. Veganism represents a healthy, positive and ethically conscious way to live, and those of us who grew up eating meat can envy those children who will be given such a positive start to life.

“How can I be an effective advocate for veganism?”

This is always a very difficult question to answer, because there is no one method which is guaranteed to work for everyone, or even for the majority of people. I am by no means an expert on this and there is no real research data to draw on in terms of why people went vegan and whether or not they were persuaded by a particular approach, so all I can really do is draw from their own experience and advise on that basis. I don’t claim to be any authority on this, but I can tell you from experience that these things are effective.

1) Remember that many people already agree with us.

I think that the first truth to acknowledge when you’re trying to be an effective advocate is that most people are at least in partial agreement with us about the fundamental principles of veganism. The vast majority of people do believe that animals should never be harmed unnecessarily, the issue is that they don’t apply that logic to eating animals or make the connection that if we don’t need to consume animals, then any harm caused to them so that we can eat them is by definition unnecessary. Establishing the fact that most people don’t need to eat animals is therefore one of the first steps, luckily there is a wealth of research available to prove that beyond reasonable doubt. Further to this is that many people just don’t apply normal ethical reasoning to their food in the way they do about any other purchase, so it is necessary to remind people that food choices are subject to the same ethics as anything else we consume.

2) Try to relate to people.

I have always found that by the time someone has a conversation with a vegan, they have already made vegans very “other” in their minds. They imagine that vegans are very different to them, that they have some special quality which allows these strange people to be vegan but which they themselves somehow lack. Usually this is what is behind those “I really respect your discipline” or “you must really love animals” statements; they’re not compliments so much as re-enforcement of the idea that we are different than they are in some key way, and therefore that’s why we’re vegan and they’re not. Relating to non-vegans is therefore incredibly important, and we must work very hard not to give them more reason to believe that we are somehow just better, or more disciplined than they are, or that we love animals more than anyone else. When they talk about how much they used to eat meat, tell them that you did too, tell them how you were convinced you could never give up cheese too, but what happened when you did and why you decided to.

3) People respond to stories more than stats.

In terms of methods, I find that people respond to narrative far more than they respond to statistics. Telling someone how you went vegan, what that was like and how it makes you feel to be vegan is generally far more effective than telling them how cruel they are. Stories of farmed animals really tend to resonate with people; things like rescued animal stories, or the lives of specific animals and what they endure when they are being farmed or slaughtered can be very effective. Sixty billion land animals slaughtered per year is a hard figure to even grasp, and even harder to empathise with, whereas Lucy who was rescued from an egg farm and is walking on grass for the first time is easier to feel emotionally connected to. Draw on those existing stories, one of the key reasons people cite for not going vegan is that it won’t make a difference, but these remarkable animals in sanctuaries, or even those who didn’t make it out, are living proof of the consequences of our choices.

4) Don’t assume that people don’t already know.

I find that many advocates tend to assume too little of the knowledge of the people they’re talking to. When you first find out about animal suffering, your first instinct is that if you can just tell everyone about this thing that you learned, they’ll have the same response as you did and they’ll be so horrified that they’ll want to go vegan. The truth is though that everyone makes the connection for different reasons, and what you were utterly horrified by may have no impact on someone else, or they may already know. People generally know far more about how animals suffer in the meat, dairy and egg industries than they like to admit, so often you’re not actually telling them something new. Jonathan Safran Foer once said that whenever he told anyone he was writing a book about eating animals, people always assumed it was a book about vegetarianism, which is deeply revealing, and he concluded from that assumption that people already know that any in-depth look into how our food is produced will inevitably end up making the case for vegetarianism or veganism. It’s like that knowledge is already there, somewhere, disavowed and hidden from ourselves. This will resonate with many of us who have given up animal products, we often think to ourselves, how could I have ever not known? The truth is, we probably all at least suspected it, we just didn’t let ourselves know these truths we knew would force us to re-evaluate our lives and our choices.

5) Don’t assume bad intent 

When people engage with your posts, talk to you personally or start an online conversation, one of the fastest way to stop a potential conversation dead in it’s track is to assume bad intent. People don’t usually comment on vegan posts just to troll them, people don’t usually approach protesters or question vegans over dinner just to antagonise them, they often feel attacked, are questioning their own morals or are trying to justify the fact that they don’t believe what you do. Even when someone is rude and aggressive, more often than not they sincerely believe that what they are saying is ethically the right thing. It isn’t always obvious, but these are advocacy opportunities. It is so tempting to believe that because our “side” is so obviously right that we don’t need to defend our position, and that anyone who disagrees with us must be a bad person. But try to remember that many non-vegans feel exactly the same way as we do, that it is so obvious that there is nothing wrong with eating animals, sometimes that means they respond to our advocacy with mockery or derision, because they just cannot understand how we arrived at our position, just as we can’t understand how they arrived at theirs. It is our job as advocates to breach that divide and help them understand.

6) Help them connect their actions to the harm being caused.

However you get their attention, the real difficulty is getting people to go from admitting that this is wrong, to realising that they should go vegan. It is such a strange phenomenon, but people can view footage of a pig being slaughtered, be horrified and saddened by it, but never for a second think that they are in any way responsible for it. Either they believe that this is something happening far away, or a long time ago, or they assume it is an isolated case of animal cruelty and that the bacon they eat couldn’t have possibly been produced in this way. This is why obtaining up to date footage from the country you are advocating in is so important, it means you can say to people that this is happening here, right now, in our country and it is happening all the time. Earthlings is powerful stuff, but it’s very easy to dismiss it as being old, or something that just happens in America. It’s worth mentioning here that almost every country thinks their animal welfare is significantly better than anyone else’s, so people will always assume that whatever is happening in that clip would never happen where they are.

7) Ask questions.

Once you do have their attention, ask questions rather than making assumptions about what they behave and why. Asking questions helps people feel heard, and it helps establish where your values are similar, and where they are different, giving you a framework for constructive dialogue. It also gives the other person in the conversation permission to ask you questions in turn, and learn more about animal rights. So ask them, what do they believe in? How did they arrive at the conclusions they’ve arrived at? Why do they feel it is justified to eat animals? Should they be treated a certain way? Why? Is there any animal rights issue they do care about? Seaworld, poaching, chick culling, eating dogs? If they care about these, what is the difference between those things and eating pigs? Is that distinction a legitimate one? If you can lead someone to their own conclusions by tracing out their logic, they’ll be much less resistant than they are when they’re just told what they should believe.

8) Be patient.

While you’re engaged in these conversations, be mindful of your tone and how you’re putting yourself forward. It is sometimes incredibly difficult to maintain your cool when someone is expressing harmful views or is being rude to you, but I can’t tell you the amount of times someone has messaged me with something abusive, I’ve responded with manners, questions and offers of resources, and the tone of the conversation has completely changed. People tend to mirror the person they’re speaking with, and it is surprisingly difficult to be cruel to someone who is being kind to you. Don’t escalate, don’t resort to personal attacks and don’t simply try to “win” the argument by putting the person down with some witty but hurtful one-liner. Our goal shouldn’t be to shut people down, but open them up. It is completely understandable to lose your cool when dealing with such an emotive issue, and by rights we shouldn’t have to tone police ourselves when speaking up on behalf of animals, it should be perfectly legitimate for us to be upset. While it is understandable to behave that way, patience is much more effective. This is easier said than done, and it is something I am continually having to work on myself, but it is up to us to set the tone of these conversations since we are the ones with something to prove.

9) Be sceptical of our arguments as well as theirs.

The “fake news” of the right is discussed often, but less so the fact that this can be a real problem in socially progressive movements as well. There are a whole range of false claims put forward by the vegan community, from the idea that you can’t be fat on a vegan diet and it will solve all of your health problems to dairy making the blood acidic or “causing autism.” There are other claims which are less obvious in their falsity, things like the idea that the dairy industry refers to the device used for artificial insemination as a “rape rack.” This may well be true, but as a general rule if you can’t source it you shouldn’t say it, and no one has ever been able to show me any credible evidence that this is a real term that that the dairy industry uses. Animal agriculture industries spend millions of dollars on propaganda and trying to discredit vegan arguments, so we need to have our claims accurate and properly sourced. This is why we should avoid saying “all” when it comes to the treatment animals endure, as there are always exceptions, and if they can show you even one then your argument falls apart. Nothing will turn someone off what you are saying faster than them being able to find out that one of your claims isn’t true just from a quick google search.

10) Don’t shame people.

In terms of what doesn’t work, I can honestly say that I have never seen anyone effectively “shamed” into going vegan. Calling people out on their behaviour and holding them to account isn’t the same as shaming them, but offering condemnation with no advice, help or alternatives will only make people bitter towards veganism. You can win the argument, everyone will like and share it and you’ll feel great, but what you’ll have created is someone who is wrong but will never go vegan. The key is to show them what they’re doing is wrong, why they should stop, then how to stop. If you just hit step one and skip the rest then you just end up with someone who is angry and possibly ashamed, but is not changing their behaviour. Sometimes it is a case of treating people in a way that is most likely to result in them being vegan, rather than treating them in a way you think they deserve. That is not to say that we have to be super nice to everyone all the time, and there is a genuine place for anger and passion in activism, but it has to be applied intelligently, rather than just hurling abuse at people without any real argument being made. We have to be honest with people about the fact that we think what they’re doing is wrong, but also acknowledge that we used to do it too, and offer them help on how to set it right.

11) Have difficult conversations.

On that point, and I cannot emphasise this enough, if you want to be an effective advocate you must be willing to have difficult conversations with people who disagree with you, and maybe even people who are unkind to you. That sounds obvious, but our online world is now almost wholly made up of echo chambers, and it’s really easy to find reasons to just shut someone down and refuse to engage with them because they have caused us offence. Regardless of the fact that you find the views of these people abhorrent, if you don’t listen to what these views are, you will never be able to dissect them and effectively argue against them. That isn’t to say that you should waste your time on people who will never listen to you in return, or will personally attack and abuse you, but we cannot dismiss people out of hand solely on the basis that they think it’s okay to consume animals, at least not if we expect them to ever change. End a conversation which is going nowhere by all means, but make sure they know that if in a week, a month or a year they changed their minds, they could come to you and you’d still help them out.

12) Accept that you can’t win them all.

A final thing to keep in mind is that you just cannot allow yourself to take it personally when people will not go vegan. You can have all the best arguments, offer extensive resources and be polite and thoughtful during the entire exchange, yet still get told to fuck off. Some people just aren’t ready for the message yet at this point in their lives, and no amount of arguing with them is going to change that. As advocates we need to be able pick our battles, and not allow ourselves to become jaded and bitter by using up all our energy on people who don’t care about animal suffering and won’t listen to anything we have to say. You will burn yourself out if you fight every fight and try to shoulder responsibility for every person you speak to who doesn’t go vegan because of your arguments. The truth is that you can’t “make” anyone go vegan, all you can really do is plant seeds, offer your help and hope for the best.

So keep trying, keep advocating for animals and above all try to remember what it was like when you weren’t vegan. When people are unkind to you or express views you find abhorrent, it is so tempting to respond with righteous indignation, and it’s a trap I’ve fallen into myself on many occasions. But we have to remember that it isn’t about us or our pride, it isn’t about being right, it’s about what is most likely to help them go vegan. Be the kind of vegan you would have wanted to meet when you weren’t one, and offer the kind of help that you wish someone would have given you.

“How can I get my parents to support me in going vegan?”

If you’re living with your parents or are otherwise financially dependent on them, getting their approval and support can be a significant barrier to going vegan, especially if they are paying for your food. I find that most of the time when parents object to their child going vegan, they do so for practical reasons more than anything else. Objections usually centre around finances, health, convenience, though in some case ethics enters into the conversation too.

When it comes to health, keep in mind that your parents were very likely raised on The Food Pyramid, which was an education initiative sponsored by the meat and dairy industry. The result of this is that they, like most of us, have grown up believing wholeheartedly that a balanced diet must include meat and dairy. You probably already know that this is false, but it will allay a lot of their fears if you can prove that fact to them. To help you do that, I have a bunch of facts, statistics and health reports linked on my facts about animal rights page; if your parents are willing to read them then they may prove helpful. It may be more likely that they’ll watch a documentary with you, in which case What The Health on Netflix is a good option, as is Forks Over Knives. Even something as simple as pointing out how many vegan athletes there are can go a long way in persuading them that you can be very healthy while following a vegan diet.

In terms of cost, it’s a really common myth that being vegan costs more. Your parents will have likely walked through a supermarket and seen the faux meats and such, which while comparable in price to mid-range meat, they can be quite expensive for what they are, as unlike meat and dairy they are not subsidised by taxpayer money. It’d be easy to see these products and assume that veganism as a diet is expensive, but you don’t need to buy any of these products to be vegan. Real vegan staples are things like pastas, rice, noodles, beans, lentils, chickpeas, breads, nut butters, frozen fruits and canned vegetables; these represent some of the cheapest and most nutritious food in any supermarket and they’re widely available. If your parents really got a chance to see what a poor vegan eats in a day, it would calm a lot of their fears. You may find my list of cheap vegan essentials useful for this, and recipes to go along with it.

I’d say that convenience is probably the most common objection, it isn’t often said outright that convenience is the issue, but a lot of the time what it comes down to is that your parents are worried that it’ll involve a lot of extra effort to accommodate you. It is up to you then, to make your transition to veganism as smooth and effortless for them as you possibly can. You could volunteer to cook your own meals if you don’t already, you could shop for/pay for your own food if that’s a possibility, you could accompany them to the supermarket to point out good vegan options, or you could make a list if that would be easier for them. Just showing them the kind of meals you can make and how simple the food can be can sometimes be enough, because many people just can’t conceive of what a meal without animal products even looks like, and they object because they are picturing themselves having to buy expensive ingredients and cook from scratch because none of the meals they cook for you now are vegan. This isn’t the case of course, but it will take some time for them to realise how simple and straightforward cooking and eating vegan can be.

If the discussion moves on to the ethics of veganism, how it isn’t natural, how it isn’t making a difference or similar conversations, then you need to be prepared to defend your beliefs on the ethics of animal rights, for that I have a master post on common anti-vegan arguments, as well as brief summaries of common animal rights issues. This research is necessary mostly to prevent yourself getting frustrated rather than trying to win a debate, because it’s important to go into these discussions having already accepted that it is unlikely you will ever get them to change their minds. Parents are unfortunately seldom willing to admit they are wrong when their child believes differently than they do, so it may just be necessary to affirm, clearly but politely, that this is what you believe in, it is very important to you and you hope that they can supportive.

The early days of your veganism may be difficult with them, but even if they are never supportive of it, they usually learn to adapt and accept it. The really important thing in the first few weeks and months is to be patient with them, be polite but firm with your boundaries. If you are willing to compromise and eat non-vegan things because they have bought them or served them to you, then they will take that to mean that you will bend on these things in future, too. When it comes to your veganism, people will generally continue to push your limits if you show them that you will bend. It makes it more difficult, but being firm and uncompromising in the early days will pay off in the long run, when they realise that this is something that you just won’t budget on regardless of the context.

If none of this proves effective, if you have the option to do so you can still insist on it, and simply refuse to eat anything which isn’t vegan. It may take a few days, but they will likely get the message that this isn’t a fad, and most won’t let you go hungry. If they have refused and you are unconvinced they will ever relent or it is unsafe for you to disobey them, then you may just have to be as vegan as you can be under the circumstances. This means eating vegan whenever what you eat is your choice, and buying vegan items whenever you are able to. This isn’t your fault, and you can still make some difference for animals and keep your parents happy until you are able to move out. If your parents ask you anything you can’t answer, or you run into any specific issues or need further support, please feel free to get in touch by sending me a message or an ask; it may take a couple of days to reply to you due to the volume I receive, but I’ll be more than happy to help you.