Make Your Own Garlic Dip – Vegan Tip #8

Sometimes you just really crave a pizza; whether it’s when you’re with friends on a night-in or you’re having a Netflix marathon and you can’t be bothered cooking. You can’t go too wrong with pizza!

I was over the moon when I found out that Dominoes’ tomato sauce and base is accidentally vegan and I’ve ordered many veggie pizzas minus the cheese over the last year. Unfortunately, I can’t use the garlic dip, which was something I used to LOVE when I was an omni.

If you’re missing that garlic goodness as well, fear not! You can just make your own VERY easily! All you need is a few teaspoons of vegan mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise cos it’s THE BEST), a sprinkle of oregano and parsley and some garlic purée.

I always have these ingredients in the house for daily meals anyway, so I didn’t even have to run to the shops. Chances are, if you’re a vegan, you’ll probably have these in your cupboard, and if not you can invest in them and always have garlic dip on hand!

All you do is combine them until it looks like the garlic dip you know and love – it couldn’t be simpler! Plus you can add more or less garlic depending on your taste – it’s almost better than the real thing!

Dealing With Unsupportive Family Members – Vegan Tip #7

Thankfully I am in a position where my family members are supportive of my vegan lifestyle, but that isn’t to say that my journey hasn’t been free of snide comments, ‘Did you know…’ statements and concerns for my health. We’re all going to deal with this to some degree, but some families really don’t make things easy for a budding vegan.

My advice for anyone dealing with a worried or defensive family is to avoid being too emotional and angry; it just makes you seem hysterical and non-vegans tend to use that for their ‘All vegans are extreme’ shtick.

We as vegans do want others to give up meat and start thinking critically about what we put in our bodies, of course we do, but that’s not always possible. All of us would love if our families/friends/partners adopted a vegan lifestyle, and there are things you can do to make that possible. However, there are also things you can do and say that will make that kind of change almost impossible.

vegan unsupportive family

Calling meat eaters murderers, constant preaching and angry outbursts aren’t the way to get through to meat eaters, in my opinion.

To assure family members that are concerned for your health, gently inform them and be patient with them. Yes, you’ve probably heard the protein and calcium questions many times before, but that’s just our lot in life. We will continue to hear these kind of questions for a long time, questions we may consider silly or stupid, because many people do not know anything about nutrition short of ‘a banana has potassium’. And most people certainly don’t know much about veganism.

Educate the people in your life who care about you, but don’t do it with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude.

What you can do is sit down with your family members and explain to them that it is your choice to be a vegan, that you are vegan because you don’t believe in eating animals/ you want to improve your health/ you care for the environment or, most likely, all three. If you’re asked to provide proof that the vegan diet helps all of those things, you can offer to send them some links on facts about veganism or you can start a discussion on it there and then. Arm yourself with facts and knowledge and you will be fine. People argue against facts, but they can’t realistically do it forever without realising they’re wrong. Something will eventually get through and they will accept that what you’re saying is true, particularly if they look into it themselves. Patience is key.

vegan unsupportive family

Another thing you can do is offer to cook a vegan meal for the people in your family. This will help as many people have the misguided notion that vegans have a very pitiful choice of food. As vegans, we know this is absolutely untrue and I personally have never had such food variety in my life, having stuck to the basic Irish meal of spuds + meat + gravy for most of my life.

For those of you who are teenagers living with parents who don’t ‘allow’ you to be vegan, there aren’t a lot of options, I’m afraid. I’ve seen a few comments from teens on other forums and blogs where this is the case, and I feel very sorry for the people who have to deal with angry parents who don’t want to understand. What you can do is talk to them like I suggested above, but if that doesn’t work you can slowly phase things out. You could say things like ‘I’m not really a fan of red meat’ or ‘Dairy makes me bloated’ or ‘I’m cutting down my meat consumption to lose some weight’ or ‘Last time I ate chicken I got quite sick and I’ve gone off the taste’.

It’s sad that some people have to bend the truth just to pursue something they strongly believe in, but this kind of approach does work. If your parents think that you’re not eating something because you don’t like it or because it makes you feel unwell, they’re more likely to accept you omitting it from your plate. If you don’t feel like doing this, you can just do whatever you can until you move out. Every little helps; things like buying cruelty free makeup and skincare products, signing petitions against animal cruelty, and buying vegan snacks with pocket money. You’re still making a difference.

How do you deal with unsupportive families? Let me know in the comments!

Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail – Vegan Tip #5

Many people who choose a vegan lifestyle who then give up and go back to eating meat often do so because of a lack of dietary information and the environment most of us unfortunately live in. I’d be the first one to say that it’s not easy being vegan when you’re hungry and faced with nothing to eat. And this can happen more times than you’d think.

Before, if you were peckish you could just pop into a shop and pick up a snack or a treat and it would do you until you can get diner somewhere. However, it’s not that easy now. You may find yourself googling on your phone to make sure whatever product you’ve picked up doesn’t have animal derivatives in it, or you might be faced with the horrible realisation that you can’t buy anything but a bottle of water and a bruised looking piece of fruit.

vegan

That’s why you must always be prepared. In years to come, there will be much more vegan options in stores and corner shops as it becomes more mainstream, but unfortunately that’s just not the case right now, and you can’t expect to find food you can eat everywhere. I always have a bag of nuts and a bar of some sort in my bag, whether that’s a treat from Naked, or Choices, or Natasha’s or something of my own making.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!