Yesterday, I opened up to the idea of what do you serve to your company when you are whole food plant based or vegan? That thought lead me to think about my own family. How do I balance my table and the conversation when three of us are vegan and one of us is an omnivore? So far, when my daughter is home from college, she either eats the whole food plant based meals I prepare, doesn’t eat at all or goes to the store and picks up food she would enjoy. I wonder, am I being unfair to her and her choices?
The worst time is when we have to pick a restaurant. She does not want to go to a vegan restaurant and we want to have multiple choices when we go out. In the suburbs of Atlanta, GA., you will not find a lot of restaurants that cater to whole food plant based/vegans and you especially will not find restaurants that cater to both.
On top of this many times our conversations revolve around food and she becomes frustrated and defensive. I am not sure I can blame her. This lifestyle is not her choice yet, it has been thrust upon her. She does try to be open minded and has come around to a number of the meals I prepare, but she is now in the place I was years ago when I was the only one in the family that was vegan/vegetarian and everyone else was omnivores. I tended to eat unhealthy processed frozen meals while I prepared a homemade meal for each of them. She does not eat frozen meals but she is left out at times in the conversation and the meal we are all sharing.
This revelation has me pondering - how do I balance our home table? Since I do not want to prepare meat, fish, eggs or dairy the solution I have come up with, is to try to prepare whole food plant based or vegan meals that she would enjoy. Have eggs available for her to prepare herself. And make a conscience effort not to discuss our food lifestyle at every meal. The nice part is that she has come around to almond milk, vegan butter (not healthy, but a good substitute when needed) and she enjoys fruits and vegetables.
Bridging the gap at meal time for every family has it's own unique minefields to navigate. You may have someone who is a picky eater, or a vegan/vegetarian at the table when everyone else is eating meat, or visa versa, or a family member with serious food issues like bulimia or anorexia. You may have someone on a diet for weight loss, diabetes, celiacs, heart issues or other health concerns or you may have a serious allergy to nuts, dairy or other foods. The family table is an interesting place. We share our lives at the table, we connect at the table and we laugh at the table. And at times we share our grievances with one another and the world at the table. So it appears to me, that the answer is to continue to enjoy these opportunities to connect and remember that we are all unique, each of us has our individual characteristics and thoughts that make up a very interesting and dynamic person with whom we can all appreciate and learn from. Sometimes learning how to change or adjust our plate for the health, life and well-being for someone we care for is the greatest gift we can give.
Wishing you Grace, Peace & Healthy Living,