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 Post subject: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:06 pm 
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FMILU = Future-Mother-In-Law-Unit (I couldn't fit that in my subject line)

So, FMILU is in town for turkey day. Last time I saw her back in Texas she said she wanted to become a vegetarian and I was very excited about this!... Until today... We were driving to have a wonderful lunch at Loving Hut when she said it. "Well... I am doing the vegetarian thing... I'm not eating beef or any red meat... But I'll still be having chicken and fish".

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!

I just stared stoically at the road ahead... I didn't know what to say! My mind flashed through options...

"Well... That's not really how vegetarianism works..."
"... You're... Kidding... Right?"
"You realize that's like someone claiming they are Christian while slaughtering a goat over a pentagram, right?"
"Monkeys aren't donkeys! Quit messing with my head!!!"

But nothing... Nothing came out because I can't bear to hurt her feelings or discourage her from her "vegetarianism"... I mean... Eating LESS meat IS still better than eating meat constantly. I am also buying her vegan cookbooks and I showed her how to reconstitute TVP, make seitan, and I bought her BBQ soy protein from Loving Hut to take back with her.

So... What would you do in this sensitive situation?

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:41 pm 
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Scruffleupagus wrote:
We were driving to have a wonderful lunch at Loving Hut when she said it. "Well... I am doing the vegetarian thing... I'm not eating beef or any red meat... But I'll still be having chicken and fish".


You could tell her you are doing the marriage thing, but you'll still be having dates and casual one-night stands.


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Scruffleupagus wrote:
FMILU = Future-Mother-In-Law-Unit (I couldn't fit that in my subject line)

So, FMILU is in town for turkey day. Last time I saw her back in Texas she said she wanted to become a vegetarian and I was very excited about this!... Until today... We were driving to have a wonderful lunch at Loving Hut when she said it. "Well... I am doing the vegetarian thing... I'm not eating beef or any red meat... But I'll still be having chicken and fish".

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!

I just stared stoically at the road ahead... I didn't know what to say! My mind flashed through options...

"Well... That's not really how vegetarianism works..."
"... You're... Kidding... Right?"
"You realize that's like someone claiming they are Christian while slaughtering a goat over a pentagram, right?"
"Monkeys aren't donkeys! Quit messing with my head!!!"

But nothing... Nothing came out because I can't bear to hurt her feelings or discourage her from her "vegetarianism"... I mean... Eating LESS meat IS still better than eating meat constantly. I am also buying her vegan cookbooks and I showed her how to reconstitute TVP, make seitan, and I bought her BBQ soy protein from Loving Hut to take back with her.

So... What would you do in this sensitive situation?


I would do nothing. You said it right up there. you don't want to discourage her from what she's already doing. So who cares? she's making an effort, and if you tell her she's not vegetarian you're the one who is going to look bad in the situation.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:46 pm 
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I wouldn't say anything (me personally, not like my advice to you). People misusing those labels with good intent doesn't bother me personally.

The only time I say something to people about what it really means to be vegetarian/vegan is when they say they "tried that" for a few months while still eating meat. I just say something like "oh so you weren't really vegetarian, you just ate different meat?" It's my way of saying "no, you didn't try it, don't dismiss me, my diet, and my efforts"

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:54 pm 
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I like the last one.

But I would also explain that "vegetarian" denotes no meat, and while you think it's great that she's cut out beef, it can sometimes make it awkward for folks who don't eat any meat ever, because then people try to serve them chicken or fish.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:03 pm 
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philadelphegan wrote:
You could tell her you are doing the marriage thing, but you'll still be having dates and casual one-night stands.


technically that is a type of marriage; an open marriage. people do have those types of marriages.

If someone tells me that they are doing the veg* thing then i choose to discuss why they decided to not eat meat. 9 times out of 10 it is for personal health and the discussion ends there. sometimes it is for other reasons and turns into a pretty good discussion. the only type of veg* discussions i hate are the ones asking me why i am not eating that."


Last edited by pyroFOODiak on Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Squeak wrote:
I like the last one.

But I would also explain that "vegetarian" denotes no meat, and while you think it's great that she's cut out beef, it can sometimes make it awkward for folks who don't eat any meat ever, because then people try to serve them chicken or fish.


Yeah, I think there's a polite way about it. You could say pollotarian, according to wikipedia.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:06 pm 
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I'm not one to discourage someone who's genuinely trying to reduce their animal product consumption, but if she's eating chicken and fish instead of cows and pigs...that really isn't reducing animal product consumption, is it. That's just eating more chicken and fish, and fewer cows and pigs. It's not about whether or not she's "entitled" to use the vegetarian label -- it's about, is she actually eating less meat? I feel like it's worth bringing that up, especially if you feel like she's moving toward vegetarianism out of a concern for animal rights. Sometimes people just haven't entirely thought through their choices -- I know I had to be educated a whole lot before I understood why veganism was so important and it wasn't enough to just eat "different" animal products.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:21 pm 
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It kind of sounded to me like she knows she's not technically a vegetarian, just that she's trying to move towards that. In my opinion, since the moment already passed, I wouldn't call her up and say, "hey, you're not really a vegetarian" or anything, but if the conversation comes up again, maybe say something like, "It's great you are trying to reduce your meat consumption. Cutting out some types of meat is a good step towards becoming a vegetarian. I'd love to share some of my recipes and tips with you." I think buying her vegan cookbooks is a great idea too. I don't think that cutting out some types of meat (red meat in her case) necessarily means she's still eating as many animals either, as long as she isn't substituting the chicken and fish for the red meat, but is adding in some vegetarian meals where there otherwise weren't any. Who knows in this situation, though.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:56 pm 
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I think she is eating less meat. I just remember in college people claiming to be vegetarian and eating fish really irked me.

Yeah I'd pretty much decided not to say anything... A) because the moment is gone B) because I think she understood the awkward silence and C) she's my future mother in law... KINDA would like it if she liked me. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:19 pm 
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ilovemountains wrote:
It kind of sounded to me like she knows she's not technically a vegetarian, just that she's trying to move towards that. In my opinion, since the moment already passed, I wouldn't call her up and say, "hey, you're not really a vegetarian" or anything, but if the conversation comes up again, maybe say something like, "It's great you are trying to reduce your meat consumption. Cutting out some types of meat is a good step towards becoming a vegetarian. I'd love to share some of my recipes and tips with you."


Yeah, this. I would congratulate her on taking the first step and offer support. I think it's pretty great that she comes to vegan restaurants with you anyway, I'd be thrilled if my partner's mum did the same.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:38 pm 
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pyroFOODiak wrote:
philadelphegan wrote:
You could tell her you are doing the marriage thing, but you'll still be having dates and casual one-night stands.

technically that is a type of marriage; an open marriage. people do have those types of marriages.

Good point, although I'm not sure what "technically" means in this case. I suppose there are people who want to defend the definition of "marriage" to preclude "open marriages" just as there are people who want to defend vegetarianism to preclude "eating [insert non-vegetarian food here]."


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:51 pm 
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philadelphegan wrote:
Good point, although I'm not sure what "technically" means in this case. I suppose there are people who want to defend the definition of "marriage" to preclude "open marriages" just as there are people who want to defend vegetarianism to preclude "eating [insert non-vegetarian food here]."


it is just funny how vegetarian only means different things amongst vegetarians.


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:07 am 
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pyroFOODiak wrote:
philadelphegan wrote:
You could tell her you are doing the marriage thing, but you'll still be having dates and casual one-night stands.


technically that is a type of marriage; an open marriage. people do have those types of marriages.

If someone tells me that they are doing the veg* thing then i choose to discuss why they decided to not eat meat. 9 times out of 10 it is for personal health and the discussion ends there. sometimes it is for other reasons and turns into a pretty good discussion. the only type of veg* discussions i hate are the ones asking me why i am not eating that."


yea well there is that. but i still get his point.!.



and i would say something...i wouldnt come at it harsh...then again...i wouldnt know how to go at it...but i would eventually say something...somehow...

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:09 am 
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I think you should let it go.

But "vegetarian" certainly doesn't mean "eating less meat."

They have a name for that: "eating less meat."

You can say you're a nonsmoker when all you mean by that is that you're down to half a pack a day, but that doesn't make you a coherent person.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:04 am 
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pyroFOODiak wrote:
philadelphegan wrote:
Good point, although I'm not sure what "technically" means in this case. I suppose there are people who want to defend the definition of "marriage" to preclude "open marriages" just as there are people who want to defend vegetarianism to preclude "eating [insert non-vegetarian food here]."


it is just funny how vegetarian only means different things amongst vegetarians.


When I was omni I'd call out a friend who called herself a vegetarian and still ate chicken, because she wasn't a freaking vegetarian. So, not just vegetarians draw lines!

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:40 am 
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philadelphegan wrote:
Scruffleupagus wrote:
We were driving to have a wonderful lunch at Loving Hut when she said it. "Well... I am doing the vegetarian thing... I'm not eating beef or any red meat... But I'll still be having chicken and fish".


You could tell her you are doing the marriage thing, but you'll still be having dates and casual one-night stands.


That made my morning (not much going on here), I would love to say that to my MIL with a serious face then walk away. Hijack over and out.

First off well done to your FMIL for at least taking a step, secondly if she is going around proclaiming she is vegetarian then someone will eventually inform her that isn't the case.
I would just see it as an opportunity to teach her some new things as you have been doing.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:46 am 
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I wouldn't tell her she is wrong. I would praise her and ask why she decided to cut out pork and red meat. Depending what she tells you (health, AR, environment), you can then start having the conversations to move her away from chicken, fish, dairy etc.

Hurrah for small steps and for an awesome FMILU. At least you know you're guaranteed good food at family dinners not the obligatory throw-away salad.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:55 am 
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My mom is doing this, she doesn't call herself a vegetarian, but "eating more plant-based foods".
My friends mom thought vegetarians could have chicken and fish, I'm really not sure why. Was annoying when she'd rave about some awesome veggie food she made for me and there was chicken bits in it.


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:05 am 
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Tofulish wrote:
I wouldn't tell her she is wrong. I would praise her and ask why she decided to cut out pork and red meat. Depending what she tells you (health, AR, environment), you can then start having the conversations to move her away from chicken, fish, dairy etc.

Hurrah for small steps and for an awesome FMILU. At least you know you're guaranteed good food at family dinners not the obligatory throw-away salad.



Tofulish is very wise


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:37 am 
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FootFace wrote:
You can say you're a nonsmoker when all you mean by that is that you're down to half a pack a day, but that doesn't make you a coherent person.

I like this analogy and I'm totally stealing it if I ever have another conversation with an omni who tells me vegetarians eat chicken and fish.

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:56 am 
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Drives me nuts too, but you did the right thing by not saying anything. It is confusing for some when they are starting out. Getting her vegan cookbooks is great, especially ones that do some explaining. She'll learn lots from you as you are leading by example. I'm a great believer of gentle persuasion. Too much preachiness and lecturing turns people off.


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:06 pm 
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I wouldn't say anything sarcastic or abrasive, but I would say something.

"Hey, for future, chicken and fish aren't vegetarian as they are still meat. If you still eat chicken, you're still doing a good job eating less meat...but just eating fish is called pescetarianism. If you wanted to fully go vegetarian, I'd be happy to lend you some cookbooks with great information!"

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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:07 pm 
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von m wrote:
Drives me nuts too, but you did the right thing by not saying anything. It is confusing for some when they are starting out. Getting her vegan cookbooks is great, especially ones that do some explaining. She'll learn lots from you as you are leading by example. I'm a great believer of gentle persuasion. Too much preachiness and lecturing turns people off.

And baking vegan treats for her, too! What's more gentle and persuasive than brownies? She'll learn that she doesn't miss out on anything because of her ethical/health/eco/whatever choices in a delicious, delicious way.


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 Post subject: Re: How do I tell my FMILU that she's not REALLY vegetarian?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:08 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
But "vegetarian" certainly doesn't mean "eating less meat."
You can say you're a nonsmoker when all you mean by that is that you're down to half a pack a day, but that doesn't make you a coherent person.


well you could say that you are a vegetarian but would it mean that you are vegan? I am arguing that it is a spectrum, and from someone on the outside looking in, it is all the same. and quite frankly the widespread smugness is a huge turn off. every journey begins with a first step and all that.

before i get off my soapbox i would like to see a future where every restaurant has a real option on the menu, not just the lamest appetizer, not just steamed vegetables, not french fries. how do we make that happen?


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