How I Tricked my Father Into Eating Vegetarian!
In connection to the story about My Personal Way Towards a More Sustainable Life, I am now writing about how the change of my own view towards sustainability influenced people around me.
To begin with my family, sustainability was never a huge topic at home. As for the diet, my mother cooked meat regularly because especially my father grew up with traditional German cuisine, which contains a lot of meat. So I never questioned meat consumption. At least, my mother always went to the local butcher in our village who sells good-quality and regional meat.
As soon as I moved into my own apartment, I rarely cooked dishes with meat (except for German “Maultaschen” and “Saitenwürstchen”). The main reasons for me were that I don’t want to buy cheap meat from the supermarket and I find it disgusting to touch the raw meat while cooking. Later, the aspect of sustainability was a further reason for me to eat less meat.
When I’m going back home today, my father still doesn’t understand why I changed my diet. As soon as I buy oat milk he says something like “Oh, healthy milk” or he is annoyed about the vegetable-heavy dishes I am cooking. So recently I decided to make an experiment. I bought plant-based minced meat at the supermarket and made Chili sin carne but made him believe it was Chili con carne. I honestly thought that he will taste a difference. But guess what, he didn’t! When we asked him how he likes it his only comment was “It’s good but could be spicier”. Me, my mother, and my sister were all pretty amused but didn’t immediately tell him the truth. The secret was revealed several days later when our neighbour was at my parents’ place for dinner. He and my father again talked about why someone should be vegan and how unhealthy such a diet is. My mother couldn’t hold herself back and told my dad about the vegan chili he ate. I could tell that he was really surprised but he tried to play cool and said something like “oh this is why I didn’t like it”.
I am certain that this was the first step in convincing him to be more open to alternatives and do not regard everything without meat as not tasty. Also, my mother and my sister were surprised by my chili sin carne and are now trying to cook more plant-based. A neighbouring village even has a farm store where my mother regularly buys local fruits and vegetables, which is good for the carbon footprint.
Apart from influencing the diet of my family, I also triggered them to be more aware of the impact we have on our planet in general. Together with my mother, I watched documentaries like David Attenborough’s “A life on our planet” or the documentary “Seaspiracy” (which I know also got some criticism). As sustainable fashion is also an important aspect to me, I shared some documentaries about fast fashion with my family. I can’t criticize my father in this aspect as he consumes fashion rarely (and I also don’t want to portray him in a negative way, of course). He buys suits for his work and wears them until they are not wearable anymore. For his free time, my mother even needs to encourage him to buy some new clothes in order to be able to dress well.
I additionally can’t criticize my mother concerning her fashion consumption as she just buys what she needs. Furthermore, she prefers quality over quantity and thinks twice before she buys something. But with my sister this is different. She likes to go to fast fashion stores like ZARA, Brandy Melville, or H&M to buy more cheap clothes. I totally understand her want to be fashionable like the influencers on Instagram and I also know that getting new clothes makes you temporarily happy. So I try to teach her about how to consume fashion in a more sustainable way. I sometimes also brought her vintage blouses from Amsterdam as a gift which she really liked. I know that I won’t change her consumption behaviour drastically, but I definitely already realize that she is aware of the impact she can make and she is interested in learning more.
My friends also are aware of my attitude towards sustainability. I always try to stimulate conversations and share my knowledge in order to inspire them to live more sustainably. And this is exactly what I want to reach with this blog.
So I hope that you got inspired by this personal insight and I motivated you to change some small things in your daily life.