Holiday Bullying around Food Choices Ends in Depression for Many Vegans and Vegetarians

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Author Tamira Thayne with her cat, Tuna

For many of us who choose not to eat animals, the holidays can turn into a special kind of hades, one beyond the normal ‘time spent with your crazy family’ insanity.

We often feel forced to choose between two less than stellar options: eat with our families, where odds are good we will be made fun of or put down for our beliefs—all while being forced to dine with a dead carcass smack dab in the middle of the table—or go it alone at the ‘happiest time of the year.’

Not great options.

When I first became a vegetarian fourteen years ago, I attended a seminar at one of the animal conferences about this very subject, and I remember clearly the speaker encouraging us not to hold ourselves separate from our families at the holidays. He reasoned that we could be an example for them and educate just by being ourselves, showing them we weren’t ‘crazy animal people’ and hopefully then they too will make more humane choices.

The advice made sense to me, even though it didn’t sound like fun. I really struggled with having to sit at the table with a turkey carcass and pretend like it didn’t affect me.

But I did it, and I pushed my personal feelings aside year after year. I’m here to report that I have not ‘won over’ a single family member, and remain the sole vegetarian/vegan in my family. (I eat about 85% vegan and 15% vegetarian meals.) I am married to a man who eats meat, and both of my children eat meat. Every member of my extended family on all sides eats meat.

I am truly alone in my choice.

And me putting my pain to the side and eating with them for years has not changed a single mind.

This year was particularly brutal for me, though, and may have forced me to reconsider following this gentleman’s advice, for my own emotional well-being.

If you too had a tough holiday season, I feel for you, and share your suffering.

If I end up unhappy and crying and/or seething with anger at a holiday ‘celebration’, is that really to anyone’s benefit? Is it to your benefit to end up the same way by forcing yourself to interact with people who don’t understand or support you?

I checked in with a few other vegans I know for their thoughts.

tearswerehumancoverloAuthor Heather Leughmyer told me her vegan family unit chose to eat only in the company of other vegans on Thanksgiving, and therefore there was no pain, no turmoil.

One of my Facebook friends drew her own line in the sand the other day with the following one-sentence post: “If you ate ham for Christmas, please unfriend me now.”

Her stand engendered the usual outpouring of “you’ll never win people over with this attitude” kind of responses; and maybe from a logical standpoint I can agree with them.

But our feelings are not always logical.

And maybe there comes a time when you have to take care of YOU, and YOU can no longer stomach the pain of hanging around those who believe animals are here for humans to use and abuse.

Subjecting yourself to bullying at the hands of loved-ones at the holidays—in some perhaps misguided effort to seem ‘normal’—isn’t healthy, and often leads to depression and feelings of isolation.

No one deserves to suffer for the simple act of making a humane choice with their eating habits.

At a time when bullying is at an all-time high in America, family members who tend to be bombastic by nature are feeling more empowered, and are apt to make easy targets of vegetarian and vegan family members.

I experienced this targeting while dining with extended family this year. The two women in the family went out of their way to make me special vegan food, which I didn’t expect but greatly appreciated. I was deeply touched by their kindness.

But the husband, who had coincidentally voted for Trump, went out of his way to put me down. First he told my son a ‘joke’ about vegetarians, supposedly behind my back, but making sure that I heard him. I felt belittled and shamed, and managed not to cry only by pushing my feelings down. And having another drink.

Then he told me if I didn’t want to be the only vegetarian at the table I should start eating meat again.

By this time I’d had enough. We had words, and then the whole family finished their dinners in awkward silence.

I won’t go back.

If forcing yourself to be with family only results in you feeling more pain, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to make yourself more important next year. Take Heather’s advice, find a new family of vegans to spend the holidays with, or go it alone.

Sometimes being alone isn’t lonely. It’s peaceful, healing, and calm.

I think that’s what I’ll be doing next year.

—Tamira Ci Thayne

Tamira is the founder of Who Chains You Books, and the author of Foster Doggie Insanity and Capitol in Chains. She is an animal activist and ordained minister, best-known as the pioneer of the anti-tethering movement in America. Tamira founded and ran Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit advocating for chained dogs, from 2002-2015.

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WCY Author is a Ghost Hunter by Night

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Who Chains You Publishing would like to welcome author Brandy Herr to our publishing family with the release of “Honey’s Second Chance.”

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Honey’s Second Chance

By Brandy Herr

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

Author Brandy Herr has a bit of an unusual but fascinating career.

As a writer and a reader, Brandy’s interests tend to lean towards the macabre. She is the co-founder and tour guide of the Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour, a ghost tour based around the historic downtown square of Granbury, Texas. She is also the co-host of the Granbury Paranormal Expo, an annual event that brings together ghost hunters, psychics, UFO enthusiasts, horror fans, and others who are interested in the unexplained.

From this came her first full-length book, Haunted Granbury, which describes in more detail the ghost stories from around her hometown as well as her own personal ghost hunting experiences. Her work as an author and a macabre entrepreneur has taken her to several horror and paranormal conventions, where she has been able to meet and network with numerous horror movie and television icons. In 2015, she was invited to speak as a special guest at San Antonio’s MonsterCon.

Wanting to focus more on fiction in order to broaden her audience, Brandy submitted her short story, “The Calico,” for consideration in Nine Deadly Lives: An Anthology of Feline Fiction. The book was released in October 2015, with readers describing her story as “twisted,” “unexpected,” and “dark.”

Her latest piece, Honey’s Second Chance, takes a drastic turn from her previous work. An avid animal welfare advocate, Brandy chose to turn her focus from the fantastic and the unexplained and concentrate instead on the all-too-real horror faced every day by countless animals throughout the country. Taking the form of a children’s book, Honey’s Second Chance tells the story of Honey, an actual dog saved and rehabilitated by Granbury animal rescue Second Chance Farm. Told from Honey’s perspective, readers can learn about the important work done by this incredible rescue organization, and they can understand why dogs should be cared for and treated as a member of the family. Brandy’s prose softens the true nature of the situation to ensure the book is appropriate reading material for all ages. The book, with a couple exceptions, is illustrated using actual photos of Honey and the animals rescued by Second Chance Farm, with artistic twists provided by illustrator Tamira Ci Thayne.

Honey’s Second Chance is available through Who Chains You Publishing. Half of the profits Brandy Herr receives from the book will be donated to Second Chance Farm to help them continue the amazing work that they do.

For more information on Brandy Herr’s work, visit her website at www.AuthorBrandyHerr.com and like her official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AuthorBrandyHerr.

To buy her newly released children’s book, Honey’s Second Chance, in paperback, Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, or from our Createspace store, visit the below links:

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Kindle | Buy from Createspace and $1 Will be Donated to Unchained Melodies Dog Rescue

$.99 Kindle Books Tonight ONLY! from Who Chains You—Books for Animal Lovers

You love animals, we love animals. You and our books must be a match made in heaven! And tonight ONLY get each and every one for just $.99 each. But hurry…just 4 hours left for most titles. View all our books and make your choices (or choose them all!) at http://www.whochainsyou.com/books.html

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All Seven Titles. Just $.99 Each, Kindle. Tonight Only during CyberWeek. Questions?

View all our books and make your choices (or choose them all!) at http://www.whochainsyou.com/books.html

In other news, Just in Time for Christmas, “Honey’s Second Chance” hasn’t even hit Amazon yet, but we have it available in our CreateSpace Publisher’s store!

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Honey, a beautiful golden retriever who deserved the very best life had to offer, had fallen on hard times. She spent all her days and all her nights tied to a tree in the backyard; she was lucky if she received food, water, and a kind word each day. But everything changed the day her guardian discovered her collar had cut into her neck, forcing him to make a decision about how much she actually meant to him. She was dumped at the shelter, where a kind woman took her to Second Chance Farm; there she got the care and tenderness she so greatly deserved. Based on a true story, this tale is sure to touch the hearts of all who read it.

Perfect for kids young and old, Honey’s Second Chance is a wonderful way to educate children at home or in schools that a dog deserves to be a happy and beloved member of the family. Who Chains You Publishing is proud to release children’s books that are fun, educational, and stand tall as a voice for the animals.

Buy it here in Paperback for only $12.97. A portion of the proceeds supports Second Chance Farm, too! Our official announcement to come this week, but you can get it early.  https://www.createspace.com/6761947