Can Vegans Get the Support They Need While Grieving the Loss of a Loved One?
From Animal Rights/Vegan Activist Strategies Articles Archive

FROM Beth Levine, LCSW-C
May 2019

Originally published on

Tips about how vegans can get the support they need when grieving the loss of loved ones.

Since starting this blog, I have heard from several vegans how it has been challenging to get the support they needed when grieving a loved one.

Culture uses food as an important balm. People bring food, talk about food, make food, serve food when comforting others or seeking comfort. And, unless it is a support group run by and for vegans, there is going to be a lot of talk about and serving of non-vegan food. Seeing, hearing, and smelling animal-based food can trigger a whole other layer of grief and leave vegans feeling more alone, isolated and angry. This is especially difficult when grieving the loss of a loved one.

Unfortunately, I don’t see an easy solution to this problem. There are inevitable challenges when choosing fairness and respect to all beings when the world we live in does not.

Here are a few ideas to hopefully help you get at least some of the support you need:

  1. If you’re going to a support group, talk to the people running the support group and explain that veganism is an ethical stance not a dietary choice. Or raise it during the group discussion. Or bring this up to your family and friends. Ask at the support group or family gatherings you attend if it could be a Food Free group, where there is no discussion or presentation of non-vegan food. Or half of the meeting time could be Food-Free.
  2. Decide for yourself if there’s a certain amount of time in which you could disconnect from animal-based triggers so you’d be able to receive support from the group and if so, give yourself permission to do so.
    Reach out to vegan friends and family for support.
  3. Try going to a Companion Animal Support Group. They might be more understanding.
  4. Find a vegan therapist. Here’s a great resource: Activist Resouces List from IDA In Defense of Animals
  5. Start a Vegan Grief Support group on Meetup or Facebook.

Beth Levine, LCSW-C, has a private practice based in Rockville, Maryland. She is Certified as a Therapist and Therapist Supervisor in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy by The Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy. She also has earned a Level I Certification in Internal Family Systems. Beth works with adults in individual and couple settings. She works with people struggling with anxiety, depression and relationship issues. She is honored to be part of her clients’ journey toward better health, happiness, and relationships. She is driven to make the world a better place on an individual, as well as a systemic level. Beth can be reached at [email protected]  and at her website.

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