Many of us have lived through a time, or are going through a time right now, when money was particularly tight.
We have to get creative with our spending and cut out those things that aren’t important to our daily lives, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Dry-Lychee6844 was comfortable with sending her sister money and food, especially since she knew it helped her sister, nieces, and nephews.
But when she discovered where all the money was going, and it wasn’t to feed the kids, the Original Poster (OP) put a stop to her support.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to help my little sister until my niece stops being vegan?”
The OP tried to support her sister in any way she could.
“My sister has four kids Maria (16 Female), Liam (16), Willow (13), and Teddy (10).”
“My sister made some really bad choices that led to her being disowned by our parents and left her very poor.”
But she noticed her sister spending the most resources on her oldest daughter.
“Another thing to know is that she absolutely spoils Maria.”
“We live in a country where special vegan items (vegan meat, etc) cost three times more than normal food. And veganism is not very common here, so things like soy milk and pound-by-pound vegan meat aren’t available.”
“However, we have many plant-based dishes that are absolutely vegan-friendly. But my niece won’t eat them.”
The OP knew she had to draw the line somewhere.
“Maria decided to become vegan when she was 14, and she demanded my sister buy her special vegan stuff.”
“This meant much nicer things for her while my other nephews and niece have to eat worse food. They’re eating the equivalent of a slice of pizza or a bowl of cereal without milk per day.”
“I usually send food anytime there is anything extra left over and usually lend her some money.”
“When Maria became vegan and Liam told me about what they were eating, my family and I ended up sending some sort of meat dish to them twice per week, but I also stopped lending my sister money.”
The OP’s sister voiced her frustration.
“My sister finally got upset with me on Friday and asked me why I stopped helping her financially and only send non-vegan food because it was making Maria upset.”
“I told her that it was because of Maria. I told her that unless Maria stops being vegan and she stops spoiling Maria, I wouldn’t help her.”
“It’s not that I’m mad that my niece is vegan (my own son is). I’m mad that she’s basically draining most of my sister’s funds, so she can’t feed her siblings.”
“She hasn’t talked to me since then and I’m wondering if I’m the AH.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were shocked by how the sister was favoring her eldest daughter.
“NTA. She is favoring her vegan daughter at the cost of her other kids.” – Nitro114
“I grew up in beef country in the 1970s and hated the texture of most meats (still do). Know how my family accommodated my diet? They didn’t make me eat meat.”
“There weren’t any vegetarian substitutes readily available, so I just ate a lot of vegetables. Easy peasy. In fact, it cost my parents less due to my eating so little meat.”
“I learned how to cook as a wee child so I could have a larger variety of meals that weren’t just the two to three vegetables on the side of the meat main course.”
“It’s really awful that OP’s sister is making her other three kids go without while giving her vegan daughter specialty foods. There are myriad grain bowls she could make for the family that are vegan and super cheap per serving, and she could add a little meat to the other kids’ bowls.”
“Or, get this, the 16-year-old could… cook for herself. (GASP!!)” – CaptainLollygag
“The mom can’t afford to feed any of the kids the specialty crap the vegan kid wants. The mom’s just depriving the other kids of any kind of decent food because she thinks she needs to spend extra money on that.” – DoomsdaySpud
“Maria is not forcing her diet on her siblings. She’s actively stealing and starving them from their mother’s financial resources to feed her own entitlement. This is way beyond morally right or political agenda with her veganism.” – takethisdayofmine
“It would be different if Maria wasn’t demanding extremely expensive processed vegan food.”
“I don’t think it’s ok to force her to stop being vegan, but I do understand pulling back financially due to the sister using the funds irresponsibly.”
“The mother shouldn’t be splurging on processed vegan ‘meat’ alternatives while her other kids eat junk. Instead, she should get less expensive items that can feed both the vegan and non-vegan children, like fresh fruits and veggies.”
“There are several YouTube videos on how to make high-protein vegan meals using non-processed foods.”
“You can soak red lentils in water to make homemade ‘tofu.’ Beans and chickpeas are cheap vegan options to make a hearty protein-packed meal. You can make your own oat milk in less than five minutes with oats, water, a blender, and some vanilla extract.”
“They can definitely work within their budget to ensure everyone is eating delicious, nutritious meals. NTA.” – Zealousideal-Divide6
“I wouldn’t say spoiling her. I’m sure the mom is trying to adhere to her daughter’s wishes, but being vegan is a personal choice you are supposed to make.”
“When it becomes something where others suffer so you can be vegan, then it isn’t about veganism. It’s like a fashion statement.”
“‘I hate the way we treat animals, so I’m going to starve my family and put a financial strain on my mother out of respect for the animals,’ and suddenly veganism isn’t trendy because you’d have to be an AH to put your family through that.” – okilz
Others supported the OP in her concerns about how the money was being spent.
“It’s easy to say that OP shouldn’t have an issue with the girl being vegan, but when the cost of that food is making it so her siblings are barely eating, that’s an issue.”
“OP’s sister can’t AFFORD to spoil her daughter in this way. She can make her cheaper vegetarian dishes instead of hurting the rest of her children.”
“Or the girl can get a job and start buying her own food.” – crystallz2000
“She isn’t actually saying Maria can’t be vegan, but she’s saying that Maria needs to stop demanding ‘specialty vegan’ items like fake meat, fake cheese, fake butter, etc.”
“If she’s vegan on principle, good for her, but she needs to decide between a plain old salad/pasta with tofu or going hungry because it’s ridiculous to expect everyone else to starve and to get inadequate nutrition just so Maria can have the ‘fancy’ vegan foods.” – MagicCarpet5846
“Most naturally vegan and vegetarian foods (and gluten-free for that matter) aren’t expensive. Most pasta with tomato sauce? Vegan and vegetarian, and costs like four dollars, if that, for several servings.”
“Lots of food like trail mix can make great vegan snacks, and eating enriched grains, fruit, and veggies/salads is an easy and fairly inexpensive way to maintain a vegan diet, with occasional splurges for the meat/dairy substitutes when there is enough money.”
“I’ve lived most of my life not eating meat, and I’m fine, and my meals often cost less than the ones my family eats that do have meat.” – pettychild43
“Pasta, rice, or beans with vegetables is cheap, nutritious, and the easiest of things to eat for vegetarians/vegans. I have a box of veggie burgers, and I treat it like fast food: something I have every once in a while as a treat.” – sqrrrlgrrl
“Vegan food is NOT inherently more expensive. It’s only more expensive if buying processed meat substitutes and lots of harder-to-source items. The problem is not Maria’s vegan diet. It’s that they are choosing more expensive items.” – thirdtryisthecharm
“Fake meats and processed vegan snacks can be prohibitively expensive.”
“Back as a pre-teen, I hated beans too. My folks made me learn how to cook if I wanted to stay vegetarian. Mum was supportive; if they had a mixed dish, she’d separate out the veggies for me, and I could add bean patties (which I was okay with because I liked hummus) or tofu or seitan (homemade is WAY cheaper than store-bought).”
“So, if I were OP and wanted to keep helping out, I’d probably offer veggie dishes that everyone can eat (curries, stir-fries), without the processed junk. That way, Maria can have the option, and everyone is getting a nice healthy meal.”
“Fortified nutritional yeast can be hard to get, but those who are concerned about the price of veganism on a budget might be able to order, and it tends to be cheaper than supplements.” – Shavasara
While the subReddit could understand the mother wanting to support her daughter’s wishes to be vegan, not properly caring for her other three children was too high of a price to show her support.
By looking at affordable alternatives for her daughter, the mother could ensure that her daughter is able to be vegan while her other three children are being properly fed.
Maybe once a balance was found, more support could be given to make the situation easier.