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Vegetarianism vs. Heritage

Hello.  I am a 19-year-old sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT).  I eat a very low fat vegetarian diet (similar to the
Ornish or McDougall programs) when I am here at the
Institute, but I find it very hard to do when I go back home to Texas.
I was born and bred in Texas and was therefore raised on steaks, barbecue,
and the like, so when I go home, that is usually what my parents want to feed me.

Also, I usually go home only at holidays, which means the relatives get together
with us and fix one big blow-out meal, which is laden with fat.  This year, at
Thanksgiving, I would like to stick with the way I usually eat, but I'm not sure
how to go about telling my grandmother that I no longer want to eat any
butter-soaked cornbread or that I would like my stuffing prepared without any
fat.  Above all, how do I tell them that I won't be eating any turkey!?

I have already taken some ribbing from some of my friends, who tend to say
things like, "You can't be a true Texan if you don't eat meat!"  That's kind of
hurtful to me since I'm really proud of my Texan heritage.

Finally, ways have you found to avoid junk food in social settings?  I study
with my friends a lot, and there is generally a big bag of cookies in the middle
of the table to tempt me.  I can sometimes avoid them, but there are times when
they seem way too inviting.

Does anyone have any advice as to how I should handle this situation?  If so,
please send e-mail directly to <daveac@xxxxxxx>.

Thank you for listening!