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Man says only stepdaughter has to buy her own food. 'Because she's the vegan.'

Man says only stepdaughter has to buy her own food. 'Because she's the vegan.'


It's not easy to be different from the rest of your family. Say you're the only child from the previous marriage, or you're the only one who doesn't eat meat. On Reddit, one stepfather insists it's only the latter that led to a new rule he's implemented. His wife's not buying it. But her daughter might have to.

AITA for requesting my vegan stepdaughter pay for her vegan-specific groceries?

My [34M] wife [36F] and I have three kids together, plus my wife has a daughter [16F] from a previous marriage. My wife’s ex is in my stepdaughter's life, but not active nor financially supportive whatsoever. Both wife and I work full time.

To be clear, I have always treated stepdaughter as my own daughter and only refer to her here as stepdaughter for clarity's sake. In real life, I just call her my daughter. I have pretty much raised her since she was 8.

Stepdaughter has decided to go vegan for environmental reasons, which I’m supportive of. Problem is that she’s requesting very specific vegan foodstuff, eg, meat substitutes and foods no one else in the family would otherwise eat.

Her siblings definitely have no desire to eat vegan. I cook all the meals in our family (wife hates cooking) and I’m fine with preparing vegan alternatives for her, but as you can imagine the cost adds up, especially when it’s just for one person.

As my stepdaughter has a part time job, I’ve suggested she pay for the vegan specific food she wants. So she wouldn’t be paying for normal veges/fruit etc, but anything no one else in the house would eat — she would pay for. I think it’s a good way to also teach her budgeting and to be more self-sufficient. Especially since she is the oldest and will be going to college soon.

Step-daughter is really upset and thinks I’m punishing her for being vegan (not the intention). Wife has suggested I’m singling her out because she’s my stepdaughter (I’m not and this actually REALLY upset me as I’ve only ever done my best to support her and treat her as my own). I’d do the same for any of her siblings. AITA?

The Reddit forum AITA is almost always a groupthink pile-on, but here we've got a rare mix of opinions.

cespirit writes:

NAH maybe? I totally get where you’re coming from, but with her being a minor I think there should be a little more effort to provide food for her while still supporting her beliefs and choices based on them.

I’m also vegan, and me and my parents made what I feel was a pretty fair deal when I made the switch that may also work for you!

Like what you mentioned, I was encouraged to eat lots of whole veggies and grains, which would be covered because the entire house would also eat them. Then, if I wanted meat/cheese/egg replacements, I paid the extra part of the cost.

So like, let’s say pre-vegan I liked chicken nuggets. If I want vegan nuggets but they are $2 more than regular chicken nuggets, I pay the extra $2 and my parents covered the amount they normally would have if it weren’t a vegan substitute version

Better-Comparison-39 writes:

YTA - Kid is 16 and you should pay for her food. That said: tell stepdaughter she has to shop every week with you and she has to create a budget plan for her desire to go vegan. It should be more effort on her part than simply throwing a switch and sitting there like you were the waiter and chef.

Poesy-WordHoard writes:

Tricky. While I understand your intent here, and also mindful that vegan alternatives are more expensive, the purpose of buying the groceries is to feed your daughter. That's still on you.

While she's the only consumer of those alternatives, she's not eating into your meats or other meat products. So unless she's wasting the alternatives (if she consistently has leftovers which gets thrown out), then I think you should still pay for them.

What might be more reasonable is to see if she's able to step up and help cook or prep veggies for the family. I can see how her diet likely adds much more time to your chores.

And if you're visiting an extra store or two for alternatives, you can ask her to help with the task of going grocery shopping. It's part of being in a household, but also a lesson for her in being more independent.

Illcollection9 writes:

NAH I see you and your daughter's side in this, certain vegan items can be super expensive and you're a fairly large family.

If your daughter wants the expensive meat substitutes daily, she should contribute, when I was that age if I wanted something different to the household, I'd go to the shop and get what I like.

For you, surely this is a chance to broaden the family's pallette and meal options? What's wrong with the 5 bean chili for the family? Why not make the tofu curry? It would surely be beneficial to research some meals that could fit into your budget which would show support for your daughter

thatsarealquickno writes:

NAH. Give her a budget and ask her to prioritize which items she’d like. Invite her to shop and cook with you so she understands the implications of her requests and work with her to make it possible for her to eat vegan without breaking the bank.

No doubt, a spirited discussion. Or as some would say, meaty.

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