I want to be vegan

by k
(california)

I really want to be vegan. I believe its a healthy diet choice and I feel bad for eating meat. Unfortunately, my parents don't agree. They say that you need protein from meat and that I'm a "growing child." It sucks a whole bunch.

But hey, once I get out to college... I'm free. Give me a couple years and I'm on Team Vegan. :)

Editor's Note:

I feel your pain. Many of us decided to stop eating meat at a young age, and often parents simply don't understand that decision. What you need to remember is that your parents love you and want what they think is best for you.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea what food is actually best for us. We were all raised to believe that we need calcium from milk and cheese, protein from chicken and other animals, and that eating a diet without either of those nutrients would be deficient. We have come to believe that carbs are bad, that high-protein diets help us lose weight, and a bunch of other baloney. What stinks is that most doctors don't even know much about nutrition because they simply don't spend much time in medical school teaching nutrition. Instead, doctors are given lectures by pharmaceutical companies and learn to medicate diseases that could be cured with diet change.

Of course, with research, one can find that we easily meet and often surpass our daily needs for all the vitamins and minerals our body needs with a well-balanced vegan diet. In fact, many vegans actually get more calcium and protein than non-vegans. Also, many vegans are healthier, more energetic, rarely sick with even a common cold, lower in weight, and at a lower risk of illnesses like heart disease, obesity, cancers, and more.

But again, you have to realize that your parents are doing what they feel is best for you. Depending on your relationship with them and the amount of respect both parties have for one another, you might be able to ask them to at least read a little about veganism, or listen to you explain it.

If you want some pages off my site, I would recommend:

What do vegans eat?
Vegan Protein
Vegan Calcium
Preventing Heart Disease with Vegan Diet

And, if your parents are readers, I would recommend The China Study and Food for Life.

You could also talk to your parents about allowing you to help in the kitchen with preparing plenty of vegetable side dishes as well as beans. Perhaps if they saw some of the recipes on our site, they would feel more comfortable with you eating a more plant-based diet.

I hope that helps! Keep us updated on how it goes with them.

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Take it Slow
by: Anonymous

I was only 10 when I decided I loved animals too much to continue eating them. Like your parents, mine were hard-core "meat and potatos" people and couldn't abide with their daughter "starving" herself like that. My compromise was to drop meat and animal products little by little over the years. They got used to my new diet slowly and it enabled me to learn about what I should and shouldn't be eating gradually. I stopped eating pork first, then beef, then turkey, then chicken. Followed by eggs and most recently, dairy. Now I'm in my 30s and have been completely vegan for many years. I even have my parents off pork now (they are Mexican and really digging the Soyrizo)! Just remember they love you and aren't trying to make your life miserable. They will come around with time and the strength of your convictions. Good luck!

Information is the key
by: Penny

Very well said. Hope you can engage your parents in a conversation. The more information they have the better they will understand a vegan diet. The movie Forks Over Knives is coming out this summer. T. Colin Campbell author of the China Study and Dr. Esselstyn show the research of reversing cancer and heart disease with a plant based diet. Maybe you could all see that together.

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