I want to become a vegetarian but.... - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 10-21-2014, 07:53 AM
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I want to become a vegetarian but....

Hello, I'm G.J a 13 year old girl who would like to become a vegetarian, I told one of my friends I want to become a vegetarian but she said "Oh really. But your so skinny you need meat" Like i'm very skinny, and small for my age, and everyone is always giving me food and meat but I don't like meat for 3 reasons 1: They kill the poor animals for it and it just hurts me to think that! 2: seeing it before it's cooked makes me feel gross and 3: I'm not a fan of how it tastes anyway. The only meat I ever eat is: chicken, Turkey(only on holidays) and bacon for breakfast sometimes. But I don't want to eat meat anymore! Even if they tasted kinda good I just won't feel right eating an animal.. I've always loved animals! Also I don't think my parents will like the idea first we have my mom: She hates the environment and animal lovers She use to be vegan or vegetarian because she wanted to lose weight and I really don't need to lose any because i'm like 10-20 pounds under weight... (don't worry the doctor said it's fine because of my height and everything so i'm all good no need to worry) then there's my dad: He wants me to be strong and eat meat so I don't become a tooth pick as he says, now my dad might not be very happy about this and I don't want to hurt anyone because my family eats meat all the time and my mom might not let me so I was wondering if it would be okay not to tell them because i'm already a picky eater and maybe when I'm more confident I can tell them but I'm going to tell my friends because I almost always am there for dinner. So what do you think should I keep it a secret for a bit and what foods should I eat? BTW I cook my own food most the time and I'm deathly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts so don't say I should eat nuts please and thank you xox G.J
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#2 Old 10-21-2014, 08:11 AM
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You don't necessarily lose weight as a vegetarian or vegan. To maintain your current weight, replace your calories that you are losing by not eating meat. Say you'd usually eat 300 calories of chicken at dinner, eat 300 calories of something else.

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#3 Old 10-21-2014, 10:04 AM
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As someone who was a 13 year old girl once, it's pretty normal to be skinny at that age. I was a twig until I was about 15/16 and started to fill out. I've also been a vegetarian since I was 10, so it wasn't the diet it was simply nature taking it's sweet time. You haven't filled out or developed a woman's body yet and that's ok. You've probably gotten taller and the rest of you just hasn't caught up.

As for going vegetarian, you really need to be sure you are getting adequate nutrition and calories. Since plant-based products are less calorie dense, you will need to eat greater volume to remain healthy. That's the biggest issue with new vegetarians and vegans- they don't eat enough and wonder why they become emaciated, malnourished and feel crappy. I am not exactly sure what is a healthy amount of calories for a girl your age/height/weight is to be eating (I would consult with your doctor), but for examples sake- one fast food burger could be 2000 calories where you'd need to eat about 20 whole pieces of produce and a huge salad to get 2000 calories. Vegetarians and vegans really do need to count calories to be sure they are eating enough food! You also need to do your research into what the proper foods are to eat, as you do loose a certain element of nutrition when you cut animal products. And I assure you, "meat replacements", while tasty, are not nutrient dense enough to make up a large portion of your diet. Those should be a treat. And while many "junk food" items are technically vegetarian and vegan, that doesn't make them any healthier and in fact you should eat even less of them than before because they are calorie dense but nutritionally void. You need lots of fresh fruits, veg and grains every day. I know I eat so much more food volume-wise (probably double+) than other women I know who quite literally weigh twice as much as I do, and I'm maintaining a healthy weight for my height.

Cooking at home is absolutely essential for healthy vegetarians. It saves money, allows you to exclude ingredients you're allergic too or don't want to eat, it's fun and at your age, now is a great time to learn how to cook when your mom can help you out! You'll be so happy you learned at this age when you get older and go off to college or move out on your own or get married that you already know how to cook and are already in the routine of making healthy food instead of relying on junk food! So many of my friends fell flat on their faces nutrition wise when they moved out on their own because they couldn't do more than microwave a burrito or boil an egg. I was so happy I knew how to cook and had it as part of my routine (my mom made me learn when I went veg because she didn't want to make me special meals).
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#4 Old 10-21-2014, 05:42 PM
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Good for you for wanting to become vegetarian! It might not be a bad idea to pick a time to set aside and talk to your parents about why you want to become vegetarian, what it means to you. Don't make it just a conversation in passing, but really let them know why and how important this is to you. Use references from the library if you need to. Also, take the time to research what to eat so that you can show your parents this information. It will make them less worried for your health and so on if they see that there are so many healthy foods to eat as a vegetarian. Here are some resources for you to look into:
http://www.vrg.org/teen/
http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/
http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitn...egetarian.html

If you hide your vegetarianism from your parents and then they find out, they will only be more upset and think you have something to hide as a vegetarian. It would be best to be up front. You could also offer to pitch in with dishes and chores and cook vegetarian meals for your family on occasion. You could ask to come along to the grocery store and help pick out the foods you would eat.

Here are some vegetarian foods:

if you can eat sunflower butter (from sunflower seeds and not part of the nut/peanut butter families) it is really good stuff! It is made especially for people with peanut and nut allergies. Most larger chain grocery stores carry it.
beans...kidney beans, white beans, black beans, chickpeas, limas etc. Add them to salads, mash and make sandwiches with them, make bean and vegetable soups and so on.
grains like oats, rice, pasta, bulgur, barley, cream of wheat, cornmeal. They make great hot cereals with fresh or dried fruits or use them as a base for vegetables and beans and sauces to add to them.
snack on fresh fruits, dates, hummus and raw veggies or tortillas or on toast; homemade granola or muffins; make some tofu pudding (blend tofu with cocoa powder, maple syrup or another sweetener, a banana, and a splash of plant milk;

You can make tacos with refried beans (canned fat free refried beans do not have lard in them but full fat refried beans usually do) or with crumbled tempeh and add taco seasonings tomatoes and lettuce. You can eat spaghetti with tomato sauces simmered with vegetables (mushrooms, onion, green peppers, zucchini etc) and with red lentils cooked and mixed in for a protein boost.

Like you I was very tiny until I reached sixteen, and then filled out. But I became anorexic in my thirties and still suffer the aftermath of six years of being severely underweight. I have osteoporosis and am being treated for it, and have to sit on a donut cushion now because my tailbone is bruising from the gravity and weight sitting places on it (and I am not even underweight anymore). That is how bad my spine is. Not to scare you, but please make sure to take care of yourself and get enough to eat. Your growing bones need all the help they can get.
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#5 Old 10-21-2014, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the tips everyone! It's going to be so much fun to be a vegetarian because I feel that it's a good thing to do, also I love to cook, and go to grocery stores, and help find food so I can make new recipes the hard part is getting protein what kind of foods would be good for protein? I believe that I don't have enough... It might be hard because my family eats meat like everyday and my older brother is in LOVE with it and always telling me to it. But I'll give it a try because I love trying new things hope my parents agree with this they already know I'm not a fan of meat and I'm also a picky eatter so they make me cook my own food because I hate all food lol But I'm still going to ear eggs and milk because I was told cows like being milked and eggs well their not meat I don't think.
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#6 Old 10-21-2014, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naturebound View Post

Like you I was very tiny until I reached sixteen, and then filled out. But I became anorexic in my thirties and still suffer the aftermath of six years of being severely underweight. I have osteoporosis and am being treated for it, and have to sit on a donut cushion now because my tailbone is bruising from the gravity and weight sitting places on it (and I am not even underweight anymore). That is how bad my spine is. Not to scare you, but please make sure to take care of yourself and get enough to eat. Your growing bones need all the help they can get.
Thank you for sharing your story! I think it's very important for young people to understand how important health is and how much you should not take it for granted.

I also have an issue with sitting for any period of time because at one point in time, I was drastically underweight as well (though for a different reason). My body just went haywire one day when I was 18 and I vomited uncontrollably with crippling abdominal pain and GI symptoms for over a year. Went from 125 to 98lbs. I was diagnosed with Crohns, but I've never believed that's what I had. I think my body went haywire because I was eating the wrong foods and it just couldn't handle it anymore. That's when I went from being a "regular" vegetarian to a healthy one, and why I'm so adamantly against those processed soy products, processed foods in general, refined sugar, GMOs, food additives, dyes and artificial flavors.... Just because it doesn't contain animal products or meat doesn't make it a good choice to put in your body! I began to heal once I cut foods in such unnatural forms or totally artificial which nature never intended me to eat out of my diet. Unfortunately, some of the damage is irreversible.

Health should always be your #1 priority. It may not "taste as good" or be "inconvenient" to make or all your friends are grabbing McDonalds while you eat a lunch you brought from home, but malnourishment (in whatever way it presents or disease that you have) will be a far worse and much longer lasting consequence than whatever the issue is in the short term!
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#7 Old 10-21-2014, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by gjbz123 View Post
Thanks for the tips everyone! It's going to be so much fun to be a vegetarian because I feel that it's a good thing to do, also I love to cook, and go to grocery stores, and help find food so I can make new recipes the hard part is getting protein what kind of foods would be good for protein? I believe that I don't have enough... It might be hard because my family eats meat like everyday and my older brother is in LOVE with it and always telling me to it. But I'll give it a try because I love trying new things hope my parents agree with this they already know I'm not a fan of meat and I'm also a picky eatter so they make me cook my own food because I hate all food lol But I'm still going to ear eggs and milk because I was told cows like being milked and eggs well their not meat I don't think.
Well, let's just say that cows do not like being milked and the conditions hens are raised in to obtain the regular eggs in your grocery store is inhumane. I strongly suggest looking into eating less dairy and eggs, and sourcing them from local farms, where the animals are treated with some semblance of dignity and care (I know some may not agree). It is OK to ease into this significant lifestyle change. Small steps forward are better than nothing and whether you're consuming dairy and eggs or not, just not consuming meat is still making an impact! It took me 15 years as a non-budging ovo/lacto veg and developing an allergy to dairy for me to finally give up milk and eggs over this summer.

Proteins and fats do not need to make up as large of a portion of your diet as we are led to believe by conventional dietary "advice". Of course, you do need them, but just not be overloaded with them! Given that you say you have a tree nut allergy, a good source is beans and rice. If you aren't gluten intolerant, vital wheat gluten is extremely protein dense, though should not be consumed frequently (you can make a rather tasty homemade, soy free chicken substitute with it though!). Leafy greens, if consumed in large quantities, are actually good sources of protein as well! But you really and truly do not need protein in the quantities most Americans (and other westernized nations) consume. That is plain and simple meat industry propaganda! If you're feeling tired and weak as a veg, it's not a lack of protein, it's more likely not eating enough calories. If you are eating a healthy vegetarian diet of fruit, veg, grains, beans and a little dairy and eggs, you'll be fine on protein.
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#8 Old 10-22-2014, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Kiwibird08 View Post
Well, let's just say that cows do not like being milked and the conditions hens are raised in to obtain the regular eggs in your grocery store is inhumane. I strongly suggest looking into eating less dairy and eggs, and sourcing them from local farms, where the animals are treated with some semblance of dignity and care (I know some may not agree). It is OK to ease into this significant lifestyle change. Small steps forward are better than nothing and whether you're consuming dairy and eggs or not, just not consuming meat is still making an impact! It took me 15 years as a non-budging ovo/lacto veg and developing an allergy to dairy for me to finally give up milk and eggs over this summer.

Proteins and fats do not need to make up as large of a portion of your diet as we are led to believe by conventional dietary "advice". Of course, you do need them, but just not be overloaded with them! Given that you say you have a tree nut allergy, a good source is beans and rice. If you aren't gluten intolerant, vital wheat gluten is extremely protein dense, though should not be consumed frequently (you can make a rather tasty homemade, soy free chicken substitute with it though!). Leafy greens, if consumed in large quantities, are actually good sources of protein as well! But you really and truly do not need protein in the quantities most Americans (and other westernized nations) consume. That is plain and simple meat industry propaganda! If you're feeling tired and weak as a veg, it's not a lack of protein, it's more likely not eating enough calories. If you are eating a healthy vegetarian diet of fruit, veg, grains, beans and a little dairy and eggs, you'll be fine on protein.
Thank you for the advice, greatly appreciated! My dad gets our eggs from a farmer friend and we get a lot of them, so I think that'd be good. I'm happy I've never been a fan lots of fast food places, the smells gross me out and I read to many horror stories on the internet about that stuff, and don't know why.. Guess I want to know the truth about what goes in my system. Anyway, thanks for the advice everyone it's so handy
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