A question for all you vegan teens... - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-31-2004, 01:20 PM
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... how did you get your parents to accept your veganism?



I know everyone is different, but it'd be nice to know how you went about explaining it to them (unless you were brought up that way!)
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#2 Old 01-31-2004, 02:15 PM
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I told my mom that I wanted to "try some stuff out" as I placed various soy milks, yogurts, and cheeses into the shopping cart. As I continued to consume these products, I made it a habit to buy them. It was best that I eased into it, i think, because my dad and his family are dairy farmers! (In no way a factory farm, no growth hormones or any such thing) My mom was very concerned about my health at first, but I told her some of the benefits of eating vegan. Sometimes, she gets fed up with the expensive vegan toiletries I buy, but I'm being more careful in preserving them and am buying in bulk now.

Have you tried to explain your views and your desire to become vegan? If not, you may not get shot down. If so, why are they opposed to this lifestyle? Are they concerned about your health? They think it will be an inconveniance when eating together or out at a restaurant? Do they think you're rebeling against them? I know there are other reasons, and if you find out your parents' reasons, you can scour the internet for imformation to combat them. If you pay attention to getting all of the nutrients you need, and show them the nutritional value of the foods that you buy, I'm sure they'll realize that this will work for you. If they're concerned about money, they don't have to be. Yes, vegan CONVENIENCE foods and pre-packaged meals tend to be expensive. However, there is a vast array of ingredients that you can use to make meals that are very cost-efficient. Tofu, Peanut butter, dry pasta, beans and veggies are all very low cost vegan foods that can usually be bought in bulk, or at least in hefty quantities. Of course, there's much more, but these are very basic. Canned veggies/soups/sauces are also inexpensive. Again, I'm not sure if those are their reasons at all, but I hope I was of some help! Good luck!
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#3 Old 01-31-2004, 02:30 PM
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My dad basically accepted it when I told him I wanted to be veggie. He lets me deal with it myself- when we go grocery shopping, I get what I need (which isn't a whole lot of expensive stuff or anything...whole-wheat bread, some peanut butter, fruits and veggies and some canned beans on our big trips) and he gets what he wants. We don't eat any meals together, since I have school and he has work, so it wasn't a big deal to him. He hasn't even noticed that I've gone vegan, other than the fact that I don't eat his mayonaise or icecream anymore or ask him to buy blocks of cheese, lol. We're of the agreement that since it's my dietary choice, I'll deal with it. He can't make me start eating meat anymore than I can make him vegan. It's not a big deal in our house. Once a month or so I'll go into Las Vegas to go to a health food store for the weirder stuff we can't find in our small-town grocery store, which is only things like natural peanut butter, organic fruit preserves and soyonaise.



It's pretty cool, really. My dad won't be taking me to a raw-food cafe or making me a vegan banquet anytime soon, but he doesn't give me crap for it and lets me manage my eating on my own and I appreciate that.
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#4 Old 01-31-2004, 03:40 PM
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I didn't tell them until I was already vegan for a month! I figured that was the easiest thing to do. I mean I was the kind of omni that never wore leather, never used things tested on animals, never used things with animal products in them because I used to think that I HAD to eat animals to survive, not use them in my shampoo you know?



But once I became vegetarian (after getting it in my head that no, I don't need to eat animals) being vegan was hella easy. I just one day told my mom while she offered me cheese "No, I stopped eating milk products and eggs too, and anything that contains them." I'm allergic to honey so I avoided that anyhoo. She took it ok. Just shrugged. I should add though that i don't live with my parents so maybe that's why they didn't take it hard. My grandparents thought I was trying out a new diet...ha as if I ever diet?! They eventually came to terms that it's just the way I choose to live.
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#5 Old 01-31-2004, 03:57 PM
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I'm not vegan, but I am pretty darned close. It was pretty easy to get my parents to accept it... they're very open minded. I'd gone through a vegetarian phase before, and they know I care about animals very much, and before I even gave up meat, I used soy cheese (w/ casein) and veggie burgers. I didn't like much meat in the first place... the only meat I really ate was in turkey sandwiches or chicken noodle soup. Plus I did some research and discovered that dairy probably made my sinus problems worse. It was just a matter of finding products without eggs and dairy... I read labels to begin with, due to my anorexia and OCD. I switched to Silk instead of milk. We also started going to a store with more veg stuff once a month or so. And my shampoo and face wash weren't tested on animals, so I got lucky And I buy cheap shoes, so I just look for leather free ones.



My parents don't really care... we don't really do "family" style meals anyway.
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#6 Old 01-31-2004, 04:24 PM
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my parents are pretty cool with it, seeing as how they used to be vegetarian, and for quite a few years we were raised like that. I ate it for a few years, feeling horrible everytime that I did. When I decided to be vegetarian again, they didn't care. We have never really been big on milk because I was allergic to it when I was littler, and my dad is. I made the first step to veganism when my milk allergy came back. There was no way they could be against that because it was for health reasons. They bought different soy milks until I found one I liked. My mom has gotten slightly annoyed with the no egg thing, but that was before she bought me some nrg egg replacer. There only complaint was that things tasted like apple sauce. they also thought that I only went vegan because my brothers girlfriend pushed me into it. they didn't realize at first that I had been working up to it all along. my mom mentions how I am not getting any vitamins from the egg replacer, but they haven't tried to get me out of the veganism. they are really open about the choices my brother and I take because they have been there before with parents who didn't support them. they think that we should experiment. they only eat meat sometimes, usually only fish and chicken, so my veganism doesn't change that much. they just tell me to be polite about it when I am at other people's houses who eat the stuff I don't. the one thing that my mom has been firm about it honey. she has urged me to eat that because the local honey we buy is good for immune systems and stuff like that. I eat it, but never use a lot of it.
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#7 Old 01-31-2004, 04:55 PM
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I told my parents like a month before I went vegan that I was going to give it a try. They kind of brushed it off, thinking I wouldn't do it for a very long time because, well, even i didn't think I would do it for very long. But then I found all this good veggie food and my parents told me I could buy it, and well, I've been doing it for the last year and a half.

I was really lucky though, because my dad hates cheese and my mom only drinks milk if its in her hot cocoa. My sister stopped eating red meat about 11 years ago, and I gave it up about 8 years ago (she's 3 years older than me, we both gave it up around 10 yrs old) so there wasn't a big transition there. There are some times when my parents get frustrated and ask me to just eat something w/o questioning what is in it (mostly when we are eating out at restuarants), but for the most part they support me and pay for my expensive Amy's pizza and gardenburger chik'ns

ETA: I should probably just mention this, that I went vegan around 16/17, so i had a car and access to the HFS around me. I do most of my own shopping and cook most of my own meals, except when its like, plain pasta. Also, on most nights I cook dinner for my parents as a kind of trade off. They buy me whatever I want= I make them good food. It all balances out
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#8 Old 01-31-2004, 05:28 PM
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my moms mad because we're from the south and all the family recipes that have been passed down for like 4 generations are now "wasted on me" and shes now trying to teach my sister how to cook, its looking pretty hopeless. But she also steals all of my food, i had to make more of the vegan nachos i was having for breakfast (found a new "cheese" recipe, thought i'd give it a try) because she couldnt stay out of them, she ended up pouring out most of her cereal (the little kid sugar kind, ick) Also she says shes been waiting for it since i was 3 and tried to keep a half squished dead ant alive by letting it live on a paper plate in my room and feeding it frosting. i'd been a vegetarian for 6 years so that kind of made it less of a shock to her. She is bitter about all the convience food i buy, so i try to limit myself, but luna bars are so good!
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#9 Old 01-31-2004, 06:25 PM
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My parents just thought it was a phase so they were just like "Fine whatever as long as you buy your own groceries and cook your own meals." So I did. Now I'm at college and it kind of sucks because I eat the same things like every day, but it's worth it for me.
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#10 Old 01-31-2004, 06:38 PM
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I just stopped eating the stuff I didn't want to and they learned to live with it. They tried to stop me but I told them tough luck!
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#11 Old 01-31-2004, 07:38 PM
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Man, that's really cool for everyone here. It seems that I'm the only one who had a horrible experience with it. I went straight from omnivore to vegan one evening, and told my parents. My mother was worried, and my father was furious. Don't ask me why. It's not like I attacked them or even tried to make them feel guilty. I believe my exact words were "I'm really considering veganism" and they flipped. Man, my dad and I were on horrible terms the next couple of days. He basically came right out and told me I was stupid for feeling the way I do. After a little while, when I thought they had both been getting over it, after knocking back a few, my dad told me about how "he did crazy stuff for girls too". After explaining to him that this has nothing to do with girls, he decided that I was just a dumbass. Although I'm not in any bitter fights right now, we basically just don't talk about it anymore. I have to do all my own shopping, and cook all my own meals, and of course, both my parents seem to be encouraging my sister to eat twice the meat she used to. Meh, what can ya do....parents suck.
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#12 Old 01-31-2004, 08:31 PM
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*gives Nirvana19105 a hug* That's ok...one day they're gonna feel like asses and realize you made a good decision. Parents are...parents.
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#13 Old 01-31-2004, 10:30 PM
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I just recently decided to become vegetarian and eventually vegan. I told it to the people I live with and they don't approve at all (even after i gave them information about it and blah blah blah) my mom doesnt approve either. My dad on the otherhand has been vegan since he was 13 and hes so proud of me. too bad i dont see him much
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#14 Old 01-31-2004, 11:13 PM
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aww Nirvana I'm sorry about your bad experience. Good for you for having the strength to be yourself!
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#15 Old 02-01-2004, 05:07 AM
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My mum didn't realise at first why i didn't want to eat eggs or cheese any more, i think she just thought i didn't like them, i guess i didn't really tell her why, i was too scared what she would think of me. It was only when we went shopping together and she picked something up and i said that i couldn't eat it because it had egg in it, she was like.. well whats wrong with eggs sam, you're vegetarian not vegan.... She was kind of angry... it took her a while to accept it, she freaked out saying that me being vegan was rediculous! and that i had to buy and cook my own food, which i didn't mind, but once i started buying soya products she realised i could eat a lot more than she thought. Now shes great with it, she always checks food out for things like whey... and once i let her read my vegan cook book.. she realised that being vegan wasn't unhealthy... i guess she reacted the same way when i told her i was vegetarian... My dad.. well he doesn't say anything.. he still doesn't understand why i don't eat fish.. afterall its not an animal is it *sighs*
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#16 Old 02-01-2004, 10:55 AM
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i had been a veggie for awhile and it was my new years res to become vegan and my parents knew that my mom is okay with it sometimes but my dad doesnt get it lol i havent eaten meat in years and he still offers me bacon lol but the more i stick by it the more they are starting to believe in it
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#17 Old 02-01-2004, 01:34 PM
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I kind of serendiptitiously chose to drink milk instead of water with dinner (our family meal), skipped out on the cheese stuff...eventually my mom was asking me, "you're not going to stop drinking milk now, are you?" And of course I was a whimp so I said, "No, no. I'd just rather drink water/juice right now...". But then when we were in the grocery store I said I wanted to try this soymilk, see what it was like. It pretty much just eveolved and wasn't too abrupt of a change.
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#18 Old 02-01-2004, 02:02 PM
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It was quite a long process. I stopped eating meat at first, and let them figure it out, and they were pretty pissed off at first. back in the days when we were a family struggling to make ourselves more upper-middle class, I can remember how we were all sat around the table on a sunday evening, a rare occurence in our household, but a desire to be "normal" (And my mum is obsessed with being "normal" and making sure that her kids grow up "normal") meant that we were sat down, around a roast dinner - what normal families eat on a sunday.



And my mum had decided that I was going to eat meat at that meal, and she had placed some on my plate, and decided that we had to eat everything, so i ate everything but the meat, and told her where to stick it. (I was a little more polite, don't worry) Both parents spent half an hour trying to get me to eat it, saying I couldn't leave the table until I did, and the atmosphere was so tense that I could have cut it with one of the many blunt knifes littering the table. We had "the talk" which I'm sure you're all familiar with, about how vegetarianism is unhealthy and how i'm going to die unless I eat meat.



Anyway, when it looked like I wasn't going to give in, they gave up, and I decided that it would just be a phase, and that within three months, I'd be eating meat again, and that they would have a happy, monogamous heterosexual omnivore son who they could be proud of. There was much tension in the first couple of years. For instance, when we visited restaurants with vegetarian options which frankly, were awful, they would say "Well, if you ate meat, you wouldn't have this problem." and my mum let forth a few remarks saying how shopping was difficult since when i went with her, i wnated to try new products, and looking at ingredients and seeing what a product was took time, and my mum is very impatient whilst doing the shopping.



It was the first christmas we had as a family together round the table that saw one huge debate start, and that was over fish. My mum didn't know what to make me for christmas and suggested fish, and I said that I wasn't eating fish, since fish is not vegetarian. Then it was me VS the rest of the family in an argument going nowhere. They were quick to point out the hundreds of "vegetarians" they knew who ate fish, and that I should eat fish as well. My mum insisted that fish wasn't meat until a couple of years ago.



After a few years, my parents started to notice that i was in vegetarianism for the long haul. Yes, they noticed that it wasn't a passing fad, and started to think that maybe I'd be a vegetarian until I was in my late twenties, at which point, I'd revert to an omnivorous diet, and my parents would have the happy monogamous heterosexual omnivore son of their dreams, who would later settle down with a wife, have kids, and raise them as omnivores.



Of course, about a year ago, it began to sink in that I was still vegetarian, and that I probably would be for the rest of my life. So i got plenty of questions about how i'd raise my future kids. (Kids which i don't plan on having.) i stated that i don't plan on having kids. ("Don't be silly" they said "the whole point of you being on this earth is to have kids") but i would probably want to raise them as vegetarians. Of course, my parents weren't exactly pleased. I got a lot of discouragement, and my mum wa sbasically saying that it is deprivation. "of what?" I said, "kids can get anything they need from a vegetarian diet. It's not like they need meat." Of course, my mum, being unable to see things through a different pair of eyes said "But they'd be missing out on the taste" I basically said "Mum, you never fed me falafel as a kid, and it's not deprivation that I missed out on such a joyous food, until i later discovered it." I had pretty much won the argument. Now, more discussions followed, including the one about how we're supposed to have kids. (But this discussion belongs elsewhere.)



My vegetarianism now isn't much of a problem. My family has learned to live with it. I've found that time is the best way to gain acceptance. My family knows now that I don't view meat as food anymore, so offering it to me in the hopes that i will cave in is pretty much useless. And the story comes to a bit of a slowdown now, because what's left is what is to come. My mum still looks forward to having a "normal" son, but that looks like it's going to be my brother. I just think a little bit too differently. At least my family is accepting, but they pretty much have to accept it, as they have no say in the matter. They either accept it, or eating out and other social occasions become hell. My dad's various business trips to [insert city here] have meant that he's interacted with hundred of yuppies, many of them vegetarians. (he's in the dietary supplement business) So he pretty much understands it now. My mum has ben forced to accept it, although I know she isn't fully comfortable with it.



Anyway, we're a happy family. (We get on better than many others) Four omnivores and one vegetarian. We can make it work though.
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#19 Old 02-01-2004, 02:34 PM
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I, too, went immediately from omni to vegan... My mom, who has always impressed upon me the need to never hurt other people or animals (and yet somehow remained an omnivore until November ), knows that I have always been concerned with AR, etc, and was hardly surprised at my decision. I know that she was a bit worried, especially at first, and dropped a few hints that she would prefer my being lacto-ovo to full-fledged veganism, but she got over it very quickly.



My dad (raised on a farm, ate lots of meat, cooked veal quite often, etc.) would have given me hell about it, but he passed away six months before I made the switch. I'm sure that his family, once they realize that I am vegan (which, I anticipate, will be this summer when I attend a family reunion and get yelled at by many people at once) will follow in his footsteps, but they'll get over it in time.



My grandmother is really the only person thus far who has given me a hard time about it... First she didn't bother me much because she thought that it was a fad and that I would tire of it in a few weeks -- now that it has been six months (although I did have a couple of lacto-ovo weeks around Christmas, I've now recovered from my lapse in common sense), she's begun to realize that I'm going to stick with it. She now tries to insert at least one or two comments (about protein deficiency, why lacto-ovo is better than vegan because the animals aren't killed for eggs and milk, etc.) into every conversation we have at mealtimes... It's getting old, but she means well.



In time, I trust that my family members -- all of whom only have my best interests in mind -- will realize that I have very strong moral convictions attached to my veganism and will learn to accept it.
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#20 Old 02-01-2004, 08:15 PM
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I turned vegetarian when I was around nine. My best friend at the time completly LOVED animals and was vegetarian. She pressured me into joining her and at the time both our parents probably though it was some weird fad that would end in a week so they didn't bother trying to stop us. For me, it almost did end forever in a week. I've never had much self control when it comes to food and I was drooling over chicken nuggets, hot dogs, steaks, etc. After about a week or two I gave in and had a plate of chicken nuggets. My parents were glad (they were suffering from the not enough protein dillusion) but I was upset. My brother laughed at me. He said I was just a little baby who could never follow through with anything. He teased me that I couldn't go through with anything. I wanted to prove him wrong, so I did and I became vegetarian. I acredit my vegetarianism to him and my best friend at the time. I wonder if I never had a brother and had never met my friend if now, five years later, I would be an omni.



For the first few years my parents were wary about my new diet. They thought I wouldnt get enough protein, iron, vitamins, etc. But now they see that I'm still perfectly healthy and often assist me in making/make my meals.



It was never a radical change for me though, my family had meat maybe twice a week and only for dinner because we keep kosher and its a pain to not be able to eat dairy with dinner or for a while after. I never brough meat for lunch even.



Overall my parents are pretty good about things.





I actually didn't find out about AR, factory farms, etc. until last year. It just seemed wrong to me to eat the very animals I always had loved.
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#21 Old 02-02-2004, 11:36 PM
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i went vegan overnight. my dad yelled at me. my mom was ok with it. my dad was like "how is meat the most awful thing in the world?! why arent you normal??" and chiaraluna did your parents flip ? i am assuming that you are not hetrosexual, im not, i am bisexual, and my dad even looked lower down on me for that. my mom did too, but shes ok with the veganism. she just has a problem with me liking both sexes. my dad wont even be civil with me anymore...HIGH SCHOOL END! so i can get out of here. im used to my dad now. its just like when ever my dad lectures me on not eating dead pigs.



Rebel Girl
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#22 Old 02-03-2004, 12:13 AM
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Ah yeah, that's another one I heard a lot of. "Why can't you be normal?" Good times....
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#23 Old 02-03-2004, 09:44 AM
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I just came out and told my parents and i also said we need to go to the store and buy some "healthy" food.
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#24 Old 02-03-2004, 10:56 PM
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When I first went vegan, I got really mixed responses.



My mom was really happy for me, said that as long as I was happy she would be too. 4 or 5 months later she went vegan too. Yay!



My dad on the other hand was a whole other story entirely. According to him it was the stupidest thing on the planet to do. A few months went by without any problems until we had a family barbeque. Once everyone was gone I figured that we should start to clean up. We being my uncle my dad and myself. They were just sitting and watching me clear the table off--this was a 10 foot long table covered in food by the way--and when I had taken in everything except for a big plate of burgers and hot dogs, and decided to sit and let them do it. Wrong move entirely. They *****ed at me up one side and down the other about how I worked at Burger King and that was no different and so on. I sat there for 5 or 10 minutes listening to that crap, shocked that they would even say something like that so I got up and went in and slammed the door as hard as I could so that they might realize just how mad I was.



That was back on Memorial Day and I have't heard one anti-vegan word since. Granted, I tore his meat eating ethics down to the ground a few times before he accepted it but now he even makes sure there will be something I can eat before we go somewhere that would put us in a food situation. It is kinda nice to have two supporting parents, but it took some work to get there.
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#25 Old 02-05-2004, 07:01 AM
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I tell my parents what I need, they know I'm vegetarian but they don't know I'm actually vegan. When ever I tell someone I'm vegan they call me a freak so now I just don't talk to people.
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#26 Old 02-15-2004, 03:38 PM
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my parents didnt have a choice. it was either buy me vegan food or i will starve to death. plus my best friend was already vegan so she was always willing to sneak me nonperishable soymilk containers and such things. hehe
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#27 Old 03-02-2004, 07:42 PM
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I didn't have to explain to my mom why I wanted to be a vegetarian. She is one and I've been one since I was born.
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#28 Old 03-02-2004, 08:39 PM
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My mom has been supportive from the moment I told her. I had been planning to be vegan for a while so she was used to the idea. My dad and step-mom thought it was cool too. My grandma though was a bit worried. She still doesn't know what to feed me so when she makes everyone dinner, she usually gives me potaoes and some lettuce.
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#29 Old 03-03-2004, 12:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohemianlikeyou View Post

. . .My grandma though was a bit worried. She still doesn't know what to feed me so when she makes everyone dinner, she usually gives me potaoes and some lettuce.



She's not an insanely knowledgable cook, is she? *grin*
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#30 Old 03-06-2004, 05:56 AM
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Wow, reading some of these makes me realise how lucky I was with my parents! I can't really remember how it was when I went vegetarian because I was only 8, but my mum had been thinking about it too, so soon after I went vegetarian she did as well. Then my brother did too so it was much easier cus we could all eat the same meals.



Then when I wanted to go vegan I wasn't sure how my mum would take it so I did it quite gradually. I do all the cooking in my house and and alot of the veg things we ate were already vegan, so I just cooked those things until she asked me "you're not going vegan are you", so I said I was thinking about it. She was a bit aprehensive at first, but once I explained to her how healthy a diet it was she was fine about it. She agrees my diet is healthier now than it was before, because I've learned such a lot about what I need to eat to make sure I'm getting all the right things in my diet. She asks me lots of questions about nutrition like I'm a fountain of all knowledge! Since then she's been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and has found out that the best diet for that is one without meat or animal fats, so she's almost vegan as well.



I thought my dad would be funny about it because he LOVES meat, we always have to cook something different for him, but he's been okay too. He does take the piss a bit though, telling anyone who comes to the house that I'm a "millitant vegan" which is so far from the truth! I really *hate* drawing attention to it because people generally don't understand, so I don't usually even tell people if I can avoid it let alone try to convert them. sigh. He'd be pretty shocked if he met a REAL militant vegan!



They've never made it difficult for me to be vegetarian or vegan so I'm really lucky.



Sarah xx
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