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About a month ago, my fourteen year old daughter informed me that she had decided to become a vegetarian. I told her that I would support her in this as long as she A) did the appropriate research to determine what foods she needed to eat to maintain nutritional health and B) helped me out in the kitchen when preparing veggie alternatives for her. Honestly, I thought it was a phase that would pass the first time I made bacon, but so far shes stuck to her guns. Yes, Im proud of her.<br><br>
So, heres the problem Shes not doing the research. Shes eating pretty much exactly as she did before, just without the meat. Maybe Im over thinking this, but Im starting to worry about her health. She already seems more tired than usual, and is complaining of headaches. Shes also genetically predisposed to Crohns Disease. As I understand it, a vegetarian diet might be beneficial there, but a diet lacking proteins and amino acids almost certainly isnt. I want to help her do this, but as I keep telling her, Im not going to do it for her, and I wont let her do it at the expense of her health.<br><br>
I was hoping that you could point me to some kid-friendly websites that might make learning about vegetarian nutrition more fun for her. Ive tried looking some stuff up on my own, and I have to admit, its pretty dry (and a little confusing!) reading. Also, if you can tell me anything about warning signs I should be looking out for, I would really appreciate it. To clarify, I know that weight loss and fatigue arent good signs. Im trying to figure out at what point I need to put my foot down and say, If you wont put in the effort to do this the healthy way, youre going back to eating meat.<br><br>
Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can give me. I realize I don't quite make the membership requirement of being a vegetarian or seriously considering it, but I hope you can forgive me.
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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Honestly, I turned vegan at a very young age and ate exactly what i was eating before, but with out hte meat. As In, I started eating alternatives.<br><br>
The only thing you really need to worry about is b-12, and MAYBE calcium depending on how she feels about dairy. Anyway, I would just add in a multi-vitamin and call it good. Also, explore the various tasty meat alternatives, especially since she sounds like she didn't change for lack of love of the taste <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/wink3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=";)"> Quorn, Boca, and Morning Star are all very good.<br><br>
Most people in the US are lacking something in their diet, ironically, vegetarians tend to lack less in their diet than meat eaters. maybe introduce her to some new things, than making some of the old. There are also 'teen' and young adult cook books for vegetarians, Peta2 makes a couple. Also, you can get a couple of the cook books as well and try up some of the dishes. I think it's awesome how supportive you are.
 

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Herbivorous Urchin
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The College one, great for young adults: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPETAs-Vegan-College-Cookbook-Delicious%2Fdp%2F1402218850%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1304721372%26sr%3D1-1" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/PETAs-Vegan-Co...4721372&sr=1-1</a><br>
My FAVORITE cook book author, with the tastiest dishes EVER: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%2Fref%3Dnb_sb_ss_i_0_24%3Furl%3Dsearch-alias%253Dstripbooks%26field-keywords%3Dcolleen%2Bpatrick-goudreau%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26sprefix%3Dcolleen%2Bpatrick-goudreau" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...trick-goudreau</a>
 

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Mine was pretty much the same situation as hers - I turned vegetarian when I was 12 or 13, and my mother was very supportive (which I am extremely grateful for, by the way.)<br><br>
There is a LOT of health information out there about vegetarianism, and even if she was doing research it's hard to know if you're doing the <i>right</i> research, because there's a lot of myths that persist even in the veg*n community.<br>
Essentially, here's the basics of what you gotta know:<br>
As long as she's eating <i>real</i> food - i.e. NOT a bunch of junk food - she should be getting enough protein. (here's a site I like to refer to: <a href="http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html" target="_blank">http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html</a> )<br>
B12 generally isn't a big problem for veg*ns, but it might be a good idea to have her take supplements, or just find veggie foods fortified with it. It's easy as having two glasses of Silk Soy Milk a day.<br>
Make sure she has a varied diet... but that's kind of a general health tip.<br><br>
Something my mother did (and still does... *cough* I live at home) was to buy vegetarian meat substitutes. At your grocery store, look for Morningstar Farms and Amy's brand products. They're generally pretty good.<br><br>
A small side note - something I know it took me a while to learn... watch out for gelatin (ground animal bones and hooves). It appears in unexpected places sometimes, but you start to see trends. Always read the ingredient lists for candy, especially gummies, and a lot of yogurts will use it. If it has pectin in it, though, you're generally safe.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Chayse</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2885329"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
About a month ago, my fourteen year old daughter informed me that she had decided to become a vegetarian. I told her that I would support her in this as long as she A) did the appropriate research to determine what foods she needed to eat to maintain nutritional health and B) helped me out in the kitchen when preparing veggie alternatives for her. Honestly, I thought it was a phase that would pass the first time I made bacon, but so far shes stuck to her guns. Yes, Im proud of her.<br><br>
So, heres the problem Shes not doing the research. Shes eating pretty much exactly as she did before, just without the meat. Maybe Im over thinking this, but Im starting to worry about her health. She already seems more tired than usual, and is complaining of headaches. Shes also genetically predisposed to Crohns Disease. As I understand it, a vegetarian diet might be beneficial there, but a diet lacking proteins and amino acids almost certainly isnt. I want to help her do this, but as I keep telling her, Im not going to do it for her, and I wont let her do it at the expense of her health.<br><br>
I was hoping that you could point me to some kid-friendly websites that might make learning about vegetarian nutrition more fun for her. Ive tried looking some stuff up on my own, and I have to admit, its pretty dry (and a little confusing!) reading. Also, if you can tell me anything about warning signs I should be looking out for, I would really appreciate it. To clarify, I know that weight loss and fatigue arent good signs. Im trying to figure out at what point I need to put my foot down and say, If you wont put in the effort to do this the healthy way, youre going back to eating meat.<br><br>
Thank you in advance for any help or advice you can give me. I realize I don't quite make the membership requirement of being a vegetarian or seriously considering it, but I hope you can forgive me.</div>
</div>
<br><br>
I don't know what sites you've already looked at but some quick googling led me here:<br><br><a href="http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/nutrition/vegetarian.html#" target="_blank">http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitn...getarian.html#</a><br><br><a href="http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/teennutrition.htm" target="_blank">http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/teennutrition.htm</a><br><br>
And this one is titled "So, your teen wants to be a vegetarian", might be helpful for you!<br><br><a href="http://teenhealth.about.com/od/fitnessandnutrition/a/vegetarian.htm" target="_blank">http://teenhealth.about.com/od/fitne...vegetarian.htm</a><br><br>
Good luck <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I don't have anything to add suggestion wise, everyone else covered all the stuff I'd have said, but I'm quite proud of you for going out of your way like this to help your daughter!!! A lot of parents wouldn't bother, they would just tell their kid to deal with what they bought and cooked. I'm not certain my parents would have been as understanding.<br><br>
Kudos to you!!!
 

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Good advice here already. I also became vegetarian at that age, and my omnivore parents were really supportive. I'm glad that you're not just dismissing her vegetarianism, but you're right that she needs to put some effort into staying healthy. It's especially important as a teenager because you're really laying the foundation for health throughout life -- forming healthy habits and building up bone mass, for example.<br><br>
One thing my mom did when I first became a vegetarian was to go with me to see a dietitian. That might help you guys sort things out rather than having to wade through lots of information on the internet, and hearing from an authority figure other than mom might help impress the importance of healthy eating on her.<br><br>
My major concern is that she just isn't eating enough calories. The only major nutritional deficiency vegetarians might have if we don't eat much eggs and dairy is B12, as others have mentioned. A lot of teenage girls have iron deficiency, but that happens in omnivores too.<br><br>
PS - I hope you'll stick around with any questions about your daughter's vegetarian diet, even if you aren't planning to become vegetarian yourself. I think the rules aren't exactly tailored for this type of situation.
 

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When Googleing " Healthy Vegetarian Kids " plenty of good resources come up.<br><br><br><a href="http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS378US382&aq=f&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=healthy+vegetarian+kids" target="_blank">http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1...egetarian+kids</a>
 

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I think it's great that your being supportive but also teaching her to watch out for her health! I'm about the same age, I recently turned fifteen, and I just decided to become vegan in an omnivore household. I've done all the research myself, and I'm actually educating others in my household about some of the animal products and byproducts found in food that I've learned about in the past week of researching and becoming vegan, like exactly what gelatin is and some common products its used in, like frosted Pop-Tarts. I started with these websites:<br><a href="http://features.peta.org/VegetarianStarterKit/index.asp" target="_blank">http://features.peta.org/VegetarianStarterKit/index.asp</a><br><a href="http://zenhabits.net/how-to-become-a-vegetarian-the-easy-way/" target="_blank">http://zenhabits.net/how-to-become-a...-the-easy-way/</a><br><a href="http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitness/nutrition/vegetarian.html" target="_blank">http://kidshealth.org/teen/food_fitn...egetarian.html</a><br><br>
I found these by simply Googling "Becoming a Vegetarian". From there, I started working my way through the websites, and I either clicked on links from within the websites or I began googling more questions and information about becoming a vegetarian/vegan. This forum is also a great resource as well. I think once she starts doing some research, she'll become more interested in researching more. I thought becoming vegan would be like a chore, but something I felt had to be done for the animals, but after even doing the smallest amount of research I quickly became excited about it all and I kind of like the challenge and learning that comes with reading all the labels of foods and researching different restaurants' food options for vegans. In fact, this is probably one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I just search "Vegan options at -insert restaurant-", or sometimes I go straight to one of my favorite restaurant's website and look at the FAQ for Vegan questions, and at the menu to see what I can order if I go there, as well as compare the nutritional content of the food so I can make sure to choose the healthiest vegan option.
 

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First off, thank you so much for being supportive of your daughter. Once she's settled in and grasped nutrition, she's going to have a nice long and healthy life ahead of her!<br><br>
The advice on here is excellent. To add my 2 cents, there's 2 rules worth mentioning in your situation. First off, don't simply plan dishes while leaving off the meat on hers, but also replace it with a plant protein. Some great sources of this are beans, spinach (probably more iron than protein, but still a staple of my diet), lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, seitan, and quinoa. I highly encourage you to look into quinoa, it's a grain that is rich in protein, easier to cook than rice, and I've made many dishes out of quinoa that have gotten huge compliments from my omnivore friends. Having a taco or burrito night regularly is also another good way to please the whole family. And Indian, Thai, and Japanese restaurants have been great for dining out in my experience. Second rule, she needs to be careful that she doesn't consume any more sugars or starches than she has been consuming. This is a mistake that I made the first time I tried to go veg*n, when I was 9 years old. Finally, I definitely back up the suggestion of making sure she takes a supplement with B-12 in it, I take one that is a combination B & C from CVS, and it keeps my energy levels and brain function high despite that fact that I'm a full-time college student who also works.<br><br>
Good luck! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Chayse, I think you're absolutely awesome for supporting your daughter!<br><br>
Anyway, how about cooking with her together? That might drive it home that you're willing to help but that she needs to do some hands-on work too. Besides, cooking is fun and will be useful later in life.<br><br>
I also agree with the others - as long as she isn't eating nothing but junk food she should be getting enough protein easily. Otherwise the faux meats are a pretty good suggestion, but falafel and homemade veggie burgers are good as well. Does she eat whole grains, rice, bread that isn't just toast? Legumes and beans? Those are all very good sources of essential amino acids, and a multi-vitamin can't hurt. I simply take one of those tablets that you put into a glass of water to go fizzy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Most of the links and information people have given so far seems pretty good.<br><br>
One thing I'm surprised others haven't mentioned yet are eating disorders.<br><br><a href="http://www.cedriccentre.com/healthy-lifestyle-or-politically-correct-eating-disorder" target="_blank">http://www.cedriccentre.com/healthy-...ating-disorder</a><br><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism#Eating_disorders" target="_blank">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetar...ting_disorders</a><br><br><br>
Many adolescents with eating disorders will take on the title of a vegetarian or vegan, so it's possible that you're daughter simply isn't eating enough to begin with. Meat or no.<br><br><br>
It's probably not the case, but it's something to be wary of.
 

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I don't have any websites to add but I just wanted to say good for you for supporting her and also encouraging her to be responsible and research stuff on her own. You may want to direct her to this site, that way if she or you have any questions there will be several people who can give some input... it also makes it more conversational that another website so it might be easier for her to read through. Just ask her to request info that is backed by something, we all have our opinions of what is healthy or not healthy so if you are wanting her to do the research it isn't really enough to find a few random people saying one thing is healthy or isn't healthy if people can't give reasons (medical or scientific) for their opinions.
 

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Here's a great book for both of you:<br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=veggieboards.com-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPerfectly-Contended-Meat-Eater-Guide-Vegetarianism%2Fdp%2F0826410820" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Perfectly-Cont.../dp/0826410820</a><br>
Really thorough, non-preach, and fun to read.<br>
As for websites-right here on the teen forum!<br><br>
I do suggest Gardein seven grain nuggets. My kids have grown up liking soy-based nuggets and patties better than chicken ones.<br>
How about you give it a try with her? At fourteen she probably isn't all that interested in nutrition as you'd like her to be, and eating meat isn't going to help that.<br>
What is your real worry, protein, calcium?<br>
Take a look all around Veggiboards, you'll find lots of advice to share.<br>
Kudo to you for being supportive!
 

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I think it's really wonderful that you're being supportive. I think, in your position, that one thing I'd try is doing some quick research online (others have provided some good links) and start incorporating some of the things your daughter should be eating into meals. I completely understand if feel like you shouldn't have to change the way you cook; truth be told, you shouldn't. I just think it's a non-confrontational approach, and could be healthy and interesting for everybody. You could do a taco night with seasoned black beans alongside the other fillings, for example. That wouldn't be hard at all, especially if the beans were canned. You can make things like whole wheat pasta with a big, beautiful salad and garlic bread. Meatless soups full of veggies and beans. Those are things that everyone can enjoy. It doesn't mean the rest of you can't still have your meat, and if your daughter is only willing to eat what's there, dishes like that will force her in the right direction.<br><br>
That said, I think you should have a talk with your daughter. Remind her of the terms you set down when she announced that she wanted to be a vegetarian, and tell her why you're concerned about her health (the headaches, etc). You can tell her that you want to support her, but that because you love her, you won't allow her to make herself sick. Really, she should be doing her own research, but I guess you could show her the websites some people here have linked. It might be a less awful blowup than you insisting she go back to meat.<br><br>
I attempted vegetarianism as a teen, but frankly didn't have a clue in hell what I was doing, and my parents never said anything - they just let me flounder. Eventually, when I started feeling horrible and having no energy, I went back to meat. I became a vegetarian again only this year, and I'm thriving and loving it - but only because I know what I'm doing now. I think that if my mom had stepped in and helped me understand nutrition, I would have listened, but teenagers are often argumentative, which is why I suggested the first approach as well - putting out veggie-friendly foods that aren't weird or difficult, and that everyone can enjoy.<br><br>
Oh, man. I wish I could talk to your daughter and tell her about how many young veggies I've known whose families WEREN'T supportive - who tried to bribe or threaten them into eating meat, teased them mercilessly or refused to help them whatsoever. Your daughter has no idea how good she has it with a mom like you. I think you're awesome <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> You obviously love your daughter very much and want what's best for her.
 

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I swear I have absolutely no affiliation, but a good vegetarian cookbook may help. The first book I got was Veganomicon. It's a vegan cookbook, but just remember that means no eggs or dairy - you could easily add that back in if she's not going vegan. But the good part about the book is that the recipes are so easy, and so tasty, that you might just end up eating them yourself! My husband (omni) has loved every recipe we've made from the book, and actually enjoys making them.<br><br><a href="http://www.theppk.com/recipes/" target="_blank">http://www.theppk.com/recipes/</a> is the website of the author, she has a lot of her recipes online - this is an example of one of the big winners: <a href="http://www.theppk.com/2010/11/doublebatch-chickpea-cutlets/" target="_blank">http://www.theppk.com/2010/11/double...ckpea-cutlets/</a>
 
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