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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made an account on this forum specifically to post this question--it seems people here are intelligible and well-versed on living as vegans/vegetarians, so I thought it'd be a good place to ask.

Here's the issue: I'm seventeen years old, and I've been a pescatarian for around three years. Recently, after doing some research, I've decided I wanted to make the switch to full-on veganism.

My mom does not agree. I had expected her to be supportive of my decision, because though she was wary about me becoming a pescatarian as well, now she's fully supportive--she buys me all sorts of meat replacements and such. So, I hadn't really thought that now going on to veganism would be such a huge problem for her. The first thing she said when I told her was, "So, this means no fish and milk?"

"Yup," I said, "and no more eggs."

She asked me what's wrong with eggs, and I explained to her that the conditions the chickens are kept in and such are terrible, and all the reasonable arguments against eating eggs. Then, she said, "But what about cows. They need to be milked!" I told her that, no, actually, they don't, and I explained all of that to her as well. I also explained about how eating meat and animal products is contributing hugely to population and is destroying the environment. If anything, I thought she would at least be receptive to that.

Nope. Now, I didn't get the chance to explain it all fully to her--I texted her while she was on vacation to tell her (probably not the best idea, but I never expected this sort of hostility from her)--but she'll be back on Monday, so I'm expecting to have another conversation with her, unless she's expecting that I'm just going to drop it, which I'm not.

I think another problem may be that we are big fish-eaters. However, after researching, eating fish doesn't even appeal to me anymore, so that won't be a problem for me. Also, my mom mentioned something about having to buy different things for me, however, save for the fish, many of our meals are vegan already, if not for some cheese, which I'll be sure not to be using anymore.

I want to explain to my mom that if she wants to make a non-vegan meal for the rest of the family, then I'll be happy to make my own meal. This may be a problem in itself--she has some sort of preoccupation with family 'unity' or whatnot, because she doesn't like it if I say I don't want what the rest of the family is having (a rare case), so there might be an issue with me making my own meals at times. Also, I don't know what she's worried about having to buy me--I can subsist on the vegetables and whole grains that we already buy. The only thing I'll need is a B12 supplement, is it not? She's probably worried about me getting enough protein and such, without fish, cheese, etc., because I, too, used to think that you couldn't get this from non-animal products. I now know that isn't true, but she doesn't. When I said that it wasn't going to affect her, she said that, "yes, it will".

So, I talked to my mom on the phone yesterday, after the incident, and she didn't mention anything, though she did send me a text about still not being supportive. I think she thinks I'm taking some sort of extreme measure. She said that I can do whatever I want when I leave the house--which won't be for another year and a half--but as long as I'm in her house, she doesn't support me being vegan (basically saying "no" to me being vegan on a whole).

She's away with her boyfriend, so while I'm sure they've talked about it together since, I have no idea what he thinks of it. However, I'm sure he's going to take my mom's side, so that's another negative for me.

Therefore, does anyone have any advice on how, when I sit my mom down and talk to her about this when she comes back from her vacation, to convince her that this isn't going to affect her much, besides not being able to add cheese to things such as pasta dishes and such, and that I'll be able to get proper nutrients from a vegan diet? Also, any other general advice just to convince her would be wonderful. I've always been against animal cruelty, so I thought this seemed to be the next logical step, after going pescatarian. I initially didn't think that eating dairy and fish was that bad. But, now, this is something I feel strongly about, and I want her to see that.

Also, kudos to you if you read that all.

EDIT: Also, now that I think of it, my mom may also be worried because a couple of months ago I was stricken with both mono and pneumonia at the same time, so now she may also be (irrationally) worried that going vegan will have a negative effect on my health, though I know it won't.
 

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First off, congrats on your choice to go vegan.
I think one of the best ways to convince your mom is to cook for her. I know moms first worry is that you won't be healthy on a vegan diet, but I think if she could experience some vegan dishes for herself (and not just the 'accidentally' vegan ones) she may at least be more receptive to the idea of it. She'll be able to see that you won't be suffering in anyway, as well as that you have the ability to cook for yourself as well.

Another idea is to have her watch a documentary with you. Forks over Knives has converted many-a-vegetarian to vegan. It will give her a good idea of the health benefits to a vegan diet, rather than the risks.

That's all I have for now. Let us know how it goes
 

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#1. Make sure your mother understands that it is your choice, and that if she does not respect your choice, she may have control over you for the next year, but the trust between you will be damaged forever. (This is very true)

#2. She probably will not physically force the non-vegan food down your throat, unless she is abusive.

If she tries it, have the number for Child services ready. If you think she might try something like that and lock you in your room for weeks at a time or something crazy, have an emergency back-up plan just in case. E.g. tell a friend, "If you don't hear from me tomorrow, call the police".

If she doesn't do that, you should be able to manage to feed yourself (even if it is only at school).

#3. She can refuse to cook anything vegan, and she can refuse to buy you groceries or to allow you to cook. (depending on where you live, these are both probably legal)

-A. If you don't eat it for a few days, she will probably cave.

-B. If she doesn't cave, talk to your school counselor about it and explain that you are being starved at home, and ask if there's anything that can be done about it. You should be able to, in the least, get some food at school if child services will not step in.

-C. If you don't have a job, get one so you can buy your own groceries and eat. You just need about $3-$4 a day (providing you can't cook anything).

-D. If she will not allow you to get a job, there are usually wild plants that are edible in any area. Make yourself aware of them. Also, begging might be a viable option.

#4. Familiarize yourself with child welfare laws and emancipation.
These will vary, depending on where you live.

I hope it all works out!

.
 

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I think you just need to be persistent with it. Provide her with nutritional information from non-vegan/vegetarian sources and be calm but insistent when you talk to her about it. If you get into an argument with her, she's going to be even less receptive. Just give her a bit of time, don't make a big deal out of what you're eating while only eating vegan food, and hopefully she'll see that you're serious and come around to the idea. Worst case scenario, she'll still serve you non-vegan food, which (distasteful as it might be) you can eat around - since, as vepurusg already mentioned, she can't force-feed you. If you're not eating it, she'll probably stop giving it to you because it'll just be a waste.

Congratulations on deciding to go vegan and good luck with your Mom.
 

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What you do is fix a delicious vegan meal, and serve it to your family. Don't say a word about substitutions for anything. Afterward, smile and say, "I'm glad you enjoyed my vegan cooking. Isn't it good?"
"
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by satt View Post

I'm seventeen years old, and I've been a pescatarian for around three years. Recently, after doing some research, I've decided I wanted to make the switch to full-on veganism.
Congrats on your decision! Going vegan is one of the best things I've done in my life and I'm extremely glad I switched.

Seeing as how you're 17, that's actually a good thing when it comes to your parents. The reason is because you're not 13 or younger. Since you're 17, that means you're almost 18 and then you can make your own decisions, period. So if all else fails and you can't convince your parents to let you go vegan now, all you have to do is wait a year!

Quote:
Originally Posted by satt View Post

I want to explain to my mom that if she wants to make a non-vegan meal for the rest of the family, then I'll be happy to make my own meal. This may be a problem in itself--she has some sort of preoccupation with family 'unity' or whatnot, because she doesn't like it if I say I don't want what the rest of the family is having (a rare case), so there might be an issue with me making my own meals at times.
Make sure she understands you don't want to make entirely separate meals, you simply want to change out the protein portion. Basically, you just want to eat legumes instead of flesh.

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Originally Posted by satt View Post

I can subsist on the vegetables and whole grains that we already buy. The only thing I'll need is a B12 supplement, is it not?
That's close, but not entirely true.

Everyone should eat from these four groups: grains, veggies, fruits, and protein. For you, the protein will come from plant foods like beans, nuts, seeds and the products made from those things (veggie burgers made from soy or sunflower seeds for example).

The fact is, studies suggest that the average American omnivore is deficient in more nutrients than the average American vegan. So, your mom's fears that you may not be getting all the nutrients you need are warranted, those worries are more warranted before you go vegan than after!

Depending on your needs and habits (likes and dislikes) you may want to supplement more than simply B12. Turns out that many vegans aren't getting the recommended daily amounts of iodine or calcium (omnis aren't getting those either). So you might want to add in some fortified foods or take a multiviatmin.

All in all, my recommendations are these:
- Be patient, it takes time for many parents to come around to understanding that veganism is healthy. Remember that you'll be able to make your own choices soon enough.
- Take advantage of the times when you can make your own choices already (when you mom is out of town like now, when you're eating away from home like when you're at school, etc). Eat vegan part-time for now.
- Learn about vegan nutrition. Read up! Knowledge is power. Read http://veganhealth.org watch the videos at http://nutritionfacts.org and pick up a copy of Vegan For Life or Living Vegan for Dummies or Becoming Vegan.
- Make sure to stay helahty! That means eat enough calories to sustain your weight, eat a variety of plant foods from each food group, exercise regularly and wash your hands regularly, and just in general take good care of your health.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

So if all else fails and you can't convince your parents to let you go vegan now, all you have to do is wait a year!
That's quite defeatist, and actually bad advice. I'm kind of surprised, because your advice is usually pretty good.

I do not agree that his or her mother has the right to abuse him or her by forced feeding. Children are NOT legally slaves of their parents. A child does not have to do everything a parent tells him or her to do- whether that is a chore, or an immoral act (and specifically not the later).

They have to obey the law, but the law does not mandate absolute obedience in every respect- disobeying a parent is not in itself criminal.

Parents DO have the right to discipline their children for disobedience to a certain point, but beyond that they have to look to the court systems, and if the child's actions are reasonable and do not risk harm to his or herself or others, it isn't likely to be ruled delinquency (particularly in the case of a moral/religious issue, which many jurisdictions have specific exemptions for on the books already- and others would be forced to rule against on constitutional issues in most jurisdictions).

Medically relevant (which this would be if the parents took him or her to a hospital for force feeding- which they could legally try to do), children can even refuse life-saving treatment in many jurisdictions (against the wishes of their parents) if the courts determine that the minors are informed and mature enough to make that decision. Parents, on the other hand, can not withhold life saving treatment.

It's clear that the minor, if the decision is made in the context of emotional maturity and informed consent, has greater rights over his or her own body and moral being than the parent does-- even when those decisions are life threatening.

I believe that even applies to children as young as 13 in most jurisdictions. 12-year-olds may be assumed to not be mature enough, however- again, in most jurisdictions. (Or maybe it was 12 and 11-year-olds respectively)

Of course, veganism is not life threatening (it's perfectly healthy). No responsible doctor would perform the procedure. And the ACLU, among others, would probably be all over it if they did. No hospital would risk the law suits. (I doubt they would even do it for a child under 11- force feeding is not generally medically useful)

If the OP's mother does not respect his or her fundamental moral rights, he or she can call the police, and child services, and be taken into state care or emancipated.

If his or her mother is that bad, that is what he or she should do. A parent with no respect for the moral self-determination of a child is not a good parent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Everyone should eat from these four groups: grains, veggies, fruits, and protein.
Nonsense.

Essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals.

That's what everybody has to eat.

Nobody has to eat grains as a food group- indeed you can be perfectly healthy without touching a grain in your life- or legumes, or anything like that specifically.

With the exception of rice (which is almost devoid of protein) grains and veggies are fine as a source of protein as long as one is eating enough of them. Unless eating junk food, more likely the OP will be short on fat than on protein.

I would say to try to get some flax seeds, or flax meal. If they are whole flax seeds, to make sure to grind them up (cheap coffee grinder works fine) before eating them (otherwise they won't be digested whole).

The OP doesn't really need to worry about B-12 yet. It would be ideal to get a supplement if he or she can, but it takes years for deficiency to show up, so going without for a year is not a very big deal. (But if possible, it would be a great idea to get some!)
 

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for a supplement, I recommend

Vitamin D (D2 is the vegan form, D3 is non-vegan)
Vitamin B12 (I think methylcobalamine is the most easily absorbed form, but doesn't really matter)
Omega-3 (in DHA form is best, found in algae)

for Omega 3, it's true that you can eat things like flax, hemp, etc., but those contain it in the ALA form, and in order to use it, the body must convert it into EPA and DHA, yet that conversion process is not always the most efficient. Don't assume that you have enough B12 stores to last you a while you don't eat any B12...you never know, and it's better to be safe.

Show her sites like the ADA (which states that a properly planned vegan diet is safe for all stages of life including pregnancy), PCRM, and HSPH
 

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the best option is a multivitamin that, in addition to those three main ones mentioned above, has traces of other vitamins and minerals as well.
 

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for professional advice, you should talk to a registered dietician (which is, depending on where you live, different from a nutritionist). The "registered" part is important...it's the proof that they know what they are doing
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKTF View Post

Show her sites like the ADA (which states that a properly planned vegan diet is safe for all stages of life including pregnancy), PCRM, and HSPH
Here are the links you'll want to use:
ADA: http://www.eatright.org/about/content.aspx?id=8357
PCRM: http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=247
HSPH: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/

For the record, regarding vep's criticisms: I do think that people can avoid grains if they want. And if you like to be specific and use the term "amino acids" instead of the more general and less precise term "protein" by all means. But for most people, and in order to make a compelling argument to your mom, my advice stands. You should eat from these four groups: grains, veggies, fruits, and protein.

I like the PCRM power plate because it simplifies vegan nutrition:
http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=1448

You can also use the VRG's vegan plate: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/MyVeganPlate.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I just attempted to talk to my mom again.
She's not worried about my nutrition--I already eat healthy, and I know how to keep up with my needs on a vegan diet, and she knows that. She says that I'm being extremem, and she thinks that I want to be vegan solely for my health (untrue, because this is also, mainly, about the treatment of animals and the conditions they are forced into, and animal exploitation)--note that I am already very health-conscious. I run every day as well, so she thinks that this is just another level in what she thinks are now-extreme measures to keep up my health. This is not, which I tried to explain, saying that it's about the animals, but she's being stubborn.

Also, it's about the fact that I'm apparently "secluding" myself from the rest of the family. Though I didn't know this, she's now made it apparent that she thinks that, with my previously-pescatarian diet, I had already excluded myself from what the rest of the family eats (though, whenever they had meat or something, I had one of my mock meat substitutes, so I don't see how that was a problem), and now, with excluding fish and eggs and cheese (which, admittedly, I used to eat a lot of), I'm adding to that seclusion, which she does not like.

I'm upset that she sees it this way, but I'm honestly not trying to seclude myself, but the fact that the rest of my family is so ignorant to what goes on in the food industry involving meat and animal products is a problem. I'm not going to eat fish and eggs and dairy just because my mom feels this way; however, it's going to make for a few strained weeks, until my mom finally (hopefully) settles in and sees that I'm not going to change just for her.

She also thinks that she's going to have to buy things extra for me--which I repeatedly told her she did not, that we already have everything I need in the house. Also, she says she doesn't want to start ordering food differently when we eat out, and that now we won't be able to have pizza anymore...I don't see why I couldn't just get a salad if everyone else is getting pizza--if anything, it'll only be saving her money. She's incredibly stubborn, though so am I--I guess this is part of the problem.

But, does anyone have any advice, beyond what's already been said? I feel like this is a unique situation, perhaps, because my mom isn't worried so much about my nutrition, but is concerned that I'm being too "extreme", and that I'm "secluding" myself from the rest of the family, as I mentioned before. I don't know how to make her see that I'm not, because in a way, I am secluding myself, but only by what I put in my mouth, and my moral code, but nothing more. It's not as if I'm saying I'm not going to eat with them just because they eat meat, or something like that. She's making this out to be a bigger deal than I'd like it to be.
 

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tell your mom that she shouldn't try to manipulate you into eating what she wants you to eat. Accusing you of being a loner, refusing to listen to or understand your morals, trying to make you feel guilty about costs, etc. are just not cool
 

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She may really be worried that you are obsessing over health.

One way to convince her otherwise (and prove that it is a moral issue), is to start relaxing on health a bit and eating some vegan junk food.

See PETA's list of accidentally vegan junk food.

Get a tub of vegetable shortening (trans-fat), and a spoon and dig in. Tell your mother you'll stop eating the artery-clogging trans-fat when she apologizes for doubting your sincerity.


Just an idea.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vepurusg View Post

She may really be worried that you are obsessing over health.

One way to convince her otherwise (and prove that it is a moral issue), is to start relaxing on health a bit and eating some vegan junk food.

See PETA's list of accidentally vegan junk food.

Get a tub of vegetable shortening (trans-fat), and a spoon and dig in. Tell your mother you'll stop eating the artery-clogging trans-fat when she apologizes for doubting your sincerity.


Just an idea.

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I like this advice. I think this actually helped me and my mother when I became vegan, as I started making pies and cheesecakes. However, I'm still a relatively healthy eater and generally shy away from too much processed food.

My mom accused me of being extreme when I started being vegan. She even went as far as to hint that I had an eating disorder saying that it was "all about control". I now understand her concern as I have seen vegans on here and talked to some in person who have dealt with such disorders. However, after a while, she calmed down and realized that I was legitimately doing it for reasons in which I believe. I think the fact that I talked about issues with animals and the environment so much provided "proof" of why I was vegan.

As far as eating out, planning ahead is helpful. You can scout out a handful of restaurants that have vegan options and suggest those. Sometimes, you may have to not necessarily order what's directly on the menu, rather a combination of vegan items. The restaurants, in my experience, will usually negotiate a price. Domino's pizza can be made vegan if you order thin crust and no cheese. Always ask what is in it. If there are no options, I typically eat before going out and then opt for a beer instead of food. You could do a soda or something else if you're underage.
 

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Ahh I'm in the same problem as you!! Except I'm thirteen, travel a lot because I'm on a regionals hockey team and I'm vegetarian.
Parents are worried I'll just eat crap and also refuses to cook vegan.
But I can cook, despite my young age, and have proposed meal planning on Sunday's and buying my own groceries.

But they have been extremely demeaning. I'll say I've been watching something on veal and she'll be like " why would you do that? And why would you watch that? Watching that will give uou bad ideas.. Make you sad.. Etc..."
 
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