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Switch to Forum Live View Convincing vegetarian mother to let me go vegan.
6 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2008 - 1:17AM #1
desolatedheart
Posts: 8
I am vegetarian as is my mother and her mother before that.  She thinks veganism would not be healthy and that it woul make me relapse into anorexia.  She thinks the fact that I, unlike her, don't take pi"lls with emoega 3 derrived from fish (I take plant derrived) is already bad enough.  She has a phillosphy of "If I am not enjoying the meat, it is okay".  She is the kind of woman who can't support animal foundations because whenever a commerical for them turns the TV off.  She can't look at dead animals.  She pretends it all doesn't exist.

My father is a meat eater who after many years admitted my mum is correct, but doesn't think he can change.  He thinks veganism is moronic and is a religious practise only and to say my father does not think highly of religion... is the understatment of the century.  He loathes it.  He thinks veganism is like reversing the food chain.  He doesn't understand that it is a choice.

I want to go vegan.  I have books.  I am determined.  I have cut out most cheese already because of rennet, and the only milk/eggs I ever have are organic.  I try to drink soy milk as much as I can and the like.  I am vegan when I can be, vegetarian when my mother cooks.

I will be 17 soon.  One more year untill college.  Is it worth the fight?  Being only vegetarian is making me sick.  I hate it.  What on earth do I do?
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2008 - 12:37PM #2
ManzanitaBear
Posts: 946
Why is it that being only vegetarian makes you sick?  Are you, say, lactose intolerant?  Or is it the idea of eating animal products?

This does sound to me like it could be another manifestation of disordered eating--unless there's a physical reason why animal products make you sick.

If you were raised vegetarian, I expect many of your meals are vegan anyway.  Does your mother use dairy and/or eggs every time she cooks?
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 2:35AM #3
Xiao_Gui17
Posts: 3
When vegan, animal rights, or various other "biased" sources aren't sufficient to convince your parents, refer to the USDA, which says that veganism is sufficient, provided one makes informed nutritional decisions.

This USDA website directly links to the Vegetarian Resource Group and vouches for the accuracy of its information: http://tinyurl.com/5tm3fw

Vegan Diet can Easily Get Enough Protein: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm

According to the USDA, a vegan diet is adequate even for the most nutritionally vital times in one's life: "A well-planned vegan diet can easily be used during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and childhood."
http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/pregnancy.htm

Here are the following nutrients a vegan needs to watch, according to the USDA: Calcium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Iron, and Zinc.

An 8 ounce glass of Silk Plus for Bone Health (a brand of soymilk available in almost any grocery store or supermarket) contains 40% of a day's calcium (more than dairy milk), 50% of a day's Vitamin B12, 30% of a day's Vitamin D, 6% of a day's iron, and 4% of a day's zinc. All legumes and nuts are rich in iron and zinc, so as long as you get one or two glasses of soymilk and a good helping of some nut or legume everyday you should be perfectly fine. Also see the USDA site for other vegan foods rich in these nutrients. My personal favorites are mushrooms and spinach.

It's a myth that a vegan diet "lacks" Vitamin A. A vegan diet lacks retinol, the form of Vitamin A that exists in animal products. However, a vegan diet does include beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A the body can easily convert into retinol on its own. A single cup of spinach or a red bell pepper contains over ten times the Vitamin A one needs in a day.

And I can think of no reason who Omega 3 fatty acids from flax seeds or other plant sources would be in any way inferior to fish oil.

I've been vegan for well over a year now. I've never felt deprived, malnourished, or hungry. My hematocrit is perfectly normal and I've never been anemic. I haven't lost much weight, either; I went from 160 to 150 and leveled off. I've been 150 ever since. Being a vegan has cleared up my face, made my periods lighter, and improved my health, energy, and quality of life well more than 5+ years of being a vegetarian ever did. That's my personal testimony and you have my permission to use it. BTW, my mother is a biologist and she vouches for my claims, too. Good luck. :)
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2008 - 2:45AM #4
Xiao_Gui17
Posts: 3
Oh, P.S., I should note (for your father's sake) I'm not religious; I'm an atheist; for me being a vegan is about personal preference more than anything. It's a matter of health, and a matter of taste. I've found I just prefer vegan foods anyway.
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6 years ago  ::  Sep 08, 2008 - 1:38AM #5
Kartari
Posts: 2,168
[QUOTE=desolatedheart;625490]She thinks veganism would not be healthy[/QUOTE]

Nonsense.  Many people are simply uneducated about the facts, and prefer to believe what they grew up with out of fear.  But she's only doing what she thinks is best for you.

I have been a strict vegan for ten years and feel fine.  I have a couple of friends who have also been long-time vegans, one of which has raised two perfectly healthy vegan kids who are now two and four years old.

There are, however, certain medical conditions which make vegetarianism impractical, though most people are fine.  I knew an older woman once who died from a disease (I cannot recall what it was offhand), but she needed unusually enormous amounts of protein every day (like 300 grams per day) and resorted to eating a lot of fish and meat since they contain the most protein.

[QUOTE=desolatedheart;625490]and that it woul make me relapse into anorexia.[/QUOTE]

Iron is found in many vegetable sources, especially whole grains, nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens.  Quinoa and amaranth are two grains loaded with iron (not to mention are complete protein sources; look them up at wikipedia.com).  Blackstrap molasses is another rich source, if you like baking.  No iron supplementation is needed (except possibly if you already are anemic, which would be the case regardless of being vegan, vegetarian or omnivore for that matter).

EDIT: I just noticed you wrote "anorexia", I thought it was "anemia" for some odd reason (hey, it's late!).  But I'm leaving my original answer since it contains useful info anyway.  As for anorexia... if that has been a problem for you in the past, it may continue to be one.  This causes me some concern about your motivations for becoming vegan... make sure you are doing it for the right reason(s).  This also likely explains at least part of your parents' concerns about you.  Regardless of your diet, you must make sure you eat well, and eat enough.

[QUOTE=desolatedheart;625490]She thinks the fact that I, unlike her, don't take pi"lls with emoega 3 derrived from fish (I take plant derrived) is already bad enough.[/QUOTE]

The omega-3's from flax, fish, and other oils are identical.  Flax and fish oils are very similar in omega content.  Vegetarians need not take omega-3 supplements, they are more useful to those with high cholesterol or arthritis.  You get omega-3s from most any oils, especially flax, pumpkin and borage oils.  Try to get as much unrefined oil as possible, such as flax seeds and raw almonds (almonds also contain more calcium than milk, btw).  I think it is very important to understand that you will need to eat more oils (from nuts, seeds, or from olive oil and such) as a vegan than as a vegetarian who eats cheese and eggs.  I lost a bit too much weight when I initially became vegan, but healthy servings of raw almond butter and extra olive oil in my dinner solved that problem... a little too well these days (I could lose a few pounds in my belly!).

[QUOTE=desolatedheart;625490]I want to go vegan.  I have books.  I am determined.  I have cut out most cheese already because of rennet, and the only milk/eggs I ever have are organic.  I try to drink soy milk as much as I can and the like.  I am vegan when I can be, vegetarian when my mother cooks.

I will be 17 soon.  One more year untill college.  Is it worth the fight?  Being only vegetarian is making me sick.  I hate it.  What on earth do I do?[/QUOTE]

You must do what you believe you must; it is your decision to make.

On the one hand, you sound like you're doing the smart thing and educating yourself before plunging in.  If you are sincere in your desire to become vegan, you will likely disappoint your parents sooner or later.  They are sincerely concerned about your well being, but they are ill-informed, and you're not exactly a kid anymore at 17.

The only caution is that your mom may refuse to cook especially for you, and she has that right since it's hard enough to cook one meal for a family.  You may need to start cooking for yourself (or resort to frozen dinners and such, which is not advisable regardless of whether you eat meat or not) if you are intent on going vegan now... indeed, it is hard to be vegan and not cook for yourself, at any age.  You get very used to it quickly though, and it can be quite enjoyable actually.

I would simply advise you to continue learning about it (Xiao_Gui17 has posted very informative links and info), whether or not you go now or wait another year.  And monitor your health honestly - if you feel off, make sure you're eating a well balanced diet (advice that applies regardless of being vegan, vegetarian or omnivore) and getting not only proper nutrition but sleep, water and exercise as well.
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6 years ago  ::  Oct 13, 2008 - 5:09PM #6
Sarcastic_Vegan
Posts: 2
Have you thought about taking your mother to meet with a nutritionist. You can find a nutritionist who will help you pick a vegan meal plan that is balanced. That way your mother will know you are eating enough, and you can be happy as a vegan.
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