Thanks for your response to the snowy sesame seed milk. And the requests for raw eggnog have been duly noted; I’m going to give it my very best shot!
I’ve been slacking a bit lately with questions of the week, but it’s not for want of requests. Fortunately, a young reader of mine recently provided me with a very excellent question to share with you all:
Courtney wrote in last week with this thoughtful question:
I would like to preface this email with the fact that I am fourteen. About a year ago, I became a vegetarian for the first time. I did not fully understand how to give myself the correct nutrients with this type of diet. I gained quite a bit of weight from eating so many grains. My mom told me she was worried about my health and advised me to begin eating meat again.
Throughout this past year I have been learning and understanding better ways to receive proper nutrients. I am ready to become a vegetarian again (the right way) and eventually continue on to veganism. I have discussed this with my mom and she is more than wary of this idea. I expressed to her that it is a much healthier way to live and it makes me happy to do so, but she still does not think it is the best option for me. This frustrates me so much!
What do you think I should tell her to help her support me? Are there any amazing articles you know of that I could show her? How can I prove that I am able to get enough b vitamins, protein, and iron this way!
Thank you so much!
Wow, Courtney! I should begin by saying how happy I am to hear that I’ve been reaching young readers–especially young readers who write so elegantly and maturely and with so much composure. Thanks for writing.
This is a very important question. A healthy vegan lifestyle depends on education: educating yourself, and educating the people who love you, about vegan foods. While I sympathize with your frustration at your mother’s doubts, I also urge you to remember that many of the most well intentioned moms out there simply don’t know a lot about plant-based nutrition. So when their precious little girls announce that they intend to eat vegetarian or vegan, they may be left with all sorts of questions and doubts.
The best thing you can do to help your mom understand vegetarianism is to:
1) Educate and inform yourself with legitimate and thorough information
2) Share your source material with your mom
I’d suggest one of the following books. They’re not as short and digestible as articles, but they’re far more comprehensive, and they’ll surely be able to put some of your moms questions to rest. While she’ll have to invest time in reading them, I guarantee she’ll be persuaded. My top five are:
1) Becoming Vegetarian or Becoming Vegan (Brenda Davis, etc.)
2) Vegan for Life (Ginny Messina and Jack Norris)
3) Vegan For Her (Ginny Messina)
4) The Food Revolution (John Robbins)
5) Whole (T. Colin Campbell)
Don’t forget, too, that seeing is believing! Give your mom evidence of your optimal diet: get routine blood work on a yearly basis (just as you probably do already), and be sure to get your B-12 and Vitamin D checked. Contrary to popular thought, many vegans do not experience low levels of either of these nutrients, but it’s always wise to check! And be sure to discuss your vegetarian lifestyle openly with your doctor.
Good luck, Courtney! It may take your mom some time to adjust, but when she does, you’ll be able to celebrate your lifestyle, even if she doesn’t share in it directly or agree with it 100%. And remember: never stop educating yourself! This will not only be crucial for helping your mom to accept your vegetarianism, but also for ensuring that you are as healthy and nourished as possible.
Good luck and stick to it!
And now, I invite my readers — especially those who went vegan at a young age — to share the resources that helped them most, both in making the transition to plant based foods, and in helping loved ones to understand your choice.
I’d love to hear more, and so (I’m sure) would Courtney!