My Teenage Daughter Wants to Be Vegan
More and more teenagers and young people are interested in veganism. Generally, the decision to stop eating meat and any other product of animal origin is based on the following: Care for one’s own health, defense of animals, and concern for climate change. If your teenage daughter wants to be vegan, then it’s important to keep reading.
Many parents are puzzled when they hear comments like “ Mom, I want to be vegan” or “Dad, I don’t want to eat meat anymore “. Both vegetarianism and veganism tend to generate some rejection and concern among older generations. This is because they don’t usually have solid knowledge about these new ways of eating. In that regard, uncertainty increases nervousness.
However, if your daughter wants to be vegan, it’s important to avoid panicking, as you’re likely to worry more than you need to. In this article, we’ll explain what this philosophy of life is all about and how you can accompany your youngster in the process.
What is veganism?
First of all, you should know that veganism is more than a simple diet. Rather, it’s a lifestyle that influences the choices a person makes on a daily basis, both in their habits and in their consumption.
It was Leslie J. Cross, a member of the Vegan Society of the United Kingdom who, in 1950, suggested the following definition of veganism: “ the search for an end to the use of animals by man for food, products, work, hunting, vivisection, and all other uses involving the exploitation of animal life by man”.
Veganism is based on the idea that animals have the right to live without being exploited and that humans have the responsibility to respect them. Therefore, vegans avoid buying and using products such as leather, wool, silk, and cosmetics that may contain any animal ingredients. Rather, they opt for alternative products that are ethical and sustainable.
The difference between veganism and vegetarianism
With regard to food, people who follow veganism choose a plant-based diet. Therefore, for example, they seek to avoid consuming products such as meat of any kind, eggs, dairy products, and honey. Vegetarians, on the other hand, don’t consume animal meat, but they do consume other by-products such as eggs, dairy products, and honey.
My daughter wants to be vegan: How to accompany her
Before fleeing in terror when your daughter mentions the idea of veganism, it’s essential to listen to her reasons. Also, keep in mind that, if the necessary precautions are taken, it’s possible to adopt a vegan lifestyle without suffering harmful consequences. In this regard, it’s essential that we adults are willing to accompany our children from an empathetic and compassionate position.
Communication is essential in order to address this issue with your adolescent daughter. If she’s of a certain age and maturity level, she won’t make impulsive decisions. On the contrary, she’ll responsibly premeditate a change of this magnitude. It’s important that she feels confident and can rely on you to talk to her about this idea.
In addition, it’s essential that you respect her decision, even if you don’t agree with it. It’s useless for you to become their opponent and express from a rigid position your arguments for not practicing veganism.
Knowing the specifics of veganism
There are many foods that vegans don’t eat. This restriction may come as a shock at first, as they may have to forgo foods they previously enjoyed frequently. However, they can also eat a wide variety of plant-based foods. These, with responsible planning and preparation, provide all the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
Some of the favorite foods of vegans are the following:
- Fruits and vegetables: All varieties.
- Cereals and grains: Rice, wheat, oats, millet, quinoa, and pasta, among others.
- Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas, and soybeans, among others.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios, and flax, sunflower or chia seeds.
- Other vegan products: Tofu, tempeh, and vegetable milks (soy, almond), among others.
Vegan food invites you to discover new flavors, explore in the kitchen, and maintain your curiosity and creativity – there’s so much to discover and enjoy!
Consult with specialists
Under no point of view can a specialist’s advice be omitted. Every decision implies a responsibility. It’s therefore important to convey to adolescents that they must be committed to their choice. This means that they should know that being vegan without neglecting their health will require an effort on their part. Therefore, it will be necessary to consult with medical or nutrition professionals when making this change.
It’s essential to undergo medical studies and pay special attention to vitamin B12 and omega-3 values, as well as iron and calcium levels. Also, in some cases, supplements may be needed to ensure a complete and healthy diet. In turn, psychological support may be necessary to make this significant change.
It’s worth considering that food is an area that often generates conflicts during this stage. Moreover, this is the time when adolescents are most prone to suffer from an eating disorder (ED). For this reason, it’s important to consult a mental health professional to evaluate and accompany the process.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Cotelo, S., & Tristán, T. (2018). Veganismo. De la teoría a la acción. Madrid, España: ochodoscuatro ediciones.
- Fernández, L., & Martínez, G. P. (2022). El veganismo no es una dieta. Una revisión crítica antigordofóbica y antiespecista del veganismo de estilo de vida. Animal Ethics Review, 2(1), 44-59.
- Manetas, J. R. (2020). Adolescentes veganos: Alimentación equilibrada, saludable y deliciosa sin maltrato animal. Editorial AMAT.