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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
TF Mamas: would you be upset if one of your kids wanted to try being a vegetarian?<br><br>
My oldest DD (13) announced that she wants to try being a vegetarian for one week. Just out of curiousity, I think. She has two friends who are vegetarian, one for religious reasons (Hindu) and one for ethical reasons (loves animals too much to eat them).<br><br>
I think DD is just curious to see if she can go one week without eating meat, and what it would be like. She's not really invested in the idea for any other reason. As she put it when she brought up the topic, "I want to try being a vegetarian for a week--but I don't want to do it during a week when we have duck. We're not roasting a duck this week, are we?" She also said she will really miss chicken nuggets. And bacon. And pepperoni.<br><br>
I told her she *should* do it during a week when we have duck, because that would leave more duck meat for the rest of us. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yummy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yummy"><br><br>
Anyway, I'm not sure how to feel about the whole thing. I want to be supportive of her and not get into control issues about food with her. But I also really don't want her to end up wanting to be a permanent vegetarian, because I know too many people IRL who were veg*n and suffered serious health issues because of it.<br><br>
Also, from a practical standpoint, I'm not sure what to feed her at dinner... lately I've been doing a lot of broth-based soups. I really don't want to make two different dinners every night for a week.<br><br>
How would you other TF mamas handle this?
 

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Is she trying to be v*gan or just vegetarian--ie, is she willing to eat eggs and dairy? (ovo lacto) If she is willing to eat eggs and dairy, what about baking a quiche or a fritatta and serving it with a salad for dinners/lunches?<br><br>
I think that since she said she didn't want to do it during a week with duck, I don't think you will have much of an issue with her going whole hog (so to speak) with being a vegetarian. I tried for a while when I was a teen ager--our Associate Pastor and his wife were, and I thought it would be cool to try, but it blew over fairly quickly. I agree, don't make a big deal out of it and chances are, it will blow over.<br><br>
Hths--at least a little <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I am not a mom yet, but I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for a couple years when I was your DD's age. I would let her try out being vegetarian, and be as respectful of that choice as possible. I would help her plan out what she is going to eat to make sure it's healthful and balanced, but then make her responsible for making food that is not part of the family meal. I remember my mom driving me crazy with her paranoia about combing protiens and thinking I wouldend up anemic. So when I didn't immediatly fall ill I felt very vindicated. I think the key is to make sure she doesn't use diet as just a way to rebel andprove her independence. I did eventually come to peace with meat eating, because I realized that things aren't black and white. That I could both love for animals, and recognize that I was designed to eat them just as much as any omnivore/carnivore. I think this is a great time to research with her about nutrition. I think it would also be agood time to take a trip to a local organic farm so she can see the animals face to face to come to terms with any feeling of guilt she may have.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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I agree that it's not likely to last but I think it's pretty cool that she wants to experience a different way of living for a very short period of time. Given that a large religious group is vegetarian, it will give her a better understanding of some of the challenges people face when choosing to live that way. I guess I see it as a positive thing since it may make her more sensitive and empathetic to the needs of others.<br><br>
I also did the vegetarian thing at 13 but mine lasted for several years. However, there were other complex issues involved which it doesn't sound like your daughter is dealing with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>pnutS4us</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10729964"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Is she trying to be v*gan or just vegetarian--ie, is she willing to eat eggs and dairy? (ovo lacto) If she is willing to eat eggs and dairy, what about baking a quiche or a fritatta and serving it with a salad for dinners/lunches?</div>
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Just vegetarian, not vegan. We talked a bit about the difference. I said, "What about eggs? Dairy? Butter?" And she immediately said she could never give up eggs and butter and milk. Just wants to see what it would be like to give up meat.<br><br>
Really, it doesn't change much for breakfast. On a typical weekday she eats oatmeal or cereal and milk, or some form of eggs and toast if she has more time.<br><br>
We talked about what she would do for lunch at the middle school cafeteria, and she said she would just pack lunch all week to make it easier. Her typical packed lunch is PB & honey on organic whole wheat bread, unsweetened applesauce, cheese, hard-boiled egg, a cereal bar or granola bar type thing, plus maybe a homemade cookie or trail mix or fresh fruit. I feel that having her take a packed lunch all week is probably healthier than what she would get in the school cafeteria.<br><br>
It mostly just affects dinner choices. I told her I think it is fine to experiment with what kinds of foods make you feel best, but that I don't want to see her substitute "junk carbs" for the lack of protein. She and I have talked before about choices she sees other vegetarians/vegans make -- one of DD's dance teachers, for example, is a vegetarian because her parents raised her that way and she literally cannot eat meat now, it makes her sick. But her diet is terrible...lots of sugar and refined carbs, and she is horribly moody. So DD says, "don't worry, I wouldn't want to be a Miss X (dance teacher) type of vegetarian." LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>peridot83</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10730004"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I am not a mom yet, but I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for a couple years when I was your DD's age. I would let her try out being vegetarian, and be as respectful of that choice as possible. I would help her plan out what she is going to eat to make sure it's healthful and balanced, but then make her responsible for making food that is not part of the family meal. I remember my mom driving me crazy with her paranoia about combing protiens and thinking I wouldend up anemic. So when I didn't immediatly fall ill I felt very vindicated. I think the key is to make sure she doesn't use diet as just a way to rebel andprove her independence. I did eventually come to peace with meat eating, because I realized that things aren't black and white. That I could both love for animals, and recognize that I was designed to eat them just as much as any omnivore/carnivore. I think this is a great time to research with her about nutrition. I think it would also be agood time to take a trip to a local organic farm so she can see the animals face to face to come to terms with any feeling of guilt she may have.</div>
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Thanks for your thoughts on this. I like the idea of using this as a time to discuss/research nutrition, and have her be responsible for cooking some of the foods for herself. Maybe we can use this week to try out some fun vegetarian recipes. She does love to cook.<br><br>
About a trip to a farm, I don't think that's relevant here as she's not doing this out of any kind of guilt over eating animals. I came across a quote by E.B. White yesterday that said: "I am a vegetarian not because I love animals but because I hate plants." I read it to DD and she thought it was funny and clever. She said if people ask this week why she's not eating meat, she's going to recite that quote.<br><br>
Again, I think it's just a curiousity thing for her right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dogmom327</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10730119"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree that it's not likely to last but I think it's pretty cool that she wants to experience a different way of living for a very short period of time. Given that a large religious group is vegetarian, it will give her a better understanding of some of the challenges people face when choosing to live that way. I guess I see it as a positive thing since it may make her more sensitive and empathetic to the needs of others.<br><br>
I also did the vegetarian thing at 13 but mine lasted for several years. However, there were other complex issues involved which it doesn't sound like your daughter is dealing with.</div>
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Julie, would you mind sharing what other complex issues led you to that decision? I hope that's not too personal a question.<br><br>
I have noticed that a lot of girls seem to be first drawn to vegetarianism when they hit the teenage years. I wonder why that is?
 

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Just wanted to say that your DD sounds like a bright young lady. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I went vegetarian in my late teens and moved to veganism from there. I think vegetarianism can be very healthy. Unfortunately, I feel that my years of veganism had detrimental health effects on my son in utero. I was not a junk food vegan, ate tons of veggies and no refined foods, but we did suffer from a lack of natural fats and DHA.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>WildIris</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10730322"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Julie, would you mind sharing what other complex issues led you to that decision? I hope that's not too personal a question.<br><br>
I have noticed that a lot of girls seem to be first drawn to vegetarianism when they hit the teenage years. I wonder why that is?</div>
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WildIris, I had a bad home situation. A mentally ill father (multiple suicide attempts), a mother who was barely surviving psychologically (not her fault) and three younger siblings. I honestly think what I ate became the only thing I felt I could truly control since no one was going to hold me down and make me eat meat. I also had a love of animals thing going on but I didn't know enough about how animals are raised, etc. prior to entering the food supply and I don't remember it being a big issue. Unfortunately I had no guidance and fell into the junk food trap. By 20 my health was a disaster area. I slowly added chicken back in and a few years later I tried fish (didn't grow up with it). Only a few years ago I started trying beef and pork again. When I became pregnant I suddenly had a strong aversion to chicken (which we ate constantly) and craved beef. Beef is now my favorite <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat">: although I can eat chicken now (I'm just picky about how it's prepared).<br><br>
Hope that helps <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Aww, Julie, I am sad for all that you and your family went through. I can see why food would be the one thing you needed to control in that situation. I appreciate you sharing your experience and hope you didn't think it rude of me to ask.<br><br>
DD and I talked more about her vegetarian experiement just a few minutes ago, and she said she just wants to try being meat-less "for fun" and to see how hard it would be... more than anything, just to experience what her two vegetarian friends experience on a daily basis. We went over what she will and won't eat (she decided no to bone broths) and discussed some dinner options.<br><br>
I told her I think it's a worthy experiment, that it's a really interesting thing to find out how different foods affect our bodies, and that I will support her in any way I can. (Even though secretly I am worried about this turning into a long-term thing and having her become anemic or something... I felt like I gave the good mama answer. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">)<br><br>
She asked me some questions about going grain-free (currently I am not eating any grains except brown rice, or dairy except butter, and I have to avoid all corn and onion due to allergies--so my diet is very limited). She said after her week of eating meat free, she wants to add meat back in and then try eating grain-free for a week -- just to see how hard it is. She said she thinks eating grain-free will be a lot harder than meat-free. She has a celiac friend she's going to talk to for grain-less lunch ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>memory maker</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10730299"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">does she like beans? you could do some properly prepared bean dishes for dinners and see if that works for her</div>
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Thanks Carey. Great idea on the beans. I already mentioned it to DD, and we are going to make a dinner one night this week of beans and rice. She's excited about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gentlemango</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10730443"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Just wanted to say that your DD sounds like a bright young lady. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I went vegetarian in my late teens and moved to veganism from there. I think vegetarianism can be very healthy. Unfortunately, I feel that my years of veganism had detrimental health effects on my son in utero. I was not a junk food vegan, ate tons of veggies and no refined foods, but we did suffer from a lack of natural fats and DHA.</div>
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Thanks Gentlemango. I think she's a bright young lady, too, but I'm biased. :) I am very glad that she's thinking about food and nutrition; that's more than a lot of kids her age. I am happy to have kids who read labels and ask questions about food, and think about what they are eating.<br><br>
I appreciate you sharing your experience. I agree that vegetarianism can be healthy. But I would be worried if she wanted to be vegan. We have several friends IRL who were very strict vegan and we have watched their health suffer over the long term, as well as see their children have severe health problems...so that would concern me deeply if she wanted to be vegan.
 

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Your daughter is lucky to have such a thoughtful and supportive mother <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dogmom327</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10731164"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Your daughter is lucky to have such a thoughtful and supportive mother <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"></div>
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Julie, thank you so much! I am equally lucky to have her.<br><br>
Her first day of vegetarianism went well. I cooked scrambled eggs for her for breakfast so she'd have a good protein start to the day. And for dinner, she was game to try something new: brown rice and black beans topped with diced tomato and diced avocado. She loved it!
 

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It is so cool of you to be supportive of this. When my sister tried it at that age, my mom simply didn't have time to devote to the discussion nor to cooking a separate meal. It was a disaster in her case because she opted for the junk food vegetarianism.<br><br>
I think this age is typical for diet changes because teen girls see it as a way to show independence. Vegetarianism is a whole lot better than some crazy crash diet though! I saw a lot of that when I was a teen. Actually, I heard a girl in the school bathroom say to her friend: "How many calories do you think I'm burning if I leave my sweater off and just shiver all day?"<br><br>
Your daughter seems like she's got a good environment to experiment in. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
If it were mine (and we're some time off from that!) I'd pretty much do the same thing you're doing. Be supportive, caution about food choices where needed, look for underlying causes just in case she felt out of control somewhere and was using diet to get control *somewhere*. But I can't say it wouldn't worry me... But I'm a worrier though.
 

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Among my vegetarian friends when I was a veg*n, I'd say about 80% of us started out as a weight-control thing. Under the various reasons of being healthy, feeling clearer, eating clean, but ya know, it was mostly about weight when we were teens.<br><br>
Later it became very much an ethical thing, about environmentalism and animal rights and cruelty and saving the earth, and that's a whole 'nother can of worms. But just as long as we're kicking this conversation around, it might be worth pricking up your ears and listening for the self esteem or body image issues that are developing during these years.<br><br>
Not necessarily for the OP, since her daughter sounds pretty self confident and communicative, but I thought I'd toss that into the bucket of this thread for future mamas.
 
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