Parents of Vegans

<p>I have been I vegetarian for seven years, and I would like to become a vegan. My parents, however, do not like the idea. They are not concerned about the health issues so much as how I will be able to eat at restaurants and friends' houses. Do any of you have children who are vegans? How has their choice to be vegan affected their lives?</p>

<p>It annoys the heck out of everyone else.</p>

<p>My 15 year old niece is a vegen and she came to visit <em>groans at the thought of how many double meals cheers had to cook</em></p>

<p>Sure gets her lots of attention. That would be my main observation about life change.</p>

<p>I have several friends in a food co-op who are vegan, but they do the cooking for themselves and their households, so they think it's worth the trouble. One friend in particular is a master with spices (can make otherwise plain food taste and smell fabulously enticing), but there's not a lot of "quick" food in her house, other than raw fruits and veggies. </p>

<p>A lot of vegan "substitute" food, esp. for dairy foods, is soy-based. If you're allergic to soy, your options for variety may become very limited. </p>

<p>If you choose to become vegan, you should plan to become responsible for providing most of your own meals when they would greatly differ from those of the rest of your family. If you're a guest at someone's house, you should be prepared to provide your own meals, eat what is being served with no comments, or go hungry. It's really not polite to expect that other people will drastically rearrange their cooking and eating habits for you. </p>

<p>The vegan adults I know do not expect others to prepare food just for them when they are invited to share meals in someone else's home. They either bring an apple to tide them over, or they eat what is offered. They do NOT talk about what they don't eat or why.</p>

<p>I would have somewhat expected a bit more support on this subject - as it is becoming fairly popular - especially for the college aged kids these days - rather than the negatives already presented here. Would you not have a Jewish friend as a guest at your table or someone with significant food allergies and not respect their dietary mores. It is equal to respecting the dietary mores of someone who is vegan. I would hope you would make an attempt to make your guest feel welcome and try to provide at least part of meal that is acceptable and appropriate for whom ever feasts at your table.</p>

<p>I guess it is considered respecting each others differences - one may think it is a PITA - but there may be things that you can do to at least make a vegan comfortable and welcome where ever they are eating. People make the choice to follow certain dietary influences all over the world and for many different reasons - being a vegan is no different.</p>

<p>My one hope would be - becoming a vegan can be very challenging and resources may be limited depending on where you are - one needs to research that it is possible to make this dietary choice and be able to follow thru adaquately - especially for your own health and well being.</p>

<p>Vegans learn fairly quickly where they are accepted easily and where they may not be welcome. If considering this route - it would be a very good idea to be prepared for those times that it will not be convenient for others around you. Pre-preperation can be very benificial to all involved. Vegans learn which restaurants, markets and other food places they can comfortably utilize - and hopefully if invited home by a friend - are able to approach the subject with their host prior to their arrival - even recommend or provide what is needed or even volunteer to do food prep/cook also. They can also graciously say no thank you as well.</p>

<p>IMHO -It really is not much different from the kiddo who only eats pb&j's or mac & cheese when the rest of the family is having fish. We have all been there at one time or another - being a vegan is not that much different. And we can all learn..................................just my .02</p>

<p>You're right. We should be more supportive. </p>

<p>In my case, I made double meals for a week--many of which were hardly touched. There was the implication that non-vegens couldn't get it right. Apparently the cook wasn't quite PC enough--although the second meals were strictly vegen?</p>

<p>The other time I shared a meal with a teenage vegen was in a restaurant in London and she made a similar sort of fuss. In my admittedly anecdotal experience, there is a relationship between the attention, the preachiness and the lifestyle. </p>

<p>The OP asked and that was my 2 cents.</p>

<p>madhur jafferys vegetarian cooking has lots of vegan or what could be adapted to vegan recipes
I have some allergies of fairly common foods ( wheat- milk)
what I do is eat first before I go somewhere and taste the veggies or whatever I can- if it is appropriate I may offer to bring dessert or a dish to share that is made with something different than what they are used to
I am lucky to live in Seattle- lots of great produce and alternatives to processed foods which may have anything in them
Cheers I suspect that the issues that the vegans had that you knew had more to do with their age than their food choices ;)
I remember using Lappe's book as my bible when I was that age
yuck such heavy nasty stuff! nut loaf! @@</p>

<p>To the OP - are you opting for just a vegan diet or are you also considering the vegan lifestyle as well?? I can - in a way - understand your parents concerns - but being educated in the aspects of what you are considering will help your parents to accept your choice - so you may have to help them along the way.</p>

<p>Before my own DD left for college she talked alot about becoming vegitarian - but did not take any action to that until she was at college. We talked alot about it - I wanted her to completely understand what this choice entailed - helped her with some easy and wonderful recipes and found a great cookbook for her also. We talked about the health issues and need for protein - she is very athletic with a very heavy school load - and I wanted to make sure she did not get run down - which is pretty common for new vegitarians who are very very active. Actualy I am quite surprised at the respect she has gained regarding our planet in all of this - it has lead her to other wonderful choices as well - all for the good.</p>

<p>She also shared with me some thoughts about vegan and made the choice not to go that far - but she does respect their choice as well. When she came home for break she actually made us a wonderful vegi meal - I was actually quite surprised at her cooking skills - haha - as she could not even boil water when she left. It really has been an education - one that we support and respect - just as she does our choices.</p>

<p>If vegan is a comfortable choice for you - go ahead - try it - what do you have to loose.</p>

<p>When my mother was alive, she was vegetarian with bad teeth and diverticulitis - and my dad followed vegetarian + fish protocols. So I cooked about 2.5 meals. I view it as sort of a game to get everyone happy. Since my mother passed, my dad eats the same food as we and its a lot simpler.</p>

<p>I have been a vegetarian for nearly a decade ( I'm 47) I never got into it because of moral or social issues. I had some health problems and needed to lose weight fast so I stop eating meat products along with eating less of everything else, I lost 40 lbs in 5 months. Once I leaned out and my health improved I just had no desire to eat meat again.</p>

<p>If I'm correct Vegans go a step farther by eliminating dairy products and eggs? and I think I read somewhere processed foods also?
I don't see a health issue because you can easily subsitute to get the nutrients and amino acids you need</p>

<p>From a social standpoint I have learned to be gracious and tactful around my meat and potatoes family and friends, When i'm invited to dinner and they have steak I don't tell them I am a vegetarian I just say I have some minor health issues and ask for a some extra salad or baked potato. I always comment on good the meat looks.When you tell your dinner host you are a vegetarian or vegan they often get defensive and either over compensate which makes you stand out like a sore thumb or they don't invite you back. The other no-no is to make faces or comment when your dinner mates are gnawing on that big ole slab of dead bovine ;)</p>

<p>When you look at colleges it is something you might want to pay attention to. Many of the colleges we visited had vegan or "health bars" in thier cafeterias. Princeton's was great they had almost all organically grown produce. Sarah Lawrence college we visted two days ago had a good vegan bar though you do have to pay a little extra for the organic produce. Other colleges idea of a vegetarian menu was the salad bar and nothing else.</p>


<p>We have a vegan in the household due to food allergies/intolerances. The biggest challenge we find is when dining out. So many restaurants use processed foods or ingredients which aren't safe for a vegan diet. We've had to quizz many a chef on food preparation to ensure that certain dishes were strictly vegan.</p>

<p>Thanks for all of the replies!</p>

<p>My main concern is how my becoming a vegan will affect other people. I already know that some of my friends' parents will be phoning my mom to tell her that I will not be healthy and to ask what to serve me when I come to their houses. Some of my friends who already know that I have been considering this seem to think that I won't be able to eat anything but fruits and vegetables. I have been volunteering at an animal rights organization and I have read many animal rights books, so I know about what I can eat and which restaurants in my area are vegan-friendly (although I can just get a salad at most restaurants).</p>

<p>BMoyilan, those who do not eat processed foods have "gone raw" (are raw foodists?). They only eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts.</p>

<p>I have learned to look closely at labels for tell-tale signs of impurity, like casein or lactic acid (The Horror!). I often make double meals but S cooks his own food too. Being a vegan in college means that you HAVE to have access to a refrigerator for soy/rice milk, some prepared meals, and (yuck!) vegan cheese.</p>

<p>For several years my son and I had the same eating habits - we ate some fish, eggs, some dairy and cheese, just avoiding chicken and "mammal meat." When he became a vegan, the preparation got harder.</p>

<p>My wife and I have been vegetarians for 25 years, and my son - who is a very healthy 18-year-old - has never eaten meat in his entire life. But we are not vegans (I couldn't give up ice cream!). And we are also not proselytizers nor are we absolutists nor complainers. We were in a remote area of Romania once on an expedition and a very kindly farm woman offered us a special treat. It was mostly vegetarian, but had the smallest, tiniest pieces of chicken. I tried to pick out the chicken specs, but got a lecture from my wife afterwards on politeness and how to act in a situation like that.</p>

<p>Anyway, vegetarians are so common these days that it's not a big deal.</p>

<p>However, vegans are less common. Soy milk substitutes are great in lots of food, but wouldn't necessarily be in the refrigerator of non-vegans. It's harder than just "leaving out the meat." I say go for it, but be prepared for some uncomfortable situations.</p>

<p>AND DO NOT PROSELYTIZE!!! (But it would be great if your parents joined you...)</p>

<p>my kids have gone the vegetarian route at times, and went vegan for short spurts. Not a problem in general with me, and I think when they sorted it all out, they ended up much healthier and informed eaters, though none of them at this point have chosen the vegetarian path at this time.</p>

<p>My primary concern for vegetarians of all sorts, particularly the females, is the low iron situation that I see too often. It is not easy to get the iron you need without including some meat in your diet, if you do not keep that particular need in mind. And for some reason, young females tend to be a bit on the anemic side anyways. As a mom I always worry about my kids getting the proper balance of what they need. I worried about fresh fruits and veggies for the boys who just are not big on those items without me around to offer them. So it is always an issue for me whether they are following some sort of decent diet. My S particularly concerned me because he went through a period of time that he was fixated on the greasiest,nastiest french fries and other stuff just dunked in a fryer basket. The cashier at the place actually told him he was going to get clogged arteries if he didn't find some other type of food to eat.</p>

<p>will you be giving up wearing leather and the other tenets of veganism or is it purely a food choice?
Nephew (30) was vegan for many years,probably since HS age. Worked as a cook,waiter,bartender.Cooked meat based meals for his fiance.
Last year he suddenly decided it was time to eat dairy and meat products again.He says now meat is so delicious.</p>

<p>Thanks, yulsie. I had not thought about carein or lactic acid!</p>

<p>Digmedia, ice cream is hard to give up! There is a Ben & Jerry's near my house. :(</p>

<p>Jamimom, I take a vitamin supplement, and I think that I will be able remain healthy as a vegan.</p>

<p>Cathymee, I have been a vegetarian for seven years, and I have not eaten gelatin or worn leather in about two years.</p>

<p>tofutti cuties
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<p>but unfortunately they do not come in coffee coffee buzz buzz

<p>I've been vegetarian for about seven years as well.</p>

<p>I would not recommend going vegan. I tried it, and it works best if you are vegan for about 4 or 5 days a week and eat some dairy/eggs the other two days. If you really want to be vegan (avoiding casein, whey, egg yolks, egg whites, etc) your life is going to stink. I wish I could put it otherwise - but I would love to go vegan but just can't. It's more than the ice cream (though that's a big one). Almost everything has some sort of animal product in it. Eating out will be a nightmare. I, for one, cannot just have a salad for dinner (my tapeworm acts up ;) ), and many salad dressings have some form of egg or milk product in them. It's difficult to find a vegetarian dinner salad, as most of them have chicken or bacon... and finding a vegan one is harder. I eat out a lot, and really HAVE to eat eggs/milk products. Italian is always a good standby for a veggie, but even that is hard without the cheese. Special orders are a pain - I cannot tell you how many differnet ways I've seen cheeseless pizza messed up, including just having the crust there with the sauce and a few veggies on the side of the plate. Please, before you go hard-core vegan, look at the restaurants around you. Realize that you cannot live in a small town and be vegan if you like to eat out at all. Also, college is different - I ate out a lot more once I got there... oh gosh, and during finals, it's delivery time. Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, more Indian - and most of it has some form of animal product.</p>

<p>Of course, there's always the problem of eating out with work (you'll get to that later in life), and even being vegetarian is downright awkward with that. People at work are nice enough to choose places where I can eat something. I'm really hoping that it won't be too much of an issue when I go on interviews. </p>

<p>I know a girl who was vegan. I say "was," because she had been one for about four years, then finally went to being veggie during her senior year at college. She just couldn't prepare her own meals (and not on a meal plan) all day, every day. </p>

<p>Okay, that's my rant. Just know what you are getting into. There's also nothing wrong with doing the vegan thing most of the time, then eating egg/milk because it's just too hard to avoid otherwise.</p>

<p>My daughter has been vegan for over a year. My wife is mostly vegetarian but will eat fish now and again. Neither my son nor I are vegetarian; we will eat pretty much anything but like meat on occasion. This can make meal preparation complicated, but we find ways to work it out. For starters, she has been preparing much of her own food. Pasta dishes with a variety of different sauces can work for everyone, rice/bean/veggie dishes that are a main course for some and a side dish for others are another possibility. When we go out, we pick restaurants that have something for all of us (not many fit the bill) or we do takeout from a couple of different places that are near each other. She can often find something at a few of the local Chinese places.</p>

<p>When she visits a non-vegan friend, she will generally bring along some granola bars and a few individual sized boxes of soy milk. She eats what she can at the friend's house and, discretely snacks on what she brought and then gets something more substantial at home. This can mean she is eating at odd hours. Most friends' parents have been understanding. The others, she avoids visiting around mealtimes.</p>

<p>Her main trouble has been finding things to eat at her high school. She has become accustomed to eating a small lunch, having a snack when she gets home and then eating dinner on the later side. One of the things that sold her on Oberlin was the general availability of vegan options in the coops and school cafeterias, right down to soy milk in some of the milk dispensing machines.</p>