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Ask Rene: My Teenager Suddenly Wants To Be A Vegan!

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Ask Rene:

My Teenager Suddenly Wants To Be A Vegan!


Hi Rene,

I wonder if you could help. I have a bit of a family food issue on my hands.

Recently my 14-year-old daughter, Megan, announced that she wanted to go vegan – and has since converted to a strict vegan diet. It’s been really difficult in the kitchen department as Megan has three brothers and a younger sister who all eat meat – and her dad and I are also meat lovers too!

Mealtimes have become a bit of a battleground as Megan has become very fussy about how I prepare her meals and insists that I use separate knives, pans and chopping boards. Plus she’s started lecturing the rest of the family about how bad meat is and that our diets are cruel and selfish.

I want to respect my daughter’s choice but it’s driving us all a little crazy . . .

Advice please!

Kathy, New England


Hi Kathy:

Oh how I feel your pain! I hate meal prep in the first place and adding special instructions adds another layer of frustration to the mix. As I said in my book, Good Enough Mother; The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting, (I am paraphrasing here) “this is dinner not a diner so sit down and eat!” Okay, my answer will focus on reasons and results.

1. Have A Talk With Megan

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Have you asked Megan why she wants to become a vegan? I know she mentioned animal cruelty but are you sure she is not masking an eating disorder? Has she mentioned wanting to lose weight or dissatisfaction in her appearance? I would keep a close eye on that. But if it is about a personal belief system, you need to make sure she is getting the proper nutrients for her developing body. Vegans don’t eat any animal products at all so you may have to add supplements to her diet. Check with a registered dietician or your pediatrician.

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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