Hi, I'm 13 years old and I want to go vegan. I'm already vegetarian, and that's hard enough, because my whole family eats meat. Do y'all have any tips?
When I was your age, I was vegan for 2 weeks before I realized that I'd have to go without cheese on my nachos, and went back to being vegetarian, lol.
Honestly, if you really want to be vegan, think of all the things you're going to have to cut out of your diet to actually be vegan. Since you're so young it might be healthier to stay vegetarian since there are more healthy proteins available to you in the form of eggs and dairy.
If you're not buying your own food, it's going to put the expense on whoever is, since a lot of vegan food alternatives are expensive.
Anyway, as far as tips go, you'll want to make tofu a regular part of your diet, use almond milk in place of dairy milk, and use olive oil dressings instead of dressings like ranch. It'll also be more difficult to find good soups since most are made with beef or chicken stock. The best way to eat good food as a vegan is cook it all yourself.
After being in hospital I was basically told that I had to become vegan (which is fine as I don't eat meat anyway, I'm lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant and eggs cause me pain and sickness) so I've been looking at a lot of ways to substitute things I used to love. So far I have found lots of websites that might help you. Such as http://vegan.com and Peta also have help to become vegan. But I agree with Monika, at your age you should be really careful about what you eat, also it's best to cook everything yourself if you do decide to go ahead. Not to sound patronising but you're still growing and maybe the best thing to do it stick with Vegetarianism first and gradually cut out things like eggs and milk. I hope this has helped!
Break a leg and hope it works out for you!
I've been vegan for just under 3 years now and before that I was a vegetarian for 1 year. I wouldn't go back but I'm not going to lie - being a vegan can be difficult. Not so much because of the things you can't eat, but mostly because of the people around you who will constantly tell you how unhealthy it is, how inconvenient it is and just being generally very negative. You'll have to be confident in yourself and not allow other people's negativity to affect you. There are lots of resources online. I read a book called the China Study (by Colin Cambell) which convinced me of all the reasons why it's a good idea to be vegan (quite apart from the humanitarian and environmental reasons). There's a great vegan chef is called Isa Chandra Moskowitz and she's got a website with lots of free recipes at http://www.theppk.com/. There's also a British website (http://www.vegansociety.com/) which has a huge amount of very helpful information on all aspects of being vegan. On a side note, when I was about 12, I wanted to become a vegetarian. My family were very negative about it and each time I tried they made it almost impossible for me. I was only eventually able to go vegetarian (and then vegan) after I left home and I do regret that I let myself be convinced by the naysayers. Some of the healthiest people I know are vegan and I definitely spend way less on our grocery shopping than people who eat (a good/decent quality) meat and diary. Lastly, I would recommend what another respondee has said - give up one/two things at a time and gradually eliminate things rather than the cold turkey approach - butter was the last thing I gave up after about 5 months till I found a replacement I liked. Best of luck.
P.S. With regards to helping you around your meat-eating family, maybe you could get something easy like vegan sausages and just ask your Mum to grill them while she's making the rest of the dinner and you have have them with the vegetables and whatever carbohydrate she's making. The thing is to educate yourself on how to 'veganise' things easily and then you can show your Mum how with only a small effort, she can incorporate your needs into the family meals. Definitely make sure you're aware of all the nutrition/vitamins/minerals etc. you need. The vegan society have a page on this (http://www.vegansociety.com/lifestyle/nutrition/). You'll need to take a vitamin B12 supplement (in fact most people including meat-eaters should be taking one too).
Thought I'd chip in my story to see if it'd help....
I've been vegetarian for 8yrs (omg it's been that long? Lol) I became one in high school, & also want to become vegan. Anywho, I have figured out that becoming vegan is impossible right now, bc I still live at home with my parents who buy my food (also it is a very unhealthy all meat-eating, hunting loving, unsupportive household). I also live in an area (middle of nowhere) where vegan food alternatives are virtually unheard of & expensive when found. .....so for now, until I move out, make my own money, & don't have people bitching at me everyday about it, I have to wait & live with it. Lol It sucks, but that's life.
Also giving up the products I still eat (which is just cheese, & milk if its already in something...I drink soymilk when I make it) I find unbelievably hard in my strict family & surroundings. I've decided that when I do move out, I'm going to be vegan at home & vegetarian when eating at family functions & out with friends, which would avoid a lot of hassle. That would work perfectly in my situation.
So u don't have to be completely vegan all at once, & sometimes you have to wait a long time until u can do it on ur own. I also agree that judgement & negative people are going to bother you a lot more afterwards, so grow a thick skin, & educate yourself with facts to fight them back. Not everyone's going to support you (still no one in my family does), but you just gotta do what's right for yourself & not let them bother you.
If your vegan, look up/try high protein foods (not just soy, which is actually very fattening!!) like beans, spinach, lentils, seitan, tempeh, quinoa, nuts. & take vitamins (I take b12 also). Look up lots of recipes, & start cooking all your own foods, & experiment with them! Good luck!
I'm a vegan going on 2 years, vegetarian for 8 years. Eating vegan and being vegan are two different things btw. I didn't find it a hard transition and agree with Mina. It's other people that have the most problems.
Think about your motivation for eating vegan. Are they good, positive reasons?
If you feel they are, read up about it as much as possible to ensure you'll get everything your body needs. I'm a dietetic major and still had to read A LOT first. But remember, the dietary needs of a 13 year old girl who is growing in many ways are VERY different from adults.
I guess the bottom line advice from me is-think and educate yourself.
I agree with all of the posts above me. Also, there is more to being strictly "vegan" than just not eating animal products; you have to be careful with everything you use. For example, wearing UGGs or leather. I am vegetarian; I have considered going vegan but it was too hard for me. If your family eats meat a lot, perhaps you could learn how to cook your own meals. Good luck!
i have been vegetarian for a year and a half. i am almost vegan. all of the advice that has been given to you is great. there is something you can do about the cost. i have a small garden that i planted by just buying seeds. it can help to grow you own hwrbs and lettuces a kale can grow like crazy. i do think that a little bit of your own personal research about your nutritional needs can help you figure out how tobalance things out. dont be discouraged by the meat eaters in the house. i am the only vegan in my house. they generally just dont know how to help you in your journey. coupon clipping and getting some meat substitutes and portabello mushrooms for burgers can ease their grustrations with cooking and shopping for you. remember it is less expensibe to be vegetarian and vegan.
I've been a vegetarian for 21 coming on 22 years. I wanted to be a vegan but my nutritionist, who is a vegetarian and used to be a vegan herself, recommended staying a vegetarian and just eating vegan whenever. I'm going to try that and maybe I will end up going vegan full time. Who knows. You just have to be careful getting enough protein and all that jazz. It's certainly doable and don't let other people discourage you. Just read up on it and learn how to get proper nutrition. For me, it will be hard to give up cheese but there are alternatives. Good luck!
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