Teen Troubles Going Vegan In Anti-Vegetarian Family

Family counseling and a book on vegan nutrition may help teen to go vegan without fear

Becoming Vegan

HI discovered this website researching about veganism, since I have recently decided to go vegan;  formerly being an ovo-lacto-vegetarian for about a year, when I was 16.  I’m now 17.

I have a huge problem, and wanted to ask for advice: When I told my mother of my meaning to not eat meat, she reacted very badly (which of course grieved me).  As weeks or months passed,  I suppose she grew accustomed,  for she stopped telling me stuff about meat was unhealthy and religious matters (my family and I are catholic), as well.

The point is that, now that I have decided to keep a strict vegetarian diet, my family is ignorant of this. So, I am very, very much scared of my mother’s reaction if I tell her, and I don’t really want to tell her, for the same reason. But I am feeling depressed, because I feel as if I’m deceiving my family and concealing such an important matter as this. I know their reaction will be awful.


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I hope that you’ ll help me! I send my thanks beforehand. P. Z.

Savvy Vegetarian Advice:

Hi P. Z., What a miserable situation for you! Becoming vegan isn’t really the hard part. You can get a good book on vegan nutrition, ‘Becoming Vegan’ by Melina & Davis, and share the info with your mother. But hearing information and accepting it are two different things! She may not easily let go of her fears.

What is it exactly about your going vegan that would be so awful to your family? And why do you dread their reaction so much? Knowing the answers to those questions would take you a long way toward solving your problem.

It says a lot about your good heart and character that you don’t want to hurt your mother, and disrupt your family life. At the same time, I don’t think that you owe your family complete conformity to their world view at the expense of your own development.

It might be a good idea for you to meet with a counselor, maybe someone in your faith, to talk this through and help you figure out how to approach your family and gain their support or at least their co-operation, or mediate between you and your family. A neutral 3rd party can be extremely helpful in family conflicts – if everybody involved is willing to talk.


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A possible compromise would be to delay going vegan until you leave home for university or work, and have more control over your life (including what you eat). I strongly recommend that you plan on taking that step – living on your own or with roommates for a while – and not jump straight into a relationship or other situation where you have the same problem.

These are just my opinions, and may be foreign to you, or don’t fit with your culture. But I hope this helps.

Remember, you’re not alone! Here are a few letters from people in similar situations:
14 Year Old New Vegetarian Has Parental Obstacles
Teen Vegan Suspected of Being Anorexic and Superior
Miss Vegetarian Asks for Help
Mom Is An Obstacle To Going Vegetarian

All the best, Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian

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One Response to “Teen Troubles Going Vegan In Anti-Vegetarian Family”

  1. Sandy says:

    I have had problems with friends and family since I have gone vegetarian. Right now I am a lacto-ovo-vegetarian. I want to give myself time to adjust to this way of eating, then I plan to go vegan. I have had mixed reactions about it. Some think I am becoming snooty, where they get that, I don’t know. Others ask me how I could not eat meat. I look at it this way, how can you nurture and love some animals and call them your pet, and kill and eat other animals and call them dinner? The Bible says God created every creature in his image. That tells me they have spirits. When I read this, I decided then that I would never eat meat again.
    People will get used to it eventually. I still go out with friends to eat, I just don’t eat meat. I don’t try to convince them to go vegetarian. That is their own decision. I know I am much happier now with my decision.

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