How do I persuade my parents that being vegetarian is the way to go?

Amber - posted on 01/05/2013 ( 12 moms have responded )

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Hello, I'm not a mom - I know it's called circle of Moms, you really don't need to tell, me, thanks:)

Anyway, Im in Highschool, in 7th Grade, I am 12, almost 13 and I really wan't to be a vegetarian because I love animals and I am concerend about the way animals are treated. I have done reseach and I know I need to have a balanced diet and eat high-protein foods.

I started watching youtube videos a few years back on vegetarianism and watched videos in it for about 3 days straight. I then started to watch other videos, and stopped my self from watching videos about vegetarians. A few months later, I started to watch videos on vegetarians again !

I was eventually confident to speak to my Dad while my mom was at work and they are REALLY BIG MEAT - EATERS! I talked to my cousin before I asked my Dad (She was a vegetarian) and she said he would be impressed that I wanted to make a choice for myself but he wasn't.

They don't know what I will eat as a vegetarian because they have NEVER researched it so they don't know how healthy it Can be if done correctly.

How do I persuade my parents to let me give it ago?

Any advice will be greatly appriciated xx

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Denikka - posted on 01/05/2013

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If your family is big on meat, you've got a long battle in front of you. At this age, my ultimate suggestion would be to wait until you are able to support yourself, at least buy your own food.
To go onto a vegetarian diet at this point, your parents would have to buy you specific foods catering to your lifestyle. This can be expensive and inconvenient. If you're parents aren't supportive of you, it's doubtful that they will be willing to go through the expense and inconvenience.

Trying to change your parents mind is not a bad idea, but be very careful how you go about it. Many times, especially when someone is in the beginning phases of a life style change, whether that's vegetarianism/veganism or religion, etc, they tend to deal in absolutes and become zealous about their beliefs. They tend to preach to everyone around them, start talking about their change constantly, how much better it is, how everyone should do it etc. Going on and on and on about why everyone should do it, or why they made the change. Many times a *better than you* attitude pops up.
If you honestly want to convince someone to change their mind, avoid that at all costs.
Sit your parents down, once. Be precise about why you want to choose this lifestyle. This is YOU, you cannot expect your entire family to change their lifestyles along with you. Don't just tell them that you *don't wanna know that cute animals are dying to feed you*. There HAS to be more to it than just that.
Figure out what kind of vegetarian you believe to be right for you. Some eat no meat or animal by products at all. Some allow themselves dairy and eggs. Some allow themselves to eat fish. A vegan doesn't eat, use or wear ANY animal products at all. You'll need to understand the differences and decide on what is right for you.

Research the health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle (avoid the *dangers* of a meat eating lifestyle. You don't need to *attack* your family's lifestyle, which is how it will be viewed). You should also avoid going preachy, keep your points short.

Explain that you feel that you should not support slaughterhouses and large scale meat farms because they mistreat animals. On that note, you can suggest that your family switch to more animal friendly sources to get their own meat. Free range animals, especially those gotten from local butchers, are in general treated much better than those obtained from large scale operations. It may not be winning the war, but at least it is a small victory and a step in the right direction.

Show your parents information on how you would be able to meet your nutritional needs. There's plenty of information out there on the internet. I would also suggest calling in to a dietician and talking to your doctor to ask for their suggestions. Or at least talk to your parents about being willing to follow a doctors advice.

Lastly, the best advice I can give is to accept your parents decision. If they say no, you have to accept it. If they don't agree with you, wait until you are able to make your own decisions. When you are on your own, you can make whatever decisions about your life that you want. While you are living with your parents and relying on them, especially for your food, you will have to accept their decisions.
Good luck :)

Lisa - posted on 01/25/2013

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Like Denikka says, yes you can make vegetarian lasagne. In the UK you can buy vegetarian mince (a vegetarian version of ground meat) I assume you can find something similar in the US? If so, you can make a lasagne that tastes pretty much like a meat lasagne, but without the meat! Quorn is the biggest brand over here.
Alternatively you can use roasted vegetables.

I also use the vegetarian mince to make sloppy Joes!

I write a vegetarian blog if you want to take a look: http://www.circleofmoms.com/blogger/we-d...

Denikka - posted on 01/25/2013

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There are absolutely vegetarian versions of lasagne :D And some of them are pretty darn tasty too. And this is coming from a meat loving gal! :P
Just Google vegetarian or even vegan lasagne and you'll find a HUGE list of different recipes. In fact, why not Google vegetarian recipes. Not all of them call for things like tofu. Eggplant or mushrooms, for example, are often used as a meat stand in many different recipes.

You may be able to come to some sort of compromise with your parents. Perhaps ask to cook one meal a week. Gives them a break from cooking (make sure not to make a huge mess, tidy up after :P) and allows you to try out some vegetarian meals on them. They may be more willing to accept it if you show them how yummy it can be.

Lisa - posted on 01/17/2013

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Hi Amber,
I was about your age when I first wanted to try being vegetarian. I lived in a rural community and didn't know a single vegetarian! You couldn't buy meat substitutes then either (except dried soy)...that makes me sound ancient but this was in the 1980's!
Anyway, my parents weren't supportive, but I slowly started to cut different meats/animals from my diet. I had to cook it myself if I wanted a different meal to them (which is probably why I'm a good cook now). I cut out red meat for a few years and soon after I left home, I went vegetarian.

It's much easier to find meat replacements now, and as they're easy to cook, your parents might be willing to let you eat a veggie version of the meat they're eating...you don't know unless you ask! Offer to cook your own meals if they buy you veggie food and maybe see if they will join you in eating one vegetarian meal per week (Meat-free Monday).

Btw, my daughters are 11 and 14 and have been raised vegetarian. They are at least as healthy as their meat-eating friends, if not more so.

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Amber - posted on 01/28/2013

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I know Lisa, ....I'm only 12 though, Just needed some advice;) ....Thankyou x and your not telling me what to do, I asked for your suggestions and I got them, so Thank you xx

Lisa - posted on 01/27/2013

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Amber, we can't tell you what to do. Do what your heart tells you... whether that be to eat meat for now, to cut some meats out, or whether to try and persuade your family to listen to you and allow you to try out being vegetarian.

Amber - posted on 01/27/2013

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Thank you everybody for commenting. I'm glad other people have been in the same situation as me and I'm not just going it alone.

I've tried to speak to my dad before, but when I spoke to him, I messed up. I don't think he liked the idea anyway.

Should I speak to my mom ur what? I know they can't force me to eat it, I LOVE MEAT. I have eaten it all of my life, but i've always wanted to at least try to become vegetarian.

What should I do? .....Thank you x

Ariana - posted on 01/26/2013

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Find out all about what you need to eat if you're a vegetarian. Find recipes and make a meal-plan stating how you can, realisticially, make sure you have all the nutrients you need without eating meat. Get this information together and show it to your parents. You may also want to take some sort of vitamin and get them to speak with your doctor (to confirm it's ok for you to take on this diet).

Once you've done this it's pretty simple, don't eat meat and eat what you're supposed to to stay healthy. They can't FORCE you to eat meat.

Hayley - posted on 01/26/2013

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I started being a vegetarian at your age, and my family doesn't like it either, and they continue to not like it. I am also raising my son to be a vegetarian, as well.
I understand that you parents don't like it, but if you talk to them about why, and how it makes you feel, I'm sure they will understand. However, being a vegetarian can be expensive if you buy all the soy meat products. But if you're big on just eating fruits and vegetable than you're good! You can have a wide variety of foods while still being a vegetarian if you have the right eye for it.

Amber - posted on 01/26/2013

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Thank you for your tips both of you.....And it's okay Lisa, I live in the uk....It's just that i'm not a vegetarian at the minute so even though I see Quorn and Linda McCartneys meat free meals, I have never looked at what you can actually buy.....

Thank you both for taking the time to reply to my questions x

And sure Lisa, I'll take a look x

Amber - posted on 01/25/2013

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Hey Lisa, Haven't been on for a while so sorry it is a late reply.

Thank you for your tips , When the time is right, I'll ask about getting some veggie meals....I have another question though lisa...

I LOVE lasagne, I don't know why, but I do. Can I still eat it as a veggie (do they do the veggie equivalent to a lasagne) ? x

And It's great that you're daughters are vegetarian, and so healthy!! Thanks for replying x

Amber - posted on 01/05/2013

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Hello, Thank you soooo much for replying. I understand what you are saying. When I go shopping with them, they normally tend to buy free range eggs. When the sales are on and the Meat is half price or something like that, I always get taken to look at the meat.

I don't expect my family to be vegetarian, I have really wanted to do this all my life, but I have waited. Thankyou for suggesting that I could get a doctors opinion on this, but I don't know if I'll even get far enough to go to the docs.

Thankyou for replying anyway, your tips were helpful xx
Have a good day xx

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