DISCLAIMER The information on this website is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always work with your physician or qualified healthcare provider before making major diet changes.
I was fortunate to receive some very wise parenting advice as it relates to adolescence. It went something like “You shouldn’t worry that she’s fighting you so hard for her independence. She’s a teenager. It’s her job at this age. The ones who jump through all the hoops and go along with everything – those are the ones I worry about.” Good thing because never have I EVER had a hoop jumper. Not even for a second.
By the tender age of 18 months this one had commandeered her entire closet and insisted on choosing all the outfits herself. Every day. Or there was war. Needless to say there were some really entertaining get-ups which fostered her near legendary fashion reputation among the teachers at her elementary school. I never made her wear one of those “I dressed myself” stickers but she certainly could have been a strong candidate.
Some battles you fight. Some battles you take a step back from and cock your head as you contemplate the upside of pairing polka dots, stripes and florals in a single ensemble. And indeed I learned that and so much more about the importance of her individual need for expression as this beautiful little soul was blooming right in front of me.
Fast forward many years (and hair colors) and that same independent spirit stands before me. Still beautiful. Still feisty, yet much taller and exceedingly mature for her age. I find myself saying things like “You know what? You were right!” and “I’m sorry. I was shortsighted with my immediate dismissal of your idea.” Pretty incredible for me, a self proclaimed know-it-all with Fonzie-esque apology skills.
Thanks to my daughter’s fierce independence and stubborn nature, I’m much better at all of that, which brings me to the topic of today’s interview. I won’t go into too much detail, but as you’ll see this was yet another battleground for us, and maybe for you too as you’ve tried to navigate the over-abundance of information and mis-information surrounding child nutrition. Turns out the healthy paths are plentiful, but there were nights when I jolted up in bed terrified that I would be doing serious damage no matter which direction we headed.
As is often the case, our offspring inherently possess the knack to choose the best path for themselves if we’ll just dare to let it happen. They don’t have to take the reigns entirely, and they may have to double-back a time or two, but with a little guidance they’ll navigate beyond your wildest dreams and gain a ton of confidence in the process.
Such was the case with my daughter. The Vegan. The following interview is the story in her own words about her journey with eating. We thought our little chat could be helpful to other teens and parents alike, who may be struggling to understand this lifestyle, learn whether it’s viable, and why it’s even a thing in the first place.
Please note: This interview is not an attempt at persuasion. Everyone has different needs and goals as it relates to food, and this story is simply one account of a young woman using a plant-based lifestyle to better her quality of life and the details around how she went about that transition.
Here are some additional resources you can check out:
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (licensing body for Registered Dieticians in the U.S.) position on plant-based diets
Diet, Children and the Future – Concerns for western children and diet needs at various ages
The Game Changers Documentary – Movie featuring inspiring athletes from our discussion below
My husband’s vegan story – Treating Osteoarthritis Pain with a Vegan Diet