Last week while at a wellness event I had a conversation with a Mom telling me about her daughter’s vegan eating disorder. Her daughter’s group of friends would frequently criticize each other on social media for eating meat and dairy. The Mom told me she was doing the best she could to prepare vegan meals but she was feeling like veganism was becoming a source of tension and damaging peer pressure for her daughter.
Often I hear about this from another perspective. The vegan in the family feels misunderstood and pressured to eat meat and dairy from non-vegan members of their family. In my case, I am frequently made fun of by a 7 year-old who rolls her eyes and makes up rhymes about her goofy wheatgrass juicing grandma.
All I can say about this is do the best you can with it. I will sometimes try to eat dairy when I’m with my family but I don’t feel well afterwards. I’ve even tried to eat meat but after one bite, it feels like I’m chewing on a packaging peanut.
If you’re a parent, this is what your vegan teenager is experiencing, and its real.
Now when I’m with other people I just eat what I want and I don’t say anything. If there’s salad or veggies on the table, I make sure to cover my plate with them so it looks like I’m eating as much as everyone else even though there’s no meat on my plate and it’s not a big deal.
A couple of summers ago I was chatting with two teenagers at the Glaser raw vegan Farmer’s Market in Coconut Grove and they told me they had gone raw vegan by finding and watching YouTube videos. I asked how they were doing and both girls told me their skin had cleared up and they had lost weight.
I asked if their parents were supportive and they said not really…we’re just doing the best we can.