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DD12 has decided to become a vegan

(126 Posts)
user1473872482 Wed 16-Nov-16 23:27:45

My daughter who is 12 but 13 next month has decided to become a vegan.
I think she may have a friend at school who is a vegan but I am not exactly sure. She is now refusing to eat anything and before she was a very good eater. She wont eat dairy products at all, meat or chicken. She is refusing to eat breakfast too and for lunch at school today she just had plain rice and nothing else.

I don't know how to deal with this at all so any help good or bad would be appreciated. My husband tells me to just cook what I normally do and if she doesn't want it then she don't have to have it - her choice. I know he is right but at the same time she is not eating much. All she is eating at the moment is rice, noodles, pasta and jacket potatoes.

Champagneformyrealfriends Wed 16-Nov-16 23:31:47

Well unless you're buying egg free pasta and noodles then she's not entirely vegan.

Trivialities aside I would probably be concerned that this was disordered eating, particularly if she's skipping meals. Often people with ED's use strict dietary preferences as a way if avoiding food. Speaking as somebody with a history of ED in my family (not me) I'd observe for now and don't pressure her to eat. Sometimes making a big deal if how little somebody suffering with disordered eating is consuming can be counterproductive. It could be a phase. If she doesn't snap out of it soon then I'd consider speaking to your gp.

user1473872482 Wed 16-Nov-16 23:34:30

She isn't skipping meals as such but she was never a breakfast eater anyway. My husband tells me to not pay attention to her and to leave her even if she says she isn't eating it as he tells me she is a teenager next month so if she don't want to eat it's her choice. I am really hoping that this is a phase though as her best friend is doing the same too according to her mum.

user1477282676 Wed 16-Nov-16 23:35:33

You've got to be really careful this isn't the start of an eating disorder.

My DH was vegan for a while and DD who is now 12 tried it...against our wishes really...what I did was BORE her with nutritional information and what she had to eat as a vegan in order to stay healthy.

Then I cooked lamb but made her a plate of plain roast veg. She caved within a week.

IMissGrannyW Wed 16-Nov-16 23:37:23

I was going to post to say "fine... but she cooks" but having seen what PPs are saying about EDs (a subject I know nothing about) I'm not going to say anything.

DontTouchTheMoustache Wed 16-Nov-16 23:37:37

Have you maybe considered not trivialise ng her decision to become a vegan and attempting to cater for her diet? hmm I'd hardly say it was rocket science. Try preparing a few vegan meals that the whole family can eat (it's not poison it just doesn't contain animal products) and see if she eats that. If she is still.not eating properly maybe you have a problem...otherwise I would say you have a vegan.

BreatheDeep Wed 16-Nov-16 23:38:32

I decided to go vegetarian around that age because my favourite celebrity was blush. My parents accommodated it. I remember eating veggie burgers a lot! I grew out of it a year or so later.

BratFarrarsPony Wed 16-Nov-16 23:41:16

I think you could start making vegan dinners on some nights of the week - for example a chickpea or lentil thing. Pander to it a bit or she will end up eating hardly any protein. It wont harm the family will it?

And investigate the nutritional aspect of it. For example I think vegans should eat masses of green stuff to stay healthy. As someone else said, bore her with it.

user1473872482 Wed 16-Nov-16 23:41:19

She did actually mention to me to buy quorn meat substitute products though so I will give them a try and see how I get on as she has tried it at school already.

Ohyesiam Wed 16-Nov-16 23:42:33

Of she is serous about this she needs to do a lot of research, and get her v nutrition right. Is a big commitment. A health vegan diet is a great thing, a half asset lazy one is c really really unhealthy, and her health will suffer.

user1473872482 Wed 16-Nov-16 23:45:56

My husband just now mentioned to me something which I find very odd and which he finds very odd and I thought I would let you all know.

He said when my daughter went to his mums house on Sunday she did it the Beef Casserole that she made and she did eat the egg lemon soup that she made as well.

So I am not sure why my daughter is refusing to eat anything at home or at school with dairy or meat/chicken products if she ate at his mums house.

Could it be a attention thing at home and copying her friends at school?

BlackeyedSusan Wed 16-Nov-16 23:46:11

get her a vegan cook book, whole wheat pasta and brown rice, lots of lentils and beans and B12 supplements.

veganism is fine if done well.

we eat lots of vegan recipes as ds is veggie and dd is allergic to eggs.

lentil bolognaise, lentil chilli, soups with beans and rice in.

a quick bit of research on vegan sources of calcium/iron etc...

YouMeanYouForgotCranberriesToo Wed 16-Nov-16 23:48:18

I decided to go vegetarian at 12 and still am 20 years later, so I wouldn't dismiss this as something she'll grow out of because she's young. Although she might.

I would say vegetarian is easy, vegan can be pretty hard. Quorn actually only do a couple of vegan products. Can you have a discussion about why she wants to do this? If she continues i think you need to cater for her needs. I would have hated it if my parents has dismissed my beliefs and just served me up the side dishes when I gave up meat.

Blogwoman Wed 16-Nov-16 23:50:44

Hi, I also know nothing about ED so can't comment on that. But my 16 year old DD has become vegetarian then vegan in recent months. I was very reluctant & when she suggested it a year or 2 ago I strongly discouraged it. She wasn't a great eater. But at 16 I felt it was her decision but wanted her to look into it properly. I also consulted someone I know who is a vegan & a GP. She gave us helpful info, which I'll paste here; it's going well & she's actually eating much better & feels less tired. My contact said:
It's easy to eat well and gain all the nutrients you require for good health on a veggie/vegan diet from birth to old age (and all the official bodies state/recognise this) but a common mistake people make is just removing the meat/animal products from meals and not eating a fully balanced diet. Have you checked out the Vegetarian and Vegan Society websites? They have some helpful info on nutrition: and… The Veganuary website has a useful "starter kit" and the Viva! Health website has also got some good info (I know the girl who wrote the Viva Health report and it's all been well-researched and evidence based) All of these sites have recipes/meal plans. The key thing to supplement is Vit B12 as it's not available in plant foods (but, interestingly, it's only now present in animal products as they themselves are supplemented.

TrickyD Wed 16-Nov-16 23:55:10

Catering for a vegan is a nightmare and I speak as a vegetarian. DS1's GF is a vegan. She had always been a veggie which was no problem, but DS only announced the switch to veganism when they had actually arrived for their last visit. I was not pleased.

They are coming to stay next weekend, and I begged DS for some ideas. Salad and a handful of nuts is all very well but not exactly festive, and as we are very fond of the GF, something beyond that is called for.

As a standby for your DD, you might want to look at a range of Vegan ready meals caled Fox's, which DS says are as good as meat. I found some in Holland and Barratt, expensive though. Apparently you can get them from Morrisons too, they might be cheaper there.

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 17-Nov-16 00:02:02

If you want to be supportive (do you?) then get a good vegan cookbook and follow what's in it. Thug Kitchen is good, as is the Veganomicon. There are also loads of Indian recipes which can be easily veganised or are there already.

If you're worried about protein: we only require 0.80g per kg of body weight per day anyway. So multiply her weight in kilos by 0.8 and you'll get her daily protein requirement.

For easy meal options which include protein:
- jacket potato with beans
- daal
- pasta with a bit of olive oil/salt/pepper and a load of soybeans (forzen are fine)
- Linda McCartney vegan sausages are good and go well with a roast - just make the veg using oil rather than butter and let her make up her own onion Bisto in a mug
- banana smoothie with 1 cup soy milk, 1 banana, 50g silken tofu and 2 tbsp of maple syrup is delicious and a nice breakfast
- the old staple of hummus sandwiches is rather nice for lunch grin alternatively Sainsburys now do fake cheddar and cream cheese options
- get her some bags of nuts for micronutrients and GLA (also, they are more filling)

Honestly, being vegan is not hard. I'm the only vegan in my family and we make vegan meals as a baseline, which DH then adds dairy or meat to as needed (he is lazy so often doesn't bother). He says it's great living with a vegan because someone cares about the veg as much as he cares about the meat, so meal quality improves!

Good luck to your DD.

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 17-Nov-16 00:03:02

Oh and get her some vegan multivitamins from Holland and Barrett so she gets enough B12 grin

LilQueenie Thu 17-Nov-16 00:21:00

I would go along with it. Be careful with Quorn though as not all Quorn products are vegan. ask her to buy a book on veganism/cooking and see if she is willing to purchase it. If she is serious she will. You will find a lot of things are vegan anyway especially cereals except coco pops although they used to be. And remember no eating honey, no wearing leather or wool. That's usually the part where you can figure out if you are serious about it or not.

griffinsss Thu 17-Nov-16 00:31:59

If she's vegan she really needs to be eating 3 meals a day (at least!). It's very difficult to keep calories high enough on a vegan diet, especially while she's still growing.

I was vegan until recently (still eat a vegan diet mostly, just will occasionally eat meat when my DDs do, and will have the odd cake when out, etc) so I do have a little insight.

She NEEDS to be eating green veg, high calorie fruits like bananas (and mangoes if they aren't too expensive, they are for me!), beans, lentils and suchlike and carbs like sweet potatoes, potatoes and rice as the basis of her diet. She can absolutely have a healthy diet but you do need to check they she isn't doing it as a way to hide obsessive food control (potential leading to ED). There's nothing wrong with not eating animal products, but it's the attitude and reasons why that determine whether it's healthy or not.

Perhaps you could help to educate her on how to be healthy with a vegan diet? Or even educate yourself? High carb low fat has quite a large following on YouTube, and there is a YouTube called unaturalvegan who gives very sound nutritional advice (my opinion!).

When I first went vegan I would often eat meat when visiting my dad just to avoid causing a fuss, but at home I would avoid animal products completely. I know it's a pain for you, but cutting your whole family's intake of meat is never a bad thing (environmentally - watch cowspiracy with her and see if it strikes a chord, also a good way to know if she's actually interested in being vegan or if it is just a phase/ED/attention/school pressure.

griffinsss Thu 17-Nov-16 00:32:22

B12 supplements are v important too, and vitamin D.

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 17-Nov-16 00:33:36

Oh God yes. If she and her friends have watched Cowspiracy or Earthlings then they may not revert at all!

someonestolemynick Thu 17-Nov-16 01:04:05

I remember going veggie around 18 and how much my mum supported me even though it was more work for her.
Please work with your DD on this and encourage her to do veganism properly.
She can get all her nutrients from a plant based diet. Pulses, grains and nuts are your friends here.
Most quorn products contain eggs, So are not vegan.
Going vegan is hard and it's very possible that she had a weak moment at your mum's. Don't take it as prove that shr' s just doing it to inconvenience you. It's like eating a bar of chocolate when you're on a diet.
Btw her diet now sounds very restricted, why don't you both get some vegan recipes and have some fun with them.

KeyserSophie Thu 17-Nov-16 01:13:12

I hope I dont attract the ire of committed vegans by saying this, but I think maybe it's something to establish as a goal but to work towards, rather than going cold turkey straight away. I would be ok for my DC to become vegan but I think it is something that you need to learn to do rather than just leaping into.

I have friends who describe themselves as "veganish"- i.e. they aim for a predominantly vegan diet but dont worry too much about the odd slip, especially where sticking to guns would offend the host or result in being hungry for hours. I think more people are now going down this "flexi" approach, especially people who are doing it for environmental rather than ethical reasons.

Quietlygoingmad67 Thu 17-Nov-16 01:23:51

My 14yo is a vegan after being a vegetarian for 6 years. It isn't so bad catering for her at all. There are LOTS of dairy alternatives readily available there are just as good as dairy. We've found Tesco do a great range of dairy free as do Sainsburys. Ask your daughter to sit with you and do some research into protein sources and explain she can't survive on a carb rich diet for too long without feeling rubbish -
Good luck

MythicalChicken Thu 17-Nov-16 01:28:13

There are loads of amazing vegan recipes here.

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