I was not thrilled when my teen daughter returned from a weekend visiting her older sister at college and announced that she was a vegan. Over the years, I supported her tightrope walk between being a vegetarian and a pescatarian, but a vegan was a bit over the top. She did not sort of become a vegan, she dove in fully ready for a new culinary life: overnight we had to drop eggs, butter, milk and cheese. She thoughtfully learned what foods had protein, vitamins, and minerals that her body needed. She quickly discovered natural substitutes, she sent me links with recipes and showed me magazines articles.
My mother thought my daughter had become a vegan to drive me crazy and I must admit that her departure to this lifestyle was challenging. I was prepared for just about anything: I changed thousands of diapers and did not sleep a proper night her first 36 months of life and yes, I had set the stage by recklessly indulging all of my children for many years: To prove it, I have a few thousand Beanie Babies and boxes packed with Disney movie cassettes in my garage!
Then one day, a friend shared with me that her daughter’s friends – a group of 15-year-old girls attending a local private school – were suffering from serious eating disorders.Thinking about teenage girls who felt so bad about their bodies made my vegan challenges quite surmountable.
I really tried to make this a positive experience – we went through, couscous, quinoia, brown rice, vegan pasta, nuts, beans and a lot of vegetables. I am thankful to the creators of humus – truly a genius food. My daughter who has always loved interesting food, tasty restaurants and cooking never missed a meal; quite the opposite, she ate plenty as being a vegan proved hard to satisfy her hunger.
We went to the new upscale Vegan LA Restaurant, Crossroads, and we ate at the local vegan fast food in our neighborhood. I was happy to try and support her desire and conversely feared that if I stood in her way, she would buckle down and become even more vigilant in her extremist dietary life.
In Israel last week, I was at a restaurant with my dear friend who claimed to be a vegan for the main course at dinner, but abandoned her vegan diet for tasty desserts. Then I dropped my daughter off in Barcelona for a month of study. Before she moved to the dorm and entered student life, we ate at the most amazing Tapas Bar – Bar Canete. My vegan teen could still do without dairy, but could not resist the seafood temptation and incredibly broke her strict vegan existence!
Now she is a Teen Cheagan! ( A cheating vegan)
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