My parents won’t let me be vegan

Parents worry. That’s their job.

Often, they are concerned that you won’t get the right nutrients on a vegan diet. They may not know other vegans or what they can eat, and they just want to do the best for you. You can get around this by doing your own research. Read up on nutrition and health so that you can answer their concerns as they come up. Why not sit down with them and watch documentaries like What the Health, Vegucated and The Game Changers. Then they can see how healthy and varied a vegan diet can be, and it may just inspire them to join you.

Another concern is more practical. If a parent or guardian is the main cook in your house, you can see why they would not take kindly to having to cook two different meals every day. Here, some compromise may be required. Why not offer to cook two meals a week for everyone in the house? Then have another two nights where there is a meal that can easily be adapted for you. This could be as simple as putting a vegan pizza in the oven alongside a non-vegan one or making a stir-fry and removing the vegan portion before the shrimp is added at the last minute. And for the remaining three nights, you simply make your own food and let your family eat theirs. It really doesn’t take long to get into this kind of routine and it can mean everyone is happy.

One more concern is that vegan food might be more expensive. In some cases, this is true. Vegan cheese often does cost more than dairy, for example, but the cost can be balanced out by the cheap ingredients you will use most often: vegetables, legumes and grains.

A good idea is to ask to go vegan just for a trial period, such as during January. In that time, you will need to make sure you help out as much as possible and cook when asked to do so. But if you make amazing meals during that time, and your parents see how delicious the food is, how healthy it is and how easy it is to be vegan, then their concerns are likely to melt away.

If, however, the answer is still ‘no’, you may have to wait until you are older before you go fully vegan. But in that time, you will still have some choices to make about what you eat, and whenever you have a choice, you can choose plants.

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