General Question

nettodo's avatar

How can I talk to my parents about my vegetarianism?

Asked by nettodo (468points) September 7th, 2012

Look, I am attempting to transition into vegetarianism, and there aren’t too many obstacles getting in the way of going to that path (okay, I still want bacon on occasion, but there are alternatives), except for my parents. They are concerned that:

A: It will “stunt” my growth (which is to them is due to a “lack of calcium”, which I believe to be getting in the same amount as pre-vegetarian days)


B: Something about poultry and fish (yes, forced pesce-pollotarianism).

How do I discuss with them that I truly want to become a vegetarian and their arguments are invalid?

Sidenote: I get most of my calcium via soymilk, which I have always preferred to dairymilk and cheese, which I am not so sure about eliminating. I do eat B12 fortified cereal.

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59 Answers

RocketSquid's avatar

If they’re concerned but willing to listen, do some research. Find a few reliable sources that show that you won’t suffer any nutritional deficiencies. Things like alternate sources for calcium and protein that you can show them.

YARNLADY's avatar

Join a vegetarian group online and build up the facts in your favor. Then offer to make up your own menus and do your own shopping to help out. Be absolutely sure you do follow the proper diet to get all the nutrients you need.

Enlist the help of your doctor.

gailcalled's avatar

Here are 25 vegan sources of calcium. Tell your parents that meat does not provide calcium.
Top nine:

1. Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)

2. Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)

3. Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)

4. Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)

5. Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)

6. Fortified non-dairy milk (1 cup contains 200–300 mg) This is mysterious. I don’t know what is being referred to..

7. Hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg)

8. Fortified orange juice (1 cup contains 300 mg)

Non-meat eaters should have a B!2 supplement. They come as sublingual tabs.
Make sure you have enough vitamin D3, also..

How old are you?

nettodo's avatar

@RocketSquid That I can do, probably.
@YARNLADY 1: Can you direct me to a group? and 2: I have to go to the doctor soon because I need vaccines, so I will ask him about that.
@gailcalled I enjoy a good bunch of these foods, the problem stems that my parents are relative lovers of meat and are very hesitant towards vegetarian foods (there is a given to that). I believe they refer to (basically) soymilk or almondmilk or coconut milk fortified with calcium.

nettodo's avatar

@gailcalled 14. I forgot to write that in.

JLeslie's avatar

Come armed with information so they will feel more comfortable. @gailcalled gave you a good list to start with. I would also have amounts of calcium in the things you have removed from your diet so you can compare what they are worried about you eliminating. I would say most people worry about vegetarians not getting enough protein, so I find it interesting they are focused on calcium. I guess because you are not drinking cow’s milk? You can certainly take a simple one a day vitamin if they are worried about you getting minimum requirements.

How about also offer to discuss it with your doctor with a parent present as well. The doctor can give advice and ease your parents mind. You can have some basic blood tests done as a baseline and then have them done again in 6 months to see if any of your numbers have become better or worse. Maybe do it during a regular check up.

nettodo's avatar

@JLeslie Protein isn’t too much of a worry, I still get some protein (sadly, mostly from poultry, but legumes are also prominent), but they have always been concerned about calcium, even though it has been stated that “I despise the taste of cow’s milk.” Interestingly though, as soon as that milk has been cultured or solidified (yogurt and cheese, respectively), I enjoy it well.

gailcalled's avatar

@nettodo: Congratulations for your independent thinking. Given your age and their attitudes, you will have to present good documentation. Luckily, that is easily found on the web.

Here’s a good list of resources at “MedlinePlus”:

Dairy products are not so good for you either. Think lots of vegetables and fruits, the complex carbs. like brown rice, quinoa, barley, amaranth, amd all the lovely beans and lentils.

Mexican, Indian and the SE Asian cuisines have many vegetarian dishes, seasoned and spiced with a variety.

You are also being part of the movement to treat domestic animals better and to eat lower on the food chain for ethical reasons. That does not preclude being healthy and having delicious meals.

Is there someone at your school who can give you some tips?

nettodo's avatar

@gailcalled Well, thank you first of all. I am planning on gathering plenty of documentation and presenting my findings to them. Your reference to a menagerie of foods is getting me thinking for some excellent dishes. I am quite aware of the excellent vegetarian variety of ethnic fare, and do plan on exploring those kinds of dishes both when going out and when making dishes. At school, I am not exactly sure who I would ask for advice.

Sidenote: I am from a country (thus culture) considered within the realm of SE Asia, but surprisingly enough, vegetarian dishes are rare in the culture.
Sidenote 2: My (occasional) rationale when discussing animals for food is “Think of the baby (insert animal here).”
Sidenote 3: I do want to ask, are you a vegetarian?

JLeslie's avatar

@nettodo I don’t get it. You eat other dairy products and they are still concerned? Do they expect you to drink milk with meals? My husband and I both were not raised with milk at meals (except school lunches when I moved in 5th grade) it is so foreign to us to drink a glass of milk except when I was little I did dunk chocolate chip cookies, and my husband now, once in a while, makes chocolate milk. We both do eat cereal with milk sometimes though, but he didn’t growing up. His mom hates milk altogether so she never served it, but she did use it in her cooking. When I first went to college I saw students take milk with dinner at the cafeteria and I was stunned. I had never seen such a thing.

Meanwhile, when my sister announced she was going to be a vegetarian many many years ago, my dad flipped out because the dairy council had everyone convinced milk was important. I guess that idea still persists. Do you by chance live in the middle of the US? Or, Wisconsin of all places? The dairy state?

JLeslie's avatar

I just read you are in SE Asia. I think of Asians as not consuming a lot of dairy. I guess my assumption is incorrect?

nettodo's avatar

@JLeslie I am of SE Asian descent, but I live in the US. East Coast, actually, and am at least a 12+ drive to either the middle of the US or Wisconsin (probably the same case for both).

nettodo's avatar

*I do need to clear that up. I live on the East Coast of the US and am of SE Asian descent. Just to clear things up.

nettodo's avatar

@YARNLADY Thanks for the resource!

gailcalled's avatar

@nettodo: I am working my way to an almost- vegan regime with occasional lapses for ice cream and a little mozzarella cheese in the summer with fresh tomatoes. I do eat a small portion of canned wild salmon twice a week, too.

I use rice milk for tea and cereal. I buy most of my food from the food coop. I eat steel cut oatmeal with ground flax seed and a little maple syrup and a few walnuts every morning during the cold season.

nettodo's avatar

@gailcalled As much as I would love to be vegan, some animal products (like honey) I cannot live without. I definitely try to avoid gelatin as much as possible, which limits my (occasional) chewy candy urge to Swedish Fish. Unless I can find vegan gummy bears…

jaytkay's avatar

@nettodo There are a lot of different reasons for going vegetarian.

I think the big three are religion, health and concern for animals.

What are yours? Maybe discussing your motivation will help the discussion.

And for the sake of discussion, although I eat 90% plants, I also eat fish, poultry and mammals.

And I am not a vegan, I do not avoid animal products like cheese.

gailcalled's avatar

@nettodo: MY fanatical vegan sister has 13 honey bee hives and eats the honey. She will also occasionally buy a dozen eggs from a neighbor whose chickens cluck and scratch around happily outside all day long.

jaytkay's avatar

@gailcalled If you eat honey and eggs, is that NOT vegan?

I want to be a beekeeper!!

nettodo's avatar

@jaytkay Definitely concern for animals. The entire idea of destroying the lives of innocent animals for our own consumption (with limited gain) seems barbaric. And very gross. I also do it for health reasons, because I have always had slight problems with food and healthiness. That, and meat has the inherent risk of bacteria.

JLeslie's avatar

@nettodo Most vegetarians I know do it in stages. First eliminating some meat, then all meat, then some move on to dairy and eggs. It can take years. I had a friend who was vegetarian at home, but not when he ate out. I had another who gave up all meat except bacon a few times a year. My sister’s last hold out was fish sandwiches at McD’s.

I only asked if you were in the middle of the country, because dairy cows are an industry out there. Drinking milk is also viewed as supporting your neighbors in some communities, and the belief that milk is necessary for good health probably persists more in those places. But, goodness knows Vermont is known for its cheese.

I think in my case we didn’t drink milk with meals as a leftover from being Jewish. That has always been my guess. We didn’t keep kosher in my house, but my parents were raised kosher when they were very young, so in their home milk would not have been served at dinner. Cultural norms seem to feed into a lot of the beliefs about these things.

nettodo's avatar

@JLeslie Well, that is an interesting point. My problem isn’t so much with milk, it’s the fact that there is an inherent lack of vegetarian dishes to go around. It doesn’t help that my mother is not too keen on vegetarian alternative dishes.

JLeslie's avatar

@nettodo I think you are going to have to take some responsibility in making your own dishes. Also, maybe you can make it a project your mom and you can share? If she feels included and sees how serious you are about it, she might enjoy learning with you? Maybe look up some recipes you are interested in trying? Does she generally cook Asian food? Or, is your family very Americanized in their cooking? Asian food has many vegetarian options.

nettodo's avatar

@JLeslie Our family very varied in cooking. And to note, it is my father that is the one that cooks, but he is just a tinge more supportive.

rooeytoo's avatar

I guess if my kid came to me and said this number one concern would be health. If you can dispel that argument the second would be that I don’t want to have to prepare 2 separate meals 3 times a day. Do you do your own cooking? I am not fond enough of cooking that I would want to have to do that, not to mention the expense and time. Other than that, no problems. Although I seem to know a lot of fat vegetarians because they consume mostly carbs. I have often considered going veg but I do like chicken. And most of what I cook has chicken or chicken stock in it. That is my problem. In my own defense though, I only buy free range chicken and eggs, wild caught fish (hook and line, no nets). It is expensive but I would rather eat less and eat happy.

JLeslie's avatar

@nettodo Whichever parent, I think they would really like to try new recipes with you. Something you can share. Most parents struggle to find things in common with their teenage kids, this can be something you have in common.

The end of the story about my sister was my dad was pretty awful when my sister announced her desire to be vegetarian. The irony is my dad now is basically a vegetarian, although he does cheat at times. My sister became vegetarian initially for humane reasons. My dad did it for health reasons many years later. Their diets are very similar now.

nettodo's avatar

@rooeytoo I do know how to do my own cooking (in fact, I am the only one in the family that bakes), so that wouldn’t be too much of a problem. I just need to invalidate their argument.

@JLeslie That sounds like a good idea. Oh, and just because, I might have a way to relate to your little clause about your dad and sister. You said that your dad became a vegetarian for health reasons, right? Well, based off the reading I have done so far (in the course of about one hour), my parents could possibly benefit through eating vegetarian.

JLeslie's avatar

Let us know how it goes.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m not sure trying to convert your parents to vegetarianism is a good place to start. You’re a 14-year-old that has decided to become a vegetarian—nothing wrong with that, good for you, but your parents will probably think it’s a phase and you’ll be asking for bacon at breakfast within a week or two. Whether that’s true or not, trying to convince them they should give up an entire food group probably won’t help you. They have the right to eat meat just like you have the right not to. Focus on debunking their health concerns. You’re a kid, but your parents can’t force meat down your throat. Whether they approve or not, it’s your body and you decide what goes into it.

I definitely agree that it’s your responsibility to feed yourself – cook your own meals if you can’t eat the dinner cooked. And if your parents are concerned about the extra cost, take that into consideration. Fruits, veggies, soy products, etc can be pricey, especially if your parents don’t normally buy those things. If you can’t cover the extra, you can’t expect them to just because you made this decision.

Sunny2's avatar

In 5 years you won’t need their approval. Meanwhile, eat a little of the protein your mom serves and more of the veggies. Unless you do the buying and cooking of the food, you don’t get to decide what the menu is. Your doctor should back you up as to the types and how much protein and minerals you need. That should help get your parents off your back. It isn’t worth it to start a power struggle with your parents. If you’re lucky and your doctor helps them understand, maybe they’ll cooperate more than you think they will.

newtscamander's avatar

If you’re looking for vegan sweets to avoid gelatine and you like liquorice, have a look at the ingredient list, most types are without gelatine. Also, Jelly Beans and Skittles are vegan.

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 When did the OP ever mention trying to convert her parents to a vegetarian diet?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@jleslie It was suggested that she try to get her dad to try vegetarian recipes and she said ” Well, based off the reading I have done so far (in the course of about one hour), my parents could possibly benefit through eating vegetarian.”

JLeslie's avatar

@livelaughlove21 To me that does not sound to me like she is going to try and convince them to be vegetarians, but I see why somene my interpret it that way. To me it is just a comment that they might embrace the health benefits once they read up more and not be so worried and critical of her food choices.

Kardamom's avatar

Gotta head out right now, will be back with some info later : )

In the meantime I will leave you with 2 of my very favorite vegetarian recipes:

Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Veggies and Peanut Butter Dressing

Hot and Sour Soup

nettodo's avatar

I thought I would leap in here. I’m a guy. As in “he”.

gailcalled's avatar

It is funny that we all assumed you were a girl. I wonder why.

Kardamom's avatar

Warning: this is going to be long. I’ll try to categorize things so it’s easier to read and so others can pick and choose what they need/want

Some of you already know that I’ve been a vegetarian for about 25 years. I’m not vegan, although I enjoy a lot of vegan recipes. I eat some eggs and dairy, but try to be mindful of where those products are coming from. I also don’t buy or wear products made from animals like leather or alligator skin or fur or down.

Why do you want to become a vegetarian? Everyone has different reasons for wanting to become a vegetarian. Maybe it’s because of animal rights, maybe it’s because of wanting a healthier diet, maybe it’s because they simply don’t care for meat, maybe they think it’s better for the planet as a whole, or maybe a combination of several things. It’s easier to deal with the whole concept of being a vegetarian if you can figure out why you want to go down this path, because people are going to ask you about it and it’s easier to deal with if you have a well thought out answer ready.

Vegetarian or Vegan? In general, vegetarians (also called lacto/ovo vegetarians) eat mostly plant based foods, but also eat dairy and/or eggs. Vegans ususally eat no animal products at all including eggs, dairy and possibly honey and maybe even sugar (which may or may not be processed with bone char) and maybe certain beverages such as wines and beers that can be processed with isinglass or gelatin. Also, some processed foods, especially ones that are colored red, might contain cochineal or carmine which is the ground bodies of a particular red colored beetle. Most vegans consider insects to be “animals.” Lots of foods contain Gelatin (an animal product made from the hooves and connective tissue from slaughtered animals) which can found in marshmallows, some candies, some yogurts, Jello, mousse and don’t forget about the capsules that some medicines come in. Some, but not all, cheeses are not considered vegetarian, as they contain animal derived rennet which is not the same thing as microbial or vegetable rennet. Animal derived Rennet is made from the stomach lining of calves and is used as a coagulating agent. There are other coagulating agents that are not derived from animals as you can see in the link.

Do you want to be a Vegetarian or a Vegan, or would you simply prefer not to eat as much meat, or to avoid certain meats such as pork or red meat? Some people want to eat healthier and may give up or limit their intake of red meat, but still want to eat fish and chicken. These folks, in my opinion, are not really vegetarians, but sometimes they will refer to themselves as pescatarians. Or they will say, “I’m a vegetarian, but I eat occasionally chicken.” OK. (Shhhh, they’re not really vegetarians).

A lot of people seem to think that vegetarians will have a difficult time getting enough protein. Most people, vegetarians and meat eaters, actually consume too much Protein. Of course you do need protein, you just don’t need to get it from meat. Here’s a List of Vegetarian Sources of Protein and if you aren’t going to go vegan, eggs and dairy products are also full of protein.

Vegetable proteins may even be better for you than meat-based proteins because they have less fat and calories per portion than meat sources as you can see Here With some types of vegetarian proteins, you will need to eat more than one kind during the course of the day (not necessarily at the same meal, as was previously thought) to get Complete Proteins. Soy and Quinoa are 2 vegetarian items that contain complete proteins. Here’s some more info and a Chart to explain how to combine proteins to get your complete protein throughout the course of a day.

You will need to make sure to get your Fatty Acids The best vegan/vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acid comes from ground flax seeds (whole flax seeds are good sources of fiber, but the fatty acids just go right through your body and are not absorbed) or flax oil. As you can see in the previous link, there are other sources of Omega-3’s, but the ground flax seed or the flax oil has the highest concentration.

Another thing that you will need to be very conscious of is getting your B vitamins, especially B-12. B-12 is readily available in animal products, including dairy and eggs, but if you are going to go vegan, you will need to get Vegan Sources of B-12 in addition to taking a supplement. Here’s some more info about vegetarian diets and b-12 and Kids (which you are since you’re only 14).

Don’t forget about Calcium and Iron (taking note that calcium, and tannins which can be found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of iron, so make sure you pay attention to eat or take calcium supplements, or tea and/or coffee, several hours before eating a meal high in iron. Some of the success of a vegetarian diet is all about timing : )

Vegetarian diets can be very healthy and might reduce your risk for developing heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Do not give into the temptation to become a “Cheetos Vegetarian”. By that I mean, don’t become a junk food junkie or you will pay the consequences with your health. Learn to love and prepare healthy meals with mostly whole foods and very little processed food.

Here’s some info from The American Heart Association

Here’s some info from The American Cancer Society

Here’s some info from the Mayo Clinic

Inconvenience for You
Know in advance that maintaining a vegan or vegetarian diet can be a bit daunting, possibly more expensive, and requires a lot of planning, and you need to know how to cook and prepare and shop for your own meals, because other people, although well meaning, may not truly understand what it means to be a vegan or a vegetarian.

You will need to become a vigilant label reader, so that you can know for sure if the products you are buying are truly vegan or vegetarian. Here’s a List of nasty things that you might not expect to find in your food or cosmetic products. You will need to become a question asker, especially in restaurants that may not always be forthecoming or knowlegeable about what exactly constitutes a vegan or vegetarian food or ingredient. You will also need to grow a thicker skin and learn how to politely ask friends and relatives if there will be anything that you can eat at their events (without embarrassing or insulting them) and be very forthcoming about offering to bring a dish to share with everybody if there isn’t going to be any veg offerings. You may also have to plan around events where there will be (or you aren’t sure) no veg offerings by eating ahead of time and/or carrying around snacks in your bag, or keeping a cooler in your car (when you eventually get a license).

Discomfort, Ignorance and Irritation by Other People
Thankfully, Fluther is a very vegetarian friendly place. Most of the rest of the world and society is not. Expect to be ridiculed. Expect to be questioned. Expect people to try to convince you to go back to eating meat. Expect some people to be insulted and/or hurt if you refuse to eat their non-vegetarian food. Expect some people to demand that you serve meat at your own events or they might refuse to attend. Expect some restaurant personnel to give incorrect information as to whether a dish or ingredient is vegan/vegetarian out of ignorance or disdain. Expect that you will accidentally consume some sort of meat or animal product at some point, before you discover what you’ve just eaten. Try not to get hysterical, horrified or angry, just chalk it up to you having to have more diligence and to pay more attention to what you are eating and how or by whom it is being prepared.

You will have to prepare some pat answers for the inevitable questioning you will receive. You can answer however you want, but for me, I’ve found that saying something like, “I have my own very personal reasons for being a vegetarian and I prefer not to discuss it, it’s like religion and politics, but thanks for asking.” Or you can go into a scientific or ethical discussion about your choice, but be prepared for a barrage of dissenting opinions. Some people are just curious and forget that it’s rather impolite to ask about other people’s dietary choices, just like you shouldn’t grill people about their health or their religion or how much money they make, or how much they paid for their new car. For the truly curious, who don’t seem to be trying to insult you, you can always offer up a few ideas, reasons, recipes, or resources for them if they really want to know.

You may have to disclose your vegan vegetarian diet to certain people such as your doctors (so you can get the best information for the choices you are making) but know that a lot of doctors have little or no training in nutrition and have virtually no knowledge about a vegan or vegetarian diet. Your best bet to get nutritional info from your health care provider is to visit a nutritionist or a registered dietician. You might also want to disclose your choice in some type of health care directive, so that if you ever end up in the hospital, they will know that you will require a vegan or vegetarian diet. Same goes for your school nutrition/cafeteria programs. It will also help, and cause you less discomfort down the road if you disclose this info to your friends and their parents and your relatives (even though you will still most likely be questioned and given funny looks). It’s not all bad, but sometimes the reactions you will get due to your dietary choices will come as quite a shock to you, in the beginning, but eventually you’ll be able to laugh it off and just roll with the punches.

The Vegetarian Resource Group has a plethora of information and links to other sites.

Happy Cow Restaurant Guide is an easy way to find vegetarian/vegan restaurants and health food stores in a searchable database by city or country.

Vegetarian Times (magazine or website) is one of the best places to find info about nutrition as well as finding tasty recipes and getting introduced to new p roducts and cooking techniques.

You said that you were of Asian decent, so I’m starting with some Asian recipes that maybe your folks can enjoy too. If you want any particular type of recipes, just ask me, that’s what I do : )

Chinese Broccoli and Tofu in Garlic Sauce

Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls

Indonesian Nasi Goreng

Indian Chana Masala

Panko Crusted Tofu

Sweet and Sour Tofu

Asian Carrot Salad

Tofu Salad

Japanese Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables

Thai Tom Kha Soup

Vegetarian Sushi

Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice

Japanese Pickled Turnips 3 Ways

Korean Scallion Pancakes

Filipino Vegetarian Pancit

Good luck, good health and Bon Apetite : )

Taciturnu's avatar

I am vegan. Being vegan means I need to be mindful of my B12, the only vitamin you can’t gain through a vegan diet naturally. Vegetarian diets still include some animal products, which means you will absolutely have no problem with deficiencies as long as you eat well balanced meals and don’t chow on Ho-Hos all day.

If your parents are concerned, remind them you can get all of your nutrients through a balanced diet and offer to take a multivitamin each day. You can also mention that the American Heart Association recommends a balanced vegetarian diet as their heart healthy diet. Arguing with the AHA is difficult for most people. :)

nettodo's avatar

@Kardamom I do not mind the rather long post, it was actually quite informative. I don’t exactly feel like giving you a full answered rundown to your post because I am tired and I still haven’t made this week’s lunch dish (marinated tofu stir-fry). There are two things I do want to note; 1: Exactly how does kale taste like? and 2: Thank. You. for the link for a vegetarian Filipino dish. This makes my life a bunch easier now.

nettodo's avatar

@Taciturnu I agree with your last sentence. Oh, and to back up any concerns, snack cakes are gross (to me).

Taciturnu's avatar

@nettodo Glad to hear… Welcome to the “Veg World.” :)

Kardamom's avatar

@nettodo No need to give me a rundown, the rundown is for you to give yourself : )

I had not tasted kale until a year ago (I’m 48). I had always wanted to sample all of the greens but most southern dishes for greens use ham-hocks or other meat products to flavor them.

I also had no idea that you could eat kale raw, because some of the other greens, like collards and mustard greens are a little too tough and must be cooked in some way. Kale can be eaten raw or cooked. One of my favorite recipes is Raw Kale Salad with Root Vegetables. The kale is wilted a little bit with a tiny bit of sea salt and cider vinegar.

IMO kale tastes pretty much like romaine lettuce, but it has a thicker leaf with a little bit of a bite to it, like al dente pasta. It is also reminiscent of broccoli, but much milder. It’s also very mild compared to say collard greens, radish greens or mustard greens which are quite spicy.

The other wonderful way to enjoy kale is by making “chips” out of it. Here’s a super-easy recipe for Kale Chips

The other thing I like to do with kale is to make a frozen pizza (lately I’m too lazy and hot to make homemade pizza, although I love it) and cook it until it’s 5 minutes from being done, then throw on some chopped kale, finish cooking and you will end up with these crispy wisps of kale on top that add a nifty crunch to your pizza. Just be sure you don’t over cook it, because it can start to burn quickly at the 400 or 425 degrees that most pizzas need.

Kale is also really good in soup. Check these out:

Kale and White Bean Soup

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup with Cumin and Lemon

Minestrone Soup with Kale

Miso Soup with Tofu and Kale

Garlic Soup with Kale Wheatberries and Mushrooms

Creamy Broccoli and Kale Soup

If you liked the recipe for Pancit, you might also like this one for Vegetarian Lumpia

And I found some sites that have lots of vegan/vegetarian Filipino recipes:






nettodo's avatar

@Kardamom Thank you for the advice on kale, especially the pizza idea (weekend project!). I also thank you so. much. for the Filipino food links. I really needed those.

nettodo's avatar

Just to have another extension, tonight at dinner, my parents discussed protein as an issue (ironically, I was eating tofu stir-fry) because we were at a friend’s for brunch earlier and I brought up the topic (the only animal products I ate were cheese and eggs in quiche. le sigh.) and there was subsequent light discussion. Just for a little factoid, I prepared my lunch for tomorrow tonight. A TLT (Tofurky, lettuce, and tomato) with hummus as a spread and a dash of cilantro and some avocado.

nettodo's avatar

Before I go for the night (oh, and the stir fry was amazing, by the way), I have to go to the doctor rather soon (like, a week or so). Should I; A: Ask to discuss my vegetarianism between him and I and my parents? and B: Request a blood test?

Kardamom's avatar

^^ I think you could do both. You might wanted to get checked for your Vitamin D levels, something which I found out recently, in myself, were quite low, because I purposely stay out of the sun and use sunblock because we have skin cancer in our family. Also have your doctor check your iron levels to make sure you are not anemic. Ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist or a registered dietician and have your folks attend that meeting. Like I said, most doctors are not trained with regards to nutrition and are virtually clueless about vegetarianism, although they would usually agree that a vegetarian diet can be very helpful with regards to avoiding heart disease. You can also ask your doctor about having a medical directive (filled out by you) put in your record. A medical directive asks you all sorts of questions about what you want to happen if you become incapacitated and have to go into the hospital. You might want to put something about receiving a vegetarian diet in there. You could also request (but I wouldn’t recommend this, because it could save your life if you ever have a serious heart condition) not having any animal parts put into your body. My father had a pig’s heart valve put into his body when he had open heart surgery to fix a deteriorated valve. You can have man-made parts instead of animal parts, but the human body tends to reject the man-made parts and that means having to be on lifelong anti-rejection drugs, which is a big problem. Pig and cow parts are very compatible with human bodies. It’s just something for you to think about. Nothing in this world is black and white. Except for panda bears ; – )

JLeslie's avatar

@nettodo I think protein is pretty much credited with the increase in height over the generations. I don’t know if protein is actually the main reason, or if I am brainwashed about that too? I only mean that as immigrants came to the new world, America, their children were taller and taller than previous generations. Immigrants from Ireland for instance and other parts of Europe lacked protein in their diets quite often. I think that whole thought process is very ingrained in American families who immigrated from Europe 75–100 years ago. It might also have to do with lack of vitamin D from northern Europe, because of cold long overcast skies during the winters. Vitamin D is necessary to get the calcium into the bone.

About kale, I find it a little bitter. I personally like spinach much better if you want dark green and leafy. Certainly try the kale, many people like it, it’s very good for you, but if you are not keen on it, substitute spinach.

For myself when I go vegetarianish I add beans to my diet. I am not fond of tofu at all, but I think it is a great source of protein. I already eat a lot of grains to complete the protein, and I eat eggs.

Kardamom's avatar

@JLeslie If you don’t like regular tofu, which can be a little on the bland and squishy side, try Trader Joe’s Organic Baked Tofu it comes in savory and teriyaki flavors. It has a texture that is more like chicken, not slippery and it’s great in cold salads or on a sandwich.

I also love me some beans!

JLeslie's avatar

@Kardamom I can tolerate some tofu, but really don’t like it. I have tried many types prepared many ways. The most tolerable is the dryer preperations as you suggest. I’ll tell me sister and dad about the product you suggested, they both had Trader Joes near them and are vegetarians.

Kardamom's avatar

@JLeslie I used that type of tofu in This Recipe and one relative thought it was cubed chicken and another one thought it was cheese, so it has a very pleasing texture.

I’ve also used it to make cold vegetarian skewers. I cubed it and threaded it onto wooden skewers with a grape tomato, a chunk of fresh pinapple and a marinated mushroom. Num num : P

nettodo's avatar

@Kardamom Tofu skewers… Craving…

nettodo's avatar

Dinnertime conversation occurred again… I just don’t get it. What could be reasons people can be anti-vegetarian?

JLeslie's avatar

@nettodo Your parents are afraid for you. Their biggest job in life is to keep you safe and happy. If they feel your new diet choice is unsafe, harmful, they will be anxious about it and not approve it.

Kardamom's avatar

Some people, even in this day and age, seem to think that vegetarians are fringe-type of people, living on the outskirts of society, weirdos if you will. You need to ask them exactly what they have issues with and discuss each one of them, one by one, with good information to back it up.

Other people are afraid that you will try to convert them and they are horrified at the thought of a life without meat, because it’s all they’ve ever known.

Sometimes they see stuff in the media, like radical vegetarians throwing paint on people. They might be worried that you will start doing stuff like that.

Some people (I might even say most people) view animals as property and products and not as living beings and they think that other people who care for animals are crazy.

Mix and match a few of these ideas and you get folks who are against vegetarianism.

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