The Vegan Diet and Teenagers

With three older children, two of them girls I hear a lot of chat about diet fads, what to eat to stay slim, to stay healthy, to save the planet, to stop harming animals, and it changes every few months (when the last idea is forgotten).

Don’t get me wrong – I am all for saving the planet and reducing our carbon footprint. I am a big animal lover and believe it is our own responsibility to eat as healthy a diet as possible to stay well.

BUT… I am saddened by and sick of this ever changing cycle sold to us by social media and news stories which, as an old cynic, I know will soon be forgotten to make way for a newer fad. 

A vegan diet is the latest craze

This past year it seems to be veganism. I know there is a lot of sense behind the concept and we definitely all need to review how much and what type of meat we are eating, for the sake of the animals; the growing threat of antibiotic resistance; our own health and the safety of our beautiful planet, but as usual too many of the wrong people are giving out advice, inaccurate facts and not painting the full picture.

I feel very sorry for true vegans who know their stuff and have quietly been getting on with their chosen lifestyle. This latest vegan craze must be infuriating and giving the term ‘vegan’ a bad name.

But worse still it has given rise to many young people using the term vegan to hide eating disorders. It’s a very clever way of refusing food which no one can dispute. Others have found that what has started as a vegan diet has caused clean eating anxiety and hence disordered eating. Veganism doesn’t cause it but it can be used as a cover.

Let’s uncomplicate eating again

Conflicting research is flying about and confusing us all. If you read the simple science behind it then eating small amounts of animal products that have been sourced carefully is the best way forward, taking into account animal welfare and locally produced (i.e. not flown miles to get to us, like bloody jack fruit or avocados).

‘…their dung feeds earthworms, bacteria, fungi and invertebrates such as dung beetles, which pull the manure down into the earth. This is a vital process of ecosystem restoration, returning nutrients and structure to the soil. Soil loss is one of the greatest catastrophes facing the world today.’ 

If we also increase the amount of seasonal fruit and veg in our diets then that is the best way to stay healthy, save the planet and look after our animals all in one go – SIMPLE!

As a parent it can be very difficult to know what to do if your children become involved in these ever-changing eating fads. I believe the best thing we can do is make sure ALL the information is available, don’t preach but discuss and lead by example. It is never easy and they have to work it out for themselves too but be aware of the hidden dangers and read around the subject.

Interesting articles:

If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer

The Dark Side of Veganism: How the diet can be a cover for disordered eating

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