Monday, March 7, 2011

Conversation With a Teenage Vegan

Just over a year ago, my mom, sister and I decided to go vegan for Lent. Lent is once again approaching, and we have started discussing what challenge to take on this year. I am planning to tighten up my diet, avoiding sweets and refined sugars, opting instead for whole grains and tons of vegetables. My 13 year old sister, Summer, has chosen to adopt a vegan diet once again, and we recently spoke about what veganism means to her. I wanted to know how our experiences differed, and thought her perspective might align with some of my readers. Check out our conversation below, and learn what being a teenage vegan is all about!

Me and Summer on a windy day in San Francisco.
Dinner Peace: How was your experience being vegan last year?

Summer Boucher: I found it very limiting, like, if I went to a birthday party, I couldn’t eat pizza or birthday cake. At school, it was hard to have people eating food that I loved right next to me. It did open me up to cool new foods like vegan lunch meat, and my mom stopped forcing me to drink milk. Now, I have an awesome excuse not to drink milk. What’s the point of drinking milk if I don’t like it and it’s bad for you?

DP: How has your diet changed since you went vegan last year?

SB: I eat vegan at home, and when I’m out I’m more conscious of how much animal stuff I eat. I never buy school lunch anymore, and I don’t miss it at all.

DP: Can you tell me a little about your vegan experience?

SB: Last year, I went to a conference while I was vegan, so I brought my own lunch. At the break, all of my friends went up to get their pizza and tacos and enchiladas, and I sat behind eating my peanut noodles. One of the counselors assumed that I had no friends, and came over to sit with me. That made me feel kind of like a loser.

DP: So, as a middle school student, you found veganism to be a little isolating?

SB: Sometimes. Everyone thinks it’s weird and asks me questions about it. I don’t know as much about being vegan as you, but people ask me what I eat, and I say, “Food.”

DP: Why did you decide to try being vegan again?

SB: It’s kind of cool when you tell people that you’re vegan. It’s fun to try new foods, as long as they’re not gross. I have a hard to time connecting to the issues with animal rights and the environment, but I feel better knowing that when I’m vegan, I’m helping.

DP: What are your favorite vegan dishes we’ve had in the last year?

SB: I love the vegan Mac and Cheese that you make, and Beans and Greens too. I never really liked scones, but I really like the jam scones. And the chocolate chocolate cupcakes are really good. I love that Oreos are vegan!

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