Alexander

Vegan Teen Interview: Alexander

Country: United States

At what age did you become vegan? 14

Why did you become vegan?

I saw the movie Forks Over Knives, read the book Forks Over Knives, read every plant-based book by authors like Dr. Fuhrman and T. Colin Campbell and watched every plant-based movie I could get my hands on, experimented in the kitchen, loved it, and became so passionate about it I will never go back.

Were your parents supportive of your veganism? What concerns did they have about it? How are your parents involved in your veganism? Do they buy vegan food for you? Do they cook for you? Or do you have to buy your own food or cook for yourself?

My parents were very reluctant at first. They had the common concernsprotein, calcium, fat, calorie deficiencies–as it was, I was skinny already, and eating a diet most would consider healthy. I was convinced I could only be healthy by eating vegan, however. I started getting more into trying out recipes on my own, checking out books from the library, and watching videos online. Now, I cook my breakfasts, lunches, and half the time, dinners, and most of the vegan dishes my mom makes now were dishes I had introduced to her. My mom dislikes shopping for groceries so much that I actually do it now–I started doing it on my own at the age of 10, and now I can walk to my farmer’s market and back with a few days’ of groceries!

How do your friends react to your veganism? Are they supportive? Did veganism change your social life? Have you ever been teased about it?

My friends have periodically questioned me about it, and they respect me for it, but they’ve never mocked me for it. In fact, I have a feeling I have had a good influence on them–many have told me how “gourmet” my lunches look and how they wish they could eat them! And this is coming from meat-eaters!

What do you do to make sure you stay healthy on a vegan diet? Do you take any supplements? Do you count your food servings?

I eat loads of veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds (in that order), and I only take B12. I get vitamin D from the sun, and Omega 3s are in flax seeds and walnuts. I mostly monitor my food intake to make sure I’m eating enough of the right kinds of foods (e.g. more veggies than seeds, for instance).

What’s a typical breakfast for you? A typical lunch? A typical snack? A typical dinner?

Breakfast: a whopping bowl of soaked rolled oats with LOADS of fruit, and sometimes nuts and seeds (the secret ingredient: a Tablespoon of peanut butter!); I even use water most of the time–oatmeal is creamy without plant milks, which have a lot of sugar.

Lunch: salad w/ beans, rice, dressing, etc.

Dinner: if I cook it, veggie soup, lentil soup, steamed veggies, salad, pasta w/ veggies and beans, pasta w/ cauliflower cream sauce, etc.

Do you have any advice for other vegan teens?

Learn everything you can! Keep reminding yourself of this lifestyle so that you don’t quit! Listen to podcasts (check out jazzyvegetarianradio.com for vegan podcasts and recipes) so that you don’t waver in your eating habits. It can be hard to stay vegan if you don’t have some words of encouragement periodically. And, try new recipes and foods–the wonderful thing about veganism is that it FORCES you to try new things!

What do you do for fun? What are your after school activities? What are your favorite subjects in school?

I read, listen to music, exercise, and cook (and eat!). I am the president of my school’s environmental club as well as my school’s SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club, and my favorite subjects in school are science, math, and Latin. I plan to pursue nutrition in college and someday research more about the optimal diet for human health.