Vegan Teen Interview: Ciara

Country: New Zealand

At what age did you become vegan? 17

Why did you become vegan? 

I listened to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s podcasts and realised the truth about how disgusting it is to eat animal products when you don’t need them to survive.

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?

I converted my parents to vegetarianism when I was 8 years old and my dad is dairy intolerant, so he’s practically vegan already, and my mum fully supported me. My parents buy vegan food for me and they listened to the points I made about the benefits of veganism.

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 are also really supportive, I have even influenced some to try vegetarianism, before I became vegan. One friend is quite defensive about my veganism because she loves food (especially animal products) a lot, so I don’t discuss the topic with her anymore because she refers to my food choices as “rabbit food”. But generally my veganism attracts positive attention because of the different foods that I eat.

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 do my best to eat lots of fruit and vegetables and I take a spirulina tablet almost every day. I don’t count my food servings. I eat when I’m hungry and I exercise, so putting on weight or that kind of thing hasn’t been an issue. Some times when I’m stressed and don’t have a lot of time my meals aren’t very balanced, especially with exam stress.

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

Breakfast is toast with mashed banana/jam/olivani, or porridge with 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed with banana.

Lunch is at school, so 2 whole grain sandwiches with carrot, tomato, lettuce, cucumber basil and hummus, then a muesli bar.

Snacks range from fruit to dark chocolate, crackers, crumpets, bread etc.

Dinner favourites are pasta with a sauce and vegetables, rices with sauce and vegetables, baked dishes, potatoes, vegan meats etc.

Do you have any advice for other vegan teens?

Stick at it, because it is such a good feeling to know that you aren’t contributing to a living thing’s suffering!

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

I read, watch t.v. series, paint, cook, and garden. I sing in 2 choirs, play saxophone and violin, and am in an environmental group. My favourite subject is painting. I like English and French as well, but I find them more stressful!