Vegan Teen Interview: Jenna

Country: Canada

Age: 17

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?
Due to the fact that I don’t like vegetables, my parents were concerned about my nutrition.  They knew people could be healthy as vegetarians, but they didn’t think you could be vegan without veggies. truth be told, I wasn’t sure you could be either.  But I was so determined that they just did their best to help me find appropriate vegan foods. And I have managed to be vegan while not liking vegetables. Of course, being vegan without vegetables means you have to be more vigilant about nutrition, maybe take a B12 supplement, but it is recommended for meat eaters anyway. My parents do cook vegan food for me, my veganism is just something normal in the house now. There is lots of soy milk in the fridge and veggie nuggets in the freezer. My family has even started to make the transition, although a lot slower than me.

How do your friends react to your veganism/vegetarianism? Are they supportive? Did veganism change your social life? Have you ever been teased about it?
I haven’t been teased about it, I have been called a radical, unrealistic, etc. My best friends were very supportive and even became vegan with me.  My neighbour is making the transition as  well, and even cooks me vegan foods occasionally which I love. Some extended family members really didn’t get it, but they never were disrespectful, at least not on purpose. I find it hard sometimes to be around meat eaters or those who are not knowledgeable of animal rights, as I have a very strong instinct to educate, but I also cant lay too much on people if I want them to listen to me in the future.

What’s a typical breakfast for you? A typical lunch? A typical snack? A typical dinner?
A typical breakfast is cheerios (non honey kind) with soy milk, or peanut butter toast with tea. A typical snack is apples with peanut butter (you see a pattern?), or nachos with Daiya cheese. A typical lunch is my favourite microwavable pasta (tomato sauce of course) or a sandwich. Dinner is often mashed potatoes, vegan lasagna, veggie nuggets, rice, or vegan mac and cheese, or any new vegan product I want to try.

Do you have any advice for other veg teens?
Most vegan teens feel pretty isolated, even ridiculed, and under a lot of pressure to give up their diets. Don’t give in, stay strong, you are in the right. Most important is to connect with other vegans, whether you have a vegan friend or join an online Facebook group. Also, don’t get hopeless. the cause of advocating for farmed animals can seem daunting, and it is, but we need to remember all the progress being made.

And lastly, get out there, speak up for animals! It can be as simple as getting veggie burgers or dissection choice policies at your school, or convincing a family member or friend to go vegan, or as big as participating in a demonstration.

What do you do for fun? What are your after school activities? What are your favorite subjects in school?
I love reading, and I must admit I love my television as well. I like to play the Sims 3 as well. My favourite subjects in school are history, and languages.