Vegan Teen Interview: Nathania
At what age did you become vegetarian? 0
Why did you become vegan?
I was born a vegetarian, and I stayed vegetarian with the rest of my family because I loved animals of all kinds. We became vegan about two years ago, and now I’m fourteen. We became vegan after we watched the documentary “Vegucated.” This changed how we thought about dairy products and other things we used to eat, to the point of no return.
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?
They were the ones who brought me up as a vegetarian, and they made our family vegan. My parents make vegan food, especially my mom, who is incredibly enthusiastic about veganism. She makes vegan food for our neighbors and friends.
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 closest friends are generally supportive of it. They have never tried to offend me about my decision to stay vegan. Other people, however, give me weird looks, or sometimes I feel like they’re afraid of me. I have never been teased about it, but lots of people try to convince me that I am cruel for eating helpless plants. Or, they try to tell me that pesticides used for farming still kill animals so I am still cruel.
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 take vitamin B12 because my dad insists we do, which doesn’t bother me. Generally, my family eats a very well balanced diet, thanks to my mom. We eat lots of kale, nutritional yeast, and spinach. I don’t pay much attention to what I eat because most of the food we have is pretty healthy.
What’s a typical breakfast for you? A typical lunch? A typical snack? A typical dinner?
A typical breakfast for me is peanut butter toast, or cereal with ground up flax seeds on it and agave nectar to sweeten it, rather than using honey.
I’m not sure what a typical lunch for me would be, but I do eat wraps with lots of hummus and salad in it.
We have lots of things for dinner, my mom and Dad are really versatile with their cooking. We eat anything from burritos with lots of guacamole to spaghetti and tomato sauce and mushrooms. Sometimes we have something that is entirely new that either of my parents created from scratch.
Do you have any advice for other vegan teens?
Go at your own pace, and take baby steps. Nobody is telling you that you need to do this overnight. Try different substitutes and replace what is in your kitchen gradually, if you can. Se what you like, dislike, and find the animal products that you can live without. Once you try a “substitute,” and don’t like it, try to imagine that it is its own dish, and stop comparing it to the original. This helps me appreciate the food better, so that I don’t compare two completely different things together, such as the daiya cheese and real cheese.
What do you do for fun? What are your after school activities? What are your favorite subjects in school?
I am a digital artist, I do paintings using my drawing tablet. I do commissions for other people over a website called Deviantart. I have been doing art since as long as I can remember, and I could never imagine not practicing it. My favorite subjects are science (the biology kind) and language arts, or english. These are my favorite because I love to learn how the world works, and the concept of life fascinates me. I love to write stories in my free time, so language arts helps me do better. I’ve never finished a story on my own, so I hope I can accomplish that on my own one day without the help of a teacher.