Hi! It’s Brooke here and those of you who know me, know I am a passionate animal lover. I have rescued many birds that have fallen out of nests; I’ve cared for baby squirrels; I’ve recently signed up to be a volunteer at The Shed Aquarium. Honestly, I think I love animals more than humans–no offense to my fellow homo sapiens, but animals have a special place in my heart and that is 100% the reason why I feel they have no place in my stomach.
This is not a rash decision. Since the age of six, I have not wanted to eat meat or fish. My parent, however, forced me to, saying I will not get the nutrition I need to grow properly. Well, Mom, no offense, but you eat meat and fish and are only five feet tall, so yeah…I’m not buying it. For about two years, my parents tried to trick me. When I’d ask if the meal had chicken in it (back then I called everything meat related “chicken”), they would respond, “Oh no, Brooke…that’s not chicken…it’s poultry.” Being a trusting daughter, I assumed poultry was a synonym for tofu.
So now it’s seven years later and my feelings have not changed in the least. In fact, they have grown stronger. The problem for me is I don’t love vegetables. I know I’ve got to learn to love them, but it’s not easy. Fruit, on the other hand, I could feast on 24/7.
Being faced with this difficult life decision, I’ve come up with a plan for other teens. I hope these steps can help you make the choice I’m trying to make right now.
Here are my Five Steps towards trying to become a vegetarian:
1.Talk to Your Parents: Let them know your feelings. Tell them everyday. Don’t give up. Provide them with research and facts, proving that vegetarians grow up healthy–in fact, healthier than carnivores. Do your homework–present your case–live true to your beliefs. They will come around eventually.
- Read Labels–Not only the obvious food labels–also pay attention to labels for cosmetics, soaps, and other toiletries. Some companies still test their products on animals–disgusting and abusive.
- Take vitamins and supplements–especially B12, Calcium and Iron. I became anemic this year, which did not help my case, but I take iron pills daily and it makes a huge difference.
- Plan well. Spend an hour or two on Sunday and plan all of your meals for the week. This will show your parents how serious you are, help keep organized when grocery shopping and make your week of eating run smoothly.
- Don’t give up–think about how inhumanely animals are treated. Think about the difference you are making. Know deep down in your heart you are doing the right thing.