My Daughter Has Gone Vegan…

My oldest daughter, 26 yrs. old, has informed me she is going “Vegan”. Since she doesn’t live with me this does not pose any kind of problem for me as I don’t have to cook for her. She, like me, even in her short life has yo-yo’d up and down the scale. She too has lost a lot of weight on Weight Watchers a couple of times, and like me is self sabotaging, and put it, plus some, back on. In an earlier post I had written how I had gone to visit her to set up her kitchen w/gadgets and food for her to get started back on WW, and make it possible for her to cook with minimal effort for her busy lifestyle. She is a manager for one of the big chain restaurants and I figured that would help her also, as she could just have the cooks “whip her up” whatever she wanted. Evidently a lot of the food they get is already prepared, so she has no control as to what goes into it, so it really wasn’t very helpful at all.

The reason I am writing about this, is that her diet had actually gotten extremely bad, even since I had been down there. She woke up with coke or pepsi much the same way I wake up with coffee. After work at nite instead of either having a salad or something at work, or even cooking at home, she would go thru the drive-throughs. As you would guess, the scale has gone up and up, and it’s quite apparent that her self-esteem has gone down and down (no makeup, sloppy dress, slouching). After reading this new book, “Skinny Bitchs”, reading all it has to say about how certain foods affect our body, and coming up with a plan, she has decided to make this very definite “lifestyle” change. (I should note here also that this basically started with a PETA film on slaughterhouses). I for one think this is terrific. She has always had digestive problems. Her weight has been out of control. She generally feels awful all of the time. She was worried about her thyroid (once again looking for the “quick fix”) and I had told her about food allergies. (I have really learned quite a bit on these blogs, thank you everybody).

What she hadn’t counted on was the lack of support from her co-worker and currently closest friend. Her friend has laughed at her, been very condescending to her, and generally mean about this new change. Her co-worker also could stand to lose several pounds and is not really in any way someone you would want to emulate. Once again I explained to my daughter that “misery loves company”. Unfortunately no matter what kind of change we make to make ourselves better, there are going to be those that want us to stay stuck as we are. My daughter’s friend right now has in my daughter, someone she can eat junk food with, who shares the same problems finding things to wear, and who is basically “obese”, so she’s not alone. We all need to remember most people have their own agenda, whether conscious or not, and it may not always be for our good. Remember this when you find it hard to “swim against the tide”. If you’re feeling good about what you’re doing and it’s working for you, there may be people who are not happy with you. Just remember in the end, it’s you that has to live with you, and it’s your psyche and physical health that are important. People don’t always want you to show them change is possible.

In the meantime, I’m b-b-quing steaks for dinner tonite. LOL.

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7 Responses

  1. OK, I have comments. (This was a great post, by the way).

    The vegetarian thing. I was a vegetarian for 2 years and vegan for 1 year and in those 3 years I gained weight faster than ever before. Here’s why. Many, MANY vegetarians eat way too much starch and not enough protein. There are far fewer food choices (especially eating out) for a veggie and that tends to leave only the white foods to choose from (pasta with white sauce, breads etc). Unless the person is very, VERY committed to eating properly and combining foods properly to ensure that they get what they need, I would not recommend vegetarianism for anyone, especially someone who thinks it is going to help them lose weight or become healthier. If she is set on becoming vegetarian (full on vegan is a bit extreme for someone just starting out) I would recommend she give WW the boot and buy the book The Soy Zone. I don’t neccessarily subscribe to The Zone diet as a rule but it gives simple and easy to follow instructions for how to combine protein and carbs…not that I believe that you have to do that to lose weight, but it would ensure that she is not overdosing on one or the other. So sorry if I’m being a wet blanket about it but make sure she really, REALLY knows what she’s getting into. (as a side note, if she wants to go totally vegan, make sure you tell her to throw out all her makeup and bodywashes, it is all made with animal byproducts)

    The ‘having people to commiserate with’ thing. That’s a tough one. People do not like change and the average person always wants to be the one who is making the life change and wowing her friends and looking fantastic. Your daughter is doing it first and now her friend is going to be left in the dust. As your daughter loses weight, the friend is going to look fatter and less healthy in comparison. That’s enough to make anyone feel snarky and rude (I’m not making excuses for her!). It’s a hard one because while her reaction is human nature, the BITCH in me would tell your daughter to tell ‘friend’ to blow it out her ass and have fun being fat for the rest of your life while she goes about trying to better herself.

  2. Losing weight on a vegan diet isn’t difficult– and you don’t really need to worry about combining foods. You just need to eat tons of vegetables and fruits and lots of whole grains with a few servings of beans/legumes (or tofu, tempeh or non-dairy milks; try almond!) and a few of nuts a week. Try to avoid too much junk food (there is plenty of vegan junk food out there!) and you shouldn’t have any problems. The average American eats 3 times as much protein as they need, mostly because of misleading dairy and meat industry advertising campaigns. It’s virtually impossible to have a “protein deficiency” which is why you never hear about them. It is possible for excess animal proteins (and more generally, a part of excess calories) to lead to being overweight, and accordign to some new information– possibly cancer! As long as you eat real, whole foods (veggies, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, and nuts) you’ll get more than enough protein to be healthy. If this food sounds kind of overly healthy or boring, I encourage you to check out the vegan food blogs (I have one, though I post a lot of cupcakes, so beware). There are amazing, healthy Indian, Thai, Mexican, Italian and Middle Eastern dishes to explore as well as new ways of preparing foods you always liked. Most vegans I know say that they began to eat a wider variety of foods *after* they went vegan, and learned to appreciate food more. Also, after learning to eat healthy foods, you’ll see how good it feels and probably won’t be “tempted” to go back to eating meat or cheese again. I know I would say, and a lot of vegans would agree with me, that the hardest part isn’t the food or the nutrition– btu dealing with people being jerks about the whole thing. But since you’re being supportive of your daughter– that’s great! The only thing I would say about Skinny Bitch is that their recipes rely a lot on meat and cheese substitutes and I would advise someone to not eat them every day but more as an occasional treat as they usually have quite a bit of extra salt and fat– though they aren’t nearly as bad as the “real” thing. Goof for you for being a supportive mom, maybe you should try going vegan too!

  3. Hello :o) Well, I don’t think that your daughter’s friend is necessarily being a bad influence. I mean, hasn’t it been proven that yo-yo dieting is worse for one’s health than being a stable weight (overweight, even) and happy?

  4. Thank you all so much for your comments and your help! I know nothing about going vegetarian. For those of you who are commenting for the first time, thank you for your input and welcome. For LadyShanny, I’ll see you on your site. Always glad when you visit.

    LadyShanny,
    Thank you so much for the info. I am going to pass your post onto my daughter. I am not a big advocate of soy, as I don’t think it’s as good for you as people have been led to believe. (A couple of doctor’s theories I’ve read) but I have heard about The Zone. Right now it’s new to her, so I’m sure she’s thirsty for knowledge. While I am supportive of her efforts, I want her to do it right as I know there can be problems with missing nutrients. She has been better about taking her vitamins then she has ever been, that’s one good thing.

    Jillian-
    Thank you for the advice, and I will steer my daughter toward your site for some recipes. I don’t think she has the patience to bake (waiting the time out while it’s in the oven), but she is starting to cook more.

    Bee-
    Yes, you are right about yo-yo dieting, but going up and up on food that’s meant to give anyone a heart attack isn’t the way to go either. Her lifestyle was so bad and she was feeling so unhealthy. This is definately making her make better choices.

  5. […] written here before about my oldest daughter going vegetarian. I really thought it was an ok idea as I know she’s not real big on fruits and veggies and I […]

  6. Hi!
    My sister is a nutritionist and a vegan. She lost all the weight she needed too in 6 months and even improved her iron deficiency. So many people know nothing about this lifestyle and only go by here say and theses are the people who most likely get thier nutritional information from ads on the television (Guess what? They’ve got a hidden agenda!). I have read so so many good things about a balanced vegan diet. Seems like the biggest thing is – Don’t be lazy or you will be doomed, just like with any diet!!!

  7. Hi Kate- Welcome, and thanks for your input. I was really hoping it would help my daughter but instead I think she still turns to much to starches. That’s great news about your sister. It’s very encouraging. I’ll have to mention it to my daughter. I’m sure the added benefit of your sister being a nutritionist probably helped her a little. She actually knows how crappy some food can be for you. LOL.

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