The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Balancing Veganism and Teenage Obligations

Posted on May 07, 2015 by The VRG Blog Editor

By Lilly Donofrio

I started my vegetarian journey 2 years ago as a freshman in high school. Coming from a carnivorous family and living in a town famous for its redneck inhabitants and hunting opportunities, it was a shock to everyone. I went cold turkey immediately, eliminating all sources of meat from my diet overnight, and kept it a secret for an entire week. On my first week anniversary, my mom announced that she wanted to go out to dinner, and the venue was my pick. I told her that I wanted to try out this new restaurant downtown that specialized in vegan food. She was hesitant but being the open minded woman that she is, she easily consented. She chose the vegan pad Thai and I watched her fall in love while wolfing down my warm kale salad. Over a gorgeous cashew ice cream with a raspberry drizzle, I announced that I had decided to become a vegetarian. She worried about how to cook for me and how to give me the proper nutrition, but supported me, and still does to this day as a vegan.

Balance is hard to find. I struggle with it regularly. Being a dual enrolling Junior in high school with two jobs and a full time social schedule, balance is important. I have found that the key to staying on top of your nutrition is planning ahead and taking the time to set up meals and snack for the week. Putz around the grocery store looking for your favorite veggie meats, hummus, nuts, and beans. Every Sunday, I set aside an hour or two to prep my foods and jot down what I need from the grocery store. I try to stay away from processed foods, but I always keep a couple cans of lentils, garbanzo, black, and red beans for convenience.

THE FREEZER SECTION IS YOUR BEST FRIEND. There are tons of frozen vegan foods that rock. Buy and test out your favorites. Some essentials I keep in the house: box of mixed greens; frozen wheat grass shots; vegan protein powder; hemp and chia seeds; hummus; avocados; almond/cashew milk; clementines; celery stalks; peanut butter; cocoa powder; vegan cereals. Granola is a HUGE deal. I experiment with different spices and sweeteners every week. Granola is easy to grab and keeps me full. These foods are easy to whip up and keep me feeling good all day. When I’m feeling fancy, I look up vegan blogs and recipes and test my cooking skills.

Grab a friend and tell him/her about the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle. Get people interested! In the beginning, I was alone in my diet, but now I have successfully converted my best friend, my boyfriend, and my mom. Their support has furthered my love for vegetarianism.

I often cook dinner for my family, which gives me an opportunity to switch up the ingredients to cater to my vegan diet. If another member of my family is in charge of dinner, I take my portion of their veggies and provide my own hearty additions.

Going out with friends has never been drama with me. I can always find a menu option that is easily tweakable. You have to be brave and ask the servers questions about ingredients, which was a major problem of mine in the beginning. There are tons of vegan/vegetarian restaurants out there now-a-days and non-vegetarian places adding veggie friendly dishes.

I love this crazy wonderful lifestyle and it’s requirements are super easy to adopt. Being mindful and planning ahead is the key to doing it correctly and it provides a delicious variety of healthy foods.

Lily is doing a long-distance internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.

The contents of this posting, our website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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