Guest Post #2: “It drives me nuts when adults find out I’m a vegetarian and think I need to be saved.”

This guest post comes from seventeen year-old Kiley Krzyzek, who stands up for animals as well as her own right to eat ethically.

Myth: Teenage Girls are vegetarian to cover up eating disorders

Truth: Some Teen Vegetarians actually are healthy

In 2009, Time magazine published “Study: Is Vegetarianism a Teen Eating Disorder?” claiming that most teenage ‘vegetarians’ actually just want to lose weight and mask an eating disorder because it’s more admirable to call themselves vegetarians. They also pointed out that some still eat poultry and fish, even though that food was living, too.

Granted some teens may have given up meat to lose weight, but it’d be stereotyping to think that goes for all teenage vegetarians.

I’m seventeen years old and have been a vegetarian since the age of twelve. My whole teenage career I’ve eaten a vegetarian diet, and I am healthy and do it for the sake of animals. I certainly do not have an eating disorder, and am proud that I don’t eat fish or poultry.

My older sister is a vegetarian for health purposes, and I’ve always admired her for helping animals. I felt kind of guilty at a young age for eating animals. At the dinner table I remember asking my parents what animal the meat came from and they never wanted to think about it. However, not cooking the meals and not really understanding the extent of the cruelty, I didn’t take action right away.

I became a vegetarian in seventh grade. Middle school is a time where most students strive to fit in and copy peers. Instead, I strove for individuality and decided to go veg. It was dissection day in science class. We had to dissect frogs, and even chicken breasts from the super market. Everyone was so grossed out and lunch was next. My friends were talking about how they didn’t want to eat meat, and I wondered: Why would I want to eat meat ever again? So after seeing that display of animal cruelty, not to mention how disgusting those veins in the chicken breast were, I vowed to go vegetarian.

It helped having Courtney, my older sister, to give advice on a healthy vegetarian diet. She taught me how to get enough protein from veggie burgers and how to cook tofu. Having someone around to cook me vegetarian meals and make sure I was getting the necessary nutrients was a great help.

I also talked to my doctor about it. He recommended I take daily vitamins and to make sure I eat enough veggies and fruit.

If you know a teen who’s a vegetarian, it’s okay to be concerned and make sure they’re getting enough nutrients. Ask them about the kind of foods they eat, but don’t accuse them of not being healthy. It drives me nuts when adults find out I’m a vegetarian and think I need to be saved. It’s a choice, and done right it can be a very healthy one.

Going vegetarian is a personal decision and isn’t for everyone. However, if after research and consulting your doctor you think it could be right for you, try switching meat products with what I refer to as “fake meat” ones such as Morning Star Farms products you can find in your local grocery stores’ freezer aisle.

A vegetarian diet is right for me. I feel more healthy and take pride in the fact that I’m saving animals from cruelty. I think instead of blaming the vegetarian diet, people should take a closer look at what the media portrays to young girls as the ideal look. And no, Time Magazine… I don’t have an eating disorder, thank you very much.

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2 Responses to Guest Post #2: “It drives me nuts when adults find out I’m a vegetarian and think I need to be saved.”

  1. Gabe says:

    I’m 16, and a vegetarian as well!

    On the topic of eating disorders, there’s quite a bit of interesting things out there. Namely,
    http://jacknorrisrd.com/?p=2716
    http://www.theveganrd.com/2011/11/vegetarian-diets-and-eating-disorders.html

    What I took from all of it was that in fact, vegetarians and vegans are less likely to exhibit disordered eating than most non-vegetarians, and rather, semi vegetarians have a greater prevalence for disordered eating.

    Traditionally, semi-vegetarians and normal vegetarians were lumped together in the same group, hence why there is still an inaccurate belief that vegetarians are more prone to disordered eating.

  2. As long as you are eating whole foods—unprocessed and primarily organic it does not matter if you eat meat or vege. Some body types benefit form meat some do not. Some people will eat meat for a short period of time (perhaps while they are pregnant) and then give it up once they do not feel the need for that type of food. The main issue is that most people are not in tune with nutrition and simply shove stuff in their mouths. Ultimately we gain by eating whole foods—sometimes this is animal based and sometimes vege. As far as pride from NOT eating animals or feeling like we are somehow saving animals form cruelty, this is illogical. In the wild, animals are eaten and life continues to flourish on this planet because of this basic formula of survival of the fittest. A cow grazing in the fields without a electric fence around it wold get eaten in a few days by a wolf or lion. Or, a hungry hunter who needs to feed his family and can’t wait for the vegetables to grow. Meat, weather we like it or not, is part of the human diet. We can digest it, we have the teeth for it etc. There is no God sitting around keeping tabs on folks who kill a beast for sustenance. We all live on this planet together and the natural order of things is that we are all food for another species. Even our own bodies are perpetually being eaten bit by bit by bacteria, small organisms living on our skin and in our organs. The whole universe is feeding off of everything. Lets not get sentimental about butterflies and flowers here. It’s wonderful to notice these things as beautiful, amazing, wonderful realities and manifestations, but with knowledge and wisdom we can understand that it is all very volatile as well. Nothing is simply black and white. Sometimes we may benefit form meat and sometimes we do not. It’s there if we want it. You DO need some protein for general health. There are many other places to get it if eating a hacked up cow or pig or lamb or bird makes you queasy. Modern agriculture has it’s setbacks as well.

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