I knew that not everyone would understand or agree with our decision to go vegan, but I am getting so tired of dealing with ignorance from other people and having to explain or even defend our food choices. The other day, my teenage daughter comes home from volleyball practice and advices me that her coach is not happy that we do not eat meat. She goes on to tell me that her coach told her that she needs to have protein, even if just a little. The funny thing is my daughter is not vegan. She eats meat at school and at her father’s house. So her coach is upset because one of the three places she eats at she does not get meat!! Being used to hearing this ignorant comment from people, I just blew it off and continued with what I was doing. But as the night went on, I began to get more and more upset and eventually I was angry!
Who is she to tell my daughter how we should be eating? Each year around this time when the volleyball team is conditioning for the season, the coach advices them to eliminate fast foods and soda and other things that will hinder their performance. I appreciate that. But that is where it should end. I am the parent and I have made a well-researched and educated decision to better the health of my family; so I do not appreciate her telling my daughter that she should be eating something that I have removed from our diet. Here I am trying to get her to stop eating meat outside of my home, and I have this lady telling her different. She should respect my decision and if she has concerns, she should have addressed them with me.
Now I am conflicted with whether or not to confront the coach about this. My first thought was to write her an email expressing my unhappiness and offer her some insight as to why we are vegan. But then I thought why do I have to explain myself and defend my choices? I shouldn’t have to. But maybe if I can show her the reasoning and show her some of the many successful vegan athletes, she will never bring it up to my daughter again. I’m not sure what I will do. I just wish people would do some research and educate themselves before offering ignorant advice.
When I was a meat eater no one ever asked me if I was getting enough fruits and vegetables, or was I getting enough calcium and minerals, and no one cared if I had enough fiber to pass all the meat I ate. And no one EVER asked about, or was concerned with, the nutrition of my children! But when we become vegan, everyone is suddenly concerned if my kids get enough protein. The ironic thing is I now pay more attention to what we eat and the amount of nutrients we get than I ever did when we ate meat. I make sure to incorporate all important nutrients in my children’s diet, not just protein. But yet I still find that I have to explain and defend my choices. Does any parent ever have to explain why they feed McDonalds to their kids! No, but they should. I hope one day plant-based diets will be the norm and my children will not have to explain to others why they feed good food to their children.