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Youth Forum - To Be (Veggie) Or Not To Be!

Nina
12/04/2002

There has been an ongoing argument about whether vegetarianism is good for the body in my family. Three of us are non-veggies, my mother being the rebel vegetarian. We challenge her with the old "without protein, how is your body going to get its nourishment. How are you going to grow?" She comes back, saying, "An adult only needs 40g-50g of protein a day. That can be obtained from all kinds of veggie foods such as beans, nuts and seeds. Plus, research has shown that our (vegetarians) immune systems are stronger!"

Yet, we still attempt to tempt good olí vegetarian mama, showing her our grossly fatty burgers dripping with grease and who-knows-what. "Mmm, this is sooo good. Are you sure you donít wanna have a teensy little bite?" We try; knowing that before she had converted, burgers had been her favorite food. She smiles graciously and says "No thanks," biting into her not-so-fatty soy burger daintily.

I once even came into the kitchen and saw her chomping on a hot dog. "Aha!" I yelled, pointing at her victoriously, "I knew you couldnít survive!" She smiled slyly and points to the bag. "Tofu Pups" it said in a bold print. I went to my room, defeated and dejected. Why is it that we suspect convert vegetarians to cheat once in a while? Itís not like we force them to resist the delicious taste of cooked cows and pigs. They usually become vegetarians on their own will. Sometimes I leave part of my meal on the table, waiting to see whether mom sneaks in and sinks her teeth into the fleshy animal protein that sheíd been deprived of. In the end I usually receive a lecture about wasting food and washing dishes. Sometimes, when my mother is feeling sympathetic toward us pathetic carnivores, she gives us endless advice about how to cope with a vegetarian mother. " I know itís hard, baby, but just think, Iím eating tofu, youíre eating some poor turkey who probably had a family."

My mom admits that it can be hard, but only at those meat-obsessed restaurants and around Thanksgiving time (though thereís always tofu turks!) But somehow, donít ask me, mom survives the misery of eating fresh vegetables and bread for all three meals (thatís all they can eat, right?)

But you, my dear, confused readers, are probably scratching your noggins and thinking, "Whose side are you on?" Well, after much thought and reading endless articles from both points of view, staying up late at night to ponder the argument, I have come to a conclusion. Yes, Iím siding with the veggies. My fellow meat eaters are probably gasping and saying, "How could you?!!!!" But you gotta see it their way. If they donít wannit, they doní gotta have it.

(Nina, an eighth grader from Lexington, is still trying to convince her mom to eat meat and grow further. )

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