I just read an article in today’s TIME magazine, titled: Study: Is Vegetarianism a Teen Eating Disorder? that really got under my skin. After reading a blog post on the same article from Emily Brunell of relishments, I was even more irritated about the topic. I became a vegetarian before I hit my teens and yes it was sudden. Part of it had a lot to do with the fact that my mom has never been the best cook and once my parents got divorced when I was 12, I had to fend for myself when it came to an afternoon snack and sometimes dinner (without going into it too much, I lived equally with both my mom and dad and I must say they did a great job of raising me, they just are not “foodie” people). Anyways, 15 years later, my family still thinks this is a stage in my life and my grandpa still asks me if I am out of my “phase.”
The first paragraph of this article is the truly insulting part:
Being a teenager means experimenting with foolish things like dyeing your hair purple or candy flipping or going door-to-door for a political party. Parents tend to overlook seemingly mild, earnest teen pursuits like joining the Sierra Club, but a new study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association suggests that another common teen fad, vegetarianism, isn’t always healthy.
I am sorry, did they say that doing ecstasy is a normal part of being a teenager, but that becoming involved with an amazing charity and doing something good for the environment is something to be worried about? This article goes beyond hinting that if you have a child that is a vegetarian that you should be worried, they flat out say it.
My reasoning for becoming a veggie simply was that I didn’t like the thought of eating something that used to be alive. Now-a-days, kids have a lot more knowledge about the subject, along with a lot more options. They also have a lot more pressure to start looking “good” at a younger age. So it isn’t the subject matter that really bothered me about the article, I think that eating disorders are something that affects almost every teenage girl and needs to be addressed. It was the way that the TIME article seemed to spin this eating disorder “fad” really irritates me. Also interesting is that the subjects they interviewed were all Minnesotans, if TIME magazine was going to write an article so in your face like this one, I wish they would have done a more broad study, not just a small sample of one state. Especially a state where I have visited and gotten a lot of grief for my lifestyle choice of not eating meat.
It is an important subject, but I think Emily hit it on the head when they said “parents should pay attention to all lifestyle changes a teen makes.” I am sure that sudden vegetarian isn’t the first sign of a problem.