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Why this 10-year-old is a vegetarian
October 21st, 2011
10:30 AM ET

Why this 10-year-old is a vegetarian

Devyn Pangyanszki is the daughter of Jennifer Seitz, a senior editor at CNN.com.

I’m 10 years old, and for almost half of my life I’ve been a vegetarian.

My whole family eats meat, and my favorite meat used to be ham. All that changed in first grade.

I was a narrator in the play “Charlotte’s Web,” which is the story of a pig named Wilbur, a spider and a girl who wants to keep Wilbur alive on her dad’s farm. The part that made me really want to become a vegetarian is when the dad wanted to make the pig into bacon.

I told my mom that I wanted to stop eating meat, and she supported my choice. But I know she was worried about my protein. She had to look up a lot of information.

Kids as vegetarians: Parents, it's really OK

She changed a lot of our family favorites and had to get new recipes. I love black beans, and there’s really not a bean I don’t like. I eat all fruits and vegetables except one (carrots.) Tofu on the grill is yummy!

Fake meat tastes great to me. I have veggie bacon every morning. Most of my friends say it tastes like bacon-flavored rubber, but I met a vegetarian friend this summer, and she loves it, too.

To make sure I’m getting everything I need, I use Bragg’s [seasonings that have all my amino acids], and I take other vitamins, too.

Sometimes people I meet are surprised to find out I’m a vegetarian, and others are surprised how long I’ve been one. It does take a lot of determination, but it’s worth it to me to be so healthy and to save animals.


soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Jackie Maroney

    Bravo to this young woman! She is truly a caring and considerate person at an age when most kids are all about themselves. I have been vegetarian for over 15 years and it's the best decision I ever made. She will grow up to be a thoughtful and compassionate adult and probably a leader speaking out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

    October 21, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trainer1

      Being vegetarian is not a healthy alternative, In this case the girl dislikes meat because she relates it to an animal.
      We are supposed to eat animals, thats how we get protien, sure we can manufacture some made up look-alike meat but beleive me it's not healthy, you may feel like your doing the animal a fovor but your not. There are essential fats and amino acids that we have to get from meat, no other source can compare. eating meat can have a down side, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics, however, meat should be organic and will not have these dangers as well it will have good cholesterol and eating organic meat helps brain function and helps burn fat by allowing the cells to release the fat instead of hold on to it. besides your teeth turning grey and hair thinning out, vegetarians suffer from alot of colds and other illnesess that are completely unnessecary.

      November 7, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
  2. Laura

    This is so great! Children are naturally compassionate, but many parents do whatever they can to shield kids from knowing how their meat reached their plates. This young girl has really made the connection that it is hypocritical to call some animals food while others are pets, even while those so-called food animals are just as intelligent! Being veggie is the best way to avoid health problems later in life – heart disease, cancer, and diabetes – and even the American Dietetic Association supports a vegetarian diet for kids and adults. This girl is going to grow into a healthy and compassionate adult for sure!

    October 21, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Amy Bergmann

    Way to go, Devyn! I became vegan at age 26 and only wish I had been smart enough to do it at a much younger age, like Devyn! I also love the 'mock meats,' and soy ice cream, soymilk, etc. It is a delicious and humane choice.

    October 21, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Mister Jones

    I do not share any of the above enthusiasm. I think that vegetarianism is an example of the more decadent parts of our culture. It is not an option for poor people, and it is obviously a problem that is being taken on by her mother. If I was her father or brother, and it resulted in my meals being changed, I would be furious. If the human body wasn't supposed to eat meat, we wouldn't be able to digest it. Period.

    October 21, 2011 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mister Jones

      And since I know the argument about humans being the only animal that drinks milk after infancy, I have two points on that. 1) cats seem to love a saucer of milk from time to time, and 2) more importantly, we are the only animal that can get the milk out of other animals safely. ... I am sure wolves would love to get the milk out of the cow, but they lack thumbs.

      October 21, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      I'm sorry you are so angry about this, but since I am vegetarian and have a veggie son who decided on this choice at 11, I can tell you it is NOT more expensive, unless what you are eating is total crap junk food. If you are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it is actually much cheaper. If you are buying a lot vegetarian specialty items from Whole Foods, then yeah, that can be pricey. But that stuff isn't very healthy, so it should only be eaten in moderation. As to your statement about digestion. We do not digest meat very well. Our intestines are not designed as, say, a cat. Ours tends to keep the meat rotting in your colon for 24-72 hours before elimination. This is largely because meat has no fiber, which is exactly what our intestines were designed to digest. The connection between meat and obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease has been established. It is your choice to eat meat, whatever the cost to your heath, the environment and the animals but to say you would be furious about another person's decisions? I am just glad you are not my dad (or husband).

      October 21, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • Jim West

      Not an option for poor people!? What planet do you live on? Every vegetarian I know spends markedly lower amounts on groceries than those with meat and fish on the menu.

      October 21, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse |
    • Ms. Smith

      My body could digest human flesh. So that means i was meant to eat it, right? I bet I could digest my cotton shirt too, sounds yummy! If merely being able to digest something means that I was meant to eat it, then my menu options just drastically increased.

      October 21, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Generally, you can't digest it. You have to cook it to kill off all the bacteria otherwise you'll get sick. And while vegetarianism may not be an option in *poor* countries, it's still an option for us! And eating an avocado is a hell of a lot better than eating a slice of bacon from a pig that was tortured and abused in a factory farm.

      October 21, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Oh wait, you mean poor people in the 1st word? My grocery bill dropped tremendously when I stopped buying meat and cheese. Much more diverse, too.

      October 21, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • heather

      Wow, Mr. Jones. That's al I can really say. Please do some research before posting again. The poorest nations in the world are predominantly vegetarian. Did you know that? And cows milk is not good for cats. Nor is it good for humans. Read The China Study if you think meat is good for us as well. The production of animal products is causing billions upon billions of animals to be tortured to death, it's destroying our environment, an it's contributing to world hunger. If that's something you enjoy being a part of than all I can say is, enjoy your colon cancer, etc.

      October 21, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I have to add to this and say that I accidently became a vegetarian when I realized I couldn't afford to buy meat ... my grocery bills have gone way down since accepting it into my life ...

      October 22, 2011 at 02:46 | Report abuse |
    • Ornduff

      Above our digestive properties, we also have compassion and humility. Eating meat made sense for our survival. I'm almost certain back in primitive days, rape did as well. Care to make a similar argument?

      http://brianornduff.com/how-to-make-me-an-angry-vegetarian/

      October 22, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      If we were able to eat meat then why is it that we cant digest it raw? If our body was "made to eat meat" then we shouldn't even have to cook it. Our bodies aren't designed to consume meat. In comparison to other omnivores and carnivores we lack what is necessary to get our own meat(claws, agility, teeth designed to shred and tear meat apart). If it weren't for our ability to create tools we would be forced to be vegetarian in the wild. And vegetarianism is not something pricey. In actuality most families in poverty are forced into a semi-vegetarian diet, only consuming meat when they can. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and breads are simply way cheaper than meat, even if it is one of those cheap brands composed of leftover scraps of an animal(s) carcass. Just the other day i bought a whole pound of beans for 89 cents, much cheaper then a whole chicken, and feeds just as many mouths. And if your going to place a vegetarian in a survival situation you do have to realize that not every single environment caters to a human being without proper attire (jacket, something to shield us from the sun). The only thing missing would be a source of b12 but that could be taken care of with red star nutritional yeast or a fortified food. And b12 is a vitamin produced by bacteria, which so happens to be inside of animals, but was also on vegetables and fruits but due to our highly hygienic way of living we wash all of it off.

      October 23, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse |
    • Respect

      How is it not an option for poor people? A can of black beans, corn, or rice is cheaper than any meat you can find.

      Sounds like a cop out statement to me. Good for the girl for keeping her arteries clean and eating smart!

      October 24, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • K'leen

      I am sorry Mister Jones but you have a lot of homework to do...it takes the human body 75% of it's immune system well over 4 hours to push that meat though your tube...and milk is just as bad unless it is humans drinking human milk...The fact that you mucus up in your throat as soon as you ingest milk, cheese and other dairy is because your body's immune system is trying to protect itself from the milk attack...and todays milk with the extra milk producing chemicals given to the cows is just plain cancer causing...The strongest, largest healthiest animals in the world don't eat meat and you don't have to either..Your closest cousin the gorilla who shares about 95% of your DNA could whip your butt on a diet of leaves and fruit...I wish for your immune system a delicious green smoothie.

      October 24, 2011 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • Cody

      my meals have gotten cheaper since i changed- i didnt notice how expensive dollar menu items were until I changed. And the only reason meat is as cheap as it is, is because all the government subsides to the industry.

      cows can technically eat meat, but it is not good for them. The same applies to humans. Humans are herbivores from an anatomical point of view.
      For more info: http://allinharmony.org/home

      And even if humans needed meat for anything (they don't), it doesn't mean we should enslave, rape, and torture them. They feel pain at least as much as we do. The industry destroys the environment and is a waste of resources, and treats their workers like they are objects, and is the cause of lots of diseases (heart disease, some cancers, flu, pox, and more) so buying meat causes suffering to millions/billions of humans too.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • Cody

      @ the milk comment:
      "According to Drs. Marie Boyle and Sara Long in their book Personal Nutrition 70% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. With a greater incidence among people of African descent, Mediterranean decent, Native Americans and Asians. Here’s a quick breakdown of the incidence of lactose intolerance amongst people of color:

      · Blacks/African Americans – 80%

      · Native Americans – 80-100%

      · Asians – 90-100%"

      October 25, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
    • Kiera

      I'm 12. I do not agree with this at all. Mister Jones was right. And god put the animals on Earth for a reason. Adam and Eve ate them and the animals have a purpose thats more than just being on Earth. But no decrimination against vegetarians. And my family and i usually only eat chicken and turkey...we eat turkey bacon. its healthy.

      October 26, 2011 at 20:16 | Report abuse |
    • robert

      "is not an option for poor people". Big bowl of oat groats for breakfast =$25 cents 3 layer whole wheat sandwich with avocado, hummus, sprouts= $2. Dinner: beans with brown rice, big salad = $1.25. I came up with this cost for a single person that would be much lower for a family due to the reduced costs of scale. So please do not generalize to fit your personal agenda. 1 pound of steak= $4.99 (fat included).

      October 27, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse |
    • Vegan

      Why do Americans spend 5x the military budget v(largest in history) on treating diet related diseases that simply do not exist in societies that eat mostly plant based diets, but still are the sickest people on earth with sky rocketing rates of diabetes, cancer and heart disease? Get your head out of the sand, and stop believing the propaganda from the people that profit most off us all being sick namely big parma, and agricultural lobbies that dictate what the government recommends we eat.

      October 27, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
    • John

      Hey Mr. Jones – I find it interesting that you think vegetarianism is not an option for poor people. You might be thinking of all the trendy fake meat products in Whole Foods (which some people call Whole Paycheck – LOL). You are correct that some of that stuff is expensive but from my experience it was my vegetarianism that helped me weather my college and post-college days. I was well below the poverty level for several years (one year I only made $3000!) but I survived by purchasing fruits and vegetables and making my own food from scatch which was very cheap and very healthy.

      October 27, 2011 at 18:44 | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      It's amazing that every study done in the last 100 years says that animal products make us sick and plant-foods heal us. I haven't seen a single study which says that meat PREVENTS cancer, or meat can CURE diabetes, yet I have seen dozens (and more coming out eat day!) of studies which show time and time again that disease is prevented or cured on a plant-based diet. My kids have been born and raised vegan – almost 10 years now, and they don't get ear/eye/throat/sinus infections, they don't have allergies or skin conditions, they are the perfect height and weight, they are very well-adjusted and compassionate, they don't get "tummy aches" and whatever other problems their FRIENDS get... thank goodness they are vegan – it would have been child abuse to have them grow up with miserable illnesses and aches all the time!

      October 27, 2011 at 20:49 | Report abuse |
    • Klover

      @Kiera – Sweetie, Adam and Eve were vegetarians, the way God intended. They lived in the Garden of Eden where food was plentiful. There has never been anything written stating animals were consumed as food during this time.

      October 27, 2011 at 22:25 | Report abuse |
    • Chantal

      Not an option for poor people? Are you kidding? A lot of people avoid meat to SAVE money. Are rice and beans expensive where you live? And so what if we're able to digest meat? That's a terrible argument. Just because you can do something doesn't mean that you have to. And if you think that "because I can" is a reasonable argument for why you should do something, then you might as well go vegetarian because you can.

      October 30, 2011 at 01:21 | Report abuse |
  5. David Shirk

    This is wonderful! I, too, stopped eating animals when I realized how much suffering was caused by my eating habits. Pigs and chickens feel pain and fear just like dogs and cats do, but are treated in ways that would be illegal if dogs and cats were the victims. And vegetarian food is so tasty, healthy and easy!

    October 21, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cody

      actually, pigs get bored more than dogs/cats due to high intelligence. So they suffer more :)
      Factory farming infants is more ethical.

      October 25, 2011 at 17:56 | Report abuse |
    • trainer1

      organic food is slaughtered humanly, that being said, vegetarians suffer from illness and lack of protien and can have a build up of toxins from all the pesticieds used in veggies.
      being vegetarian is only slightly more healthy than eating fast food, but eating organic allows you to get all your vitimins and protien and minerals you just cant get from vegan.

      November 7, 2011 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
  6. hals

    That's fantastic! I became a vegetarian at age 8, 100% on my own. I survived being a broke college student while staying a vegetarian (so it's NOT more expensive). I've lived happily and healthily ever since I changed my diet.

    October 21, 2011 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Kenny T.

    Go Devyn for listening to her conscience and living by her values! Our society has a lot to learn from this 10-year-old. I went vegan a few years ago after seeing MeatVideo.com. And I love vegan food!

    October 21, 2011 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Krissy

    Its so much more expensive???? Really were are you buying your food.. i have been a vegatarian for two years now, and it is by far the best thing that i have ever done for myself. I grow 40% of my own food and the rest i can get at my local farmers market. I live in sothern California and there are many options even when i go out to eat.

    October 21, 2011 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Richard the Big Bunny

    Well, I was going to share this on Facebook but the image that pops up is of SOMEONE CUTTING A HAM instead of the mushrooms [as above]. Not funny, CNN. Not funny. You lose.

    October 21, 2011 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cody

      you can edit what it says. And maybe the meant "cutting out ham"- as in from their diet

      October 25, 2011 at 17:57 | Report abuse |
  10. vegan-anarchist

    I became vegan at age of 17 and now i have 22 and I think it's the best the way of living. for the non.human animals,the enviroment and for our health .is the best option you can choose in your life .go, vegannn!!!!!

    October 21, 2011 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Kellyanne

    Hi, Devyn! I became a vegetarian when I was a year older than you. Great article! = D

    October 21, 2011 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Christopher Dycha

    A very impressive young girl. Her well thought out decision has generated some good conversations within her family. There are numerous reasons why or why not to go veg. Usually someone picks the most convenient reason to justify their existing belief. As a former veg, I found it to be a great exercise in self improvement. It forced me to be less impulsive and to embrace a little self sacrifice. If you practice the skill of taking pause before you put something in your mouth, maybe you will take pause before you let something out of your mouth and say something you wish you didn't. I use that experience as a motivating precedent whenever I think I can't do something now. Christopher Dycha

    October 23, 2011 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Portland tony

    I'm sure all the comments will be appreciated by those standing in lines at soup kitchens, as well as, their kids whose one meal comes from subsidized school lunch programs

    October 23, 2011 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cody

      Yep. Because meat is a waste of resources (~1/3 of all US's fossil fuels and resources are used to create meat). only about 10% of what is consumed is transferred into meat. In factory farms (about 99% of food animals), the animals are fed crops, not grass. The rest is released as pollution. also it takes 3-12 times more water to feed a typical omnivore than a vegan. If schools promoted veg*n diets and provided them to free/reduced lunch kids, they would save money too (or buy higher quality veg*n food than their other food). Some estimates say that if we used all the space we currently use for the meat industry to grow crops. we could feed about 70billions people a 2k cal diet (although i have no clue what the assumptions made are, so for a decent diet- its probably not quite that high)

      October 25, 2011 at 18:05 | Report abuse |
  14. vera

    I really hate it when people harp on eachother about their choices. Bravo to this young woman who made such a life changing choice at such a young age. I can see that she is very happy with her decision. However, I don't think it's okay to make people feel horrible about their decisions. if vegetarians dont want to eat meat, fine. If others do, that fine too. WHy make people feel bad about it. I'm sure we all have friends that are one way or the other and most of us wouldnt keep harping on our friends habits if we really cared. I understand why everyone feels so passionately about their view but this is why we all have opinions. We shouldnt be crucified for either our opinions or our choices. As Portland said, some people don't get to decide whether to eat meat or not. They are just happy and lucky to get it. Let's focus on that.

    October 23, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Lucy Pegler

    Fantastic young lady, she obviously hasnt be indoctrinated into fearing doing the right thing just because others around do differently. Shes shown amazing courage and i have no doubt that that will stand her good stead when shes older. If more parents supported their children in taking steps towards being a better person and creating a better world, the difference on society would be profound. When i became a vegetarian at age 11 my mother and father wholeheartedly supported my decision, buying cookbooks and new foods to make sure that i ate well and that they understood. My mother is now a vegetarian also, my father a pescitarian, and my husband became a vegetarian 7 months ago after 23 years of eating meat, I am now working on removing dairy products from my diet and have already noticed the positive effects. We are also absolutely going to raise our children vegetarians/vegans. As a result we have all benefitted from the astounding health benefits, I could never now go back to eating meat knowing how it slowely kills off our bodies and the wider world and how expensive it is. Well done young lady indeed!

    October 23, 2011 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Karen A Fowkes

    My 12 (soon to be13) year old daughter has been vegi since birth, naturally I made the choice for her since I had been vegi for 7 years before she was born, she is a slender child who enjoys very good health and always has, she also shakes any bug she picks up very quickly, I have told her it is up to her to chose if she wants to eat meat, although I would be disapointed if she did, but she actually cant bear to sit at the same table as people eating meat, can't bear the smell and said only yesterday she doesn't know how anyone can eat rotting flesh, or even be so crawl as to kill animals

    October 23, 2011 at 15:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cody

      Humans don't like the stench of rotting flesh because we are herbivores. If it wasn't for all the seasonings and social conditioning, no1 would really want to eat it.

      October 25, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • Lydia Mae

      So you're telling your daughter "mommy won't love you if you eat meat?" Interesting take on parenting.

      October 31, 2011 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
  17. Sheri

    Congratulations! I went vegetarian at 13 and went vegan many years later. I wish I had understood the reasons for going vegan sooner. My son, who is seven, started out vegetarian, and I did not make him go vegan when I did in 2008, but he decided on his own at age 6 to go vegan. You kids will make a real and important difference in the world. Keep up the good work!

    October 23, 2011 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • trainer1

      People that go vegan end up with all kinds of illnesses later, bad teeth hair, skin bones, we need a constant supply of protion, organic protien not some manmade version. we are carnivors, we have just made bad choices like adding hormones and antibiotics to meat to get the hights price at the market. well organic is basic humane and healthy.
      do yourself a favor and eat healthy not vegan. I see to many people suffer from trying to go vegan when they don't undestand the damage they are causing their body.

      November 7, 2011 at 21:35 | Report abuse |
  18. valentin aghakanian

    First brava to you and as well your mother! I as well had similar experience at age 11. When I reached 11yrs old my grandpa from mom's had 3 serious heart attacks and doctors told my uncle to take him home so he can die in peace with the family so my uncle brotght him home! My uncle told grandpa you have 2 clear choices one you die like doctors tell you OR you will do what I have done for the past few yrs! I hope that you will go with the second and so he did Raw vegan diet. He lived almost 25 yrs healty and happier life after that. Which made me a beliver in vegan and Raw vegan. You young lady make us vegeterians proud and strong and thanks for sharing withus:)

    October 23, 2011 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Mcccccc

    I hope that kid isn't eating too much soy. I can't imagine that would be a good idea for any females pre/during puberty. I wont touch soy unless it has been fermented.

    October 24, 2011 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Jay

    All her life my wife has been a vegetarian. My daughter explained the benefits to one of her classmates and now the other girl has been a vegetarian for the last 3 or 4 years while the rest of her family eat meat on a daily basis.

    October 25, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sofia

    I also went vegetarian as a child and now I eat mostly vegan. I eat mostly beans, lentils, whole grains, veggies and fruit and we spend a lot less money than our friends who eat meat, dairy, and eggs. If you buy bulk (and not canned), you can save even more. I try not to eat too much of the mock meat and soy products, since they are really not that healthy. I have learned to make wonderful black bean "burgers", bean and nut "meatballs" , stews, soups, sauces from a couple of vegan cookbooks that I bought to give me ideas and inspiration. Devyn, you have a great mom who did her research to make sure you will get all the nutrition you need. That's really important.

    October 25, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. april

    Devyn, you go girl! What a very smart & compassionate young lady. I've been a vegetarian for years, and have absolutely no regrets. I have faced criticism for my diet choice, but I do not let it bother me. Those who criticize are simply ignorant. I just think of the innocent animals that are not being abused & will not be killed for the hamburger that I will never eat. Not only are these animals, who can feel pain & have personalities just like people do, are killed, but their lives up to that point are horrible. Many are kept in small, filthy cages & pens, and are injected with growth hormones to fatten them up before killing. It's a horrid industry. One of which I will NEVER support. Plus, eating these animal products has been shown to leas to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease & cancer. And, don't forget about the E-coli & salmonella outbreaks that sicken & kill people.

    October 25, 2011 at 14:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ann

    I think that's great! I became a vegetarian at 12 and have been healthy and happy with my choice. (I'm in my 40s now.) If your mom is worried about proteins for you, please tell her to check out quinoa. I love the taste and hope you will, too, if you don't already know about it. I agree that killing animals for food is sad and unnecessary.

    October 25, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Allegra

    its no reason to be on the news. I eat meat and I'm not on the news

    October 26, 2011 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Allegra

    btw im Kiera's twin sister

    October 26, 2011 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sunil (Sunny) Raja

    Congratulations on being AWARE, ALIVE and on a path to complete health and vitality!! How wonderful that at your young age, you are wiser than most adults...just think how many more people would have 'enough' to eat if even 10% of the western world's population became veg*n!!

    October 26, 2011 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Lillian

    Congrats, Devyn! Wish I'd been as well-informed and intelligent as you when I was your age! I didn't become a vegetarian until I was 22 years old, which was ten years ago. I finally went to a vegan diet a few months ago, and I feel great. I had a lot of health problems – IBS, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anemia (yes, anemia even with eating a meat-centric diet!) – when I still ate meat. The first change to my health was my cholesterol becoming lower. Over the past 10 years, my blood pressure has become normal, the anemia is gone, and I rarely have problems with IBS anymore (TMI, sorry, but my IBS was so bad that I

    October 27, 2011 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lillian

      My comment posted before I was finished! Anyway, to continue, my IBS was so bad that I couldn't take long car trips without being sure that there were bathrooms at regular intervals along the route. I no longer have to worry about such things. In addition to the diet change, I'm also happy that my diet does not require the death of an animal (that is just a personal feeling, I know others may not care about such things).

      Yes, you have to make sure you're eating the most nutritious foods when you're veg, but most meat-eaters should take that advice too – and what with non-organic meats being irradiated these days, vegetarians aren't the only ones who need a B12 and Vitamin D supplement! I have nothing against people who eat meat – I just ask that they have nothing against me!

      October 27, 2011 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
  28. Chelse

    When I see a pig or a cow for that matter, its not that I want to go slaughter them, but by the looks of them, they look like an animal created to feed humans. I don't want to eat them extinct, but I see nothing wrong with eating meat sparingly.

    October 27, 2011 at 22:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Ruben Ricalde

    The original diet of man (Adam and Eve) as recorded in the Bible (Genesis 1: 29) included only herbs with seeds (nuts), fruits, then later on when they were driven out of Eden, their Paradise home, because of their sin, herb (vegetables, Genesis 3:18). As many years passed by man became more sinful until God got so mad, He sent the Great Flood during Noah's time. God told him to take 7 pairs of clean animals and only 2 pairs of unclean ones (Genesis 7:2,3). After the flood since food of plan origins are destroyed, He allowed eating of clean animals. The effect..man's life span got shorter, from 900's years to 100's only. More information next time. For more information about clean and unclean animals, see Leviticus chapter 11.

    October 30, 2011 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. notWizard

    I have funny history: I was driving with my ten years old daughter and we came close to a truck full of pigs, I said to her: "look Val, pork chops". She aptly reply: "No daddy, no pork chops, Bacooonnnnn, mmmm".

    October 31, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Lydia Mae

    It's amazing how parents influence, reinforce or discourage their children's thoughts and decisions over food choices. Like Karen A Fowkes. Nothing like "mommy guilt" to screw up a child for life. "I have told her (daughter) it is up to her to chose if she wants to eat meat, although I would be disapointed if she did." In other words, "mommy won't love you if you eat meat."
    On the flip side, notWizard and daughter pass a truck of pigs and get hungry together saying "mmm, bacon!"

    My 14 y.o. daughter wanted to be a vegetarian 4 years ago when seeing it made soooo popular on her fav TV show. My husband in his wisdom, promptly bought her veggie burgers while the rest of us enjoyed juicy hamburgers for Memorial Day. She pitched a fit!! She couldn't get past one bite of that nasty thing! Dad suggested she ate a salad or banana. She marched to the grill, opened it to find one hotdog left. She dropped it on the ground , picked it up and ate it anyway! Case closed! A child making her own decision.

    October 31, 2011 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tumeria Langlois

    It gives me great hope to see all the young people out there choosing love and compassion. As a vegan of over 11 years I am the healthiest I have ever been at 51 years old. A couple of months ago we helped run a booth that showed a short video by Mercy For Animals. Every person willing to watch the film was paid $1. I was amazed at how many young teenagers watched the film and encouraged their friends to also watch. Several declared themselves vegan after watching. We handed them information, vegan starter kits and recipes to help them get started. If we are going to save this planet, we have to act fast. Our young generation will be the key. They will need to see through he lies of marketing, big agriculture and big Pharmaceuticals. Glad to see them willing to open their eyes and take action.

    October 31, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. patty

    My 16 year old, 6'3, 200lb, football playing son has never eaten meat. No need for parents to worry about health–quite the contrary. All evidence is pointing towards the healthfullness of a plant based diet. The evidence is pretty compelling at this point that for health, vegetarian is the way to go.

    That said, when my husband and I first became vegetarians 26 years ago, we did lots of preaching about the benefits of our diet. It didn't work and just alienated people. Now, we are in our late 40s and early 50s, we are the only ones of our friends who are not overweight, no wrinkles and no BP or cholesterol lowering meds. Even our most ardent meat-eating friends & family get it (my dad–the big game hunter, even said that we were right!). It's hard to be vegetarian (I love meat!) but definitely feels right to me!

    November 1, 2011 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Anne

    When was the last time you heard a doctor say "You should be eating more meat"? 'Nuff said.

    November 1, 2011 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Jenny R

    Devyn, this is so wonderful! I, too, became vegetarian at a very young age (2nd grade) and now 20 years later I am still proud to be meat-free! Stick to your guns and don't let anyone convince you that you are weird or wrong for your choice. You will have a much healthier body and soul because of it! Lots of love and best wishes to you!

    November 2, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Dan

    Honestly, I just don't believe humans should be treated this way. If you are a vegetarian that is your personal choice. Being that I live in America I would fight to the death for your right to choose not to eat meat. But you Veggies have to stop pretending like meat is unhealthy, and immoral. You want to be vegetarian, great, good for you. But leave me out of it, I love meat, and don't plan on ever giving it up. My front teeth are shaped like knives for a reason, evolution provided me with the tools to eat and digest both animal and plant sources of food, so I eat both.

    In conclusion, if you are a vegetarian, good for you. But it is a personal lifestyle, not one you should be trying to force on others. Obviously this girl chose her own path and everyone should be proud of her for it.

    November 2, 2011 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. steve

    wrong. you are glycating proteins and killing yourself. saturated fat and red meat dont cause heart disease. correlation does not equal causation u non critical thinking fools

    November 3, 2011 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. steve

    read the research and in just about every RCT low carb high fat diet has better outcomes than low fat diets. since 2003 low carb has actually gone 14-0 and it has all been published in quality peer reviewed journals such as the lancet and JAMA. Its ok I was once ignorant too

    November 3, 2011 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sameer

    Excellent choice Devyn. And more importantly, you are thinking for yourself. That is invaluable.

    November 7, 2011 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. trainer1

    People are unhealthy today because they eat crap like mcdonalds and drink way to much soda, they have no idea what healthy means. So they jump right into being a vegetarian to do away with all the junk. well im sorry but that's not the answer either. Not eating meat wont solve your problems, artificial meats are processed food full of hydrogenated oils and un healthy fats and all kinds of other junk. Organic meat is actually very healthy for you, it contains protien you can't get anywere else and cla oils and good cholesteral since the animals were vegans and feed on grass. you look better feel better, not to mention excersise is as important. vegetables are laced with pesticides and chemicals and to much raw fiber can destroy your intestine lining. if you are a vegetarian you must eat only organic foods in order to have any benefits, but there is just no way around the benefits of eating eggs, real butter, organic steak pultry and fish, real organic milk.
    Animals are meant to eat, but they must be organic as all food should be, and cost? what's more important than your health?

    November 7, 2011 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Alta

      Nobody cares to post that much garbage. You must be getting paid. Have fun!

      November 8, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  41. nancy pangyanszki

    i happen to know this wonderful yong lady. i can tell you she is very healthy and very smart. i for one am very proud of how she has choose to eat healthy !

    nagymama

    January 15, 2012 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sunnydays85

    I fully respect the right for people to choose their own diets based on their moral beliefs or health issues, but I cannot stand to see all these commenters claiming that the human body was not designed to eat meat. That is simply not true. Humans evolved to carnivores after we split from the great apes, a feature which allowed us to increase in body size (like the low energy diet, high body mass gorillas) while still maintaining agility and energy (like the higher energy diet, lower body mass chimps). The switch from a dietary reliance on specific plant foods allowed humans to survive and thrive in changing environments and allowed the body to get required nutrients without taking up as much space in the gut. The addition of meat into the diet was also important in our early ancestors for the increase in brain size. The brain has a very high metabolic activity which required the additional protein and amino acids from meat to significantly expand the cerebral regions, leading to improved abilities in higher thinking and processing than our primarily-vegtetraian ape ancestors. The argument that our body can't digest meat (not correct) and that because we have to cook it to prevent getting sick is just erroneous. We cook meat not because we cannot digest it raw, but because modern procedures for obtaining meat lead to increased risk. For example, grain fed cattle have significantly increased risk of e. coli than natural grass fed cows. This has more to do with our current methods of raising and harvesting meat, not our consumption and digestion abilities. If you want to be vegetarian or vegan, more power to you, but please don't use shady "facts" disguised as science to convince yourself that the human body is not meant to eat meat. Without it, your brain would most likely not have evolved to the point of being able to formulate that (although incorrect) rationale :)

    January 3, 2013 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply

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