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By Juliana Chaney, Buzzworthy Blogs

Vegans are weird. This is the mainstream idea surrounding the growing culture of new Vegans. I am a 33-year-old mother of a 13-year-old Vegan. I grew up in rural areas, born to hippy turned ‘Jesus Freak’ parents who, for the most part were meat eaters. I say this because last year around Thanksgiving, my then 12-year-old daughter, Grace, told us that she wanted to be vegan. I thought, “this is a phase,” and told her she should take some time and think about it. She did and came back last month ready to go “green.” My parents think I’m nuts.

My mom, oddly enough, was vegetarian at one point—um, she tried to construct a “meatless meatloaf” when I was very young, and let’s just say the memory lingers. Mom is definitely not on board yet. She asks, “Where will she get her protein?”

What I am learning is that Vegan is a lifestyle. It helps that I enjoy cooking and consider any challenge in the kitchen worthy of accomplishing with the best of my culinary knowledge. Another common myth is that the cost is too high. Debunking this myth is my recent foray into mac and ‘cheese.’ It was a total fake out and we all enjoyed it. It cost less than $2 for cannellini beans and a sweet potato to make the sauce.

I will say that no one should take this on without knowledge of replacing the various elements of a healthy diet. I made it my mission to help Grace go Vegan. I am happy to say she is doing well and is much happier as she realizes we care about what she cares about. We are passionate about her as a growing young girl and think that she has a right to choose what she puts into her body. By the same token, we are Christian conservatives but realize that she has to make her own choices in faith. It would count for nothing if we forced her to believe as we do. That being said, we continually monitor things like protein, calcium and B12.

My husband has been totally supportive as well. It makes all the difference in the world that we can grow as a family through this experience. He especially enjoyed this weekend’s vegan enchiladas—with the same cheese sauce.

Being Vegan doesn’t mean you have to eat bland, boring food. It can be a fun and exciting experience where everybody is involved. We are all feeling a lot healthier with the switch.

Are Vegans weird? No. I am so very proud of my daughter for the choices she’s making in life and am so glad to help her along in this journey. No, Vegans are not weird. I happen to know one who is awesome.

Juliana Chaney I am a 33-year-old wife and mom of a vegan. I am also a singer/songwriter and amateur cook. I enjoy kickboxing and karaoke and have spent years incorporating healthier eating in my family. I live in rural Missouri and have been writing for roughly 20 years.

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