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Understanding the Intersection of Veganism, Orthorexia, and Anorexia in Adolescents

In this blog, we delve into a concerning trend we often witness among young girls: the intersection of Veganism, Orthorexia, and Anorexia. It’s essential to clarify that we don’t intend to criticize or discourage a Vegan lifestyle; there are many ways to eat healthily, and being Vegan is a legitimate choice. However, we’ve noticed a recurring pattern among adolescents, and it’s vital to explore the motivations behind their dietary decisions. Are these choices driven by positive or negative psychology?

When your daughter expresses the desire to become Vegan, it may not solely stem from reasons like newfound discipline, prioritizing health, love for animals, or environmental concerns. There might be an underlying, less apparent motivation: a struggle with body image and a desire to restrict food intake. Even if she attempts to convince you otherwise, it’s crucial to be aware of this potential primary motivation.

We often see parents praising their daughters for making healthier choices with the best intentions, not realizing that they may inadvertently be contributing to disordered eating and negative body image. It’s usually only when the situation deteriorates, she loses “too much weight,” and family mealtime becomes a battleground that they come to recognize the problem.

So, what can you do as a parent? The key is to ask questions. Instead of making statements, especially about looks, body shape, or size, focus on understanding her changing needs as she transitions to a Vegan diet. Eliminating animal products also means eliminating significant protein sources, so it’s crucial to work together to ensure she meets her body’s nutritional requirements. This is especially important for teenage girls, as they need protein for proper growth and development.

Fact: Adolescence is a critical period for bone development, with 40-60% of peak bone mass accrued during this time, and 90% achieved by the age of 20. If protein intake is compromised during this crucial phase, it can have long-term consequences. Therefore, it’s essential to emphasize not just elimination but also the importance of introducing alternative protein sources into her diet.

In this blog, we explore the delicate balance between advocating for a Vegan lifestyle and being attentive to the nutritional needs and potential psychological motivations behind such dietary choices for adolescents.

With love & light,

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