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Mom Stirs Drama By Refusing To Accommodate Her Teen Daughter’s New Vegan Diet In Her Cooking

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Raising a teen can be a challenge for any working parent.

Redditor vegandaughteraita is a 45-year-old mother, who together with her 47-year-old male partner is raising three children while working part-time and studying to earn her second bachelor’s degree.

With barely enough time to provide a well-balanced meal for all five members of her family daily, she found she was about to have her work cut out for her.

When her eldest teenage daughter adopted a new philosophy, she visited the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for refusing to cook vegan for my eldest daughter all the time?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My partner and I have 3 children. Daughter (15 f[emale]) and two sons (12 male and 9 male)”

“My daughter has recently decided she wants to be vegan.”

“The rest of my family, including myself, enjoy being omnivores.”

“My partner works full time, and I work part time and am pursuing a 2nd bachelor’s at adult age. Combined with 3 kids, we’re BUSY. As I’ve also cut work hours to be able to study again, our income has also somewhat declined.”

“In this light, my partner and I are not really happy with this development. Having to have an at least somewhat healthy/balanced meal for 5 people daily already is somewhat of a chore, and we’re on a budget.”

“Neither in terms of time management nor money, do I feel like essentially cooking two meals daily is a not a reasonable thing to ask. Adding to that, vegan cuisine just requires a different approach to cooking (different ingredients) etc.”

“Frankly, with all the things going on right now, it’s not high on my priority list to re-learn how to cook. If I would just buy extra vagan food for her, it would certainly dent the budget.”

“I have offered her a compromise , where I offered that we would make a meat/fish and vegetarian (not vegan) version of each dish. That way she would not have to eat meat, at least, but we could just keep cooking many of the dishes we already do without much added effort.”

“Additionally, I said I’d be willing to have one ‘vegan day’ where she can experiment with making vegan dishes for all of us.”

“Then, if she’s 18 and has her own budget, and still feels that way, she can buy the food with her own budget and cook for herself.”

In an edit, the OP explained how her daughter stood her ground.

“She got very angry at her father and I, saying that we as parents should accommodate her food choices. That it’s a moral issue and she does not want to partake in the exploitation of animals.”

“I mean, I feel that’s a fair point if you’re an adult, but not if someone is paying for (and mostly making) your food.”

“I do not think this is fair to ask both in terms of money and time. Also I have to keep in mind the interests of the other family members, not just her.”

“AITA?”

Strangers on the internet were asked to declare one of the following.

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Redditors weighed in with their judgments but also offered suggestions on how to work with her daughter.

“Nta shes 15 and should be well able to cook for her self and also if she wants to make adult choices then she should have to consider adult issues such as budgets.”

“If she can get a job and purchase her own food to suit her choices then thats fine but it is unreasonable of her to insist that she is accommodated when it will impact others in the house hold.”

“Sounds like its time to hit her with the truth , that you simply cannot afford to fund her vegan diet and that she has to compromise on it somewhere.” – Romdowa

“Maybe sit your daughter down and tell her what you wrote in this post; that you don’t know how to cook a variety of vegan meals and that you don’t have the extra time to learn it by yourself.”

“But that if your daughter took some time to look up recipes that are budget friendly (maybe give her a set budget and bring her to the store?) you and your daughter could cook them together.”

“That might show her that you are not against her being vegan but you don’t have the tools yourself to accommodate her and need her to help.” – jiggsteur

“I became a vegetarian at sixteen and 24 years later am still not over what my parents laughingly called a ‘phase.’ They provided me groceries and we were never ones for family dinners anyways.”

“I feel like if you’re able to offer your kid reasonable food options for themselves to cook, you’re doing great.”

“Make sure they know the basics of nutrition (I definitely didn’t know at that age..) and pat them on the back for doing something that they find important and explain that they’re on their own at that point.” – yungrii

“Give her a food budget for the month. She can do an online grocery order that you can pick up when you shop or she can shop with you and then cook for herself.”

“My 4 and 7 year olds cook with me every night. A 15 year old is fully capable of cooking. Maybe she could cook for the family once or twice a week and give up some of her other chores as a fair exchange.” – etds3

The OP replied:

“As I have mentioned our suggestion would be she’d start out learning vegan meals for us once a week as a family. We proposed Thursday, but whichever day really.”

“As for cooking for herself – I would be ok with that, however provided her ingredients would be more or less equivalents to our normal budget for her, and that she cleans up after herself (this was an issue before, so I’m weary of it – she’d cook, but leave a mess).”

“I am not willing to buy very expensive meat substitutes/soy milks/etc just for her.”

“Another issue is I make pretty much all our foods on a butter base, so there’s that.”

More comments followed:

“I do think the all foods on a butter base’ might be a good thing to compromise on. Can those same dishes not be made with oil?”

“I totally understand that not all meat substitutes are cheaper. But if she’s trying to cobble together a meal out of sides and they all have butter added that’s extremely frustrating.”

“That, or talk to her about meal prepping every few days. She’s going to have to compromise with repetitive food and helping cook and clean, but you could also compromise a bit on maybe just not adding butter to everything.”

“I just don’t see a reason why she can’t have rice and beans or steamed vegetables available.” – cflatjazz

“This is definitely a conversation between you as parents and your daughter. On one hand, as parents you have an obligation to feed her and support her.”

“On the other, she doesn’t get to abuse that by demanding that the family go without in order to accommodate her new lifestyle. Your daughter needs to understand that cooking vegan (or any specialized diet for that matter) is not as simple as switching ingredient A for B.”

“I don’t know how far your daughter takes her veganism, but if she’s one of those who also tries to be conscious about the companies they shop with, then your daughter also needs to understand how much more this adds to the household burden as a whole.”

“Has she made meals for the family since she turned vegan? Maybe it could be part of her regular chore to help out with meal prep (from shopping to actual putting food on the table to clean up after).”

“Maybe if she regularly sees and experiences the actual work involved with making family meals, she’ll understand the impact of what she’s asking both of you to do.” – Kiruna235

Overall, Redditors empathized with the OP’s situation.

Hopefully, mother and daughter will come up with a worthy compromise that will not heavily impact the family’s budget and will support the daughter’s new dietary lifestyle.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1