Vegetables Rock!: A Complete Guide for Teenage Vegetarians

Stephanie Pierson, mother of two, has met the emotional and nutritional challenges of raising a teenager. In Vegetables Rock! she aims to help both teens and parents survive the process, ideally with sanity and everyone's good health intact. To do this, Pierson both uses and councils others to indulge liberally in tolerance and light-hearted humor. To help the family understand the commitment to vegetarianism seriously, Pierson addresses its philosophical and ethical aspects as well as the nutritional ones. She explains that the origin of the word vegetarian has nothing to do with vegetables, but comes from the Latin verb that translates as "to enliven." Endorsing the choice to avoid eating meat as "positive and life-enhancing," she moves on to clearly and carefully outline what to eat and what to avoid. Talking about nutrition, she cautions teens against living on pizza and junk food, and advises athletic kids to pay attention to their protein, iron, and zinc intake. A table listing specific foods makes it easier for everyone to know the best choices for protein, calcium, and other key nutrients. There are strategies for dealing with miserable school lunches (eat pasta), and advice on questions to ask when eating out ("Is this vegetable soup made with chicken broth?"). Because teens can get emotional about their beliefs, Pierson suggests they be activists in letter writing and supporting vegetarian causes, but try to remember in conversations that their diet is a choice, not a crusade. One chapter of Vegetables Rock! talks about specific foods and how to prepare them, from asparagus to dried beans, grains, and sea vegetables. The 60 recipes come mostly from chefs, cookbook writers, and magazines. Identifying which are vegan, Pierson covers everything from what some consider the best the guacamole in New York City--from the restaurant Rosa Mexicana--to Creamy Peanut Butter and Banana Pudding, a dairy-free indulgence from Ken Haedrich's Feeding the Healthy Vegetarian Family. Everything is easy enough for teens to prepare in a college dorm mini-kitchen. Assessing why at least 11 percent of American teen girls are vegetarian, Pierson concludes, "It's healthy ... cool ... and has the potential to drive your parents nuts. Three times a day." --Dana Jacobi