[Female, early twenties, UCLA student]
My brother was in a scout troop and they were going to go on “High Adventure” which is this big long hike that the scout troop does every year, it’s really for the older kids because it’s supposed to be really intense. The scout master was really controlling, he just had so many issues, he really needed therapy. He was always trying to save kids because he’d feel so good about that, even when they didn’t need saving. And he always thought that you needed chicken every single day. He was obsessed with protein, obsessed with chicken.
My little brother had gone vegetarian at that time. My mom was vegetarian, my dad wasn’t. My brother grew up vegetarian, then went vegetarian, not really a big deal. He was perfectly healthy, maybe a little chubby but basically fine. The scout master had said to my mom, “You know, if he gets sick and he needs to eat chicken, I’ll make him eat chicken!” And my mom was like, “No! He doesn’t need to eat chicken.” And the scout master says, “Yes, yes he does.” It was the most ridiculous conversation.
My mom said, “I was vegetarian over half my life, I went through four pregnancies, I’ve bicycled across the continent, all being vegetarian. And I didn’t eat chicken.” And he was like, “Well that’s not High Adventure!”
It’s funny, people get an idea in their mind, you need chicken, I’m going to force feed your kid chicken. And with me, as a vegan, I get people telling me you need dairy, you need eggs, you need some animal protein. I know they think they are trying to save me, just like that scout master thought he was trying to save my little brother. But I don’t need saving. I’m doing just fine as a vegan.