Vegan Parenting


I myself do not have kids but I feel like there are plenty of people out there who could use someone to relate to or maybe are looking into vegan parenting and need some resources. Personally, if I ever did have children I know I would raise them vegan, no question. There are some different views on this subject and it's not always so black and white. 

You can raise a child vegan and they are perfectly healthy and happy kids. I’ve wanted to promote vegan parenting recently with the release of my toddler Meow tee. I feel it’s really important for people to understand before they get all up in arms about it or shoot you a concerned look. Vegan parenting comes in all forms and although I can’t speak on a first hand basis I hope to give some basic insight from the two adorable families I had the opportunity to interview for my photoshoot.

Christin is mother to two very sweet girls, Helen and Frances. Christin gave me a quick background of herself -

I’m from Ferndale, Michigan, which is a suburb bordering Detroit. It's actually a pretty good place to be vegan nowadays, which is cool. I studied Social Science at the University of Michigan, focusing on health and medical issues. I went to nursing school in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins. I worked as an Emergency Room nurse for 8 years, working in Detroit, Miami, and around Los Angeles. I also worked in pediatric community health while in nursing school and briefly before Helen was born. I haven't been working in the last few years because I've been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my daughters.

How long have you been vegan and why did you choose to raise your children vegan?

I've been vegan more than 5 years and became vegetarian at 17. I am trying to teach my children the same values I have and if I am vegan I don't see a good reason why they shouldn't be as well.

What has been the biggest challenge raising your children vegan?

The biggest challenge right now is having to say no to them eating some things. It's usually not a big deal but if we go to a birthday party we all want birthday cake and probably won't be able to eat it. I try to have alternatives for them in most situations.

What kind of reactions do you normally get when you tell someone your child is vegan?

Since being vegan is becoming more commonplace I don't usually get big reactions when I tell someone that my children are being raised vegan. Unfortunately some people express concern, believing that my children must be missing something nutritionally in their diet. But even the ADA states that a vegan diet can be healthy at any age. The most hurtful reactions have actually been from former vegans.

How did you learn about how to raise your child vegan and what do you think was the best resource for you?

I didn't have a particular resource for raising my children vegan, but I've met other vegan parents and try to research anything I have questions about. I read Sayward Rebhal's blog sometimes and really appreciate her perspective. I think she's a great resource and I connect with a lot of what she says.

If you could tell skeptics out there anything to sway their belief that raising a child vegan is completely healthy, what would you tell them?

Unfortunately I don't think a lot of skeptics can be swayed by anything I can tell them. There is a lot we don't know about optimal nutrition but if the United States' largest association of food and nutrition professionals agrees that a vegan diet can be healthy at any age I don't think it's really that controversial.

What is in a typical lunch box for your child?

My daughter only has snack at preschool and since it is a cooperative we take turns bringing snacks. With rare exception the other parents have been very respectful and accommodating.

Do you educate your child or do you plan to educate them on what happens to animals today and why the majority of the population eats them?

I already tell my 3 year-old about what other people are eating in an age appropriate way. I tell my daughters that we eat vegan foods so that we don't hurt animals. I don't want them to see graphic videos but I want them to know where food comes from.

Are you familiar with children’s book Author and illustrator Ruby Roth? What do you think of her books and her most recent release That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals that has stirred up some controversy over critics deeming it too literal or graphic for a children’s book?

We have V is for Vegan and I think that book is appropriate for preschoolers and toddlers. I'd have to look at her other book again to see when it would be appropriate to introduce.

 


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Carol & Roland are parents to cute little Vincent. Carol shared a brief background on themselves -

I'm born and raised in California and work as a kindergarten assistant for LAUSD. Roland was born in Hungary and moved to California in 1996 and is a self employed contractor. The following questions are answered by Roland.

How long have you been vegan and why did you choose to raise your children vegan?

I became vegan 4 years ago when my son was born. I chose raise him vegan for the health benefits and I knew having him on a plant based diet is beneficial for the environment. Which is a plus for his future.

 What has been the biggest challenge raising your children vegan?

Definitely socializing with non-vegans. They often confuse vegans with vegetarians. So they think offering my son a cheese stick is okay. So I'm constantly explaining the difference between the two diets.

What kind of reactions do you normally get when you tell someone your child is vegan?

Reactions almost always seem to be concerned. They worry about where he's getting his protein from.

How did you learn about how to raise your child vegan and what do you think was the best resource for you?

I got a lot of advice from my mother who raised my sister vegan. As far as resources go my wife and I mainly use the internet, vegan support groups and Pinterest.

What advice can you give other expecting parents or current parents thinking about raising their child vegan?

Grow thick skin. Ignore the negative criticism from people who suddenly become experts on your child's health and diet. Research all you can and be ready to answer their questions (If you chose to answer them).

If you could tell skeptics out there anything to sway their belief that raising a child vegan is completely healthy, what would you tell them?

My son has yet to get sick. No stomach issues, no vomiting, Etc. Even his skeptical pediatrician is amazed how heathy he is.

Is your wife/husband vegan as well? Was it hard to decide to raise your child in a vegan lifestyle if their diet was not the same as yours?

My wife maintains a vegan lifestyle at home and creates all the vegan meals for us. But she chooses to not follow a vegan diet when socializing with friends. She has always supported raising our son vegan.

The popular food blogger and vegan chef Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows just recently had a daughter with her non-vegan husband. They are choosing not to “label her diet” and not raise her vegan with hopes she can decide for herself in the future. What do you think about that?

I think it's better to start them on a plant based diet and with time explain to them where meat and dairy come from. That it's not just a packaged product in the market. Then they can decide If they wish to continue being vegan or branch out to an omni diet.

How do you protect your child from possible scrutiny they may face at school or with others because of their lifestyle?

Build a strong character who can be a role model and maybe influence other kids to follow his footsteps.

What is in a typical lunch box for your child?

My wife packs his lunch and is constantly coming up with new lunches. So he really doesn't have a typical lunch. Pinterest helps her a ton.

Do you educate your child or do you plan to educate them on what happens to animals today and why the majority of the population eats them?

We've yet to educate him as of now. We think he may be too young. But it's something we will discuss with him when he's a bit older. 

Is there anything else you want to add about vegan parenting to share with our readers?

Raising a child vegan in a non-vegan world definitely has challenges but it's well worth it when you know you are doing your part to make it a better place for them.

 



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