Raising a vegan kid: the first 2 1/2 years

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Our daughter is 2 1/2 years old now. She’s never consumed any meat, dairy, or eggs. She’s being raised vegan and is being taught compassion for animals right from the start. Of course, if you listen to some people, we’re killing our child by denying her animal products.

I’m very thankful that from the very beginning, we haven’t faced any resistance from our families. No snide comments, no threats to call child services, no sneaking meat into her food during family gatherings. We’re very lucky in that sense. Our families understand that we’re doing what we think is best and that we’re not going to be stupid about it and feed her only soy milk and apple juice.

We’re first-time parents, so we didn’t exactly know what to expect going in. What if Rasine was a picky eater? What if she was constantly wanting what her friends at playgroup were eating? What if she “failed to thrive,” as they say? I thought I’d talk a little bit about how things are going so far since I really don’t talk about the parenting side of veganism very often here. (If you just want a cute photo and a funny audio clip, jump to the end.)

Food

My wife and I held our collective breath hoping that Rasine wouldn’t turn out to be a picky eater or stricken with a slew of food allergies. Thankfully, she didn’t and she wasn’t.

Some of Rasine’s favorite foods right now are lentils (which are a staple in her diet — she has them nearly every night mixed with nutritional yeast, DHA or olive oil, and ground flax), pears, tofu, quinoa, rice, steamed broccoli, grapes (as long as the skin is peeled), apples, hummus, grits, whole grain pancakes and waffles, banana muffins, tempeh chicken salad, smoothies… and the list goes on. Sure, there’s stuff she doesn’t like and there are some days where she’ll even deny her favorites, but that’s true of any kid. Her diet is primarily whole foods and she’s been exposed to a wider variety of grains and soy/rice/nut/seed milks than I was until my late 20s.

We also keep her involved in the making of food. She’s always playing in the kitchen when we’re making dinner and she loves helping out with stirring pancake batter, pressing the button on the food processor, or licking hummus right off of the spatula. We want her to be close to her food and to enjoy the process of making it, not just eating it.

Really, the food part of things has been the easiest. I’ve become a firm believer that if you feed kids healthy stuff from the start, that’s what they’ll develop the taste for. Rasine’s not really into fake chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or stuff like that (though Veg Booty and ice cream sandwiches are her vices).

The Social Side

Without a doubt, the most difficult part has been the social side of things. My wife is the one that deals with it most frequently, since she’s staying at home with Rasine right now and hauling her to playgroups, weekday birthday parties, and picnics with friends. It takes some extra prep work to be prepared for these situation. For instance, we make sure to always come with a cupcake when headed to a birthday party. And if we know her friends are going to be having cheese crackers, we’ll pick up some Eco-Planet vegan cheddar crackers. There are times when she wants something someone else has, but if we’re prepared, we can usually deal with it without too much trouble.

I think this will continue to be tricky as she gets older and starts school or going to friends’ houses and realizing that there is a difference between what she’s eating and what her friends are eating. Hopefully the “why” behind it all will be enough to help her work through it.

Health

One of my concerns before Rasine was born was finding a pediatrician that was vegan-friendly. I knew we weren’t going to get a vegan pediatrician, but if we could get one that was knowledgeable enough to know that vegan kids can be perfectly healthy, I’d be happy. Rasine’s first doctor had to have the term “vegan” defined for her, but she was hands-off enough and trusting enough of us to make the right decisions that she worked out well for us. Until she stopped taking our insurance.

Right before Rasine’s 2-year check-up, we had to scramble and find another doctor. We found one that seemed decent and OK with the fact Rasine was vegan. However, during the check-up, the doctor expressed some concern that Rasine was quite low on the growth chart and had fallen slightly off of her curve. She asked that we go see a nutritionist to have Rasine’s diet analyzed.

Damn.

This ended up being a major stress for me. Not because I thought Rasine was unhealthy, but because I was worried the doctor might. See, our daughter comes from small stock. I’m a touch under 5’6″ and was always very, very low on the growth scale growing up. My sister was, too, and her kids have all also been small, but healthy. My wife’s just under five feet tall. Neither of us had any expectations that Rasine would be a center in the WNBA.

Never mind that Rasine had never had an ear infection, had only had one high temperature, and was way, way healthier than many kids her age. The weight thing was becoming an issue.

We visited the nutritionist and, thankfully, things went wonderfully. She was very impressed at Rasine’s diet and had no concerns that our girl was thriving. It was suggested that we add some oils and more calorie-dense foods to Rasine’s current diet to help boot her caloric intake a bit. We did and six months later Rasine was back on the growth curve and our doctor was ecstatic. She’s still a small kid — one of my elementary school friend’s son weighed more at six months than Rasine does now, at 2 1/2 — but she’s healthy and active and well-proportioned.

Teaching Compassion

Rasine loves visiting the farm. When I go to volunteer, she says, “Daddy help bock bocks!” She’s not freaked out by bugs and enjoys helping usher them back outside. The other day, I even noticed that she was taking special care not to step on some Boxelder bugs that have started gathering outside our house.

She also loves our dog Amina. Rasine helps us feed her, loves taking her for walks, and says good night to her before bed. Sure, if she gets in Rasine’s space, Rasine will push Amina away, but we try to catch that as it happens and explain that Amina’s being nice and so she should be, too.

All kids naturally love animals, I think, but explicitly cultivating that love early on by exposing them to what many would consider “food animals,” by using positive language, and by helping them look at animals not as lower beings to be dominated but as peers worthy of equal treatment and consideration, that love won’t die once they get older and more hardened to the realities of the world.

I’d love to hear from some other parents here. Chime in with all your cute stories as well as any challenges you’re facing.

And now, the cute stuff…

Here’s something we recorded last week:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(Translation of her definition of vegan: “No eat bock bocks (chickens), no eat piggies, no eat moos (cows).”)

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71 Responses to “Raising a vegan kid: the first 2 1/2 years”

  1. bazu

    Aw, this post is so inspirational and Rasine is so cute, as always! It’s good to hear all the ways that you guys have incorporated veganism and compassion into her everyday life. And… now I’m craving lentils something awful!

  2. Anonymous

    Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

  3. Larsie

    Hi!

    This was such a great post–thanks so much for sharing it. As a young vegan woman I sometimes think that it would just be too hard to raise a vegan child in a non-vegan world (especially with an omni partner)- but this article really made me think. Your daughter is the cutest thing ever!

    Bok Bok. :>

    Thanks again.

  4. Lazurii

    Thank you for this wonderful insight to your life and your daughter. We are also raising our son vegan, who turned 16 months today. We have a great pediatrician and he’s never had problems with our diet. He even told us he tells his other patients not to give their kids cows milk! Then again, we live near Portland…

    No cute vegan baby stories yet, since he’s still a bit young to understand, but give us a few years and we’ll wow ya.

  5. cvc

    We loved this post and the audio clip! Our son will be 3 in just 2 months and he’s also been raised vegan from birth (both my husband and I are also vegan). He’s the only one in his preschool — and among all of his friends — who is vegan, so he just loved listening to your daughter repeat the very words he himself says nearly everyday (“I’m vegan”!).

    The biggest challenge (mostly for my husband and I) are the constant school birthday circles (and bday parties) where we have to make some bday treat (usually cupcakes) for Dylan to enjoy…we’re both working parents and time is usually pretty scarce. So far, he’s been remarkably self-disciplined when he sees other kids eating non-vegan food; his usual response is to remark, “that’s not vegan”.

    We have been packing his lunch daily (we have a Laptop lunch box) and try to offer him vegan versions of whatever the other kids are eating that day (entrees are generally matched, but he usually has fruits and veggies that are the envy of many of his peers). His teachers have been very impressed by how closely his lunches mirror their’s!

    In any case, thanks again for your post. Dylan is also smaller than most of his peers (to be expected, I think, with vegetarian children), but he, too, is healthy, thriving, and definitely energetic! It’s so nice to know of others little ones out there so that Dylan is reminded that he is not alone…!

  6. easyVegan.info » Blog Archive » easyVegan Link Sanctuary, 2009-04-04

    […] The Veg Blog: Raising a vegan kid: the first 2 1/2 years […]

  7. Alison

    A lovely blog article. Our daughter now 2 yrs 4 months, is vegan, from birth. We are both vegan too. She was breastfed until 2yrs 1 month (when she self weaned, when I became pregnant with number 2), and is around 70-80 centile on the height charts (hubbie 6ft 4, I’m 5ft 4), a little below average on the weight charts. The charts I was given from the baby clinic were for formula fed babies and they were much higher than the breastfed baby charts from the World Health Organisation that I insisted on using. I’m not worried as we are both lean, and so is she.

    She is getting a bit fussy now with food, but will guzzle her favourites, sometimes to excess, so we have to be careful. Indeed, I have found that social situations are very difficult with lots of meat and dairy available. Most of the closer friends are getting better at keeping the meat away from her, others are very careless. The inane questions keep coming and I have almost washed my hands of it sometimes. We too were sent off to a dietitian who congratulated us on such a healthy diet for our little one. We do give her vit B12 supplements in the form of a mouth spray, and will continue to do so.

    I was concerned my parents would freak out at her being vegan, but as they see her thriving they have nothing to comment on in terms of her being unwell, not reaching the milestones like other kids etc. Her language development is far more advanced than most her age, her physical achievements are similar, she got teeth early (but then I did) and walked at a fairly average age (13 months).

    She knows the word vegetarian – as it is in one of the names of a cafe we visit fairly regularly, but we haven’t explained the vegan yet, nor the differences between her diet and other children’s. I do say sometimes, that certain foods are not as good for her than other foods. I’m keeping it fairly simple just now, and will go into more depth when she gets older and realises that other kids are eating the sausages, and meat things which she does not get. She too loves animals.

    Lovely to hear positive stories from other vegan parents. Australia is a meat loving country; it is hard sometimes to be outside the square.

  8. Danica

    Fantastic post!

    I have to admit that I groaned when your daughter’s ped asked you to see the nutritionist. I can’t help but think that if you were an omni family she would have just suggested maybe upping the calories a bit herself. : \

    One of the first things our sons (7 and 4) will tell people when they first meet them is that we’re vegan. And they’ll usually point out, if there is food, that what the person is eating is not vegan or that it is a flesh food. I am having mixed feelings about the term “flesh food” having heard it come from my child, but that’s a whole post unto itself.

    I am happy/lucky to be raising two intelligent and compassionate little activists. :)

    Keep up the great work!

  9. Becky

    This is a great post, Ryan. I think it’s very interesting that parents who raise their kids without meat tend to spend a lot more time and effort deciding what to feed their kids. We aren’t vegan, but we don’t eat meat, and we’re raising our son that way. Because of this, I really think about what nutrients he is getting.

    Right now, as our son is 18 mos, the biggest challenge at parties, etc, is the other adults judging us as parents. I swear to you, I was told by another mother that I need to make sure Deven gets enough protein. This was as her son was eating a hot dog, and mine was eating chili made of beans and vegetables.

    I like your insight on teaching Rasine the hows and whys of what she eats. As Deven is getting older, we need to start teaching him why we don’t feed him cows and pigs and chickens. The more he understands, the more fun it is to involve him in what he eats. Of course he’s still in the stage where throwing food is funny, especially if it makes mom angry. So we have a ways to go.

    I hope that this is the first of many posts about raising a vegan kid.

  10. Kimora

    This article was in the Times today(The Grass-Fed Menagerie by Pete Wells
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/magazine/05food-t-000.html?ref=global-home). I just read it this morning and it made me so sad. A parent actively teaching a child to be calice towards animals. Your blog gives me hope.

  11. leslie

    That’s adorable and awesome!

  12. Emmie

    Oh she is so adorable!

    And the post is great. You guys seem to handle this so well :)

  13. Stace

    My niece is absolutely the best. You guys are doing a bang up job! And auntie promises to always have her favorite vegan spag and red sauce on hand :)

  14. Lisa

    Thanks so much for this post, Ryan! My husband and I are planning a vegan pregnancy (and of course, child-raising) in about a year, so it’s really encouraging to read about other parents’ experiences. LOVE the audio clip, by the way! :)

  15. Luke

    Hi,
    Im a student in nutrition and recently stumbled upon this whilst researching for a paper im writing. I had to respond (despite the probability of a wave of protests, considering the forum of this) because i was quite concerned about this issue.
    After millions of years of evolution, humans have evolved as omnivores (able to eat basically anything) all of our purely herbivorous and purely carniverous ancestors and off shoot species are extinct. Humans have evolved and adapted to and now require a large number of nutrients in their diets (some we may not have even discoved yet!) which is why it is so important that we get a varied diet.
    By excluding food groups from your diet, you may be eliminating or minimizing the amount of certain nutrients that may impact on growth and development.
    There are of course measurements against this, such as supplements and functional foods enriched with iron, B12 and other nutrients which vegans are at risk of developing.
    But these are no where near as preferable as recieveing these nutrients through food.
    To cut to the chase, i have no problem with vegan diets. Vegan diets can be very healthy. For adults.
    I am concerned that by feeding children on vegan diets, they will not recieve adequate amounts of nutrients such as iron, as iron is poorly absorbed through plant sources. Iron is better absorbed in a haem form (as in meat)
    Iron deficiency is the most common form of nutritional deficiency in the western world because of people deluding themselves that by not eating meat they are eating healthier.
    Iron deficiency in children can be hard to diagnose (and children need ALOT of iron) but can have terrible impacts on growth, development and even IQ.
    In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with anyone going on a vegan diet as long as it is balanced and varied. But you should never push it onto children because they have dietary needs that are very hard, if not impossible to fully meet on a purely plant based diet.
    -Luke

  16. Lazurii

    Iron deficiency can also result from drinking milk, which causes bleeding in the stomach lining of children and seeps away their blood. Pretty, right?

    If you’re worried about iron, the iron in blackstrap molasses is extremely well absorbed and sweet for children to boot. My son’s iron counts have always been great “despite” the fact he’s been vegan his whole life.

    And you contradict yourself. You say you have no problem with vegan adult diets, but then go on to trash ANY vegan diet. Which is it? I think you just don’t approve from your evolutionary standpoint, but are trying to to get your point across “nicely”.

    B12 is produced by a bacteria, so it is very easy to obtain usable form. Nutritional yeast comes to mind. And as to the argument that “if a vegan diet was perfect we wouldn’t have to take any supplements,” I find most people who give me that are on a multivitamin of some sort.

    As well, a study shows that vegans are deficient in three nutrients: iodine, calcium, and B12. However, the omnivores were shown to be deficient in seven: calcium, iodine, vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

    For myself and my child, I’ll stick with vegan.

  17. ryan

    A little more on the iron issue:

    “Noneheme iron is found in both plant and animal foods but is the only type of iron in plant foods, dairy products (which contain very little), and eggs. Many aspects of the diet influence one’s absorption of nonheme iron. These include factors present in the iron-containing food itself and in foods eaten at the same time. When these factors are maximized in the diet, they can come together to provide an iron absorption level approaching that of heme iron [which is contained in only animal products]. After being absorbed and reaching our cells to be used for building hemo-globin and other purposes, it makes no difference whether the iron was originally heme or nonheme.

    (Becoming Vegan, p. 106)

  18. Luke

    I never said that young children should be given milk. They should be breast fed for at least 2 years, but preferrably longer. Milk is a very important source of nutrients, for older children going into later life. Which once again, your vegan diets are sadly lacking.

    Sweet products like honey and molasses should be avoided as much as possible as they cause a child to become desensitized to sweet flavours and develop a taste for sugars. This is especially a concern in those of you living in the USA as the chief source of sugar is from corn starch. The resulting sugar is around 70% the sweetness of sugar cane sucrose, the sugar used in most other countries. Therefore, alot more sugar is used in USA to reach the same level of sweetness. Hence USA being the fattest country on earth.

    There was no contradiction. I have no problem with adult vegan diets as long as they are done properly. I do have a problem with children being on vegan diets. My main worry is that you parents are so caught up in your ideals and beliefs that you are now putting them ahead of the health, wellbeing and future of your children.

    Multivitamins are absolutely pointless as vitamins in that form are so poorly absorbed (around 4-5%) that the amount of vitamin you actually get at the end of the day is negligible. The rest comes out the other end, forming (very expensive) faecal matter (another argument against supplements)

    I conceed that there are huge nutritional issues in omnivore diets. But is it BECAUSE theyre omnivorous as you so obviously implied? The answer is a great, resounding NO! Many omnivores and just people in general are stupid, and have very little knowledge of nutrition (as seen on this blog)
    In fact, most nutritional knowledge in the community comes from advertising by companies trying to sell people things. Fast food companies such as macdonalds with their “healthy options” are to blame.

    This vegan/ vegetarian fad is potentially damaging to your childrens health. You should decide what is more important to you. Is it this fad and feeling like you are somehow superior and more enlightened than your omnivore acquaintences? Or is it the health of your children?
    Like it or not an omnivorous diet, done properly, is far healthier than any diet you could acheive with only plant based substances. I hope this gets through to someone. Unfortunately im quite cynical about peoples ability to admit that they are wrong. Even when the price is so high.

    So remain on your vegan diets, eat well and varied. But please, just consider feeding your children properly, at least until they are an age when they can make an informed decision about what kind of diet works for them.
    -Luke

  19. Lazurii

    If you’re worried about children developing a sweet-tooth, then maybe we shouldn’t be breastfeeding out children, because breastmilk is so sweet. And you’re nicely jumping to conclusions, my little family practices child-led weaning.

    We never said being an omnivore could not be a healthy lifestyle. But we know that being vegan can be healthy, even for every stage of life. And I learned my information from sources other than McDonalds. We even went and saw a nutritionist when we started this, and I was teaching her things. So before you brush me off as being stupid/ill-informed, get to know what I know first.

    As for my using a B12 supplement, the B12 need for adults is 2.4 micrograms a day. My supplement supplies 1,000 mcg. So using your formula that I’ll only absorb 4% of my vitamin B12 supplement, then I’m getting 40 mcg a day. Not to shabby in my opinion. I’m also sure to give it to my son, just in case the impossible happens and he doesn’t get B12 through my breastmilk.

  20. Luke

    Im sorry but supplementing your childs iron intake with molasses which is pure sugar is simply ridiculous. How is pure sugar a healthy replacement for meat? It can lead to dental caries (which they are already at risk from due to a (presumably) low calcium intake) and obesity.
    Breast milk may be sweet but is it one of the most sugary substances in the world? no.
    Most nutritionists will simply try to make the best of what your offering your child. They offer some kind of solution to all the problems which your children will probably face because of a poor nutritional intake. They wont bother trying to make you see sense but really, you need a kick in the backside to make you pull your head out of there.

    I havent even mentioned the social aspect. How can you take your children to social gatherings and so blatently single them out? It will only become worse as they get older. Children will bully anyone they see as being different. Thats children. In theyre childhood, and likely well into adolescence, they may have difficulty making and keeping friends. They may even go on to resent you for it.

    This is in relation to the post by ‘cvc’
    “Dylan is also smaller than most of his peers (to be expected, I think, with vegetarian children)”
    If he is small for his age and for what is to be expected considering his parents heights then that is an indication that something is wrong. If he isnt meeting his full potential then that is bad. It should be a shocking indication that what your doing is wrong, not something you attempt to justify then sweep under the table.
    I mean am i crazy here? You should be trying to help your children to grow into happy and healthy human beings and to meet their full potential in every way. Not to turn them into sickly little “activists” that are a sad mirror of their parents.

  21. ryan

    Luke, I think you need to pick up a copy of “Becoming Vegan” by Brenda Davis (RD) and Vesanto Melina (MS, RD) because you’re clearly missing out on some important information with regards to vegan diets. Until you familiarize yourself with the information contained therein (and all nutritionists/dieticians should), it’s tough to take the discussion beyond where we are now.

    With regards to the social aspect, yes, it can be challenging, but most things worth doing are. Is raising a child vegan the problem? Or is the problem parents who raise their children in such a way that their kids bully other children for any little difference they can find?

  22. Luke

    “As well, a study shows that vegans are deficient in three nutrients: iodine, calcium, and B12. However, the omnivores were shown to be deficient in seven: calcium, iodine, vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium. Makes you think, doesn’t it?”

    Could you please paste a link to this “study”. I cant find it anywhere reputable. It sounds a little fictitious. Iron deficiency is a major problem in the vegan community and i would certaintly question the validity of any “study” that doesnt find as such.

    Perhaps you should check your sources or at least consult a valid one before making such claims.

  23. Jules

    Just reading over what has been posted on this blog, I thought I’d share my opinion on raising a child on a vegan diet. It is crutial for a child to grow from essential vitamins and nutrients from when they are first born, otherwise their growth may be stunted if certain important nutrients are absent from their diet. When I was in high school there was a girl who was raised on a strict vegan diet. She was small for her age, very slim, her face was pale, she had dark circles under her eyes and always seemed dazed. This would have been impacted on the lack of haem iron [iron from animal foods], as she was clearly iron deficient.

    As for the study mentioned above, this doesn’t seem legitamate at all. Who conducted it and where was it posted?

  24. Sheree

    I am a student of nutritional sciences and I too have been reading over these discussions, and I just can’t get over some of the things being said. I’m not against people being vegans, I’m sure you’re all adults and can make your own decisions, but your children don’t have that luxury, you’re just forcing your own ideals onto them from birth. These children have no CHOICE in the matter, and when they get to the age they can, they’ll either have such tunnel vision on the matter there will not BE another side of the coin to them, or they’ll just keep it up so they don’t disappoint their family.

    I must say, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason in any of these posts to NOT eat meat. I would be more inclined if it were a stance against animal cruelty, of which I also oppose, but saying that you’re “helping them look at animals not as lower beings to be dominated but as peers worthy of equal treatment and consideration” I just don’t understand. It is NATURAL for certain animals (including humans) to EAT meat. Hunter gatherer groups did it for many years (and some more recent groups still do) and they were healthy human beings with a great quality of life. I don’t see people trying to stop lions in the wild from eating gazelles and attempting to convince them that they’re equal. I really don’t understand the concept that animals are “peers worthy of EQUAL treatment and consideration” – you show me that animals are EQUAL to humans, and I might be more inclined to listen, but that is a rather large stretch seeing as they (cows, sheep, chickens etc) cannot talk, don’t show exemplary feats of knowledge or intelligence, and I would also like to ask what would become of them if people didn’t eat them. . . maybe pets? Food for dingoes and foxes instead? And if the answer is yes, I then ask WHY it’s ok for THESE animals to eat them, and not humans. Has anyone ever heard of a food chain, where animals eat other animals and plants? They play an integral part in all ecosystems, for the main purpose of passing energy on from one organism to another, but also to naturally assist in the control of animal numbers. [http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/lessons.cfm?DocID=90]

    Many of you also seem to be feeding your children nutrients, not food, and it is when this happens that you lose your quality of life. “We’re both working parents and time is usually pretty scarce [indicating a poor quality of life]. So far, he’s been remarkably self-disciplined when he sees other kids eating non-vegan food; his usual response is to remark, “that’s not vegan”.” I think that describing food in such a way (“non-vegan”) implies that it’s bad food, and if there’s people out there raising their kids to believe that “non-vegan” = bad, I’m shocked and appalled. You should be EDUCATING your children about all food and the role it plays, and not look down on those who eat meat. Bringing up “little activists” – and activist which is “a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue” (www.m-w.com) – is not the way to go. Generally speaking, an “activist” is not a good thing, it is someone who takes drastic measures and only makes matters worse instead of being reasonable and informative, they tend to be narrow minded and stubborn.

    And as for “B12 is produced by a bacteria, so it is very easy to obtain usable form”, some validation might be nice, or even a reference. All I have is this to say “the requirement for Vit B12 is small, but this vitamin is found only in animal-derived foods. Consequently, vegetarians, in general, and vegans who eat no foods of animal origin, in particular, may not get enough Vit B12 in their diets. Fermented soy products such as tempeh may contain some Vit B12 from bacteria, but unfortunately, much of the vitamin B12 found in these products may be an inactive form. Seaweeds such as nori and chlorella supply some Vit B12, but not much, and excessive intakes of these foods can lead to iodine toxicity. To defend against Vit B12 deficiency vegans must rely on vitamin B12-fortified sources (such as soy milk or breakfast cereals) or supplements. Without Vit B12, the nerves suffer damage, leading to such health consequences as loss of vision.” [Whitney. E .N. and Rolfes. S. R. (2005) Understanding Nutrition, 10th Ed, Thomson-Wadsworth, page 67 – a professional, peer reviewed text book]

    Also, “my using a B12 supplement, the B12 need for adults is 2.4 micrograms a day. My supplement supplies 1,000 mcg. So using your formula that I’ll only absorb 4% of my vitamin B12 supplement, then I’m getting 40 mcg a day. Not too shabby in my opinion.” This may be all well and good for you (provided that you actually ARE getting those numbers, which does not always happen) but what about your children. “The risks of malnutrition in infants increase with weaning and reliance on table foods. Infants who receive a well-balanced vegetarian diet that includes milk products and a variety of other foods can easily meet their nutritional requirements for growth. This is not always true for vegan infants; the growth of vegan infants slows significantly around the time of transition from breast milk to solid foods. Protein-energy malnutrition and deficiencies of vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, and calcium have been reported in infants fed vegan diets. Vegan diets that are high in fibre, other complex carbohydrates, and water will fill infants’ stomachs before meeting their energy needs.” [Whitney. E .N. and Rolfes. S. R. (2005) Understanding Nutrition, 10th Ed, Thomson-Wadsworth, page 557] Squirting B12 supplements down a child’s throat is not the way to ensure they get their required amount, the best idea would be to eat a range of vitamin enriched products as mentioned before, if you will deprive them of many other foods that can help them.

    And in the case of “social situations are very difficult with lots of meat and dairy available. Most of the closer friends are getting better at keeping the meat away from her, others are very careless.” Why should everyone else have to walk around your children on egg shells (not that there ARE any since vegans don’t eat eggs), but surely you get my point. It’s not like that have some terrible nut allergy that could see them in the hospital is they get too close, it’s just a life choice. One that has been imposed upon these children.

  25. Lazurii

    I love how I’m being completely judged for things I’m supposedly doing to my child when you’ve never even met me, and I haven’t shared my entire child-rearing practices with you. Vegans are generally not stupid people, just like omnivores are not generally stupid people. I know for myself and my husband we have researched this a lot and my husband and I feel completely comfortable having ourselves and our child on this diet.

    Frankly, it’s just fun to debate with people on the internet.

    However, since this is not a debate, but a full-out attack on a parenting style that I have researched well, there’s no point in continuing it. It’s hard to debate with people who haven’t researched both sides, because debates need presuppositions in order to work well.

    So, enjoy bashing us. It’s fun to read.

    And, Sheree, if you had read my post, you would know I also give the same supplement to my baby, and he’s still nursing. And I KNOW I’m getting that amount because it’s a liquid for of B12 that I bought, I don’t rely on my food sources for my B12.

  26. Lazurii

    P.S. If the entire “vitamin deficiency” article had been read, there are footnotes that cite the study and information they used.

  27. Lazurii

    Luke: A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses (emphasis being blackstrap, and not normal) has 20% of an adults needs of iron, calcium, and Vitamin A. And it’s not our only source, so I feel the 11g of sugar is perfectly fine.

    Blah, I gotta stop. I can’t sit here and try to educate people on this. Look it up yourselves before posting, people!

  28. ryan

    It always makes me laugh a little when people who so clearly disagree with the whole basis for this site decide they want to come and hurl insults/start arguments.

    Anyway, some reading re: iron deficiency and absorption of non-heme iron in vegans:
    http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.htm

    I must say, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason in any of these posts to NOT eat meat.

    Heh. There’s a whole site in front of you with reasons why. Dig in. (I’m not going to get into all the points you raise because, honestly, every substantial post on this site eventually devolves into some silly variation of “Well OTHER animals eat animals so we should, too!” If you’re interested in reading what I would have replied, try this mess of a thread: http://www.vegblog.org/archive/2002/05/08/anti-vegan-media-bias/ )

  29. Bob Torres

    I hesitate to post here lest I attract the feckless hoard of nutrition students who think that veganism will make the anuses of children suddenly drop from their wee little torsos to my own site, but I can’t resist posting a little something.

    First, the American Dietetic Association released a position statement in 1997 that says:

    “Well-planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy and lactation. Appropriately planned vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets satisfy nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents and promote normal growth (37).” (http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/adapaper.htm)

    Lest any of the nutrition studies undergrads out there using google to write their papers come across this entry, and fear that the American Dietetic Association is some fly-by-night operation staffed by the vegan cult, the American Dietetic Association is “…the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.”

    Second, to the people complaining that parents should not be making decisions for their children, I’d argue that this is precisely what parents are supposed to do. It is the job of any parent to transmit the values they find important to their children. Obviously, I agree that if parents are mistreating their children, intervention is necessary. But trust me when I tell you that Ryan and the many other vegan parents I know are responsible, thoughtful people who would never do anything to endanger their children. In this sense, any of you who doubt that veganism is a tenable diet for all stages of the life course should consult the position of the major professional organization to which those of you in the United States should probably belong if you’re serious about this nutrition thing.

  30. Luke

    “Luke: A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses (emphasis being blackstrap, and not normal) has 20% of an adults needs of iron, calcium, and Vitamin A. And it’s not our only source, so I feel the 11g of sugar is perfectly fine.”
    Once again, a reference wouldnt go astray. If you dont reference then theres no way we can check the validity of all these claims your making. Also, you “feel the 11g of sugar is perfectly fine”, well who are you to decide that for your children? Whats your degree in? You claim to have “researched well” but thus far all you have given us is mentions of studies that quite frankly, are a work of fiction. Can you really blame anyone for being cynical about your child rearing practices when all we hear is of poor nutritional practices, that you seem to think are the result of “studies”.

    “It’s hard to debate with people who haven’t researched both sides, because debates need presuppositions in order to work well.”
    I find it quite funny that despite Sherees use of valid references (which you seem to have a phobia for) and how obvious it is that Sheree has researched this issue quite thoroughly, you still seem to think that she and the rest of us have a knowledge of nutrition that is inferior to your own. Two nutrition students are now posting on this board, and as the only two who are qualified to say ANYTHING on this issue, we are treated as idiots who need to be “educated”
    You can find all sorts of information on the internet, because anyone can write anything they wish. The only sources which you can trust (especially in nutrition as there is so much false information in the community about nutrition) are peer reviewed scientific journals.
    Look at a few, and show me a valid study that shows that a vegan diet for children is better than an omnivorous diet.

    Once again, and i feel like im repeating myself alot here. There is no problem with a vegan diet for adults. It can be healthy if you eat a varied diet. But what may be a healthy diet for you will not necessarily be a healthy diet for children. Children have very different nutritional requirements to you, and while you feel that you have sufficiently researched this issue, there are some things that you cant know. There is incomplete nutritional knowledge. Nutrition is an evolving field and new things are discovered all the time. There could be nutrients in our food that are vital for our health but by excluding food groups from your childrens diet they may be missing out on a nutritent that, though probably only required in tiny amounts, may be critical for that stage of the life span.
    Thus it is incredibly irresponsible to cut whole groups of food out of a childs diet.

    Also, Sheree raises a good point, why should “non vegan food” be treated as toxic to children? why do they have to avoid it like the plague? and why should other people have to make concessions for what is essentially a health fad that, years down the track will be considered as silly and unhealthy as the atkins diet or the grapefruit diet?

  31. ryan

    I’m going to close comments here because we’re just going around in circles, but let me finish with a quick response.

    A “health fad”? This is another clear indication you’re not up on veganism as you might think. “Vegan” was a term coined back in 1944 (and existed as an ideal well before that). And, it should be pointed out, coined by a vegan who lived to be 95 in very good health.

  32. Robin Bastien

    Hey, thanks for the post. I’m a vegetarian and girlfriend eats meat, but I would like to potentially raise vegan kids so it’s reassuring that Rasine grew very healthy for the first 2 1/2 years. The only thing I’m concerned about is as you mentioned, the social aspect. Good luck, and fight the good fight!

  33. Jeremy

    Raising your child as a vegan is considered neglect, and you can go to prison for endangering the welfare of a child…

  34. ryan

    LOL.

    And that’s all I can say to that.

  35. Jeremy

    It’s true call your local police tip line or an attorney and ask. Your daughter needs certain vitamins and proteins that are contained within red meat. I’m not trying to say that you are a bad parent, I’m just saying that there is no substitute anywhere that has those proteins…

  36. ryan

    Dude, come on now. Really?

    If you don’t mind, I’ll go ahead and trust the American Dietetic Association over your nutritional advice.

    That’s just hilarious. “Call your local police tip line.” No thanks, I’d rather not be laughed off the phone.

  37. Jeremy

    How does the American “Diabetic” Association know about the nutritional requirements of children? Red meat provides healthy fats, as well as highly bio-available iron, riboflavin, folate, vitamins B12, D and E, and choline (which enhances strength and brain function). I was just giving you an entity to call that would know the answer…

  38. Jeremy

    A 12-YEAR-OLD girl in New York brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old woman.

    Doctors are under pressure to report the couple to police and social workers amid concerns that her health and welfare may have been neglected in pursuit of their dietary beliefs.

    The girl, who has been fed on a strict meat and dairy-free diet from birth, is said to have a severe form of rickets and to have suffered a number of fractured bones.

    The condition is caused by a lack of vitamin D and choline, which is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and dairy produce. De-calcification leads to the bones becoming brittle and can cause curvature of the spine.

    Dr Faisal Ahmed, the consultant pediatrician treating the child at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in NYC, declined to discuss the specific case. He said, however, that he believed the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet needed to be highlighted.

    One leading nutritionist, who asked not to be named, said: “In most instances, the parents who are imposing this very restrictive and potentially hazardous diet are not themselves brought up as vegans. They are imposing on their children something . . . which we do not know enough about to know it is safe.”

    Jonathan Sher, head of policy at Children in America, an umbrella group representing 400 organizations, said social workers should intervene where a vegan diet was putting children’s health at risk.

    Last year, an American vegan couple were given a life sentence for nutritional deprivation of their six-week-old baby. In 2001 two vegans from west London were sentenced to three years’ community rehabilitation after they admitted to not allowing their baby to eat meat.

    New York city council said the incident involving the 12-year-old girl has been referred to its social work department.

  39. kelly g.

    Ha, I didn’t realize that police officers and attorneys are required to take courses on nutrition as part of their training.

    fwiw, Ryan, Rasine sounds like one lucky kid. As the daughter of a vegetarian dad who was nevertheless raised omni, I’m forever jealous of vegetarians/vegans who were taught to crave veggies and respect non-human animals from a young age. The rest of us have to learn as we grow, usually with no small amount of ethical struggling and moral crises.

  40. Jeremy

    They aren’t, but they know the laws that say you can’t withhold meat from a developing child…

  41. COD

    How cute, Ryan has a troll :) At least he didn’t suggest you call the American Cattleman’s Association for dietary advice.

  42. Jeremy

    However you decide to raise your daughter, just remember that I’m behind you… I guess I read “Dietetic” wrong…

  43. Jeremy

    Cute by the way…

  44. ryan

    1. I don’t know where you got that version of the story, but it’s from Scotland, not New York. The version you posted has been oddly modified.

    Anyway. Barbara Fisher said it well: “[J]ust because some vegan parents are ignorant, lazy, misinformed, careless, neglectful or abusive, that does not mean that all vegan parents are like them!” And, more importantly, it’s not the veganism that’s at fault, it’s the parenting.

    2. “The foods richest in phosphatidylcholine — the major delivery form of choline — are egg yolks, soy, wheat germ and cooked beef, chicken, veal and turkey livers. In 2004, the USDA released its first database of the choline content in common foods. The most often available choline dietary supplement is lecithin, derived from soy or egg yolks, often used as a food additive.”

    3. Re: the couple that deprived their six-week-old baby: the fact they were vegan has no bearing on that story. They’re idiots. They fed their baby apple juice and soy milk instead of breastfeeding. You could have fed the child apple juice and cow’s milk and the story would have had the same tragic ending.

    4. “However you decide to raise your daughter, just remember that I’m behind you…”

    Wait… what? First I’m going to be arrested for raising my daughter vegan and now you’re behind me?

    I’m confused.

  45. Jeremy

    I didn’t say that you WILL BE, I said that you COULD BE… I’m just telling you to be cautious of those who are flat out against it, because they usually tell others that your child has some form of nutritional deficiency, which in turn ends up on the desk of a case worker… I said that I’m behind them with their decision of how they choose to raise their children because no matter how potentially good or bad their diet is, the parents have good intentions in their heart… I have now learned that choline comes from soy and wheat, so I thank you for teaching me something that I didn’t know… As for the “version of story”, it could very well have been modified, but all I did was copy and paste from an old article out of an archive…

  46. Jeremy

    Let me correct post 33… “Raising your child as a vegan is considered by many(not me) to be neglect, and you can go to prison for endangering the welfare of a child, IF some anti-vegan were to complain to the authorities…”

  47. kelly g.

    “They aren’t, but they know the laws that say you can’t withhold meat from a developing child…”

    Statutes, please?

  48. Elisa Rodriguez

    2C:24-4 Endangering Welfare of Children.
    a. Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who:
    1) engages in sexual conduct with the child, or
    2) neglects the child by failing to take action to provide adequate food(1), clothing(2), shelter(3), medical care(4), or supervision to a child and thereby recklessly risking harm to the child, or
    3) [alternative 1 N. Marianas] abuses the child by inflicting physical pain, injury, or mental distress upon the child, such pain or injury being clearly beyond the scope of reasonable corporal punishment, with the result that child’s physical or mental health and well-being are harmed or threatened.
    3) [alternative 2 NY] abuses the child by Inflicting or allowing to be inflicted physical injury by other than accidental means that causes or creates a substantial risk of death, serious or protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of physical or emotional health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ
    3) [alternative 3 18 USC 2340 Torture] abuses the child by intentionally inflicting severe physical or mental pain on the child
    3) [alternative 4 Geneva Convention; Additional Protocol of 1977] abuses the child by any intentional act or omission that seriously endangers the physical or mental health of the child

    2C:24-4 Definitions
    (1) Nutritional meals consisting of but not limited to: meats, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy/dairy supplements, and fatty foods
    (2) Consisting of but not limited to: clothing that covers at least 65 percent of the body
    (3) Residence consisting of four walls and a roof, able to withstand but not limited to: wind, rain, hail, and snow
    (4) Medical care consisting of but not limited to: hospitalization, sutures, ointments, prescribed medications, splints, and mental evaluations

  49. kelly g.

    I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that the phrase “consisting of but not limited to” leaves this portion of the (NJ?) statute up for interpretation. The “meats, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy/dairy supplements, and fatty foods” bit sounds like an attempt to define what “food” is, rather than a requirement that parents feed their children all of the following. If one can feed a child “nutritional meals” that don’t include meat, does this still count as “inadequate food”?

    Not to mention, a law mandating that parents absolutely must feed their children meat would violate the constitutional rights of parents whose religious beliefs preclude them from eating meat, particularly when there are perfectly healthy plant-based options available.

  50. Elisa Rodriguez

    True. Our government violates our rights as often as possible. Did you know that property tax is against our constitutional rights.

  51. Ryan

    Elisa/Jeremy (since you’re from the same IP address I’m assuming you’re together) — I agree with Kelly… I see nothing there that indicates meat is required by law and that a child could be taken away for failing to give them meat. It doesn’t specify “all of the following” and if they meant it, they would have been much more explicit. It is legalese, after all.

    So there you go. And I think this part of the disucssion has also gone about as far as it can go.

  52. Elisa Rodriguez

    Jeremy is my husband. I decided to take over for him because once he starts he won’t finish until he wins the debate. He read it as, provide adequate food consisting of all the aforementioned items in the definition. I kept telling him to shut up so I took it into my own hands.

  53. Laura

    Dear god, I love your kid to pieces. ^_^ If I ever have children I’m going to raise them veggie myself.

  54. TomOfMaine

    Great story, thank you for sharing. Our son, vegan since conception, is almost 19 months old and loves plain, uncooked tofu dipped in nutritional yeast !

  55. vegetarian teen

    Wow, I came to this site to look for vegetarian recipes and I thought I would look at the experiences of raising a vegan child. I was quite appaled by the snap judgements and tunnel vision of some of the people commenting, especially the so called “nutritionists”. I don’t know where in your studies you learned that being a vegetarian or a vegan is “bad” or “wrong”. And when did it mean you are the ultimate authority on all things nutrition related. I don’t care if you went to a fancy school or got a diploma or a degree, until you have actually experienced this lifestyle and lived it, no offence (but I’ll make a snap judgement) you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

    In fact, from your posts, you seem to have the same knowlege of this lifestyle as my parents who seem to think I need beans or eggs at every meal to get the protein I need and are constantly asking when I’m going to eat meat again. You think it’s a big deal to avoid meat products; I think it’s a big deal to eat meat. That’s not wrong.

    Sheree, you commented about being against the fact that children don’t get to choose this lifestyle. Okay… I really don’t know why you’re using that as an argument; when do children get to choose anything? The school they go to, if they’re move, their curfew, if they eat Halal meat, if they’re a Christian or a Jew, if they’re taught to be a homophobe or embrace differences? Children don’t choose, the beauty of growing up is they get their own opinions and they can decide things for themselves. When they leave home, it’s completely their call. I don’t think any of the parents here would hold their kids at gunpoint if they wanted to eat a steak.

    Jeremy, I can’t describe enough what a bonehead I think you are. (Namecalling, I know, I’m going to shamelessly justify it with the fact that I’m a teen where most of our thinking comes from the amygdala, a primitive part of the brain that is more emotion based than the cortex…) I don’t like to toss around fancy labels and descriptions and I am only a teenager but in my AP english class we looked at a bunch of rhetorical fallacies and your arguments are overflowing with them.

    Jeremy, you said this:

    “I find it quite funny that despite Sherees use of valid references (which you seem to have a phobia for) and how obvious it is that Sheree has researched this issue quite thoroughly, you still seem to think that she and the rest of us have a knowledge of nutrition that is inferior to your own. Two nutrition students are now posting on this board, and as the only two who are qualified to say ANYTHING on this issue, we are treated as idiots who need to be “educated”

    Okay, you really need to look into your valid sources… this:

    “A 12-YEAR-OLD girl in New York brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old woman.” and this:

    ” As for the “version of story”, it could very well have been modified, but all I did was copy and paste from an old article out of an archive…” makes me think you being the “scholar” you are needs to pay more attention to sources.

    And we all eat and are all privvy to information about nutrition. You don’t need to become a nutritionist to have a say.You don’t need to be a mechanic to know how to change the oil in a car and just because you’re a mechanic doesn’t mean you do it the best. It’s the most immature, ignorant comment on this page.

    And I’m going to say exactly what I saw Barbara Fisher about with your claim on the story; just because there is a story about some girl being badly malnourished who’s parents are vegan doesn’t mean that it is because of the veganism that she is malnourished. That’s called “Post hoc ergo propter hoc”, in english “after this, therefore because of this” which translates to your argument that because her parents are vegan she is badly malnourished. No, it is because the parent’s were careless or neglectful or something.

    Elisa Rodriguez, this ” True. Our government violates our rights as often as possible. Did you know that property tax is against our constitutional rights” to counter the fact that the government doen’t say being a vegan is against a child’s right (sorry for the double negative) is called a “Ad Hominem”. You attack the source of the argument you want to make void, in this case, the government so you can say their legislation about food isn’t right. Doesn’t work that way honey.

    The non vegan bloggers that commented on this site all assume vegans can’t take care of themselves. Thanks for the hasty generalizations but that is completely not the case and I for one am tired of people thinking it means avoiding meat and animal products without changing one’s diet.

    Sheree, you said: “I’m not against people being vegans, I’m sure you’re all adults and can make your own decisions…I must say, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason in any of these posts to NOT eat meat. I would be more inclined if it were a stance against animal cruelty, of which I also oppose, but saying that you’re “helping them look at animals not as lower beings to be dominated but as peers worthy of equal treatment and consideration” I just don’t understand”

    First, nice effort on the lightly veiled attempt to appeal to vegans by saying you support it when you merely tolerate it. You sure had me fooled. Sheree, what is one good reason to eat meat, other than your precious nutrients? There are so many reasons to not eat meat and I don’t really think people are posting here to see if their reasons for being vegan are good enough. And you don’t have the right to judge them, no one does.

    I really don’t have any more steam for picking apart some of the extremely biased and completely ridiculous arguments put on by some of the people on this page against veganism. So I’m going to stop here (but FYI, my nutrition teacher is a vegetarian and she too believes vegetarian and vegan diets are perfectly fine, and yes, she’s certified. So you nutritionists can take your little labels and bury it.)

    And always remember, if a teenager can pick apart your arguments, they’re not that great…

    And I have to say, it really sucks to just be browsing on the web looking for some good ol’ veg head recipes and be met with a bunch of negativity from a bunch of jerks. If you want to discuss this, take it elsewhere, not to someone’s pretty cool blog.

    Don’t bother responding, I won’t be coming back to check for responses like some of you seem to be eager to do Jeremy.

  56. Domnica

    Hi,

    It`s probably safe to say that you are not doing your child a *service* (from a developmental point of view)

    The fact that she is smaller than normal doesn`t exactly qualify as “thriving”. Also, if her body is smaller than normal, what makes you believe that her brain isn`t underdeveloped as well?
    Sure, perhaps an IQ test would show it`s normal, but perhaps she could be doing better otherwise? You will never know and that`s comforting I guess :D

    Yeah, I know it`s hard to consider this. I used to be a vegetarian for many years, so I don`t expect you to change your mind, but I couldn`t stop myself from making the comment.

    Regards,
    Domnica

  57. Huyen

    Hi again, I’m Rasine’s mom and I just happened to look through the comments.

    For all you veg and vegan folks, thanks for writing in and supporting us in our journey of parenting (and parenting a vegan kid)! It makes me smile that Rasine has so many fans and may be inspiring to others out there.

    For all you nutrition students out there who remind me of Fox news and their scare tactics, just shut it. I’m not that mommy who feeds her kid only two things (I have omni friends whose kids only eat chicken nuggets and chocolate or some other variation- where’s the balance in that? But I’m not attacking them for being negligent parents because that’s not MY kid)

    I’m the mommy who has a kid who eat whole grain english muffin slathered in organic peanut butter with a side of fruit and glass of soymilk (for instance) for breakfast (today it’s homemade whole grain waffles!). I’m the mommy with the kid that was gobbling up beet greens and saying “yum, more please!” I’m the mommy whose kid delights in eating homemade hummus, homemade vegan omelettes, fresh organic blueberries off he bush…

    Don’t you DARE tell me I’m being a negligent mom and don’t you DARE presume that since you are “studying” to be a nutritionist that you have the monopoly on knowledge or intelligence! Ryan and I researched long and well before we made any decisions about raising our daughter and we have visited and consulted with pediatricians and doctors (who already are practicing and reading up on current journals and not just egotistical and rude students who think they know better than anyone else how to raise and feed a kid and feel this is a valid forum for validating their own poor excuses for eating flesh). Not only did the Professional Drs and Nutritionists support us but they also noted how intelligent and healthy our child is. When my daughter outlives your kid by 20+ years, you can come tell me again how healthy your meat-eating lifestyle is.

    In addition, my sister-in-laws kids are omni and their height/weight charts are on par with Rasine’s so stop saying my child is “not thriving” when it clearly is related to genes.

  58. Domnica

    Hi Huyen,

    It is not clear by any means that it is genetic, but it`s comforting to assume that. Are you very small? Children are usually taller than their parents, by the way.

    I can suggest a tiny experiment (on the grand scale of things) that will show you whether it`s genetic or not. Try giving Rasine everything for a year (meat, eggs, dairy) and see if she develops much better and faster that way. Children are supposed to grow very fast at her age, and if she doesn`t, something is wrong, despite of how good it sounds, or how many doctors, nutritionists, books say otherwise.

    I also wanted to add, soy milk and tofu are not very healthy. These are very processed foods that interfere with digestion. In addition, soy is very high in phytic acid, a powerful antinutrient that carries vitamins and minerals out of the body. While the soy industry is making billions of dollars from advertising these produtcs to people who think they are correct substitutes for milk and meat, they are not. You should try to read some contrary evidence – for the sake of the truth, even if that truth does not agree with the vegetarian movement. Note that in general, the vegetarian diet is very high in carbs (and also phytic acid — beans, cereals also have this substance).

    You may know that Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain development and the formation of myelin. The sources found in flax or other veg sources NOT the same as the ones in fish, I am sorry. I have read many academic papers regarding this and I can back it up. And guess which omega-3 source are people better at processing? Fish.

    Here is an article from the news that is easy to read: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-150859/How-vegetarian-diets-harm-childs-IQ.html#ixzz0ryBPcYxZ

    Also, I put at the end of the message, an academic article about the mental health of vegetarians (the largest study that I know of)

    It took me some time to write this, and I could write about many other nutrients that can easily be deficient in a veg*n diet.
    I am doing it with the sincere hope, probably in vain, that I may help someone, despite the fact that they do not want to hear what I`m saying. I have been vegetarian for eight years, and had to quit because of serious health problems. I wish people would not risk their lives, and certainly not the lives of their children, for the sake of moral arguments that stand shaky when examined closely. Maybe one day there will be perfect substitutes for meat, and then I will be the first to encourage the vegetarian movement. Until that day comes, I wish I never became one, because of the many health problems that I went through.

    Domnica

    Also, here is an academic article that discovers something less studied (but that entirely matches my own experience and that of other people that I have observed to suffer from anxiety and/or depression as vegetarians).
    — “How does the health and well-being of young Australian vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women compare with non-vegetarians?” (http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=978676)

    Objective To compare the sociodemographic characteristics, health status and health service use of vegetarians, semi-vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

    Design In cross-sectional data analyses of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health in 2000, 9113 women (aged 22–27 years) were defined as non-vegetarians if they reported including red meat in their diet, as semi-vegetarians if they excluded red meat and as vegetarians if they excluded meat, poultry and fish from their diet.

    Results The estimated prevalence was 3% and 10% for vegetarian and semi-vegetarian young women. Compared with non-vegetarians, vegetarians and semi-vegetarians were more likely to live in urban areas and to not be married. Vegetarians and semi-vegetarians had lower body mass index (mean (95% confidence interval): 22.2 (21.7–22.7) and 23.0 (22.7–23.3) kg m− 2) than non-vegetarians (23.7 (23.6–23.8) kg m− 2) and tended to exercise more. Semi-vegetarians and vegetarians had poorer mental health, with 21–22% reporting depression compared with 15% of non-vegetarians (P < 0.001). Low iron levels and menstrual symptoms were also more common in both vegetarian groups. Vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women were more likely to consult alternative health practitioners and semi-vegetarians reported taking more prescription and non-prescription medications. Compared with non-vegetarians, semi-vegetarians were less likely and vegetarians much less likely to be taking the oral contraceptive pill.

    Conclusion The levels of physical activity and body mass indices of the vegetarian and semi-vegetarian women suggest they are healthier than non-vegetarians. However, the greater reports of menstrual problems and the poorer mental health of these young women may be of clinical significance.

  59. Danielle

    I love your story. I have a 11 month old and have decided to raise him vegan as well. I just wanted to know could you guys give me some ideas on a food menu for him or where I could find a toddler friendly vegan cookbook.

  60. Michaela

    Hmmm, well, I am a complete carnivore (with a few fruit and veges thrown in). I would never change my eating plan to vegetarianism, and I also disagree with the philosophies behind veganism/vegetarianism. However, I certainly believe every man and woman under the sun has the right to decide how they want to eat. I think the nutritionists here have been completely rude and extremely arrogant! I don’t think their intentions are at all pure. Far from trying to persuade Vs on this site that the omnivore path is better, they seem intent on belittling, insulting and revealing their extraordinary ignorance of common decency, respect and manners!

    Also, the parents on this forum are like most parents: they want the very best for their children. They hardly take their decisions likely, and they certainly have the right to bring up their own children their own way! We ALL do that. Whether the V diet is harmful, well, I’m not qualified to answer that; but I think if your child is growing well, happy and has a clear mind, then bravo! I think it is much harder to feed your child the V way and make sure you cover all the bases than it is for us omnivores – so I admire your dedication.

    And as far as trusting the current conventional wisdom of nutritionists today, well, there is some really bad science out there! We once thought the world was flat!

  61. Michaela

    Oh, and for those siting this vegan and that vegetarian who have gone to hospital or died or had terrible spines, come on! There are also people who aren’t vegetarians who over-consume on sugar, over-eat or just generally have poor diets that give them a myriad of illnesses. Obviously, that doesn’t mean the non vegetarian way of eating is bad; it means certain individuals didn’t take due care with their own eating.

  62. Carolyn

    thank you for your story! i plan on raising compassionate, vegetarian children myself one day and hearing your experience is encouraging. thank you for sharing :)

  63. Celine

    Thanks for posting this! It’s such an interesting story and your daughter is adorable! Though I am not a vegan yet (I’ve been a vegetarian for a year and am now slowly making my way into veganism) and won’t be having children for a few years, this post has really helped. When I tell people that I am vegetarian, one of the things I usually get asked is “what are you going to do when you have children?” And It is something I have wondered numerous times myself, but seeing how well it is working for you and your daughter is just…inspiring. I one day to hope to raise a happy, healthy child that has just as much compassion for animals as Rasine does!

  64. kary

    i was vegan my firsts four months of pregnan..and before that almost 4 yrs..now im vegetarian and making the teansition to vegan again..idk why i stopped…anyways my 2 yr old girl is vegetarian now almost vegan too but ots so hard for me bcuz my husband eats meat..and she se him eat meat when im saying we dont eeat that bcuz we love animals etc and try to explain…she mostly understands but he says that im mistreating her for not letting her decide…also my mom says that when she syarts pre school how will i deal with it…and also that by letting the s know about her diet they might call the child abuse office thing…and btw im frm Puerto Rico..

  65. kary

    i meant by letting the teachers know abput jer diet…they might cal the child abise office….etchalc

  66. Raising Healthy Veggie Kids

    […] that will make them want more!! Remember, don’t live to eat, but eat to live and be healthy!!!!!! Claire, a dear family friend and neophyte vegetarian with 2 non-vegetarian children aged 12 and 13 … varieties of shrimpless shrimps, fishless fish, squidless squids, chickenless chicken, meatless […]

  67. Steve

    To Luke:
    If I was you, I would go back to school and demand every single penny you wasted in nutritional classes. The jury is out, human physiology is that of a frugivorous ape.

  68. Meg

    Wow! I LOVED reading this post! I am a vegan and my husband is a vegan. We will also be raising our future children to be vegan. I am so happy to read about a family doing the same. I will be following your blog from now on! Have a great day!

  69. Maya

    Hi! Adorable post. What a cutie she is :) I am vegan and so is my partner and we intend to raise our future children to be vegan. I am wondering how you went about testing your child for potential allergies while keeping to a vegan diet. I’ve been told that it’s advisable to introduce highly allergenic foods like eggs, milk, fish and peanuts to your baby in small amounts within their first years and that this is necessary even if they won’t be eating those foods because they may come into contact with derivative ingredients or foods processed on the same equipment and still suffer allergic reactions. I’d be interested to know how you got around this. I’d also like to know what your views are on childhood vaccinations seeing as many of these may not be vegan and will have been animal tested. Thanks

  70. Jessica

    I have been a vegan now for 3 years and have never been more healthy.
    I do not have kids but when I do I plan on raising them in a vegan fashion.
    It’s amazing how many people want to argue with you on your personal beliefs.

    The china Study was a great read … The most in depth study on Plant based nutrition ever done. I’m sure it will change some omni minds and its written based on nutrition facts and not an animal ethical standpoint.

    Beautiful daughter keep up the good work

    Jessica

  71. Marina

    I have read these comments and what strikes me is vegans seem to totally disregard facts and studies, can’t cite any credible references. It is not surprising as probably their brains are lacking some key nutrients. When someone talks nonsense I usually ask them if they are vegans. This discussion just proves my observation. I have no problem with vegan adults. But if someone loves animals more than their own children that is disturbing. Check out the study done in Kenya on children, how adding a little bit of meat in their diet rapidly improved their cognitive, intellectual performance and motor skills. Of course you will not die eating vegan, your probably will have basic lab tests ok too, because our bodies find a way to balance things and survive on any fuel source but surviving is different from thriving. Evolutionary there has not been any purely vegan or even vegetarian tribe on earth and we know that you can thrive on purely meat but not on purely plants. The consequences of the vegan diet cannot be measured on the basis that someone vent vegan as an adult. To decide whether the diet is good it has to support continuation of generations. If off spring of vegan children from birth can thrive and procreate then I am going to argue but so far no vegan survived that long and a lot of vegans have irregular menstrual cycles and to thin endometrium which results in miscarriages, vit B12 deficiency during conception results in birth with damaged children. Hashimotos are not fixed by vegan diets and I am sorry but vegans do not live longer. So if you do not want to have children and want to shut down your ovaries go ahead become vegan or even raw vegan but do impose that kind of diet on your children. Give them a chance to thrive!

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