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Help! DD wants to go vegan and I am scared....

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
We are meat eaters (although in small quantities). About 1 year ago, DD (11) decided she wanted to be a vegetarian. It has not been too hard - I cook vegetarian about 1/2 the time anyways, and the other times she either fends for herself or I make a meal - and add meat at the end - after serving her.

Truthfully, the hardest thing has been the sneaky meat-by-products in things...like gelatin, rennet, and some L words.... (I could do a huge rant on the annoyance of meat byproducts in non-meat items)

Lately she has been saying she wants to go vegan. She wants to do so for animal rights reasons.

I am worried about this, for the following reasons:

-she is a picky eater. She is not keen on new foods

-there is dairy in many things. I looked at the bread we buy - yup "traces of milk products".

-at this point in time most of her protein requirements come from dairy and eggs. She barely tolerates tofu and beans (only likes humous). She does like nuts - but only some and they are pricey!!!

-I have no idea where she is going to get the iron, calcium, B12, and the protein she needs. I have no idea what it will do to her, physically, if she does not get the nutrients she needs.

I suggested she slowly go vegan - and she wants to go cold turkey.

I asked her if she would consume eggs or dairy from happy chickens or cows - and the answer is "no". She would have to check out the farms herself, and the logistics of that are not easy.

I am (perhaps selfishly) a little worried about me and my workload. I am not up for cooking totally different meals every day, she may cook for herself but I KNOW she will not totally clean up after herself and I do enough housework as it is. DH would like for us all to be able to sit down and enjoy the same meal. This paragraph is a minor concern compared to the nutritional aspect.

I tried to google veganism and children/teens but only came up with either pro articles (do it - it is fine!) or con articles (it is child abuse!). I want balanced articles.... If you know of any, could you post links??

any advice?

Help!
post #2 of 50
My dd did this when she was about that age, maybe a bit older. I bought some stuff specially for her, but she lasted about a month before she broke down and had bacon with us again. Maybe it was mean of me, but I just made sure to make some of her favorite meat dishes when she was around to smell them cooking and stuff.
post #3 of 50
So I went on Amazon and typed in Vegan Kids

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...n+kids&x=0&y=0
post #4 of 50
I understand your fears and frustration and I just want to say I think it is AWESOME that you are trying to be open to the idea. And good for your girl for making the difficult connections.

I think the best thing you can do is try to be supportive but realistic. Explain to her that it is possible to be a healthy vegan at that age, but that she needs to educate herself about nutrition and understand how to nourish herself. It's very important to those growing bodies, and it can be difficult as a vegan NOT because vegan food is lacking, but because it is outside the norm and thus requires a new taste palate, new habits, and lots of [fun] experimenting.

I really recommend you pick up these two books:

Becoming Vegan - a great introductory resource with comprehensive coverage of all things involved in vegan nutrition. You should read this too, as it will ease your mind and help you understand where she is getting her calcium, iron, B12, protein, etc.

Generation V: The Complete Guide to Going, Being, and Staying Vegan as a Teenager - written BY a teenager, all about how to go vegan as a teen. Lots of tips for making your own food and eating with your family, as well as dealing with peers. I think this is especially important to combat the isolation that she may feel and remind her that there are other people out there who care about animals and the issues that she obviously feels very strongly about.

Finally, remember that MOST teens eat crap, so try not to worry to much! She's thinking about her food, which means she is *way* ahead of most kids her age. That's really awesome. Find her a good vegan multivitamin (this one is from an excellent brand and has vitamin D which is important) and consider an algal DHA supplement as well (the vegan equivalent of fish oil capsules, great for growing brains) (here's one by the same company).
***I want to point out that I would make these same recs to a parent of an omnivorous kid - I think all kids (and all people) should be on a multivitamin including D and DHA, this is NOT because a vegan diet is somehow deficient***

Good luck with everything! Tell your daughter I think she's AWESOME. =D
post #5 of 50
Thread Starter 
Good luck with everything! Tell your daughter I think she's AWESOME. =D[/QUOTE]

Ah...thanks

She will like that. I don't think she gets much support for vegetarianism (although I really am fine with vegetarianism). Actually, most people think she is nuts. I think it will get worse with veganism.

As an aside, some people think I am a little nuts (and shirking my responsibilities) to let her be a vegetarian I do not want to know what they will think about veganism (although I am not going to tell anyone, it is no-one's business, but if DD wants to tell people she can)

Off to look up those books on the Library catalogue!

kathy
post #6 of 50

I think it is awesome your trying to be supportive

I've been vegan for a number of years, (although currently now vegetarian) and I understand your concerns. First, good nutrition is key! I would be supportive of her choice as long as she can commit to a balanced vegan diet. One way to make sure this happens is to sit down and make a meal plan with her for the next few weeks. Have her figure out what she will be eating and how to fill in the holes of what is missing in her diet. This does include having protein with every meal, because she's a growing girl. Although there a lot of vegan foods she hasn't tried yet, she will need to in fact try them! Writing off all beans and tofu is likely gonna have to change, there are a million ways to make them at least a handful that she will enjoy. I would pick up some nutritional yeast now and start using that in in your cooking (you can add it to anything you'd add cheese) which is a great source of vitamin B12 for the whole family.

I don't think it's fair or necessary that you take on all the of burden of learning and meal planing for your vegan daughter. It is a lot of work the make the lifestyle change and if she desires to do it she should share that extra work, it's part of the process. At 11 she is able to start learning to cook if she doesn't already and help make the majority of her meals. She also should be doing the shopping with you for the first few weeks to learn how to read labels about what is and is not vegan. Being that change is a activist motivated one, it is an important lesson for her to experience.

A place to find some great family friendly recipes that I would highly recommend is http://blog.fatfreevegan.com

Good luck! And props to you for supporting your daughter even though personally you're not thrilled of the idea.
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
My dd did this when she was about that age, maybe a bit older. I bought some stuff specially for her, but she lasted about a month before she broke down and had bacon with us again. Maybe it was mean of me, but I just made sure to make some of her favorite meat dishes when she was around to smell them cooking and stuff.
I would have been very sad if my parents did this to me. It doesn't show respect or support at all.
post #8 of 50
I think the Vegetarian Resource Guide is a great website loaded with lots of nutritional information. Here is a link specifically for kids/teenagers: http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm
post #9 of 50
I highly recommend this book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

http://www.amazon.com/Disease-Proof-...5413118&sr=1-1
post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyQ View Post
I would have been very sad if my parents did this to me. It doesn't show respect or support at all.
I agree. It is exceptionally hard to be a vegetarian/vegan in a meat eating family, and I'd have failed long ago if my mom did things like this.
post #11 of 50
I think it's wonderful that a person that young can make the connection between food and animals. Tell her she rocks! I wish I had done that instead of waiting until I was 18 to become vegan.

I agree with the pp that is very important you both educate yourselves on nutrition just to make sure you provide everything she needs for her growing body. The pp have made wonderful suggestions. I second the idea of buying some vegan cookbooks (Vegan Lunchbox is a very good one!) and planning meals with your daughter.

Take a look at the section Vegan Teens of vegfamily.com
Maybe you'll find some good ideas!

And here are some recipe blogs that you may find useful.
http://kidsarevegantoo.blogspot.com/
http://www.vegalicious.org/
http://veganyumyum.com/

Good luck and keep us posted if you need anymore help!
post #12 of 50
This isn't one of my usual forums.. but DH & I have been considering a shift to a vegetarian (not vegan tho) diet I wandered over. I think it's awesome that the OP's daughter is thinking about her food, and how ethically it is produced...my issue is that a single member of a family, one that is obviously not able to buy their own food, going vegan is going to be an enormous issue for mom to have to work with. Checking every single product for possible animal products likely means there will be little other than rice & straight vegetables she will eat. OP said she's not keen on new things, which is going to make it even harder. If her dd is not open to trying new things and expanding her diet it'll be nigh impossible to make this a healthy choice for her, ya know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BedHead View Post
My dd did this when she was about that age, maybe a bit older. I bought some stuff specially for her, but she lasted about a month before she broke down and had bacon with us again. Maybe it was mean of me, but I just made sure to make some of her favorite meat dishes when she was around to smell them cooking and stuff.
I think maybe the wording of this wasn't so good but honestly... an 11yo girl is most likely going to be home while mom is cooking dinner, so it's not like you would be going out of your way to stick her face over the pan to smell it...it would simply be there. And I think it's unrealistic to expect a mother/father to not cook meat products for those in the family that haven't made that choice simply because she is around?

and omg now I'm thinking maybe I need asbestos undies? I really don't intend to disrespect her choice, but while vegetarian is not so hard to accomodate in a family, vegan is a lot harder I'd imagine!
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CariOfOz View Post
T

I think maybe the wording of this wasn't so good but honestly... an 11yo girl is most likely going to be home while mom is cooking dinner, so it's not like you would be going out of your way to stick her face over the pan to smell it...it would simply be there. And I think it's unrealistic to expect a mother/father to not cook meat products for those in the family that haven't made that choice simply because she is around?

and omg now I'm thinking maybe I need asbestos undies? I really don't intend to disrespect her choice, but while vegetarian is not so hard to accomodate in a family, vegan is a lot harder I'd imagine!
She purposefully cooked bacon to lure her child back to eating meat, I think was the point.. that I find disrespectful. Even 11 yr olds deserve to be treated with respect and choices validated, IMO

nak
post #14 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyQ View Post
She purposefully cooked bacon to lure her child back to eating meat, I think was the point.. that I find disrespectful. Even 11 yr olds deserve to be treated with respect and choices validated, IMO
I agree, my ex-husband had tried the same strategy (didn't work).

My DH is a big meat lover and cooks meat all the time but is very considerate about smells and cleaning up after himself.
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by somegirl99 View Post
I agree, my ex-husband had tried the same strategy (didn't work).

My DH is a big meat lover and cooks meat all the time but is very considerate about smells and cleaning up after himself.
This is the reason I am keeping an entirely vegetarian kitchen...if DH eats meat, he'll have to stick to eating it at restaurants or at other people's houses...otherwise it'll be his own pots/pans/utensils, stored separately, cooked when I'm not around. Might be witchy of me, but I'm so sick of being around meat at my house all the time. Add it to my list of reasons I want to move out.
post #16 of 50
At 11 she is old enough to learn how to read lables and desicved if a product is good enough for her. She is also old enough to keep a food log (there are tons on line. I use the one at LIVESTRONG.COM, it calculates protien consumption but not iron but it has a huge data base and just about everything in the world is in there.) and see if she is missing big chunks of nutrients. I am not saying don't help her but if she will not eat beans this is going to be really hard. and she needs to decide if she is up to the challenge.

on the upside even if there are some glaring nutritional deficiencies she will still likely be miles ahead of her peers. You can go pretty junky with a lacto-ovo vegitarian diet but there is only so much streight up junk food available to vegans.
post #17 of 50
People think I'm weird when they hear I'm vegan, but once they get a look at me they start asking questions about how they can start cutting animal products out of their diet (the point being that a vegan diet is perfectly capable of supporting optimal health). I, like several posters above, think your daughter is awesome! Good for her for being aware, and good for you for being open minded. I don't have any additional advice, what you got above is really good. Good luck to your daughter, and to you!
post #18 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizzyQ View Post
I would have been very sad if my parents did this to me. It doesn't show respect or support at all.
I agree. Sabotaging your own child?
post #19 of 50
Wow, hmm I guest you could start of by preparing some tasty vegetable meals that the whole family can enjoy and your DD too. Its going to be a challenge as you will have to cook two pots one for DD and one for you and the rest of the family.
post #20 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldsBestMom View Post
Wow, hmm I guest you could start of by preparing some tasty vegetable meals that the whole family can enjoy and your DD too. Its going to be a challenge as you will have to cook two pots one for DD and one for you and the rest of the family.
See, this is what I do not want to do.

I am Ok with cooking one or two vegan meals a week (I am up to the challenge!)

I am OK with cooking a vegan sauce (say a red sauce) and then handing it to her to add beans, while the rest of us add meat or cheese.

I am Ok with her fending for herself a couple of times a week - but I need her to totally clean up her own mess.

I think I am going to ask her to start with the supermarket. What foods does she at all already that are vegan? What products are easy switches (example - some breads contain milk, some (fingers crossed!) do not).

I have orderred some vegan cookbooks - so hopefully we will be inspired.

She is very bright 11 yr old - and very capable of reading labels and figuring out how much protein and other nutrients she is getting. while she is capable of figuring out how many nutrients she needs, getting them may be an other story. She is picky and like many people, knows what she should eat but doesn't.

To be honest if she is serious (and she is always serious) about converting to veganism it might be a good thing health wise. She does not eat a varied diet at the moment and veganism would force her to.
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