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Dd and vegetarianism -- a little long.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

We converted to vegetarianism in 2011. Dd never really questioned it. She went with what was being given to her. I mean not whatever. She still hates all vegetables but will eat lentils and beans and her diet is v. limited. Before this her every meal consisted of meat or egg. Dairy was added in the form of cheese. Anyways, she spends enough time at grandmas to have meats around her.We have let her watch a few food documentaries with us. At that time her reaction will be like Yuck. I hate chicken. I tell her that just because we don't eat it she still needs to respect others' choices that eat it.


 But this is what happened in the past few weeks. 2 weeks or so ago she comes from grandmas saying grandma gave her chicken. I am mortified to say the least. Grandma knows how fast it can constipate her too. Anyways, I didn't overreact. She says she told grandma she didn't want it but grandma still fed her. When grandma is confronted by dh grandma says dd asked for it as she was cooking some. Dd v. strongly denies grandma's story. We don't know who to believe. We want to continue sending her to grandma's once a week or less because it offers us a break from a high needs child.


The next thing that happened is the school by mistake gave her a chicken item instead of her veggie order. She ate it and didn't want me to inform the school. This is the message I was getting  - that she tries to please me that she loves being vegetarian but she actually wanted the school lunch that wasn't vege. She didn't want me to inform the school so that they could keep making mistakes and she sometimes gets the non-vegetarian item.


I don't know whether I should let her go back to eating it. I hate to even think about the quality of the meat the school is serving or that grandma buys (not that they can't afford better, they just aren't educated enough and will buy what is easily available) or continue her on a diet we think is healthier and in the long run will be far more beneficial to her.


Thanks for listening. :)

post #2 of 12
I don't have any real advice for you. I wouldn'tetrt my kids go to Grandma's if Grandma fed them food that I told her not to. We deal with food allergies so it's very important that they only eat approved foods. However I live 2000 moles away from Grandma so that's easy for me to say. If Grandma won't listen to you or DH when you explain that the food she gives your dd is causing her health problems, then I guess you just have to weigh the pros and cons of her going there unsupervised by you. On the pro side is you get a break, on the con side, she may eat meat that makes her constipated. Is the break worth it? You would have to decide.

I would call the school and tell them they made a mistake. They need to be more careful. They could be dealing with kids that have serious health issues when they eat certain foods and they need to follow parentt's instructions. Whether you allow your child to eat meat or not is your decision and it shouldn't be made by defaulting to the school's mistakenly giving her the wrong lunch.

We eat a plant-based diet at home but occasionally my kids will try some meat when we go out especially at pot luck type dinners. We try not to call a lot of attention to our food choices. I'm not interested in debating with people. My oldest kids who are young adults are vegetarian all the time now. They were raised the same way with occasionally eating meat when out and they chose vegetarianism for ethical and health reasons as they got older. I see signs that my 6 and 8 year old are following in their footsteps. When we were at Sprouts, my daughter saw the fish displayed and loudly asked, "who would eat a dead fish?" I explained that people make their own food selections and it's rude to make that kind of comment but that she could choose to not eat dead fish.

My niece, raised by my vegetarian brother and sister in law was more actively discouraged from eating meat. At 15, she is also a total vegetarian so it didn't really make a difference. She was raised differently and the results were the same. Now when my older kids and her hang out, none of them would ever consider eating meat.

I guess you should do what works for you and your family. A little meat isn't going to probably ruin her health but if ethically that is not something you want to do then I would just tell her that our family doesn't eat thatand not leave her at Grandma's. Most likely, your example of eating healthy will have more impact than forbidding her to ever eat meat.
post #3 of 12

your dd is 5 or 6 isnt it?


i would say - let it go and let her eat meat. her choice in the matter is important. let her decide to be a vegetarian. she wants some autonomy.


dd always had  the freedom and from 3 to 9 ate meat. at 10 she decided to be a vegetarian/vegan and blows me away that at parties she sticks to her plan even though she loves meat. 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.


We have to re-think this. Obviously, it isin't easy to convert a 4-yr-old. She is almost 6 now. She does have a problem with every single meal which is why I decided to go with school lunch, which she was begging for. And every meal is an energy drainer at home. I have worked v. v. hard for the last 1.5 years and it will be hard to let her go back. But I think we are making her greedy in a way. She seemed q. happy to have received the wrong dish.

Edited by Neera - 2/1/13 at 5:57am
post #5 of 12

I'd do what you can to get her to be clear with you about "This one time, I ate a meat thing because I wanted to" - particularly in light of her having issues (like constipation) with some meats.  (And if grandma doesn't know about this - I'd let her know what other food items don't have those problems, and maybe she can adjust a little and suggest or have those more often when they're together - if that's possible.)  


Lots of adults have boundaries about meat - like eating fish, or chicken but not other things, etc.  Could you explain to her that other people do that and see whether she could make some of her own (I will eat meat at grandmas/school - I will eat vegetarian at home : I sometimes want to get a chicken sandwich when we go out : I want to eat what other people are eating even if it isn't vegetarian) in part, just so you can know what to expect and/or get grandma some better quality meat from time to time if that's a place she wants to be experimenting about this, for example.


She'd still be eating vegetarian a substantial amount of the time, most likely, if the rest of you are vegetarian at home.  For having a vegetarian foundation and influence around her, that can be a great example and influence even if she doesn't practice it so completely herself.    

post #6 of 12

neera i understand. i decided to let dd have meat when i found she chose chicken over candy. 


the choice had to come from her. and as mKm noted in our house, dd ate mostly veggie. i told her she could eat whatever she wanted outside, as long as she didnt expect me to make it at home. and seh was ok with taht. it took away the longing for forbidden fruit. however when i saw her eat - i saw she ate a balanced diet. veggies and some meat. only once in a blue moon would she eat just chicken for dinner. 


but you have to let them go and not force your decision on them - no matter how important it is for you. set your own boundaries. she will learn the best way. 


exh's mom was a vegetarian but cooked meat for the boys and her dh. 2 are vegetarian, but 3 are meat eaters. 


i think its unfair you forcing your food habits on your child. that's how i looked at it. YOU may decide vegetarian is good, but that doesnt mean its true for everyone. be careful dont get your dd in an emotional zone with food and cause food issues later on. 


dont show them life through words. show them through action. dd has goen with me to the farm, she has gone to both hunter's clubs and vegan clubs and then made up her mind.


but really i have noticed my friends kids too - around 10 and 11 is when a lot of them change their food habits. i know a lot of kids who are the only vegetarian in their family. 


so have faith. having a little meat is not going to kill your dd. 

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I will be discussing with dh when we get a minute and see what changes we can implement.

post #8 of 12

DH and I have been vegetarian for a long time, so our kids have been veggie since birth. I let my kids eat meat if they want to at other people's houses. Or when my inlaws visit and buy meat like coldcuts, I'll let them have them. DS1 has NO interest what-so-ever in meat, but DS2 enjoys it when it's offered, yet never asks for it otherwise. If my kids started to ask for it, I'd accommodate them. But I'd explain that it had to be an occasional thing, because we'd want to buy humane meat and that's expensive. I have no interest in controlling my kids' choices about eating animals, but at the same time I'm not going to cook a pork roast every night, you know? I think it's possible to have balance.

post #9 of 12

I would keep on serving vegetarian at home, since both you and your DH eat that way. It's wonderful that your DH is on board with you.  She will get numerous health benefits from vegetarian eating at home.

You don't want a situation where DD is lying to you about what she ate or hiding things from you... she needs to know she can trust you and tell you things and talk about her feelings and what she did while she was out...  I would let her know that you will love her no matter what she does and doesn't eat when she is out.  Don't let on that you are disappointed.  She needs your support in this as there will be much bigger decisions as she gets older... smoking, drinking, sex, etc etc. You want her to be open with you and to know that you will listen to what she has to say, try to understand and help her find a solution. Try to remain non-judgmental, find out what it is she wants to do (ie eat vegetarian all the time or eat meat sometimes).  If she wants to be vegetarian then talk about some scenarios where there is meat for example where she gets served the wrong meal and how she could deal with avoiding it.  If she wants to eat meat then you need to rethink her school lunches/trips to Grandma's and what you are willing to accept.  If she wants to eat meat but feels guilty about it then help her work through those feelings too.

I agree that as parents we have an obligation to teach our children a moral code and to protect them from things that are harmful.  Could you find a compromise with your daughter?  For example, she keeps on getting the vegetarian meals daily at school because they are healthier for her, but then gets to eat meat once a week at Grandma's? (because it is only once a week and you can also negotiate a bit more with Grandma about the type of meat/other components of the meal etc)  Or, if you decide you can't allow your DD to eat meat becasue you are so opposed, then what about helping her find a support network/ vegetarian friends and peers?  So she doesn't feel alone?

post #10 of 12

neera one more thing. this is my philosophy. i do vegetarian because it suits my body. even in our non veggie house i was the one that always ate more veggie and passed on the meat and fish more often.


i dont mind my dd being a non veggie. because i dont really have anything against meatetarians. what i do have a problem with is the amount (of course quality goes without saying). i am a vegan (though sometimes i do cheat) for ethical reasons and to support dd. i have no objections to dd eating a small portion of meat with her food. a 2 oz piece instead of an 8 oz piece of steak which is what is mostly served in restaurants. 


so if dd decided she wants to eat everything i would be fine with that. its really the amount of things that i would have a problem with. things like oils, sugar apart from just meat. 


so really i am concerned with dd's diet coz of her genetic predisposition (which may or may not show up but i dont want to take that chance) which includes calorie intake, fat intake, sugar intake and salt intake - apart from a balanced diet. 


it would kill me if dd lived on cuponoodles while in college or as an young adult. it would kill me if she put oodles of butter or coconut butter on her toast or ate a cup of nuts. i've made it so by not eating so much of it so she hasnt got into the habit of getting addicted to high fat like i am. her taste buds would automatically reject it. 


we focus so much on meats, carbs and sugar that we forget fats. i am grateful that dd's body speaks to her so that even though she chooses soda or icecream - she only has a little bit - maybe two icecream scoops or 2 oz coz her body rejects sugar and causes her mood swings. without that i am not sure how i could stop her. 


however i am happy dd ventured down the path of experimentation and by 10 decided what she wanted to eat - based on her body's reaction and her idea of what nutrition is and how ethical it is. 

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Yeah, I think she is feeling deprived especially when her peers are eating lasagna  - with beef of course. We still have to talk to her. She doesn't get school lunch every day of the week as veggie options are available only on certain days. And after reading this: http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/03/05/pink-slime-still-menu?cmpid=foodinc-fb I am not allowing meat at school.


Any ideas where we could buy grass fed, humanely raised meat? I haven't seen it at WF. This was back in the day when she would eat.

post #12 of 12

What area are you in?

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