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Vegan or Vegetarian for me and family??

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
We have been vegan for 11 yrs now- my eldest dd is 11 1/2 and my youngest is nearly 3. Dh eats vegetarian at work.

I have just told eldest dd that when she is with friends she can have veggie food if she chooses as she knows my reasons for being vegan. Now she seems so much happier with her friends as she feels she's no longer so different. She LOVES cooking and gets disheartened as she wants to cook so many recipes and being vegan limits what you can do- I know there are vegan alternatives, but they cost more and aren't as effective and usually have a lot more fat in it.

So now I'm thinking do I go back and be veggie so she can eat the cheeses she wants and cook with eggs, so she can do all those cakes and meringues she's longing to do.

I worry as I feel now that being vegan makes food an emotive issue about why we eat things and why we can't and I worry that this will cause eating disorder in my children-( I have a history in the past of an eating disorder)- it certainly can't be good with food being so emotive, having to explain to kids why we can't eat the same as our friends. Eldest's eating has become more and more limited as time goes on. She seems so fed up with the meals we have.

To me in a nutshell it boils down to whether I choose for my children to enjoy food and be creative with it or whether I take the breastmilk from another creature whose baby has been taken away from it. If it were just me I would be vegan- but I have my kids to think about too. I really don't know what to do or how to resolve this. Any opinions???
post #2 of 12

My family is vegetarian, not vegan, so the only thing I can compare it to in my head is cooking meat, or allowing meat in the house, and I wouldn't do it because I feel it is wrong. To me, this part of us being different is just one of many ways that we are - the most obvious is us being "foreigners". As much as I would like to help my kids feel a since of belonging, I also hope that they develop a sense of being ok with our differences.

I guess I am saying that I think it is perfectly reasonable for you to agree to them making their own choices outside the home, but you shouldn't comprimise your belief on this with regards to what goes on in your home. Perhaps that in itself would be a good thing for them to see and take with them throughout their lives.

Sounds like a tough one. Good luck! I am curious to read what others have to say...
post #3 of 12
One thing you said made me think. You said, "having to explain to kids why we can't eat the same as our friends."

See, I would have said, "having to explain to kids why we DON'T eat the same as our friends." And I would explain with pride that my family does not take the life of an animal needlessly.

Veganism should be a choice. If your eldest wants to eat veggie, you probably can't stop her anyway. I would say that if you want to be vegan, stay vegan. You can be vegan while they are not. Nothing wrong with that.

Also, I think I have to disagree that the vegan alternatives cost more. How much does a bypass cost? Or medication for a stroke? And how much does it cost you in conscience when you think of how the animals providing the milk are treated, and how the little baby animals cry for their mommies as they are taken away at birth, never to know the joys of bonding with their mommies.

Anyway, I say if you want to be vegan, be vegan. If your daughter wants to be veggie, let her.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Erin I do agree with you. I have always brought up my children (11 and 2 1/2) to respect all life and explained about why I won't eat products from an animal. And as a breastfeeding mother the idea of having another animals breastmilk as her baby is stolen from her- well it upsets me to think of it, hence me being vegan for all these yrs.

What I find now is that my conscience is wrestling with supporting my childrens happiness, or not playing part to an animals suffering.

To me it's not so easy to say to her- okay you be veggie at home- that means me buying eggs and cheese- that my youngest will also want- which is still supporting the industry even if I don't eat it.

I am a vegan on compassionate grounds not purely on health grounds- and whilst I understand your point about cholesterol and other health related issues, I think lifestyle can have more to do with health than food alone. I've known of vegans/vegetarians and meat eaters dying of cancer as well as others on these diets living a long and healthy life. If someone for example eats a vegan diet but finds food an issue or stressful this can't be any better for them than to drink milk, eat eggs but live a happy life.

We live in England with free health care- vegan food IS expensive, but to mention it with regards to strokes and bypasses makes it an emotive subject which I wonder will lead to eating disorders- is anything truly healthy for our bodies? Do we know this is true for EVERY body?

With regards to conscience- I'm right there with you. I don't want to stop my daughter from eating veggie- I just want her to be happy with no hang ups about food.

post #5 of 12
But are you saying you would go veggie just to make your daughter happy or did I misread that?

My point is that if your daughter wants to be vegetarian, let her be vegetarian on her own. You don't have to start eating eggs and cheese just because it's in the house.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes you are right- I am deciding whether to go veggie as a family to make her happy. The whole idea ofbeing to avoid preparing so many different meals for us, and my youngest would want whatever big sis eats- so may as well all eat the same.

I am not saying I would eat eggs and milk JUST because they are in my house (ie just to get them for her, but for me to have no will power)- if that were the case I would do so if they happen to be in a friends house or a shop I'm in- I don't.

I AM saying that I need to make a conscious decision as to what our diet WILL contain and what is the underlying philosophy of this- Her happy? Or animals happy? (though they won't actually be any happier as others still drink their milk etc)

What I am saying is the whole issue of purchasing it and supporting an industry is the same whether I eat it or not- which MAY rest uneasily on my conscience.
post #7 of 12
And my point is that I don't think you even need to have it in the house at all. I don't know because my kids are only 3 and 7, but it seems to me that your daughter is old enough to understand that your home is a safe haven for your beliefs. That she can choose what she wants regarding this but animal products aren't allowed in the house.

There are lots of great vegan baking recipes all over the net. I made vegan brownies for all our neighbors for Christmas this year. Yummy!!!

I don't envy your struggle over all this...
post #8 of 12
I sympathise with Mand here. We (4 kids+me) were vegan until recently. It's great to be vegan, but I found my kids were eating less and less variety of foods and I worried as there's no way they were getting enough nutrients from there diet. We are now veggie and although we don't now consume huge amounts of dairy/eggs it's made our lives more relaxed and my kids seem freer and happier. This may be a generalisation but those with quite restrictive diets:vegan/raw-food/fruitarian that I have met seem to talk sooo much about food/diet/nutrition almost to a point of obsession that now I'm not vegan I wonder whether I had a food disorder and sub-consciously wanted to deny myself things. Though this is not true for all the afore mentioned people, it was for me.:
post #9 of 12
I'm a raw foodist and raising my 2 year old to be the same. I'm not obsessed with food, however my daughter is being raised to know that food is what makes us healthy or sick. She knows which food is dead and which food is living, that dead food doesn't do her any good and living food makes her healthy. She does eat some non-raw food stuff, like a vegan sausage every now and then, or some raisin bread.

http://kim.mimicvii.com/rawvegan.htm my baby

I don't see being vegan, raw foodist, or fruititarian restrictive. I do see eating dairy, eggs and meat as deadly slow acting poison.

I know the time will come when I will have to explain more then living or dead food, but I'm hoping that by the time she gets older she will no more be able to eat animal products then a piece of wood. I will never ever allow any in the house anyway.

When she gets a little older and I need to find her friends to play with, I will start to find some vegan or raw foodist groups in my area, or maybe form my own. Hopefully I can get to gether with others who have children and are faced with this same thing.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Firstly I want to thank all of you for replying, I really appreciate all of your opinions

A couple of things I want to add. Both my girls dislike any pulses- lentils/quinoa/bulgar wheat/ couscous etc They just won't eat them. Sprouts? Forget it. My youngest doesn't like any beans- butter/kidney/chick peas/haricot etc. Now I know that in a meal it doesn't have to be a complete protien- but I feel their diets are lacking in this.

Calcium- my eldest hardly consumes any soya milk, and my youngest hates eating any greens/tahini/sesame seeds etc- again I feel their diets are lacking.

So by going veggie this would solve the protein/ calcium worry- although I know milk/ eggs may not provide calcium and protein that is as bioavailable for humans anyway.

I respect the way you are bringing up your family and really do admire your stance in a world that is against such diets. I know of somebody here bringing up her daughter on raw foods who is like you looking for other like minded people and desparate to find other children for her daughter- she finds it very hard, and I know her daughter does too.

I have had eating disorders in the past notably anorexia- this actually stemmed from my belief that my body has toxins/poisins in it. Even today I am careful what I put in my body as I still carry this belief- it makes life hard sometimes.

I would not like to tell my children that this food is 'slow poison' or this is 'bad' for you (as there are others who may eat it and live long healthy lives- it doesn't appear to poison them) And I do agree with you that living food is good for you, but am not convinced that cooked food will not keep you healthy as well.

I just wonder that when we teach our children 'this is good, you can eat it/ this is bad it can make you sick' whether this will lead to problems with their relationship to food in later life-why not let them discover this for themselves? Which foods they feel makes them feel good and which not so good. When they have grown up and eat a piece of white bread, will they force their fingers down their throat to make themselves sick to avoid the fear of the food they have consumed that will make them sick- just like mum said?

I do think it is easier when you are bringing up younger children, I never thought this would be an issue for me- I thought we'd always be vegan and happy. But as my eldest hangs around with her peers, their opinion matters to her and she wants to feel 'normal' and have a sense of belonging.

I just sometimes hate that food is such an issue- and think that life should be about joy- MIND, body and soul.

Blessings xx

post #11 of 12
There is a great BB at http://www.vegfamily.com/forums/ . All types of vegan parent-types there (tho I think I'm the only raw foodist so I never post). They too are going through similiar things as you are, you should check it out. It really is hard to raise any child that is not part of "mainstream" america, from cloth diapers, religion, food choices, geezz people think I'm odd because I use salt crystal deoderent and not Secret or other stuff like that! But no matter how different we are from mainstream, we are doing an awesome job because we educate ourselves on the choices before us. All of us choose different paths, but we make educated decisions. That is most important...
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
thanks for the lead, will check it out. And yes it is about informed decisions, and it is hard to raise my family in the way I do. Appreciate your reply
Blessings xx
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