Vegetable-arian? at 7? - Problems Increasing.... - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 55 Old 01-11-2006, 04:39 PM
 
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I am not currently veggie but was for years. I didn't answer your question because it didn't make a lot of sense to me. A vegetarian doesn't necessarily serve her child meat because it offends her, she finds if spiritually troubling, and maybe immoral. I don't think a meat eater feels the same way about serving vegetarian meals. So I don't think the comparison works. Some vegetarian families have meat eating children and some do not.

I jthink it was ok to offer her food then let her decide and not say a word about it. Maybe she is just finding her own way. When I first because a vegetarian (at about 12) I first cut WAY back on meat but still couldn
t resist an occasional burger or homemade taco. Eventually I cut out red meat, then all meat. It doesn
t have to be sudden. It doesn't mean she feels less about it, just that she's a kid and convictions can be hard to stick to.
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#32 of 55 Old 01-11-2006, 06:13 PM
 
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i have some friends who now have 5 children. they are vegetarian. the loder boys choose to eat meat. they do prepare meat for them a few times a week, usually chicken or burgers. they feel their choice isn't to impose on anyone else, even their children. :

as a former stepmom i think it's important to not make the child feel pulled between the adults. which i'm not sure is happening here. it sounds like she wants to make her mom happy by not eating meat. but she obviously wants to eat meat. (at least at your house) that seems really normal for a 7 year old.

i would make it as much a non-issue as much as possible. give her a choice at your house and don't make it obviously one way or another what you think she *should* be eating, and when mom calls tell her very plainly "she can have a choice what to eat here. whatever she eats, it's fine with us." really she is only there a few dinners per months, so why not take the lead in making things a bit less difficult for her. it's hard to be in the middle of a tug of war with adults that you love. it can make a big difference if one of the adults chooses to take the high road.

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#33 of 55 Old 01-11-2006, 06:29 PM
 
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I forgot to answer the secondary question.

Qualia currently eats a vegetarian diet because that's what we eat. When she's older (i.e., verbal), she can decide for herself, although as with all foods, I reserve the right as her parent to steer her toward healthy choices. If she expresses a mild interest in trying meat, we'll let her have some at a family gathering or restaurant. If she wants to eat meat frequently, we'll be getting free-range, hormone, etc.-free meat and she'll be learning about food safety and cooking.

The idea of her eating meat doesn't thrill me, but I have to honor her freedom to make that choice.
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#34 of 55 Old 01-11-2006, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not me that talks to BM, sorry if I gave that impression.

Anyway, we will continue to offer healthy choices, which may or may not include meat depending on what we feel like eating, and SD can pick what she wants to eat. DH tends to make meals that involve only meat and salad, so I will have to add more starches/more veggies to our meals.

I never liked meat as a kid, and went years in my early 20's without eating it as well (although I never called myself a vegetarian). However, recently I discovered meat tastes a lot better when it's not dried out and overcooked the way my mother always made it. And now that I can afford to buy organic/free range meats, I do.

I would be pissed about a rare burger, too, but I would take it back and ask for another one, and express my anger to the staff, not tell my young child that eating it could kill them. I realize it might be true, but all the same I don't think it is appropriate information for a little kid. We've dealt with this before: SD's mom told her for years that she shouldn't eat certain foods "because she might die." (Food allergies leading to anaphylaxis run in my DH's family.) I can understand wanting to be careful, but not telling a kid (age 3-4) that food is going to kill them, especially when the child has never exhibited any sign of an allergic reaction to any foods. Again, I repeat: the child had never (and has not since) had any type of allergic reaction to any food. If she had, of course it would be different, we would take every precaution necessary. I still would not introduce the death factor to a child that small though, I would stick with "make you very very sick." But hey, that's just my opinion. And no, we didn't say anything to BM about it - after all it is her choice to do things the way she thinks is best.

Again, if this vegetarian thing was based on an honest dislike of certain foods, or a concern for animal welfare, I would be much more understanding. Although it wouldn't change what I am putting on my dinner table. However, this is 100% based on fear/trauma from what I understand. We have discussed it with SD and she has not offered any other reason, and she is a very articulate child, and definitely able to express complicated ideas.

Anyway, we will not press the issue, and hopefully this will pass. Maybe I can get her to eat Matter Paneer if I don't put too much curry in it... Thank you all for your suggestions. Sorry if I've been argumentative, it's a bad habit of mine.

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#35 of 55 Old 01-11-2006, 07:14 PM
 
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I am a vegetarian but my dh eats meat. Since I cook it for him and others occasionally, I will do the same for our dc. I won't be introducing them to it unless they ask though.

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#36 of 55 Old 01-11-2006, 07:37 PM
 
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I'm veggie, dh is not. I was going to raise my dc as veggie and let them decide later what they wanted, but as I am introducing foods really slowly because of allergy issues in my family, I decided that "happy" meat from my parent's farm is ok for my ds. The way he chows down on a steakbone, I'm thinking he won't choose to go veggie.

With regard to th op's question about spice, I think spice is an aquired taste. My 11 mo. old ds will taste hot sauce from chicken wings and likes it. I always ate spicy while nursing. The dc of a friend who avoided spices while nursing won't eat spicy at all.
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#37 of 55 Old 01-15-2006, 02:22 PM
 
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I've been a vegetarian since I have memory (definitely by age 4 or 5). It is possible for it to happen young. Prepare a veggie dish that can last a few days and don't make a big deal out of it ("oh, she doesn't eat meat now," stuff like that). There are very easy veggie dishes to prepare. Campbell's soup has a vegan tomato soup concentrate and a vegetable alphabet soup. Have these and cooked rice available at all times-- she can heat it up in the microwave herself. There's no reason everyone has to eat the same thing at a meal.

Also I make "instant" baked beans with one of those tomatos soup concentrate cans, 1 large drained and rinsed can beans, 2 tbs mollasses, 1 tbs mustard. You don't even have to heat it, just mix and stick in the fridge, heat it up over rice when necessary. She can do the heating up.

But to answer your question about age the answer is an emphatic YES. It is also normal to on rare occasion crave meat so don't give her a hard time about it if that happens. I eat meat/ fish about 5 times a year. The primate diet (and we are primate) is only 2% meat. So on rare occasion it might be normal for her to want meat. LEt her switch back and forth.

Some of my worst childhoos memories are of being forced/ bribed/ cajoled to eat meat.
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#38 of 55 Old 01-15-2006, 04:28 PM
 
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She actually told your sd that eating it would KILL her? IMO she is way too young to be told things like that. That's really sad, and after hearing that I'm sure her new diet is out of fear. Poor girl. :

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#39 of 55 Old 01-15-2006, 05:50 PM
 
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Supportive =
**offering an alternative
**being sure she knows what she is being offered.
**letting her choose from there.

controlling=
**dictating what and how much of what she has to eat
**demanding

just be sure she knows that chicken is meat. if she knows what she is eating, still wants it and it is Ok with her dad (he is 100% parent also even if his ex wife isn't buying it) that she eats it, then you guys are being perfectly supportive in HER making this choice. It might not be her choice when she is with her mother but you are doing everything possible to make it her choice when she is at your house. You ARE being suportive.

and i agree with the previous poster who said don't let BM get to you. She wants control. That is her isue not yours and not your dsd. She is just trying to make her mom happy and be happy.

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#40 of 55 Old 01-16-2006, 06:23 AM
 
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Sorry: in answer to the question. There's been times in my life when I've been vegetarian or vegan and my kids have not been in a position to make their own opinions. Right now, I eat some meat, my eldest is lacto-ovo, my younger boy is dairy-free and, thank Maude, the baby is on breastmilk and I don't need to worry about cooking five different meals.
As long as they know what they're eating, I'm cool with my children making their own choices. I do think humans were "designed" to eat meat: given our past as hunter-gatherers, I don't think that mother nature intended us to be eating as much of it as we do,or as frequently. We don't buy sweets containing gelatine (it just seems wrong and dishonest to hide animal proteins in sweeties) ever, and we talk a lot about how animals are reared.
I think you did the right thing.

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#41 of 55 Old 01-16-2006, 04:29 PM
 
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what Lilyka said.....
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#42 of 55 Old 01-17-2006, 11:00 AM
 
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Forgive me if I am repeating anything someone has already said... I haven't read all the replies.

However, being a step-mother... I would be upset about the mother came to you with it, however I don't think I would be upset about the situation. My step kids are also meat lovers. If one of them came over claiming to be a vegetarian... I would make my normal meals, which include meat but usually as a dish in itself, not in something... so if they didn't want to eat the meat, fine but the rest, they do... I would make sure a couple days afterwards to make his/her absolute FAVORITE meat dish and if he/she refuses it, then I know they really don't care for meat anymore and respect that. If he/she eats it, which I know they couldn't resist, then so much for the vegetarian route, lol.

I don't change the meals in my house because of one person. While I'm on a diet, I make everything my family still likes and then taylor it to my needs. I.E leaving out the butter and letting them butter it themselves, etc. I will give them the option of not eating the meat but I'm not making a completely seperate meal or differant kind of meal then my family likes because one family member decides they want to eat something differant. I think that's an unreasonable request for anyone to make, period.

Kids are so fickle... it could really be an issue with her but what I'm guessing is she heard of this new vegetarian thing and decided it sounded like fun... give her a few weeks, she may get bored with it. But it also might stick so be prepared either way but I wouldn't change a thing... just give her the option of not eating it by not putting it in casseroles or something like that which doesn't really give her the choice of not eating it.

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#43 of 55 Old 01-24-2006, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so.... Irony being what it is and all... I went to my naturopath appointment on Jan 13th and she put me on a 1 month liver cleanse diet. Pretty much nothing but fresh veggies, brown rice, tofu, (although I am allowed fish, DH is allergic to it, and free range chicken, which I don't like) So anyway, dinner at our house has been very very vegetarian ever since. Vegan, actually!

Problem is, DSD is still refusing to eat! She'll eat maybe 1/4 of what she normally would, then say her stomach hurts, she doesn't feel well, etc. etc. At first we took it seriously - I tried giving her probiotics (her biomom has been giving her pepto-bismol.) But we're really starting to think it's not real - she even admitted it to DH the other night when he asked if she was pretending her tummy hurt so she wouldn't have to eat, or if it really hurt. Also, she has been faking other problems, like yesterday morning she got up and pretended to have lost her voice (she was whispering). Then, she forgot to whisper and talked a bit! Then kept going back to whispering... All she had was normal morning hoarseness, which I explained to her. She made a big deal out of two coughs, which *miraculously* cleared her throat.

Sunday night we went to dinner at my family's house and she flat out refused to eat dinner. We told her she had to sit at the table with everyone else. Near the end of dinner (everyone kept offering her food, but she kept saying no, so she sat there with an empty plate) I said to her "I bet you're really hungry right now, your tummy must be growling." Then she asked if she would die if she didn't eat. Her dad told her that yes, if she didn't eat for a long time (like a week) she might. So she decided to eat a bun with butter. Refused ice cream cake. She also refused fluids all day, drank maybe 1/2 cup of liquid total. That's the part that really concerns me.

Monday morning. She gets up for school, gets dressed, and tells me she doesn't want to eat any breakfast. I tell her that if she doesn't eat breakfast, she can't go to school, and to go and pick out some cereal. She picks out Life cereal and asks if it is healthy. I tell her that yes, it's very healthy and we pour her a *small* bowl of it, way less than she would normally eat. She eats maybe 4 bites and says she doesn't want it, doesn't want anything else either. So, I tell her she cannot go to school on no breakfast (I wouldn't feel right sending her to school on an empty stomach, sorry). She did not complain of feeling sick, just said she didn't want to eat. Finally she did eat it, but she was 45 minutes late for school. The whole thing was quite upbeat, we chatted about various things while she sat at the table, it wasn't an argument or anything, I was just clear with her that she had to eat that bowl of cereal (or something else) before school.

She is doing this at her mom's house too, but at our house it is accompanied by a lot of "I want to go to my mom's" type whining. There is a weird health obsession going along with it - things like refusing to drink juice because it is "just sugar" (we buy organic apple cider) and asking if she will die. Her mom has told her that if she doesn't start eating her packed lunches she will have to go back on the hot lunch program (mostly meat).

One suggestion that was raised is that maybe she is reacting to her mom being pregnant and having morning sickness? Which I think might be contributing to it, but there must be more to it than that...

I just don't know how to help her - I feel like we need to back off and not force her, but it's very hard when she won't eat at all or even drink anything - tiny sips of water is all she will take. What would you do?

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#44 of 55 Old 01-25-2006, 12:13 AM
 
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My dsd starting talking in "babytalk" sometime after she moved in. (she was 8 at the time) Man, it was annoying! That being said, I'm sure it was her way of adjusting. Looking back, the more we got upset about it, the more she did it. I'm sure the whispering thing is the same. Its tough on them (you too!) and she's adjusting to you guys, new baby at mom's, etc.

So, that part I would ignore. No, I would probably whisper back. Maybe make some "tea" to "cure" her throat. Play into it. And have fun doing it! On a side note, one of my dss gets "ill" when he's stressed. So, I tuck him into bed with a damp cloth on his head and make him some tea and ask what else I can do to make him feel better. He's always better 5 minutes after he's tucked in.

Now, the eating part. I would let it go too. Theres so many battles ahead for you, let this one go. I'm sure she's been told (verbally or otherwise) that you are the "enemy", or maybe she just sees you that way herself. Who knows? But anyway, not eating may be her way of gaining "power" over you, and "winning over the enemy". I hope that makes sense. My suggestion would be to take her shopping, letting her pick some things. I wouldnt let her make the entire choice, just narrow it down, like pick a fruit - bananas, strawberries, or oranges? And letting her know what each one is full of - bananas have lots of potassium for....okay, I dont know why its good, but you get my drift!
Let her go to school hungry a couple of days but pack a muffin or something in her bag. Dont tell her, just do it. And if her bag comes home empty, dont say a word, just keep doing it.
Ask her to pick out a recipe from a cookbook. Maybe she can help cook? But nothing about eating or not eating. If she chooses not to eat, but must stay at the table (we do that rule too) then ignore the fact she's not eating.

I understand your concern about her not eating, I want to let you know its a very valid concern. Unfortunatly though, if you're stressed, then it adds to her stress.
I would also take out some "healthy living" books from the library and leave them around. Or read them yourself and tell the family what you've learned, as in "Wow! Did you know....blah blah blah". She'll indirectly get the info she needs.
In the meantime, maybe let her eat in her room? Take a snack to bed? Eat dinner in front of the tv? Whatever you do now doesnt have to be permanant. (We let our ds eat in front of the tv to just get him to eat, now he's older and understands the eat at the table rule.) Just some thoughts to get some food into her and ease your mind.

Well, I've gone on too long, good luck!
p.s. I just wanted to say good for you for seeking help, its hard, I know. You should be proud of yourself.
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#45 of 55 Old 01-25-2006, 07:19 AM
 
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Make sure she goes to the doctors: just to rule out the possibility of a stomach bug or some other medical condition that would be causing pain on eating. Emotions can do funny things to children's digestive systems- my eldest boy got diarrhoea when he was being bullied.
I think part of this is her being terrified about her mum being ill: after all, we know that morning sickness is a natural, though abnormal part of pregnancy- but a small kid doesn't, and it was really, really hard for my boys to be around me when I was throwing up. Part of me wonders if the question about "will I die?" is actually "will my mom die?" "Did that burger do this to my mom?"
All you can do is hang in there and try really hard not to make an issue out of it. I know it's easier said than done, but you can do it, you really can.

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#46 of 55 Old 01-25-2006, 02:46 PM
 
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I would take her stomach pains seriously. her diet is all over the place, depending on how far she lives from you it could be different water (which can mess some people up), her moms having a baby, she is being puld in every direction, told she is going to die if she eats this or that . . .

Poor girl is probably a mess of nerves. that will mess with your digestion as well as ay of that alone.

Ask her what she wants to eat. breakfast cereal is easy because it is shelf stable. she can just have her box. Is it really that much trouble to get a kind she likes? Call her up before she comes. See what she wants to eat while she is there. If she were your real child would you ask for her input when making the menu for th week? Shouldshe be overlooked just because she isn't there? just cal her up and see what she wants. what food make her tummy feel better? her throat? what does she like? she wants healthy? great! what does she think is healthy? what does she like to eat? what does she eat for breakfast at her moms? Is it really that big of a deal to put a little effort into it?

remember that it is hard to be a step child. a part time member of two different families. It gets even harder when each home has full time kids. Even if everyone is nice and well meaning. you're still less and you know it. it sucks so bad. I have been there.

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#47 of 55 Old 01-25-2006, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I grew up as a stepchild and I never once felt that I was "less" because of it. There's no adjustment going on at our house - we've been living in the same place for 2 years. However, at her mom's place her new future stepdad has just moved in, mom is pregnant, so things are probably a bit stressful.

With the breakfast, I repeatedly asked her if she wanted something different and she did not, she just didn't want to eat.

I think flapjack has hit the nail on the head though - it didn't really come together for me before, although I did feel that her mom's morning sickness had something to do with it... but there have been other questions too - she was really freaked out when a friend told her that "if you break a pinky swear your mother will die." And that is just not at all like her, she's never believed stuff like that before, has always been extremely logical from a very early age.

A couple of times when she has said she feels like throwing up, we have suggested that maybe, if she does throw up, she will feel better. She is terrified of throwing up... so, if she is seeing/hearing about her mom throwing up, I can see how this would worry her a lot.

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#48 of 55 Old 02-04-2006, 12:37 AM
 
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Not really sure if this is relevant but I have read that adolecent onset anorexia and other eating disorders are on the rise, is she concerned at all about her body image along with her concerns for health of food? Loosing weight?
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#49 of 55 Old 02-04-2006, 02:01 AM
 
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I was wondering the same thing-- is she having body issues? I first thought I was fat when I was 7 ( I wasn't at all). It does seem like she's obsessed with "health" and has strange ideas about it.

She could also not feel like eating because of stress, tummy in knots. I'd let her go to school with out eating if she doesn't want to. Do they have recess around 10?
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#50 of 55 Old 02-04-2006, 03:14 PM
 
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I thought of something else-- could she have just had a nutrition program at her school?

It's just that she is getting information from somewhere. What she said about juice is true (in my mind). Could they have had health lessons/nutrition in the classroom and it freaked her out?
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#51 of 55 Old 02-07-2006, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think what freaked her out was her mom telling her she would die if she ate a pink burger.

Now, of course eating healthy is a good thing, but thinking that drinking juice is going to kill you is not healthy imho... and her not wanting to drink juice would be ok if she was drinking some other fluid... but I don't really think 4-8 ounces of liquid a day is enough for a 7 year old kid to be drinking.

DSD also made some comments the other night - somebody was talking about the movie Supersize Me and she said that in that movie, a man dies from eating McDonald's. We explained to her that he did NOT die, and that he also ate nothing but McDonald's for a whole month... but she doesn't really get it. In her mind unhealthy food = you die.

She is eating a bit better, but still not that great. And the reason I won't send her to school hungry is that she very rarely eats her snacks at school, or at daycare afterward for that matter.

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#52 of 55 Old 02-07-2006, 07:03 PM
 
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Why on earth are you so hostile about her wanting to become a vegetarian? I did at age 12, and sure my father made some jokes, but simply left the meat out of my meals after that. What's the big deal? Buy her some peanut butter and veggie burgers that she can microwave and call a truce.

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#53 of 55 Old 02-07-2006, 07:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie
I find it interesting that very few people answered my question: Would you, as a vegetarian (and I think most of you are) feed your child meat if they asked for it?
Absolutely not, because it's moral choice as well as a health choice for us. To us it would be like a child asking if he could eat the family dog, or his best friend, etc.

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#54 of 55 Old 02-07-2006, 07:34 PM
 
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I am vegan...
But I remember an incident as a child where there was a cockroach in my In N Out Burger. I could not eat a burger after that for a long long time. My parents honored my request and I did eventually start eating flesh again (and did not become vegan until years later for totally different reasons).
Maybe your sd will not stick to being a vegetarian. Maybe she will.
I do know that you are setting up a total power struggle if you do not honor her wishes for now.
She may grow past this or she may not.
There are many ways to just include a little protein with her meal if she doesn't want the meat part. Nut butters, a handful of nuts, a slice of tofu, cup of beans.
I would say, honor the request. She might change her mind (or might not).

There are so many problems to face in family life and some have easy solutions.

Good luck to you.

P.S. I really do hope that your sd's aversion is not one caused by any kind of illness or ailment like an eating disorder as you seem to suspect.
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#55 of 55 Old 02-07-2006, 07:49 PM
 
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P.S.
And in regards as whether I would feed my child meat being a vegan woman...no I wouldn't because it's a ethical issue in our household.
But I do realize that my son will grow older and make his own choices someday in which case I will love him no matter what he decides.
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