Help! DD wants to go vegan and I am scared.... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#2 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 02:29 PM
 
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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
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#4 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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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

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#5 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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#6 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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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.

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#7 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 08:29 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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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

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#9 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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I highly recommend this book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

http://www.amazon.com/Disease-Proof-...5413118&sr=1-1

Mama to DS 7/23/08.
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#10 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 08:57 PM
 
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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.

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#11 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 10:55 PM
 
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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!

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#12 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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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?

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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!

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#13 of 50 Old 02-05-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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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

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#14 of 50 Old 02-06-2010, 02:40 AM
 
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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.

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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.

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#16 of 50 Old 02-06-2010, 11:00 PM
 
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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.

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#17 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 01:06 AM
 
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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!

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#18 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 01:17 AM
 
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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?

Jessie
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#19 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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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.

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#20 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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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#21 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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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.
I know a lot of families just cook meat on the side, but keep the main part of the meal veggie.. mexican and italian dishes are easy to do this with.

There are lots of dairy-free/vegan bread. in my experience it is the locally made bread that is vegan, not the wonderbread or sara lee bread.

I think taking her shopping is a great idea... I think you will find that there are a lot of vegan options available to her... even for the pickiest of eaters.

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#22 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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I highly recommend this book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

http://www.amazon.com/Disease-Proof-...5413118&sr=1-1
Yes! I've been singing it's praises for years. It made a huge difference in how we decided to feed our kids as our oldest got old enough for table food

Your daughter sounds really strong, secure and mature. Kudos to you for respecting her choices and keeping tabs on her health!

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#23 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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I would think it might be a good idea to sit down with her and talk about how you can support in her in this (and what your limits are). If you plan your meals for the week, include her in that. Brainstorm some ideas between the two of you of what she wants to have around for breakfasts and snacks. Come up with a handful of simple meal ideas for lunch and dinner, and make the ingredients for those available. Have her set aside at least one meal a week to try something new, and if she likes it she can work it into her normal rotation. Have her come to the grocery store with you (plan for a lengthy trip) and check what you're buying to see if it *is* vegan, and to find an alternative if it isn't. I'm not currently vegan, but it still bugs me that dairy is snuck into so many foods that don't require it.

My favorite vegan snack has always been tortilla chips and hummus or some other variety of bean dip. I could live on that alone for days if I had to. Yumm!
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#24 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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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 was about 10ish the first time I went vegetarian and my father did this to me and I STILL to this day have not forgiven him for not being supportive

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#25 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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Do you have a Trader Joe's near you? They have a bunch of great, easy-to-make vegan meals. They are not the *most* nutritious thing, but they sure beat white bread and potato chips. It may be a good idea to have some of these in stock, just in case you need a quick meal for her.

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#26 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 06:39 PM
 
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I thought maybe it would help if we could give you some two way meals!

taco night: use meat and cheese for the family and refried beans for her. fantastic foods also makes a yummy toco filling with TVP. she can skip the cheese but add some guacamole.

speghetti and salad and garlic bread. use margerine on the bread and pull out come sauce for her without meat.

stirfry- cook the veggies and meat seperate. Take hers out and then add the meat.

hamburgers and fries - have some garden burgers or boca burgers on hand. these take a minute or two to heat up in the microwave. there is also boca chicken and morning star farms makes a yummy ribblet thing. I am not a huge fan of fake meat but sometimes it hits the spot.

on nights whete you are having meat as the main dish (such as chicken or steak) just be sure your sides are vegan. She can add a vegan protien source to round things out (fake meat something or another). that way she is not making a whole meal for herself, just some celery and peanutbutter, heating up a fake meat slab, heating up some left over chili or soup or something.

how does she feel about traces of milk and eggs? I am mostly vegan but do not concern myself too much with what is in my bread or pasta (As I try not to eat too many carbs anyway). Talk to her about how concerned she is about these things. She might be willing to be flexible on these things.

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#27 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you have a Trader Joe's near you? They have a bunch of great, easy-to-make vegan meals. They are not the *most* nutritious thing, but they sure beat white bread and potato chips. It may be a good idea to have some of these in stock, just in case you need a quick meal for her.
No - but thanks for the thought. I am in Canada. I am actually in rural Ontario, and some food choices may be limited.

We did hit a big shopping centre today and bought rice milk (she does not like soy) and some veggie ground (I may put some in a shepards pie or spaghetti sauce).

I also have some black beans and hummous on hand - so that will help. I do not think she is starting just yet, but the time is coming....

kathy
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#28 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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how does she feel about traces of milk and eggs? I am mostly vegan but do not concern myself too much with what is in my bread or pasta (As I try not to eat too many carbs anyway). Talk to her about how concerned she is about these things. She might be willing to be flexible on these things.

She is not Ok with "traces of". She feels that if she has a bit of milk or eggs, she might as well go full throttle (or that it is a slippery slope to full throttle).

She has been a rigid lavo-oct vegetarians. Once upon a time I was vegetarian, but I did not concern myself with things like rennet, gelatin, or whether the sugar was passed through bones. She does. I have also spoken with her about how reducing items may be more realistic than complete avoidance - no dice.

I am not sure whether this desire to completely avoid any traces of animal procducts is because she is young and things are quite black and white (it may have a tsp of milk in a huge batch and is therefore unacceptable) or if it is part of her personality. I do confess the rigidity of her beliefs do concern me, but that may be another post. I am trying to stay positive, and know it is very possible that going vegan, (which from the outside seems a restricted diet) may actually force her to eat a more varied diet to pacify her mothers concerns about nutritional requirements, lol.

We are starting at the beginning and we will see where the journey goes....
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#29 of 50 Old 02-07-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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I am trying to stay positive, and know it is very possible that going vegan, (which seems a restricted food choice) may actually force her to eat a more varied diet to pacify her mothers concerns about nutritional requirements, lol.

We are starting at the beginning and we will see where the journey goes....
I think this is a very good outlook. I know for myself when I went vegan a whole new world of cuisine opened up to me! She might like to try different ethnic foods for this reason. Also, www.vegweb.com is a great vegan recipe website.

Keep us updated!

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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.
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I would have been very sad if my parents did this to me. It doesn't show respect or support at all.
I agree



I am trying to think what I would do. I think I would link her to those resources posted up earlier in the thread (she uses the computer I assume?), and let her try to navigate it herself while keeping an eye on her basic nutrition. It really isn't as hard as it used to be when I was first dabbling with veganism as a teen. There are many other sources of protien out there as well as the vitamins she will need. Since she is close to getting periods maybe get her hematocrit checked after she establishes a routine and finds acceptable food sources she enjoys (admit it, we all tend to eat the same things over and over for the majority of out meals, yah?).

I like a lot of the advice in this thread. I would support her but try not to make it like OMG this huge ordeal, just be there for her if she needs help figuring something out, yk?

You said she doesn't like rice milk? How did she like the Silk? My son prefers Silk to regular milk anyway. Myself, I'm just not a big milk drinker. I don't do Silk/soy, rice, almond, any of that (except for horchata- yum) I drink mostly water. I just don't crave anything milky.

Cooking for two diets is a lot of work (though I saw some good advice about trying to accomodate both by putting part of the meal aside before adding the animal sources). This also might be a great opportunity for her to start learning to be an excellent vegan cook.

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-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.
B12- First, encourage her not to supplement with the B12 from spirulina or algae, it doesn't function in the human body like regular B12 and can lead to false B12 levels if she ever has bloodwork done to check it.

B12 (the kind we need) is made by bacteria, if she is not ethically opposed to that, getting her B12 requirement should be easy through supplementation in her food. There is also a synthetic form. The B12 should be taken by food source (as an additive). To put it simply, it needs to go through the mouth first to be effectively absorbed and utilized by the body. Luckily B12 stays in the body a long time so it is not something she will have to be thinking about often, and deficiency is rare. Unless she is eschewing all vitamin enriched food, which honestly, it's hard to do in the first place and she is 11, she is going to want some of those yummy vegan protein bars!

Calcium and iron can certainly be found in vegan food sources. Look at a website or book with her to determine how she might get enough of these vitamins/minerals in her diet. But it can be hard. (I know this from personal experience) I am sure you know you can easily get these to her by supplementation.

I think you'll do great mama!

I can't believe how long winded I am right now, sorry about the novel, I am usually quite short. But I am amped on caffeine, home alone, and I vividly remember going through this myself when my mother was worried about my children and me eating a vegan diet.
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