How do you deal with being vegan and raising children in an area that is less than tolerant?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 04-22-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Just want to hear what parents have been doing to support their food choices when they live and work in communities where food practices like avoiding meat and dairy are not so respected.

I have been dealing with grandparents who see my daughter regularly disregard my instructions, coworkers, and daycare teachers disrespect the diet I believe is healthy and ethical.

I feel the best I have ever felt in my life eating the way I do right now.  I am vegan, and I eat as many organic fruits and veggies, and a generous amount of plant based proteins (beans, lentils, hemp, soy).

Its becoming pretty insulting in some ways.

I understand my daughter is going to be growing up in a world of meat and dairy consumers, and I understand I was also raised on those foods. HOWEVER, I know that environmentally eating GMO's is not good for me, and it certainly can't be good for a young child to consume regularly, or what I'm most concerned about is my child believing that those 'other' foods are somehow 'better' and i am trying to deprive her of them.   
What do you do?  How do you go about living your lifestyle and not feel like a 21st century social leper??




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#2 of 3 Old 04-22-2012, 05:42 PM
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I keep cupcakes in my freezer, ready to grab and go for birthday celebrations. I pack food to send whenever someone is watching my kid - my mom has worked out enough vegan meals at this point that she can feed my daughter, and I have one friend with a gluten allergic kid that I can trust to come up with stuff that works - but anybody else, I send meals and snacks along, and enough to share. I keep organic lollipops and a few other long lasting shelf stable treats in my backpack for when stuff comes up unexpectedly.

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#3 of 3 Old 04-22-2012, 08:38 PM
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In re to having your child not wind up internalizing the message that her diet is lesser, we didn't run into that much, fortunately even though we too are in community where our diets are not the norm.  When dd13 was in kindergarten, the two things that stick in my mind in regard to diet were kids telling dd that she was going to get sick and die b/c she didn't eat meat and that god wanted her to eat meat.


I was pretty open with dd about why I was vegan and, b/c we've always had companion animals in our home and she, too, is a pretty sensitive soul, she related to my reasoning and took it as her own.  When she was approached with things like, "god wants you to eat meat," I had conversations with her about tolerance -- conversations that were furthered by the fact that she was experiencing intolerance from her peers in areas other than diet (religion was another big one; she was also "going to hell b/c she didn't have Jesus in her heart."  I had a kid approach me after school one day when she was in1st to inform me of this.)


Of course your dc is younger than elementary age so these types of conversations are harder.  We probably wound up with a very narrow circle of people when my kids were younger like that.  Family members were out of state so they could express their opinions but not offer my child ice cream, for instance.  Have you spoken with these people and told them that they are putting you in the position of having to color your child's perception of them such that she may not trust them b/c you will have to tell her that they are mistaken and telling her things that are not true?


Do you feel like she is wanting non-vegan food or is she asking you for it?  Would vegan alternatives like the pp mentions be good enough for her?  


My dd13 is currently baking vegan coffee cake to bring to her high school so she can show others how good vegan fare can be.  With her, I have to work to keep her from offending others by trying to convert them to a vegan diet at this point!

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