needing support to feel good about eating vegan - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 15 Old 02-08-2013, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
heatherr30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

So I have been toying with the idea of plant based eating for a year now.  I cook and eat plant based (ie vegan) at home but DH cooks bacon, burgers etc and has lunch meats and cheeses in the house. 

Because of that it's difficult to take a stance with the kids.  I find that sometimes they eat my vegan meal happily but other times I give them parmesan cheese or throw an egg in the recipe for them to make the meal more palatable.  Very occasionally, I cook a meat dish at DD's request.

I also run a small in-home day care where as a compromise I include meat, fish, eggs or dairy in the menu but I try to cook and serve the food in such as way that emphasizes the plant foods.  My son (2) sometimes eats the meat dishes but I leave off the meat for myself.  If there are leftovers, I offer these foods to my family in the evening but I also offer a totally vegan option which I eat myself.

 

However, I have pangs of guilt as I sprinkle cheese on my kids' food but withhold from eating it myself.  Or as I make them a meat sandwich but have a peanut butter one myself.  I am finding it different to separate my own identity from that of my small children.  If I want the best for them, how can I make this decision for myself but not for them?  Is it really enough to lead by example, offer my food but also respect their wishes if they prefer meat?  How can I feed myself in a "better" way than I feed my children? Because I do see plant based eating as a better way, health wise, environmentally and ethically.

 

Ideally, I would like to feed them vegan at home but this is not going to happen with DH not on board.  Are there others of you that are the only vegetarian / vegan in your family?  Do you cook meat for your family?  How do you cope with refusing to eat it on one hand but using it to nourish your children on the other hand?

heatherr30 is offline  
#2 of 15 Old 02-08-2013, 03:22 PM
 
EVEP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: MA
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am the only vegetarian in the family. DH eats meat and will never give it up! The kids are the same way. That is fine with me. I make a regular dinner and make mine without meat or make myself something else. My oldest always says "Mommy you should try this" lol b/c she knows I won't touch meat.

EVEP is offline  
#3 of 15 Old 02-08-2013, 03:24 PM
 
EVEP's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: MA
Posts: 39
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I should give an example. Tonight--I made spaghetti and meat sauce for the fam. I made myself spaghetti and sauce with veggies! I also cut up cucumbers which I served everyone, along with this garlic bread that uses olive oil based spread. Mmmm!

EVEP is offline  
#4 of 15 Old 02-08-2013, 07:26 PM
 
marsupial-mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 779
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

try checking out:

http://www.veggieboards.com/t/129906/meat-eating-spouses

and the links it contains

 

My husband is vegan so I can't completely relate. However, I know plenty of people who are vegan or vegetarian who have spouses who aren't. Unfortunately, they are often the backsliders who don't stay vegan themselves and if they do their kids often don't go veg. In the rare situations where the kids choose to be veg it's partially because the veg parent didn't "just live by example" but had many many conversations about it, showed the kids videos, visited animal sanctuaries, etc.

 

Think of it this way - if your spouse were a smoker and you weren't do you think it would enough to convince your kids not to smoke simply by not smoking yourself? NO! You HAVE to talk about it. Even just to give your kid the "free choice" to make their own mistakes you should at the very least educate your child!

 

It's one thing to say "I'm going to give my child a full education on the subject and let him or her decide for themselves" and another thing entirely to say "I'm going to stay silent and NOT educate my child." Do not let meat-eaters trick you into believing that the only way to let your children have true freedom in this issue is to stifle your own compassion.

 

And do not let anyone trick you into thinking that by providing healthy tasty vegan meals for them you are "forcing" them to eat vegan. There's no reason to "sprinkle cheese" on their pasta or give them meaty sandwiches all the time. At the very least you could do Meatless Mondays with them or have them be "Weekday Vegetarians." Let them eat vegan cheese as often as they eat cow's milk cheese, for example. Or find a compromise with your spouse - you make the children vegan meals and he makes the children nonvegan meals. No reason not to share household duties like feeding your children!

marsupial-mom is offline  
#5 of 15 Old 02-08-2013, 07:39 PM
 
AnnnaS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have no words of wisdom, but wanted to wish you well. Living your values, especially when it's difficult, is a wonderful example for your children.
AnnnaS is offline  
#6 of 15 Old 02-09-2013, 08:01 AM
 
vegann's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Check out this excellent essay on Raising Veg Kids: Be Proud and Confident in Your Decision to Raise a Vegan Child - http://www.raisingvegkids.com/  "It’s a piece for parents who are raising vegan kids. I hope it will give you the courage and pride to raise a child according to principles of integrity and compassion."
 

vegann is offline  
#7 of 15 Old 02-09-2013, 08:39 AM
 
BeWellRun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am the vegan in our house, and also the meal preparer. I will not cook meat, I also will not use dairy or other animal products (with the exception of eggs which I will cook for my two DDs if they ask for them). The result is that the majority of the meals my children eat are vegan (they're 21 months and 4.5 years). If my DH wants meat or dairy on his dish, he has to cook it himself (for example, at Christmas he cooked a turkey for himself, but all of our sides were vegan and I made a lentil loaf). And my girls may ask to sample some of the meat or fish or what have you, I have no objection to that because they're young and this is MY decision, they are still learning about food and it's okay for them to choose differently than I do.

 

I, too, feel that plant based is the way to go but with a DH who isn't on board the message gets distorted and so then it has to come back to educating yourself and making choices for yourself. The important factor here is giving them the encouragement to learn where food comes from (even the fruits and veggies), and make food something fun and safe and a place to experiment.  I believe that it's not so much about nourishment as it is about them learning about food when they eat meat, because they are still so young. I ate meat for a long time before becoming vegetarian and have only been vegan since August 2012. 

 

I do discuss with my older DD what meat is and where it comes from. She knows that animals die to become that piece of chicken or bacon. She does insist that she won't eat chicken or beef or eggs, because they are meat/animals. She will, however, have pepperoni on her pizza, and she likes Daddy's cheese over Mommy's, so there is still a disconnect/decision about taste. She is very secure in her own choices, and I haven't pressured her at all to arrive at that point nor do I "make her feel guilty" if she decides she wants a meat item for her meals. I know with time, and education, she will have a stronger foundation to stand on and I have no doubt that she will choose a vegan, or at least vegetarian, lifestyle for herself. 

 

My youngest eats whatever she wants. And I am happy with her having that freedom. I don't want her to see us arguing over what she should or shouldn't be eating, I don't want that negative association with her food. She has never drank milk, only breastmilk until 18 months and hemp or almond milk. She does eat some cheese, but for the most part will eat my vegan cheese instead because DH knows how I feel about dairy (not just the animal cruelty part but the health implications). She loves turkey, though, and bacon and chicken, but has only been really eating meat for the last 6-7 months. 

 

On the whole, all I can say is find a way to make it work for all of you, so that your children have the power to make their own choices and are involved with the process of food prep in your house (maybe offer them the choice of your cheese or dairy cheese, or having meat or no meat in a meal, etc) and so that you don't feel like you're compromising all over the place. I, personally, would make all meals vegan and the meat would have to be a choice added in at the trouble of someone else - if your DH isn't on board with serving them completely vegan meals then he maybe needs to step up and prepare the meat portions of meals otherwise vegan it is! thumbsup.gif

BeWellRun is offline  
#8 of 15 Old 02-09-2013, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
heatherr30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you everyone, this is plenty of food for thought!  I see that it works different ways in all our different situations and families... I think as time goes on vegan is becoming more "default" in our house and today when 5 yr old DD mentioned that I don't eat meat (which she already knows) I felt brave enough to give a very short explanation why.  She will be in school in another year and is already curious and wanting to learn about all sorts of things including why mommy doesn't eat meat, dairy or eggs.  Thank you to the Anna for saying

 

Quote:
Living your values, especially when it's difficult, is a wonderful example for your children.

I did not discover plant based eating or veganism before my children were born but my DS was only 1 when I started cooking plant-based meals.  He is not a big fan of meat so was the first vegetarian in our family!  He eats plant based recipes well and likes the taste, but it is my DD who will ask for parmesan on her pasta/pizza or request meat dishes which she had at kindergarten.  She will also turn her nose up at many vegan foods esp sandwich fillings, but just recently gave peanut butter and honey a try and now asks for it all the time!    She has already developed a taste for meat, dairy and eggs and I don't want to make her feel guilty for liking those foods.  I think you all are right that as she gets older and I share more of my reasons with her, she may consciously choose to reject foods that she likes for health or ethical reasons.  However she is not at that stage yet although she's very good at repeating anything I've told her to anyone who will listen!

 

So I guess you all explained to me why I should keep on eating vegan even if my children often eat a different menu. (so that I can provide a model for them to hopefully follow as they get older.)

heatherr30 is offline  
#9 of 15 Old 02-09-2013, 02:05 PM
 
emma1325's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,275
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherr30 View Post

So I have been toying with the idea of plant based eating for a year now.  I cook and eat plant based (ie vegan) at home but DH cooks bacon, burgers etc and has lunch meats and cheeses in the house. 

Because of that it's difficult to take a stance with the kids.  I find that sometimes they eat my vegan meal happily but other times I give them parmesan cheese or throw an egg in the recipe for them to make the meal more palatable.  Very occasionally, I cook a meat dish at DD's request.

I also run a small in-home day care where as a compromise I include meat, fish, eggs or dairy in the menu but I try to cook and serve the food in such as way that emphasizes the plant foods.  My son (2) sometimes eats the meat dishes but I leave off the meat for myself.  If there are leftovers, I offer these foods to my family in the evening but I also offer a totally vegan option which I eat myself.

 

However, I have pangs of guilt as I sprinkle cheese on my kids' food but withhold from eating it myself.  Or as I make them a meat sandwich but have a peanut butter one myself.  I am finding it different to separate my own identity from that of my small children.  If I want the best for them, how can I make this decision for myself but not for them?  Is it really enough to lead by example, offer my food but also respect their wishes if they prefer meat?  How can I feed myself in a "better" way than I feed my children? Because I do see plant based eating as a better way, health wise, environmentally and ethically.

 

Ideally, I would like to feed them vegan at home but this is not going to happen with DH not on board.  Are there others of you that are the only vegetarian / vegan in your family?  Do you cook meat for your family?  How do you cope with refusing to eat it on one hand but using it to nourish your children on the other hand?

 

I think your main issue is that you and your husband are on different pages. 

 

Would he consider "going vegan" for just a week or month?  After only 3 or 4 days on a vegan diet, my husband and I both noticed such positive changes that it made us feel very optimistic about continuing (the first 2 days I thought were the toughest...felt weird to suddenly not eat the foods I was accustomed to).  Our energy levels went up, our skin cleared up, and we could focus at work more.  After a week, we were sold on making this a long term choice.  Our society tells us that veganism is an extreme choice, but once you're doing it, you realize it's really not difficult or extreme at all. Maybe if he agrees to join you in your diet for a short period of time, to be supportive of your choice, he might find that he is more open to the dietary changes.


Loving mother, Devoted Wife
emma1325 is offline  
#10 of 15 Old 02-09-2013, 05:31 PM
 
Brenda Calvillo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi I learned how to replace all the animal stuff by using mock meats, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk (coconut bliss makes a great ice cream)

 

I cook healthier now but there are great replacements to make the transition easier.  Everybody feels better and there are no more strange smells coming from the bathroom.

Brenda Calvillo is offline  
#11 of 15 Old 02-09-2013, 11:29 PM
 
meemee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Norther California
Posts: 12,751
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)

remember around teh age of 10 to 12, children make up their own mind of what they are going to eat. 

 

dd became a vegan at 10. she sometimes does slide and eats fish - but rarely. 

 

my mil was vegetarian. she cooked meat for her family but didnt eat any. 2 of her boys eat everything, 2 are vegetarian and one is a strict vegan. 

 

while you may share and guide your chldren with what is important to you, it will ultimately be their decision. 

 

remember you are walking the talk. that will have much more of an impact on your kids. 

*~Danielle~* likes this.

 treehugger.gif Co-parent, joy.gifcold.gifbrand new homeschooling middle schoolerjoy.gif, and an attackcat.gif 
meemee is offline  
#12 of 15 Old 02-11-2013, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
heatherr30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thank you everyone for your comments.  It all makes sense to me now, and you've given me the confidence to do what I'm doing without feeling embarrassed or guilty.

Yesterday the kids helped me make pancakes. As a final step, we divided the batter and DD (5) mixed in the egg in one half of batter (she would never eat the egg free pancakes--yes, she can notice the change in texture) while DS (2) helped me grind up flax seed for the egg replacer.  When DD asked me why I was doing that I told her it's because I didn't eat egg, it came from animals.  I could see the look on her face as she digested that piece of information.  I know she was remembering her Easter books where little chicks hatch out of eggs and she looked horrified at the thought of killing baby chicks.  DH and I quickly assured her that the eggs she was eating were not and could never be chicks and left it at that.  But, at the table DH surprised me by launching into a political discussion about what factory farmed pigs are fed and said no one including animals should ever be treated like that. 

Thank you for all your examples of vegetarians who cooked meat for their families.  I see now that this is the best way to respect their choices--by giving them a choice--and having 2 dishes at the table opens up opportunities for discussion.  I will continue to try and get them to eat as plant based as possible but I will not try and force this on them, since this has to be a decision they make on their own. 

heatherr30 is offline  
#13 of 15 Old 02-12-2013, 09:31 AM
 
glassesgirlnj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 309
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by marsupial-mom View Post

try checking out:

http://www.veggieboards.com/t/129906/meat-eating-spouses

and the links it contains

 

My husband is vegan so I can't completely relate. However, I know plenty of people who are vegan or vegetarian who have spouses who aren't. Unfortunately, they are often the backsliders who don't stay vegan themselves and if they do their kids often don't go veg. In the rare situations where the kids choose to be veg it's partially because the veg parent didn't "just live by example" but had many many conversations about it, showed the kids videos, visited animal sanctuaries, etc.

...find a compromise with your spouse - you make the children vegan meals and he makes the children nonvegan meals. No reason not to share household duties like feeding your children!

 

 

Hm, wonder how you would address our situation... My daughter and I are both "flexitarians" (happy to go for days without eating meat), and my spouse is a vegetarian (not vegan). I have pretty much NO cooking skills at all and everyone prefers it when my spouse does the cooking.

We also live with, care for, and prepare meals for my wheelchair-using mom, who is emphatically NOT a vegetarian (though she will eat TJ's butternut squash ravioli). ;) She also has a host of allergies and GI issues. What this basically means is that she wants her dinner to consist of a hunk o' meat, a starch, and a vegetable on a plate - and I think it's part of our eldercare responsibilities to provide her with food she will actually eat and can actually digest.

Do you think I should be preparing my mom's meals for her? I feel like I contribute to the household in many other ways (being the main income earner, doing all the grocery shopping, driving everyone everywhere, etc etc), but the fact is that the vegetarian adult is the better cook - and one of the people he's cooking for refuses to eat vegetarian food.

I'm not sure what my daughter is going to take away from this, honestly. As she gets older (she's 14 months now), I fully expect to be asked why Grandma can have a "special" meal and she can't... Any thoughts?

glassesgirlnj is offline  
#14 of 15 Old 02-12-2013, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
heatherr30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Glasses girl I can totally see why you and your spouse agree to serve your mother the food that she wants to eat!  She is an adult and has been eating that way her whole life.  I see your fear about your daughter preferring Grandma's food to her own.. it could happen.. but then again what would you say to your Dd if Grandma had a whisky every evening after dinner and she wanted one too? You obviously need to be very sure of your reasons for eating veg (or flexitarian) and feeding your dd the same, in order to answer all her questions when the time comes.  I was surprised the other day how curious my 5 yr old was and how closely she listened as I explained my food choices honestly to her. 

The real problem that I had in the beginning, before I got all this good advice :) was that I hadn't thought it through carefully how I wanted to feed DD or what my own reasons were. 

Your spouse, being a vegetarian himself and doing all the cooking, will surely put a lot of effort into cooking tasty vegetarian meals and she also has the united front of both veg/flex parents since birth.. She may test the boundaries a little as she gets older (as on many things!) but I think she'll accept your authority on the matter, however you and your spouse decide to handle it.

heatherr30 is offline  
#15 of 15 Old 02-12-2013, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
heatherr30's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Oh I just wanted to add that I think your situation is different from mine.. in that your DD is 14 months old and not used to eating meat, whereas my DD was 4 yrs old when I made the switch and loved meat and already used to eating meat  in a group situation at day care..  and that a parent eating meat is a little different than an extended family member eating meat, what I meant when I said people have to be given the choice, I was talking mainly about adults (and about children in a household where the parents do not agree).  I think in your situation it is perfectly ok to dictate limits on what your dd may and may not eat at home.  Because both parents are following the same rules.

heatherr30 is offline  
Reply

Tags
Vegan

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off