Conflicting Food Ethics: More info in post 16. - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 29 Old 03-05-2008, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First of all, how did I never notice that this forum was here??

Anyway, my dh and I, as well as our two youngest children, are lacto-ovo vegetarians. My dh and I have been veg for about 15 years, and my two youngest have been veg since they joined our family through birth or adoption (at 2 years old).

My 13 year old is not vegetarian. She was adopted at age 11 and has no interest in being vegetarian. We do not buy non-veg products for our home but she is free to order non-veg food at a restaurant or eat it at other people's homes. Occasionally, people bring her non-veg food that she prepares in our home. ETA: I forgot to mention that she goes to school, so she eats the "meat" lunches at school.

I have always been interested in becoming vegan, and over the last year or so my desire to do so has gotten much stronger.

I am concerned about it, however, because Desta (the 13 year old) is an extremely, extremely picky eater, and she has HIV, and getting her to eat enough/well enough to maintain her health and not have her bloodwork show glaring deficiencies is really tough for us. She refuses to take vitamins (she takes four meds already and won't take anything else) or supplements.

One thing that she loves is eggs, and I think she does get a lot of nutrition from them. It's not really a matter, with her, of finding vegan alternatives to get the nutrients. She has a micro-sized list of things she will eat, and if those things are not available, she simply doesn't eat.

We are already a milk-free home due to my six year old's milk sensitivity (to casein, a milk protein), but eggs seem to be a sticking point. I buy them from a small local farmer who keeps about 30 chickens, and I have seen his farm and know that his chickens really do live outdoor lives, but I keep reading about male chicks being killed at birth and females being killed early in life when their egg production wanes, so I really don't want to purchase eggs any more.

Desta thinks it's extremely weird that we are vegetarian (she frequently tells us that god gave us animals to eat; she is Christian, we are Buddhist) and I don't think she would "get" veganism at all ... to her it would just be one more stupid, weird thing we do.

Clearly, my first concern needs to be my daughter's health and nutrition. But I can't help resenting having to go against my values in certain ways: buying meat in restaurants, buying eggs, etc.

Am I just whiny? Should I just suck it up? Are there any creative ways to deal with this?

dm

ETA: Read more in post 16.
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#2 of 29 Old 03-05-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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IMHO when you chose to adopt an older child, you also chose to adopt the ethics and morals that that child had already formed, even if they conflict with your own.
Also, losing one of the few protein sources it sounds like she will eat does not seem like a good idea at all.

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#3 of 29 Old 03-05-2008, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by talk de jour View Post
IMHO when you chose to adopt an older child, you also chose to adopt the ethics and morals that that child had already formed, even if they conflict with your own.
Yep, you're absolutely right.

dm
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#4 of 29 Old 03-05-2008, 03:10 PM
 
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That's a tough one.
If it were me, I would be comfortable with setting limits on what I prepare, and letting dc choose what they eat other than that. I think that since she doesn't really have that many foods that she enjoys eating, and that she already thinks that veg*nism is wierd, that it would create quite a power struggle to set strict limits on what she is allowed to eat.

I should say I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't prepare meat other than fish, and we consume very very little dairy and eggs (I'd like to totally get rid of dairy, and dp decided not to buy eggs anymore). Ds makes his own choices outside of the home. I guess I feel that the 1% of the time that ds might choose to eat meat, isn't really worth the struggle, when the vast majority of the time our meals are strict veg.

I kinda think that it's easier to do the bulk. So, I use a relatively small amount of energy making sure that most of our meals are strict veg. And it would take a LOT more energy to make that last minority of meals strict veg (I'm thinking, when we visit family, etc). So I have to use my energy where it can do the most good, if that makes sense.

That's my take on it, but I definitely understand feeling strongly that you don't want to contribute to any animal cruelty. Maybe you could leave eggs for now, and try adding other foods that she might possibly like- maybe tofu cooked in different ways? Stuff like that. If you do it gradually, it might not be such a big deal to her, yk?

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#5 of 29 Old 03-05-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Deva33mommy View Post
...If it were me, I would be comfortable with setting limits on what I prepare, and letting dc choose what they eat other than that. I think that since she doesn't really have that many foods that she enjoys eating, and that she already thinks that veg*nism is wierd, that it would create quite a power struggle to set strict limits on what she is allowed to eat....Maybe you could leave eggs for now, and try adding other foods that she might possibly like- maybe tofu cooked in different ways? Stuff like that. If you do it gradually, it might not be such a big deal to her, yk?
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#6 of 29 Old 03-05-2008, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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IMHO when you chose to adopt an older child, you also chose to adopt the ethics and morals that that child had already formed, even if they conflict with your own.
You know, I thought I agreed with that at first, but the more I think about, I'm not sure I do. For example, when my daughter first came to us and found out that we had gay and lesbian friends, she was completely grossed out. She made all sorts of negative comments. We told her quite plainly that we don't do that in our family and that, whatever her private feelings are, she is not to make derogatory comments in our hearing. Were she to want to go to an anti-gay rally or an anti-Jewish rally or whatever, I would not support that, nor would I assist her in doing so.

I wonder whether my trepidation in the vegan situation reflects a speciesism that, as a Vajrayana Buddhist, I try very hard to eradicate in myself?

Complicated by the fact that I feel a great responsibility for my daughter's health.

Hence, my uncertainty.

dm
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#7 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 02:27 AM
 
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My thought is that a normal, healthy child will eventually start eating what is offered, but that isn't your situation here. What does her doctor think? Do you have access to a veg-friendly health care provider?
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#8 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 02:59 AM
 
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hmmm... She has only been with you for 2 years. She's been through many changes (I assume) in those two years. She's at an age where power struggles occur. I would say for now, let her continue to eat eggs and keep trying to do it in the most ethical way you can despite you going vegan. Eggs are a great source of nutrition, especially if she is really picky. I would continue to try to bring in other foods - being with you 2 years might not have been long enough to change her eating patterns yet, considering she sounds pretty stubborn about what she will choose to eat (not to mention that she's a teen). She may grow out of what she doesn't like the more time goes by. I wasn't a very picky eater as a child, but there were things I didn't like then that I absolutely love now. Palates change. Choosing to go vegan is based (sorry if this is too generalized, I'm not veg or vegan but love meals that fall into both categories and understand why people choose each) on an ethical values line of thinking, she's not there yet. Even though as the adult you make the final decision on whether or not eggs are brought into your house, I'd work more towards gently removing them over time and working to find other foods that will give her that same nutrition that she'll eat (likely the hardest part in the whole thing). Here is an interesting site I found that discusses all of the nutrition in eggs: http://www.nutritionandeggs.co.uk/eg...utrition2.html You can skim through it and see what vitamins/minerals/etc you would need to start finding replacements for.

Another option - does she enjoy cooking at all (even cookies, etc)? Maybe if she is able to take part in that she'll grow to liking more foods. Or maybe she likes a particular type of food that she and you can experiment with and make new meals inclulding that food group/type?

I would also say to trust your instincts. You know her better than anyone and you want to continue to bond with her and work with (not work on) her personality to incorporate her more into your family - if that means taking baby steps (even itty bitty ones) to eventually end up at the same point or an agree to disagree point, you can do it.

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#9 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 03:02 AM
 
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How about the vitamins that are also candy? Calcium chews and yummi bears come to mind - some of these types of vitamins contain gelatin or casein, but the two linked products do not. However, the vegetarian bears do contain cholecalciferol, a Vitamin D form derived from cholesterol, so they may be vegetarian, but are not vegan. The calcium chews contain ergocalciferol, which is vegetable-derived, and are vegan.

The multivitamin bears contain moderate amounts of mostly water-soluble vitamins, and are iron-free, so that vitamin poisoning is not a concern.

Cooking in cast iron (especially tomato sauce, or so I hear) can help with iron levels. Protein can be more difficult. It depends on whether she'll eat grains with beans, or some variety of soy milk, or vegan "deli meats" or frozen meat alternatives, or another concentrated form of quality protein. Chicken Free Chicken is really good (and really expensive). Their Vegenaise is incredible, too (though void of protein ).

My Christian line of thinking with regard to animals was that God had given us dominion over the animals and all things, and that neither the animals nor all things were necessarily for eating. Dominion means we live here and care for/have guardianship over natural things. Perhaps she would be receptive to an alternate interpretation of Biblical teachings, if a Christian vegetarian discussed it with her. Or perhaps not (she sounds more obstinate than I am, and that's saying something )
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#10 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 04:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
You know, I thought I agreed with that at first, but the more I think about, I'm not sure I do. For example, when my daughter first came to us and found out that we had gay and lesbian friends, she was completely grossed out. She made all sorts of negative comments. We told her quite plainly that we don't do that in our family and that, whatever her private feelings are, she is not to make derogatory comments in our hearing. Were she to want to go to an anti-gay rally or an anti-Jewish rally or whatever, I would not support that, nor would I assist her in doing so.

I wonder whether my trepidation in the vegan situation reflects a speciesism that, as a Vajrayana Buddhist, I try very hard to eradicate in myself?

Complicated by the fact that I feel a great responsibility for my daughter's health.

Hence, my uncertainty.

dm
Well . . . I don't know. Part of me wants to say "she is more than welcome to believe that homosexuality is wrong, but she needs to keep that belief to herself," but then, what makes that different from "she is more than welcome to believe that eating animals is ok, but she needs to keep that belief to herself"?

Man. I don't know. You have a good point.

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#11 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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If it's affecting her health, and she already has the deck stacked against her on that one, I would not only continue to give her eggs but fix meat for her as well. I know that most here will not share that opinion, but I just wanted to share what I would do in that situation. My kids health comes first, before the ethics involved with animal product consumption.
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#12 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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Could you just ask your local farmer what he does with his particular male chickens and aging hens?
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It sounds to me like you have to weigh a concern, not substantiated, with what the farmer may do to old or male chickens against what you know to be a true concern about your daughter's health. For me maybe something bad is happening to chickens I don't know versus for sure the needs of my child...that seems pretty clear cut.

I personally don't see the feelings about gay friends question as being really comparable. More comparable might be you don't like gay people, but the best doctor in your community to treat her HIV is gay - will you let your political views be compromised for a bit in order to protect your child's health?

I think it is reasonable to set the limit that someone can't rudely go on about it to other members of the family - but again I see that more akin to saying it would be inappropriate for you or another member of the family to lecture at her when she's eating eggs.
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#14 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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My Christian line of thinking with regard to animals was that God had given us dominion over the animals and all things, and that neither the animals nor all things were necessarily for eating. Dominion means we live here and care for/have guardianship over natural things. Perhaps she would be receptive to an alternate interpretation of Biblical teachings, if a Christian vegetarian discussed it with her. Or perhaps not (she sounds more obstinate than I am, and that's saying something )
While I'm myself also more Buddhist than Christian, I have to say ITA!

Does she like/love animals at all? Maybe you'd show her some of the videos ('Meet your meat' would come 1st to my mind..) and let her see with her own eyes!?
It might sound harsh and I apologize for that. My kids are still fairly young (6 and almost 3) and my oldest started asking about our switch to no meat, etc [I became vegetarian just end of this year and switched to being vegan only a few days ago]. While I tell her honestly how it is [as child-friendly as I can..] my husband asked me not to 'force' any of my compassion onto our kids until they're old enough to chose for themselves... I know though, that were my daughter already 13, I would make her watch at least 1 video...

Sorry if I'm no help at all and rather sound like a harsh mom..

I hope it'll come out for the best for you both!!!
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#15 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you just ask your local farmer what he does with his particular male chickens and aging hens?
Yeah, I plan to do that. In fact, I was going to today but he wasn't there.

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If it's affecting her health, and she already has the deck stacked against her on that one, I would not only continue to give her eggs but fix meat for her as well.
Giving her meat wouldn't necessarily address the nutritional deficiencies she has. She's deficient mainly in things that you need to eat mote veggies to get. Besides, she goes to school, so she eats "meat" for lunch five days a week.

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#16 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I forgot to add that Desta has high cholesterol. The doctor decided against putting her on more medication now, but he did send us to the nutritionist. We discussed our diet with the nutritionist and she told us that we are the lipid clinic's dream. She said she wished that all her clients ate like we do. She said that going with a low-animal-fats, low-packaged-food diet would actually be best for Desta in terms of keeping her off cholesterol medication. She told us that, ideally, we should limit Desta's egg consumption to three or less a week, although we had discussed with her Desta's pickiness and she understood that keeping it to three or less might not be possible.

Also, as I mentioned in my previous post, Desta does get to eat meat nearly every day if she chooses, because she goes to school and can eat the meat lunches there. She also eats at a friend's house at least once a week, and we go out to dinner/eat dinner at a family member's home a few times a month, so she is not without access to eating meat. She actually eats meat more frequently here than she did in the orphanage, where they did not have access to meat on a regular basis. Her bloodwork does not indicate that she needs more meat-based nutrients. What she really needs to do is eat more vegetables.

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#17 of 29 Old 03-06-2008, 04:48 PM
 
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I'm also more Buddhist than Christian, but I think there's a passage in Genesis that says that God gave us fruit, vegetables, and nuts to eat (or something like that - I don't have a Bible to look it up in). Maybe finding that passage for her to read would make a difference.

It sounds like you're in a really tough situation. My older dd (she's 11) is omni, too, although we don't have any animal products at home. She's also a picky eater which is difficult for all of us, so I can only imagine what it must be like when there's health issues and nutritional deficiencies to deal with, too. I don't really have any other advice, but I agree with you that adding more meat to her diet isn't the answer. It sounds like she needs more encouragement to eat more whole plant foods - that would be the best thing for her health, imo. I hope you find some answers that you all can live with.
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If it's affecting her health, and she already has the deck stacked against her on that one, I would not only continue to give her eggs but fix meat for her as well. I know that most here will not share that opinion, but I just wanted to share what I would do in that situation. My kids health comes first, before the ethics involved with animal product consumption.
There's absolutely no health benefit to eating meat over a plant-based diet. Especially for a person who has high cholesterol.
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#19 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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It sounds like being vegan at home would be a benefit to your daughter's health. The challenge will obviously be in finding ways for her to eat more veggies. My now-8yo has been a lifelong vegan and still won't eat a plain vegetable, but he'll drink green juice and green smoothies. He likes lentil soup packed with veggies. He's invented some meals on his own that contain veggies. We've also found some tasty recipes as I explore raw foods. Would your daughter be willing to "try" finding other foods that she likes?
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Would your daughter be willing to "try" finding other foods that she likes?
Dh and I have always joked (in private) that the "Desta try" is to take the most miniscule molecule of food possible, touch her lip with it, make a horrible face, and declare instantly that the food is disgusting.

I guess I'm just going to try some new recipes and not say a word about them, and see how it goes, before I decide what to do about the egg thing.

dm
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#21 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I was talking to my friend the Bunny Man (he has 8 bunnies) about this and he says he buys eggs from his vet, who has two heated henhouses and that he doesn't debeak his hens and he doesn't kill them when they quit laying eggs. He keeps them as pets.

I think he'd be an excellent person to buy eggs from.

dm
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#22 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 02:24 PM
 
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I found this site for a Christian perspective on veg*nism.
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#23 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link!

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Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
So I was talking to my friend the Bunny Man (he has 8 bunnies) about this and he says he buys eggs from his vet, who has two heated henhouses and that he doesn't debeak his hens and he doesn't kill them when they quit laying eggs. He keeps them as pets.

I think he'd be an excellent person to buy eggs from.

dm
But where does he get his hens?

If he buys chicks, how does his supplier produce and raise the hens and chicks? Are the hens de-beaked?

If he buys sexed chicks, then the males were disposed of somehow by his supplier (they're commonly put through a shredder to make fertilizer, which is rather visceral to contemplate but is mostly humane).

If he buys non-sexed chicks, what does he do with the 50% of them that grow up to be roosters?

If he raises his own chicks, what does he do with the boys?

I eat eggs and I've never found a way around the practice of destroying males if I'm going to buy them. It does bother me (in case you couldn't tell...), as well as the veal/beef industry that is funded by the dairy industry, including organic dairy. I still consume dairy and (free-range) eggs, but I won't pretend these issues don't exist.

Where I live, there are oodles of feral chickens, because the climate is right for them, and they are generally happy and healthy. So if I were able to keep chickens (which I'm not), I could steal some eggs from a feral hen's clutch directly into an incubator, raise the chicks, and release the roosters when they were old enough to identify (which I would never, ever, ever do with just any domestically raised animal, whether it was traditionally wild/feral or not, but in these particular conditions, it really would not be a huge risk for them nor an environmental risk). That's the only non-lethal strategy I've come up with so far.

You mention lacking vegetable and fruit nutrients. How about Emergen-C, Calci-Bears, Veggie-Fruit Bears? Or the Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness and carrot juice? We get all of the above at Costco for not a huge amount of money. They're really quite good. Orange juice has also been a big source of fruit nutrients for me.
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#25 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But where does he get his hens?

If he buys chicks, how does his supplier produce and raise the hens and chicks? Are the hens de-beaked?

If he buys sexed chicks, then the males were disposed of somehow by his supplier (they're commonly put through a shredder to make fertilizer, which is rather visceral to contemplate but is mostly humane).

If he buys non-sexed chicks, what does he do with the 50% of them that grow up to be roosters?

If he raises his own chicks, what does he do with the boys?


Quote:
You mention lacking vegetable and fruit nutrients. How about Emergen-C, Calci-Bears, Veggie-Fruit Bears? Or the Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness and carrot juice? We get all of the above at Costco for not a huge amount of money. They're really quite good. Orange juice has also been a big source of fruit nutrients for me.
Thanks for the ideas! I checked, and several groceries near me carry the Bolthouse Farms.

dm
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#26 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 06:34 PM
 
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There's absolutely no health benefit to eating meat over a plant-based diet. Especially for a person who has high cholesterol.

She didn't mention the cholesterol until later. She mentioned health concerns related to cutting out eggs in the initial post so that is what I was going off of. The stuff about her eating school lunch, and the nutritionists advice came in later.
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#27 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 06:46 PM
 
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I heard a talk given by Dr. Sears where he reccommended these vitamins http://www.juiceplus.com/nsa/pages/Welcome.soa. I have heard good things about them from other people too. If she won't eat veggies and is low on the nutrients found in vegetables, it might be worth looking into.
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#28 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momsgotmilk4two View Post
I heard a talk given by Dr. Sears where he reccommended these vitamins http://www.juiceplus.com/nsa/pages/Welcome.soa. I have heard good things about them from other people too. If she won't eat veggies and is low on the nutrients found in vegetables, it might be worth looking into.
There have been several studies that show that Juice Plus pills aren't all they claim to be (look here under Critcs: click )

Also, they're not even vegan - the capsules are made from beef gelatin.
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#29 of 29 Old 03-07-2008, 08:02 PM
 
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Are you in a house where you could raise a few chickens of your own, so she can see where it is coming from before she eats it? Or, you can take her to the farm with you to pick the eggs?

Also, maybe one of these books would be good in your case. I don't know that I would use these on my children, but I think your case it might benefit:

Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in KidsÆ Favorite Meals

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