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Discussion Starter #1
I'm talking mostly about when you're out -- playdates, parties, etc. where non-veg*n food is available (and often veg alternatives are not). Do you pass on anything non-vegan? Do you allow tastes of some foods & not others (yes to the non-vegan crackers, no to the pepperoni & cheese)? What if your kid really wants to try something? Do people think you're nuts or on a 'high horse' or whatever if you are 100% inflexible about what your kid(s) can eat? Do you bring your own meals/snacks everywhere & refuse offers of anything else?<br><br>
I guess I'm just curious how others feel on this & especially how it has played out if you have older kids. I always wanted to raise DS 100% vegan and he's only 15mos old but it's already a big topic for me. No one around here eats vegan (or even vegetarian), but luckily most of the time I can get away with bringing our own food everywhere. However more & more often, people offer DS food (often without asking me, but that's a whole 'nother issue!) and sometimes I feel confident saying no, but other times I think maybe I'm being too strict, and twice I've let him have a bite or two of non-vegan items (only things like crackers & bread with trace amounts of animal ingredients, but I didn't think he'd actually eat them :-(). I don't want people to be offended & think I'm too inflexible or "better than you" but at the same time I do want DS to remain vegan until he's old enough to make his own decision. I guess I have no problem saying no to meat, ice cream, cheese, etc. but things with trace amounts of dairy/honey/egg are slightly grayer areas for me (even though I am black & white with my own diet and what we eat at home). I have also heard so many people talk about kids gorging on 'forbidden' foods and of course want to avoid that (though not sure how often that REALLY happens).
 

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We're vegetarian, not vegan. The only exception I make when we're out is that I let DD eat cheese without verifying that it was made without animal rennet (whereas I would never buy cheese without knowing that it is vegetarian). Other than that, I am totally inflexible. There is no way I will let DD eat soup or rice or sauce unless I know it was made without animal stock, for instance. I will not let her eat tortillas or beans or deserts unless I know they were made without lard. Sometimes that means that we don't eat anything, or we leave early, or we bring our own food.<br><br>
I'm not self-conscious or judgmental or weird about it. There are things we eat and things we don't eat and that's just that. I also won't let her eat junk, btw, even if it is vegetarian.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Maybe I am too self-conscious. I seem to have the most diffiulty when I'm around acquaintances that I would like to become friends. I am terrified they will think I'm over-the-top/too controlling/look down on them/etc. if I say no when they offer DS an organic whole-grain cookie that has a bit of dairy. But like I said I only said OK because I didn't think he'd eat it and then of course he proved me wrong. Maybe I just have to toughen up. I have no problem saying no to family & close friends and I guess I really wouldn't want to be friends with someone who couldn't accept that we are vegan.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>crunchy_mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15420690"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I guess I really wouldn't want to be friends with someone who couldn't accept that we are vegan.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that"><br><br>
Also, you don't have to say why you've got a restricted diet when you first meet someone. Lots of kids have food allergies or whatever, and their parents have to be very careful about their diets. I just think it's normal in this day & age not to let your kid eat everything. A cheerful "no thanks" is all you need to say. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I think you do need to toughen up a bit. If someone is offended when you politely, casually say "Oh no thanks, we don't do dairy", then they're the one with the problem, not you, and probably not someone you want to be friends with after all!<br><br>
Would you feel weird about it if you were trying to keep Kosher? It shouldn't be any different.<br><br>
Also, on trace products - would you drink a milkshake I offered you if I promised I only peed in it a little? Haha, an extreme example but you get the point. The amount is not what counts and there's nothing wrong with you being true to your beliefs about that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Sayward</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15420774"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">would you drink a milkshake I offered you if I promised I only peed in it a little?</div>
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HAHAHA thank you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> you made my day.<br><br>
I think I have bought into society's idea that everyone feeds the kids, which is why I have a harder time saying no for DS when I can say no for myself with no qualms.<br><br>
I figured posting here would help me clarify my own feelings & I was right, I just need to be stronger & not be afraid to be assertive. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Sayward</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15420774"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Also, on trace products - would you drink a milkshake I offered you if I promised I only peed in it a little?</div>
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Love it, maybe I'll borrow it the next time someone gives me a hard time when I say no to trace products or possible cross-contamination. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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I have a hard time with this too. At this point (my DS is 3) I usually politely say no to non vegan food. I feel like until he's old enough to make the decision on his own, (although who knows when that is?!) I won't have him eat anything I wouldn't either.
 

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I think that it depends on how you say it. I am not vegetarian (although don't eat very much meat and didn't eat any at all for many years), but my first time to a homeschool group get together potluck, I brought cheese and crackers (tried to get the "healthiest" crackers and cheese I could find). Not everyone there was veg, but different people have different diets there.<br><br>
There was one family there and the kids (about 5 and 8) kept begging their mom to have some and she kept telling them no. Finally she said, "<sigh> Well, if you really want to have some, you can, but you *know* how it will make you feel!!! Cheese is really bad for your body." Right in front of me, in a really annoyed voice. Now, I know she was probably annoyed because of her kids bugging her, but I felt really uncomfortable. I actually am not as involved in that group partly because of that as I might have been. I think with children that age, one needs to either have them on board with the food choices, or to take them aside and talk with them privately about it.<br><br>
That said, when people just say, "No thanks, we don't eat that." I don't have a problem with it. I might ask about it because I am curious, etc. I totally understand special diets, having eaten vegetarian, vegan, and just dairy free for many years. I don't consider myself sensitive about it, but there is a polite way and a not so polite way to decline. KWIM?
 

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My kids are vegan. Sometimes I am lenient if there are trace amounts in small, small amounts and very rarely. I say absolutely not to cheese and meat and eggs. DS1 is now old enough that I can tell him when something comes from animals so he knows we don't eat it. I don't care what people think, if my friends aren't OK with our lifestyle or dietary choices, then they aren't much of a friend. We've gotten into a fight with my MIL over me not allowing her to give my son mayonnaise one day, but they pretty much know that if they don't respect our choices they don't get to see our kids. Maybe that's harsh, but I view it the same as giving my kids alcohol and cigarettes. Anyway.. I really do have great supportive friends and family most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LizzyQ</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423415"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe that's harsh, but I view it the same as giving my kids alcohol and cigarettes.</div>
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Another good take on this (though sorry, just not as funny as peeing in a milkshake!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">)<br><br>
Thank you for what everyone's shared so far, this is helping me a lot!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My daughter has been vegetarian her whole life, and mostly vegan since her 5th birthday. Meat and things that contain it aren't even food in her mind, but once in a while she'll have something with dairy or egg. I make sure that she is making an informed decision, and leave it to her. Most of the time she'll turn things down, but once in a while she doesn't, and that's her decision.
 

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We are vegetarian but we make VERY rare exceptions for the special Mexican Jello that Grandma makes & marshmellos. Although last week we were talking about Jello (not eating it) & I did take the opportunity to explain to my nieces (in front of MIL & SIL) what geletain is & why it isn't vegetarian. It actually grossed my niece out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> YAY!<br><br>
I also have decided to let go of the animal rennet if it is the only option for getting cheese without hormones. Again this is rare & the cheese I buy 99% is both hormone & rennet free.
 

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We are a vegan family and pretty much keep vegan when out. We are not extreme health food vegans, though. I am okay with the kids eating some junk (and myself, too!) as long as the majority of their diet is healthful.<br><br>
If we are going to an event where there will be non-vegan food, I pack extra food so I will have something comparable to the non-vegan offerings (if possible, we will call ahead to find out what is being served). We bring our own birthday cake to birthday parties, if DSD is having ice cream day at school, I'll send vegan pudding with her or some other treat. We use Oreos a lot as take-along treats. I also tend to keep some vegan candy in my purse, just in case there is some fabulous dessert item that appears at an unexpected time.<br><br>
We have a few gray areas - one is fast-food drive-thru mix-ups. For example, sometimes Taco Bell forgets to leave the cheese off of a (bean) taco - we'll just scrape it off the best we can. Also, DH and I have both worked in commercial kitchens where we had to sample non-vegan food as part of a job, so I let DSD sample a Girl Scout cookie before her troop sold them - the two situations seemed comparable to me. The last is that I completely ignore those warnings on packaged food that say "may contain traces of..." or "made on equipment shared with..." If it wasn't an intended ingredient, I don't worry about it.<br><br>
I try my best to seem as non-judgmental as possible when handing out the substitute treats - sometimes I don't even fully clarify why we have different food ("she doesn't eat dairy" could mean a lot of things).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gini1313</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423023"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think that it depends on how you say it. I am not vegetarian (although don't eat very much meat and didn't eat any at all for many years), but my first time to a homeschool group get together potluck, I brought cheese and crackers (tried to get the "healthiest" crackers and cheese I could find). Not everyone there was veg, but different people have different diets there.<br><br>
There was one family there and the kids (about 5 and 8) kept begging their mom to have some and she kept telling them no. Finally she said, "<sigh> Well, if you really want to have some, you can, but you *know* how it will make you feel!!! Cheese is really bad for your body." Right in front of me, in a really annoyed voice. Now, I know she was probably annoyed because of her kids bugging her, but I felt really uncomfortable. I actually am not as involved in that group partly because of that as I might have been. I think with children that age, one needs to either have them on board with the food choices, or to take them aside and talk with them privately about it.</div>
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If I heard a parent say that I would assume that the kids were lactose intolerant it cheese was not good for *their* bodies. As in whenever they eat cheese they get stomach aches. As opposed to cheese is not good for *anyone's* body.<br><br>
And if that was the case the annoyance is in knowing that later that day she's going to have to deal with two stomach aches or two bouts of diarrhea, and that because she is an adult she can predict that will happen but the kids think it won't happen *this* time.
 

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Well . . . I guess I'm in the minority here, but I am totally lax about enforcing veg*nism. I am vegetarian now, but dd and I were vegan at home for about a year and half when she was around 2-3yo?<br><br>
I just figured it wasn't worth the headache, I didn't want to be difficult to have over as a guest, and there's no way that she would understand at that age why she couldn't have something that she wanted to taste.<br><br>
For that matter, I've never not let her have meat if she wanted to taste that either. She maybe tried it 3 times or so before she was old enough to understand that it came from an animal? And she never liked it.<br><br>
When she was in daycare, I actually made vegan versions of everything on their lunch menu . . . looking back I can't believe that I did that every night! Now I would probably just slap together a pb&j!<br><br>
I guess I feel like making something so prohibited makes it more desired, especially with my oppositionally defiant child! So I downplayed the differences, brought substitute food, but I would never make a big deal out of it if she wanted to have regular ice cream at a b-day party instead of the fruit sorbet I brought, for instance.<br><br>
I think . . . maybe you should let go of what <i>you</i> want for <i>him</i> a little. I understand that you want him to be vegan until he understands what non-vegan means, and he is only 15mo old, <i>but</i> he still is his own person and does have his own desires. I am a pretty laidback veggie, and I really think that having a cheese and cracker or a baked good that might have an egg in it is not going to really even have an effect on his choices in the long term and might make things a lot more difficult in the short term. You don't want to create a power struggle situation--with my girl's temperament, that's what would've happened if I had been hovering over all the non-veg food at any out-of-home event we attended.<br><br>
Like I said, I can see I'm in the minority here, but I just thought I'd lend another opinion. This is my experience, and the thread said "how strict are you w/ your veg*n kids diet". So my short answer is that I'm not. At all. I do regulate sweets a bit, but that is totally unrelated to veg*nism, IMO.<br><br>
BTW dd is nearly seven now and 98% of the time chooses veg food and always identifies herself as a vegetarian. She does have a weak spot for sushi. It doesn't offend me nor disappoint me when she chooses something meaty---she's on her own path, after all. I just try to provide the healthiest vegetarian food I can at home and let her make her own choices. But I DO love that she's vegetarian like her mommy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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craft_media_hero, I agree and I think that is how we are going to do it with this little one. My omni DH and I agreed that he can choose when he is old enough to understand.
 
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