Raising Vegan Children?
Posted by chia at 05/04/2007
Hello, I am wondering if anyone has children and are raising them strictly vegan? What are some of the major challenges you have encountered, and what advice can you offer to other parents who would like to raise their children vegan? Thank you - Chia.
I have 3 kids aged 12, 12 and 9 and I am trying to raise them vegan. They have all been vegetarian since birth and that part is easy but going vegan about 9 years ago was much harder, as we live in China, where there are no cheese substitutes. We are strictly vegan at home but I have found sometimes that going out to eat - if we're not eating Chinese of course - we just don't really have any option but pizza or a cheese sandwich. We can easily avoid eggs and after many years of trial and error I have finally cracked vegan baking and now make really good cookies and brownies and birthday cakes, but my kids really love cheese and often crave pizza. I have tried making it at home without cheese but they hate it! But if I had access to a soy cheese substitute I think that would be resolved. I recently bought an ice cream maker and a wonderful book called Vice Cream with some fantastic vegan ice cream recipes - our favourite is the chocolate. The kids have never not wanted to be vegetarian but I think they'd be happy not to be vegan. But health wise they are doing so much better being vegan. My eldest daughter used to get terrible coughs each winter which would literally last for 2 months and I tried all the cough medicines out there before finally finding a Chinese herbal one which worked. But since becoming vegan at age 4, the cough has been getting less severe and lasting much less as each year passes. Her best friend, who practically lives off dairy, is always coughing and sneezing and frequently off school. For us the key has been to try to give them healthier and animal friendly versions of what everyone around them is eating so they don't feel too weird - so we often have stuff like veggie burgers and fries(baked), vege hot dogs, burritos, pasta and a few times a week there's dessert - brownies, chocolate biscuits, gingerbread, flapjacks, apple cake - not exactly healthy but made with whole wheat flour and unrefined sugar. A good sign I guess is that their friends love to eat at our house.
I suppose raising your kids vegan is a bit like everything in life worth doing, not the easiest path but at the end of the day definitely the most rewarding. Good luck!
P.S. No offense meant, this is just my opinion))
Check this out if you think it may be useful?
Up to you of course.
People raise their children eating what they do, be this a cultural (i.e. halal/kosher) decision, or just because that is what they know (my partner grew up eating junk food).
I am mum to 2 vegan kids, aged 3 and 2 months, and have been vegan myself for 17 years. I've had no problems diet-wise - even the nursery provides decent vegan meals for my 3-year-old. We have a network of vegan friends who have all brought up their kids vegan, including second generation life-long vegans!
To be honest, it's not something we really discuss much, as it is just 'normal' for us. Our main problem seems to be decently fitted veegan winter footwear - any suggestions greatfully received - don't really want to order on-line as feel that growing feet need shoes properly fitted.
So I would say to anyone considering bringing up a child veagn, go for it!. Be aware that kids need more fat than adults, and ensure a supply of B12 (mmm - marmite/yeast flakes), and just stick to a good healthy balanced diet - as most vegans tend to anyway.
That said, my girl had vegan cheese on beans on potato waffles for dinner today! Even vegans do junk food sometimes!
Oh, and where possible, network. There's nothing better to reassure an anxious grandparent than seeing the older healthy lively birght eyed vegan kids of your mates.
There was no "strictly" - when they ate out / visited friends they made their own choices.
Amanda - could you possibly scan your cough remedy label & send it to me? - my email address is on my profile - my throat is going crazy with the pollution here in Shen Zhen - last weekend I went to Hong Kong's Lamma Island which is usually pollution free but even there the air was thick! Thank you.