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raising vegan...

Monkey & Squirrel - Charlotte NC Photographer: raising vegan...

Monkey & Squirrel - Charlotte NC Photographer

I'm Jenn, a stay at home/work at home mama to Penny, wife to Evan, and daughter, sister, and friend to a lot more. I absolutely love capturing beautiful every day moments from behind my lens, and I'm doing my best to do just that!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

raising vegan...

i wanted to share this little blog entry i just read and found to be pretty interesting because of a recent discussion evan and i had. though we don't have any children just yet, we know that when we do we will definitely be raising them vegan. i know people often think that raising children vegan is unhealthy, but that just tends to be based on a lack of information. though it is admittedly more work, in my opinion there is no question as to whether or not it is worth it. i am a healthy vegan, my husband is a healthy vegan, and our child will be a healthy vegan.

anywho... evan and i are in no doubt that our home will remain an all vegan home even with little ones running around. however, the point we don't quite see eye to eye on is what will occur once they are old enough to make their own decisions. evan thinks that if we're completely open and honest with our kids right from the start, then they'll understand why veganism is so important and seeing as they've never known any different, they won't have any desire to stray from that path. i however tend to think that they'll often feel left out of certain things, like cake at friends birthday parties, and candy on halloween, and will eventually choose to stray from veganism. then i read this post...

“I am a 14 year old girl and have been vegan my entire life. People always ask me, 'Why are you vegan? Isn’t it so hard?' But the truth is, it’s so easy to be vegan. Maybe that’s because it’s been my lifestyle for 14 years, who knows? Sure, there have been times when I’ve walked past a dessert store and have seen delicious cakes, but I know that if I took one bite of any of those cakes it wouldn’t appeal to me. I think that’s because I grew up without that kind of food, and I’m not used to it, so it just doesn’t sound good to me.

So many people say things like, 'I could never be vegan, because I hate soy milk and fake meat,' but I think that those people think that way because they’re not used to those foods, the same way that I’m not used to dairy-filled cakes.

People always think that as a vegan, your food options are so minimal, but that is because those people haven’t actually tried to be vegan, when in fact it’s so easy to find vegan options.

As the holidays come around, I am asked the same questions. Especially around Halloween, kids wave around Kit Kats, Snickers, Hershey’s chocolate bars, and other various sweets in my face saying, 'Oooohhhh too bad you can’t have this stuff!' But the truth is, I have no cravings for those sweets, and there are so many other options – much healthier options. On Halloween, parents always think that it's OK to let their kids eat all of those sweets, because it's just for one night. But one night can change a life – there are poisons and chemicals moving throughout the body as people digest these unsafe treats.

I spend my Halloweens just like any other kid, going around to each house, asking for candy. But at the end of the night, instead of eating all of that candy, I give it to my friends.

It is so easy for me, and it’s my own personal life choice – my parents aren’t forcing this lifestyle on me; it’s my decision. I remember when my dad sat me down once and said, 'Sweetie, if you ever decide to go another direction with your diet, just tell me first.' He was probably saying that so that he would be able to talk me out of it, but now I see that I won’t need to have that conversation with him, because it’s my life choice, and my life choice is to be vegan."

well, obviously i was proven wrong in this case, and i'm rather glad that i was too! i guess because i've never known anyone who has been vegan from birth, i don't have anything to base my opinions on. once i started hunting around a bit more, i noticed that there are quite a number of young vegans out there who are really excited and motivated about remaining animal product free. i guess with any parenting decision you can pass along all the information and facts to your children and just hope that some of it sticks. i suppose only time will tell..

so here's to all you young vegans out there!

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Blogger samantha ramage said...

i was just talking to my intern about growing up as a vegetarian in a meat eating household-- it was such a pain for my mom to have to cook me separate meals growing up, but she did it, and now that i live in my own apartment i have become an even better vegetarian (before i was more of a carbotarian!). my fiance is a meat eater, so i think i will probably raise my future children to be aware of the choices, and i think its right if you do the same!


November 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger monkeyandsquirrel said...

that's really interesting samantha, and big kudos to your mom for cooking separate meals for you. so many parents aren't that willing to do that! when i first went veggie i was 18 and definitely relied heavily on pasta and french fries because i was away at school. it really does get a lot easier when you've got your own kitchen though and you know you can eat whatever is in your cabinets. i LOVE cooking now and it's not at all a struggle anymore to be vegan. it's just how we eat and that's that. my mom is actually really open to it as well and even makes vegan meals for my dad and herself sometimes! the support of family is always appreciated! we will certainly raise our kids to question their options though and find what works for them... in all areas of life, not just the food ones :)

November 2, 2010 at 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think younger generations are much more aware of different dietary decisions. My sister eats gluten-free, one of her friends eats kosher, some have braces, etc., and we spent Halloween with my family this past weekend- Not once did I hear any "oh I bet you wish you could eat ____!" from her friends, they just traded around and that was that.
I guess all you can do is educate your child about how to be healthy and support them! I'd much rather have a child who decides to eat a healthy diet of any sort than an unhealthy vegan.
xo- Lianna

November 2, 2010 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger monkeyandsquirrel said...

that's so great to hear lianna! i guess my biggest fear is that they would feel left out of things while growing up. from everything i hear though, it sounds like friends are generally really supportive and because they don't know any different they never feel like they're missing out. i can't believe how much i already think about this. when we actually have kids i might just be a nervous wreck :)

November 2, 2010 at 2:33 PM  
Blogger Shelia Day said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm really considering eliminating even more dairy out of my diet. Actually, I started this week. My husband and I aren't ready to have children, yet, but this is something I do think about. My husband and I have differing viewpoints-- he is an omnivore but only when we are out because I won't buy meat. I get the nervous wreck thing...I'm afraid our kiddos will be so confused. Again, thanks for sharing!

November 3, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw I didn't see your reply until now! You'll worry about every detail always, you just need to let the silly stuff go and realize your kid(s) is/are going to follow your lead until they're old enough to handle a microwave/stove/drive-thru window, so you have at least a decade of vegan kids who eat what you feed them. I'm sure you'll be one of those cute lunchbox moms with sandwiches cut into shapes and stuff anyway! They won't look twice at other stuff :) - Lianna

November 16, 2010 at 2:35 PM  

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