My child is vegan. What is the problem?

Article in The Guardian talks about the difficulties faced by those who create children with a strictly vegetarian diet.

Feeding my son has been very simple. Dealing with people’s prejudices has been the hardest part.

I had never met a vegan before I became one, so I was a little naive about how this would be received by my friends and family. As I began to explain my new power to people in my life I had noticed that I was not eating my favorite foods (cheese and more cheese), only a “eyebrow was raised.” But when I mentioned that my son of two and a half would join me in the vegan diet, there was another story. I just was not prepared for the hostility that I had to face.

I discovered that say you have a vegan child is immediately put your credibility as a mother / father under scrutiny. I was accused of forcing my son to adopt an extreme diet on a whim, making it part of an unnecessary and dangerous experience.

After a while, I was unwilling to talk about it. I started telling people I was vegan, but my son was lacto-vegetarian, change that made all the difference. I had learned that other parents used this tactic to avoid uncomfortable conversations. I was questioned with the same questions they ask about me, and protein? And iron and always avoids B12? The answers on my own power were accepted, but the information I had about the diet of my son was treated as suspicious and potentially false.

I had taken all the facts at my disposal and made a choice – after considering health issues, environmental and ethical – felt it was the best for my son. After a few weeks I began to suspect that, in fact, was the problem: not for my child to be in an unusual diet, but because it was something unusual. Is it possible that in a society centered on individualism, rich in diversity and multiculturalism, early childhood education is one of the last bastions of intolerant adherence to tradition?

When feeding my son with what would be considered the conventional diet, I had acted according to the daily amounts of guidelines and food pyramid – the traditional notion of a balanced diet that includes a “food and a rich drink in fat and sugar “in composition. When I changed the diet of my son, it occurred to me that I had followed the rules without thinking.

Choose veganism made me aware of the pressures that I did not realize they were there until they were gone. In restaurants, we asked the children’s menu, and I was at the mercy of the ads, supermarket and my son layouts, in their own way, shouting persuasion. Lunch before veganism was chaos. Spitting and screaming from his seat, he would throw himself back and forth until the chair fell, if I offered him a piece of broccoli too many times. Fortunately, there were some meals he loved: fish fingers, spaghetti bolognese and chicken nuggets was guaranteed to be devoured. Eating a diet rich in meat and dairy products possibly turned me into a compliant mother. I assumed he was getting everything he needed; not occurred to me that he might be getting too much. Since he became vegan I became totally committed to making the best possible choices for him and, after a few weeks of curry of lentils played on the carpet, I noticed that he began to clean the plate.

In a world full of alarming statistics regarding the health of our children, people certainly should be encouraged to discuss alternatives to the current conventional diet. But according to my experiences asking medical professionals advice about veganism, it’s likely that you receive only a paper on possible problems and be sent away.

Despite all the talk about nutritional deficiencies and slower growth rates, feed my vegan children has been quite simple; the hardest part has been dealing with misinformation and prejudices of the people. That, and drop the cheese.

It is very common that vegan parents listen omnivores censor your choice to create vegan children, saying that food choice is not healthy for mini people. Even worse is that this statement has scientific basis: there are several studies that show children vegan as underdeveloped and lower than expected growth. But not quite.

Conventional infant growth curves generally take into account only babies who receive some type of infant formula. Children receiving breastfeeding, as they are usually vegan children tend to gain weight more slowly as to the first year.

In 2006, the World Health Organization published the first growth curve based on children with exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months! This table is valid for children up to 5 years and drop the hypothesis that vegan children are not healthy.

This, however, does not mean that if you choose to raise your child vegan, you do not have to take some care:

Children need a greater amount of calories than adults. Foods like avocados, nuts and seeds are healthy sources and concentrated calories. Another option are the dried / dehydrated fruit, which in addition to caloric, are attractive to small because usually well docinhas.

The proteins in infant feeding are similar to proteins of adults and are the calories that will help the body metabolize these proteins so that the mini people grow.

I still recommend a nutritionist should be consulted regarding the supplementation of Vitamin B12, which is deficient in vegans. Some sites indicate brands, but do not give any supplements to your little without the guidance of a pediatrician / dietician.

Raising children vegan

Children usually naturally compassionate and animals lovers, there are rare cases in which spontaneously refuse to eat animal foods, or to participate in activities that involve their exploitation. With naturally curious minds, they tend to be receptive and interested to learn about veganism and like to share this knowledge with friends, familäres and acquaintances.

When creating vegan children, one of the biggest obstacles you have to overcome is public scrutiny of its decision. For mother and father vegan, eating animal foods is radical, but for most people, the opposite is true. It is good to keep this perspective in mind.

And we must not forget that people in general are very sensíves parenting methods and alternative food choices. We combine both situations to create vegan children, which creates potentially explosive atmospheres.

Tips to deal with questions about how you create your vegan child:

– Try to keep a sense of humor, patience and compassion.

– In difficult times, remember how you were and doubts I had before to learn about vegetarianism and veganism.

– Educate yourself. Being prepared and informed will allow you to offer appropriate responses and educated to any questioning that received. This preparation is particularly important to deal with the school, pediatricians and physicians in general.

– On occasions involving food, such as a little party for example, it is a good idea to know what will be served in advance and offer your child a vegan option like to take, so he will not feel left out. Sweets and cakes burgers and hot-dog, everything can be offered in a vegan version.

In addition to educating your child to veganism, let him know that you feed with vegetarian food because He loves you and wants the best for him.


Everyone saw the boy’s video did not want to eat the gnocchi octopus because “the octopus is the animals.” All vegan / vegetarian found beautiful. And so? That mother is omnivorous and is raising a child who refuses to feed animal protein. What to do? Deceive the child and insert hidden animal protein? Or respect the fact that it reject meat?

If you are omnivorous and are here because your son turned vegetarian or vegan, you gave a good first step: to educate yourself. You do not necessarily adhere to food choice for your child, but it is important to not only understand and respect his choice, to learn what the nutritional care to be a vegetarian / vegan healthy.

There are many websites and books that can help you, but do not take as absolute truth any information that you find first. Read, search and use your critical census (has a lot of bullshit out there that will slow you down).

In your research, you will come across vegan / vegetarian recipes so good, varied and interesting, it is possible that you or reduce your consumption of animal protein or stop taking their food too. But if neither of these happens to you, is also all right.

There are very “carnivores” convinced the world. I do not like to use the term “carnivorous” because people who eat vegetable protein are omnivorous. Using the term “carnivore” is almost pejorative among vegans because it refers to people who can not spend even a day without meat. And it is these people who will create the greatest resistance to feeding your child. Relatives, friends, neighbors and even unprepared pediatrician will not only criticize you and say that you will make your child sick. So get ready. And prepare your child to answer questions like “where do you get protein?”, “But you will not get sick?” And many others.

In my opinion, a more subtle approach works much better. I already took a dish for feijoada a friend and only told it was vegan when relatives and her friends came to ask me the recipe. They were amazed to learn that ate something vegan and liked. Then prepare snacks and snacks for your child to take to birthday parties.

Be positive! Your child will find a lot of uninformed and radical people. Teach him to be proud of their food choices and have answers to the questions will be asked to vegans for omnivores.

Finally, go to the kitchen with her son. Besides you discover new flavors, it is an opportunity to spend time together anymore.


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