Frequently Asked Questions About Veganism
This site is not intended to treat, diagnose or heal any medical condition. Individuals and families should always find a caregiver team that they trust and have faith in and should always take their concerns to them for discussion. If you feel that your care team is not listening to you or does not have your best interests at heart, please do some research and find someone else that makes you feel comfortable.
A goal of Raise Vegan is to provide caring education and support to Vegans and to people who want to become Vegan. Our belief in living a peaceful life is never ending and is always striving for improvement. This peaceful living includes extending goodwill to those who don’t currently live our lifestyle. In the pursuit of eliminating the consumption and abuse of animals, we believe that educating with love, kindness, and respect is far more effective than judgment and contempt. Therefore, our answers to the most frequently asked questions are not always founded in the deep seeded stereotypical roots of veganism. Rather, they are based on science, compassion, common sense, a focus on the beautiful and innate intricacy of our body, and a love for living a peaceful, cruelty-free existence
Frequently Asked Questions About Veganism
Conception & Pregnancy
What vitamins are recommended when TTC?
One of the most important and most recommended vitamins across the scientific community is folate or Vitamin B9 with a recommendation of 600 micrograms per day for women trying to conceive. This vitamin helps our body convert food into fuel for energy, and uses fats and protein to support the growth of rapidly dividing cells, especially those in a baby. It is absolutely vital in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects that can lead to poor prognosis and outcomes in utero. Additionally, folate supports the growth of the placenta as well as the baby’s heart and face. Since birth defects have been shown to occur very early on in the first trimester, having Vitamin B9 circulating through your body prior to conception can greatly decrease the chance of these defects. It is highly recommended that folate be consumed through its natural food sources of avocado, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, oranges and cooked versions of spinach, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, black eyed peas and kidney beans. While you can obtain folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, through the consumption of fortified cereals and supplements, it is metabolized differently in the body and often inefficiently. This inefficient metabolism can lead to a host of problems most notable with hormone balances, epilepsy and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Is it safe to have a bath while pregnant?
Unless you have a prematurely ruptured membrane, it should be fine to have a bath while pregnant. Warnings exist in saunas and hot tubs due to the danger of fainting if water and steam is too hot. Therefore, always keep swimming and bathing water at a lower temperature. However, this is definitely a topic to discuss with your care team.
I am losing weight and am concerned about the baby’s growth. How can I healthily gain weight?
The cells that create a baby are rapidly dividing and require increasing amounts of nutrition from you. If you aren’t feeding your body enough, your body will deplete your own stored nutrients in order to feed your baby. This will result in a loss of weight and possibly a general feeling of unwellness. In order to prevent this, it is best to eat foods that are calorie dense with quality nutritional fat. These can include a variety of beans, legumes, nuts, butters, hummus and avocado. Always check labels on packaged foods so that you can be sure you are avoiding saturated fats as much as possible!
I’m so constipated!
A key for preventing constipation is to always be hydrated. A minimum of 2 liters (roughly 64 ounces) per day should be consumed. There are many options out there for constipation both during pregnancy and beyond. Sticking to natural options that deal with the root cause of the issue first is the best option before resorting to medications that promote muscle contraction. These can often cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, heartburn and nausea. Additionally, long- term use of these medications can cause biochemical tolerance and dependence.
One of the best helpers to rid constipation is raw ground flax seed (must be ground). One seed contains up to 12 percent of a slimy, gum-like compound called mucilage. Although it sounds gross, mucilage coats soothes and protects your digestive tract, leading not only to constipation relief but also decreases in the stomach and intestinal inflammation. 1-2 spoonfuls per day for several days should help start moving things along. The daily consumption of flax has far-reaching benefits beyond constipation. See our article on Omega 6-3 ratios and why you should consume flax seed every day. Another option for constipation relief is oats. This is because the old-fashioned oats (not instant) fiber content is about 45% insoluble. When the fiber is insoluble, it will absorb water leading to the bulky soft stool that is easy to pass.
Is breastfeeding vegan?
Of course! A woman’s body is designed to feed her baby! What could be more vegan than providing the very best vegan
nutrients to your baby through your own body? We’ve often heard from people that since the consumption of cow milk is not Vegan, that human milk can’t be Vegan either. People who believe this line of thought does not understand the meaning of being Vegan, which is not only to reject the consumption of animal products but also to allow nature to perform as intended. Nature decided long ago that females would be granted the amazing ability to feed their offspring.
Is it vegan to give formula to my baby?
Yes! While giving breast milk to your baby is always the best option, it needs to be understood that not only isn’t it the only option, and that, for several different reasons (that are none of our business), many moms will not breastfeed. Instead of shaming women, we embolden everyone to utilize that energy towards encouraging companies to manufacture vegan formula that is more accessible and affordable.
Does Vegan formula exist?
A vegan formula is currently being made in France (called Prémiriz) although is expensive to have shipped outside of the country. While soy formula does provide an alternative to regular formula, it is currently not vegan due to its animal source of Vitamin D.
Can I make my own formula?
Despite the lack of an accessible and affordable vegan formula, the standards and quality that the manufacturers of formula must adhere to have proven the safety and effectiveness of the commercial bought formula. Infants have such a wide variety of nutritional needs in the first year of life that it is highly discouraged to attempt to create one. In fact, many children have suffered negative side effects due to the inability to recreate the same level of quality and nutritional content. The negative side effects of nutritional deficits can be detrimental to an infant and are not something to be taken lightly. Instead, energy should be focused on encouraging formula manufacturers to create a more accessible and affordable vegan option.
Help! My baby is constipated!
Many exclusively breastfed babies can go up to two weeks without having a bowel movement. If baby does not seem to be in any pain or discomfort, it’s best to let their body work itself out. However, babies who drink formula and/or eat food can actually become constipated. You can try giving the baby some water, apple juice and prune juice. Also, try moving their legs in a bicycle motion. If nothing seems to be helping, contact your care team for helpful advice and support.
When do you start giving solids to the baby?
There are different schools of thought here depending on your feeding philosophy. If you want to follow baby led weaning in which you give baby pieces of whatever you are eating, then most people wait until their baby shows interest, which is usually around 4-6 months of age but no younger. On the other hand, if you want the baby to have blended and mushy food, the general consensus is 6 months of age.
When can my baby try peanut butter?
In a day and age in which food allergies are on the rise, many people are terrified of giving their children peanut butter or any kind of nut. Previously, the suggestion had been to wait until 12 months old. However, studies are now showing that waiting that long can increase the chances of sensitization to an allergen. Therefore, scientists are now recommending that you try these possible allergens much earlier in order to prevent becoming sensitive or allergic. However, if known allergies exist in the immediate family, it is best to work with your care team before giving the baby any possible allergen containing food.
How Do I Help My Teething Baby?
While it can be sad to lose those adorable gummy bears, it’s also pretty exciting to see your baby get their teeth! Frozen teething rings have been around forever but you can also try frozen teething meshes. These meshes allow you to smash up some fruit, put in the mesh holder and freeze it. Once frozen, give it to your teething baby to gnaw on. It’s a win-win as baby’s gums feel better and they also get beneficial nutrients safely! Some people even make popsicles out of their breast milk! Another option is to freeze a baby washcloth and allow baby to chew on it. Beyond these recommendations, there are numerous products on the market including teething necklaces and handheld toys. Always be aware of all potential choking hazards.
When should I brush my baby’s teeth?
It is never too early to get baby into the habit of having those teeth brushed twice a day! Consult your local pediatric dentist for how soon you should have an appointment to check on teeth health. Pediatric dentists will be able to assist with cleaning suggestions based your child’s needs.
What are the best ways to help diaper rash?
Ultimately, the best way to get rid of diaper rash is letting the baby go diaper free as much as possible. Since this is not always a viable option for people, the most recommended product is coconut oil. Some people add essential oils to the coconut oil such as tea tree, chamomile or lavender – just be sure you are reading about the oils and making sure to follow all recommendations for usage. Some people also use cornflower as talc. Consider changing what wet wipe you are using. You may also want to consider changing what brand of diapers you use or even switching to cloth.
Where can I get more protein?
Protein can be obtained from so many food sources. The easiest form of the protein is in the consumption of beans and legumes. Other foods include quinoa, chia, spinach, seitan, hummus, nuts, tofu, and edamame.
What are the best alternatives to cow’s milk?
There are numerous nut, rice, soy and plant alternatives available for milk. It is recommended that you research the nutritional facts in each kind in order to determine the best fit for you and your family. While we understand this comes under the heading of freqnetly asked questions about veganism, it is one that we can only advise you to search for the best that suits your taste buds. Each one has different levels of calories, fat and vitamins and most have very different tastes! You find a comparison chart here.
What about soy and hormone responses?
Currently, studies into the effects of soy are only done in two ways: either through human observations over time or through laboratory studies on rodents. Studies on rodent have shown mixed results. However, a conclusion of the studies has shown that rodents metabolize the proteins in soy differently than do humans. As such, it cannot be determined if humans would and do have the same reactions. However, according to the American Cancer Society, a variety of observational studies in humans have not shown any harm from eating soy foods despite the mixed results in animals.
General Vegan Q&A
My family and friends say I’m forcing my beliefs on to my children. How do I defend my choice?
Ultimately, this comes down to respect and your friends and family providing that to you. We understand that people frequently have questions about veganism, and it is hard to keep up. However, just as they have the authority to make choices regarding religion, discipline, clothing, and yes, giving them meat or not, so too do you have the choice of what your children will eat and what values you will teach them about food and animals. The autonomy of family principles and morals does not end simply because you believe something different from them. If that were true, tolerance of anything and anyone different from oneself would cease to exist. It would be best to have an upfront, serious conversation with anyone who is involved in the care of your child(ren). If a conversation is too stressful try writing a heartfelt letter. If it is close family and/or friends then acknowledge and thank them that they even have these concerns for the well-being of your children. Assure them that you understand what your children’s nutritional needs are and will be doing everything you can in order to obtain them while still living the life you choose. However, understand that any disrespect of your right to choose should not be tolerated and should be immediately addressed.
Is owning a pet vegan?
Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where there is an abundance of unwanted animals and the practice of breeding is legal and terribly unregulated. While animals are definitely not on this planet for us to own, veganism is about doing the least amount of harm possible. Adopting unwanted animals from rescue organizations is the least amount of harm we can do. However, we should also do all that we can in order to urge our lawmakers to protect animals from unsafe breeding practices and puppy mills. More funds can and should be given to shelters, sanctuaries and veterinarians who perform low to no cost spaying and neutering.
Is eating eggs from backyard chickens vegan?
The short and simple answer here is no. Studies have shown that the more eggs you take from a chicken, the more eggs they will lay. The nutrients that are in their eggs are very good for them and helps return to them what they lose through the egg-laying process. So what you should do, what the Vegan thing to do, is crack the eggs and feed them back to the chickens. If they are not eating them or there is an abundance of eggs, you can always give them away to friends and neighbors in order to prevent them from contributing to the commercial egg process.
I want my children to be safe and healthy but are vaccines vegan?
Vaccines are a very controversial topic. It is important to remember that veganism is about doing the least amount of harm possible in any given situation. So, while vaccines, and almost all medicines, are tested on animals and some contain animal products, it is impossible to ignore the worldwide health benefits. Many people feel that vaccination should be a choice left up to the parents while others feel that the choice is lost when the decision can affect others. Information for and against vaccination is in abundance, making it difficult for concerned parents to have trust in one belief over another.
Research should always be done with scholarly articles and from reputable sources that cite scientific evidence instead of inflammatory anecdotal stories, which are often not founded in science or fact. The bottom line is that parents should be comfortable and be trusting enough with their medical team such that they are able to make educated and well-informed decisions.
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