Raising Healthy Vegan Children In Today’s World
How to raise healthy vegan children
Protecting my child from eating artificial sugars and completely processed foods, even if they technically are vegan, is so important to me. Not only am I an ethical vegan, but I am also vegan for my health and I think we all know that so many diseases are caused by artificial and processed foods. Especially in America, childhood obesity is at an outstanding number, it is so incredibly sad and it is definitely not the child’s fault. Certain department stores have even added a Plus Size section for children now… children! That is a huge red flag to prove that there is a serious problem with the ‘mainstream’ lifestyles these days.
When people hear you’re planning on raising healthy vegan children, is not uncommon to hear that you may be “depriving” your child, that “you’re being too strict” or need to “let her live.” It’s completely a matter of opinion. A person may think you’re being unfair to your child, when in fact you offer an abundance of amazing options that will only benefit them. There is an old saying that goes “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” and while I don’t agree with this saying, I do agree with the concept itself. A few minutes of what might taste good to you meant a lifetime of suffering for another animal and could mean a lifetime of disease for you. Sugary, processed and animal foods are terrible for you and I know don’t make me feel good. So, in my view, I am in fact doing my daughter a favor. She will grow up loving whole plant foods that are disease fighting and will make her feel amazing. I plan on continuing to raise healthy vegan children.
It’s important to address that you do not have to miss out on events, parties, and gatherings just because you are vegan. You can say ‘no’ to events where you must to have to pay to attend, and in return be served an animal based meal. Even though you’re not planning to eat the food, you are still ‘paying for a plate’. Regardless of whether or not you eat it, your portion of the animal product was paid for and will either be eaten by someone else or go in the trash.
When you are going to someone’s house where food will be served, find out beforehand what everyone else is planning to eat and make a healthy, vegan version of that. Bring large appetizers, meals, and even desserts that can be shared and enjoyed by everyone. If you are going out to eat, look at the menu ahead of time, so you know what the vegan options are. In some areas there are not too many restaurants with completely plant-based options, however, they are becoming way more popular and are continuing to pop up! It is usually fairly simple to ‘veganize’ restaurant meals these days though, and many chefs are really accommodating. Often vegan parents get asked if you will ever let your child eat animal products, or processed/artificial sugar items if you’re also omitting those. When the child is at an appropriate age, it can be helpful to begin kindly teaching them why you do not eat those things, so they have the information and tools to speak up for themselves when asked. We already have a few children’s books about where animal products come from, and why it’s important to be kind to animals. I feel it is one of those things that we will address if it comes up. My hope is to raise my child so lovingly and well informed, that she will be just as opposed to eating that way as I am. There is a wonderful, related topic called Forcing Veganism.
Unfortunately, the situation does come up on occasion where a friend or family member may try to feed your child something that you absolutely do not want them to have. Especially if your child is too young to speak up for themselves, or know any better, it is important to be aware of who is around and what they might try and offer your little one. Be nice, but make it very clear that you do not want your baby to consume that. Do not be afraid to stand up for your child, most likely one day your child will have to stand up for themselves in a similar situation. You are their parent, and you know what is best for them, and how you want them to be raised.
I think sometimes people don’t understand just how important it is to you that your family sticks to a healthy plant-based lifestyle, it can be difficult for some people to understand that just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean its healthy. Some may perceive this lifestyle as being like a ‘mainstream diet’; something that you try your best to follow, but are willing to cheat on. This isn’t case for me personally, I am so passionate about living this way and continuing to raise my daughter as such, that if someone were to deliberately give my child something they knew I didn’t want her to have, it would be one of the biggest disrespects and do long-term damage to our relationship.
It’s important to never think that you are better, or a bigger person for being plant-based, and never make anyone feel as though you are looking down on them. Being kind and accepting is something we should always try to be, regardless of the lifestyle choices of others. We can only hope that they reciprocate, and are just as kind and accepting about our lifestyle choice, and how we choose to raise our thriving, healthy vegan children.
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Tags: artificial sugar, Healthy vegan children, healthy vegan kids, processed food, raising vegan children, staying vegan in social settings, whole foods plant based