You’re Raising Your Kids Vegan?

by | January 13, 2018

We were very fortunate to get pregnant last year and this would be my first vegan pregnancy.

I had no concerns about what other people thought, I knew I wanted to be raising my kids vegan. I had established a nutritionally balanced diet for the babies and adapted the numbers for my husband and myself. Suffering from the worst morning sickness I’d had, and severely lacking in energy, I asked for a full nutritional screening. I knew it was common to have reduced iron levels and even anemia (which I’d had previously in my teens) in pregnancy, but my levels came back strong and high.

When we found out at 12 weeks that we were having twins, it explained my symptoms. I upped the food intake where nausea would allow. Each time I was tested (monthly) my iron levels had increased and both babies continued to grow at the same rate as an average singleton pregnancy. The consultant was surprised, and even more so when I reiterated my vegan diet. 

Now at 3 months old, the babies are still fully breastfed, my 2.5 year old nursing 1-2 times a day, and my 3 year old once a day. While biologically normal, we understand this is less common in the UK.

Proper nutrition is a big deal to me when it comes to making sure my kids are healthy and happy. Preparing meals and baking from scratch are our learning tools, a culinary medley where we learn together by creating tastes and textures. It’s not always convenient and I’m very aware our lifestyle has been driven by me, initially dragging my otherwise hungry husband along for the ride. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all culinary masterpieces in our household.

In truth, particularly in the end part of my pregnancy and recently due to having the twins arrive a little early, we have used accidental vegan foods likes Oreos and pink wafers if I haven’t had an opportunity to bake before a party, and lunch can be a simple marmite or peanut butter sandwich. Admittedly from weaning age we’ve used seeded bread. A sneaky way of getting protein in at 4.5g per slice, but if it’s the only thing they know, it’s not questioned.

There are days I make an awesome dish that hubby and I go back for seconds while the children sit, picking out the sweet corn and tofu, and leaving the rest. Momentarily crushed, I accept this is partly their age. As long as we ensure a range of foods and tastes are available throughout the week, the cross section of nutritional needs are met. Providing choice and involving them in fridge and pantry selection encourages them to take a more active part. Smoothies, homemade yogurts and ice creams, porridge with milled seeds, etc are plant based aids. It’s not about relying on this one healthy evening meal, but instead about spreading the plant-based goodness throughout the whole day.

I eat more food, a variety of food, we graze throughout the day, and feel better for it. The diversity and color at the table is a benefit psychologically and educationally.

 

Lilli Docherty, is a mum to x4 under 4 years old, self employed with her own craft business and raising her family vegan. Lilli writes about daily life and the challenges she faces throughout her pregnancies, breastfeeding and vegan lifestyle, with an honest and fun reflection of her journey. You can find her on Facebook

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