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Thread: Raising your child as a vegetarian; your experiences?

  1. #1

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    Question Raising your child as a vegetarian; your experiences?

    For some time now, I've really been put off eating meat, especially red meat. For me, the thought of eating another living, breathing creature is just too much. When I'm eating it, I have the same thought going around in my head, something had to DIE so I can have this meal.

    So, I've decided to give up all meat, with the exception of fish. I would like to raise DS the same way. I expressed this to my DH who did no not respond well to the idea. In fact, he got quite upset and said NO!



    I would like to hear from those of you who have raised children as vegetarian and what issues you have faced, also both pros and cons to doing so.

    Thanks in advance!

    Celsie. xoxox

  2. #2

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    Hubby and I are both veggo's, but not vegans. By default, our kids have been pretty much raised as veggo's. If they go out somewhere, or to someones house, I don't insist that they refrain from eating meat as I think it's important for them to make their own choices, but I do find that they will often reject the meat options anyway.

    My kids are healthy and happy and don't get sick any more often than their meat eating friends and they have heaps of energy and have never suffered from anemia or fatigue.

    As long as kids have a healthy, balanced diet, I don't think being veg is an issue.

  3. #3

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    Being veg can be perfectly healthy- but maybe as you're a new vegetarian it's hard for you to demonstrate that to your H and hence his hesitation.

    Obviously we haven't started raising our children yet but my H and I have been veg for years and certainly wont be raising our children on a diet with meat. It's an area people seem to think they can criticise you on though so I'd say you need to be informed and prepared to ignore the crap people will say to you. My grandmother already had a go at me for being veg while pregnant as "you may not care about yourself but now you have to care about your child"!!

    Knowledge is power so read up and trust yourself.

  4. #4

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    It's amazing what people will say about kids being veg, I agree. My mum still tells me that if I'm feeling tired, I should have a steak or something 'substantial'. Just gimme a bowl of lentils, Ma!

  5. #5

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    My mum changed our diet from meat to veg when I was around 12 and I hated it!! I think though that was because I had no choice and I hadn't always been raised that way. Personally I think it's fair for your DH to have his say in this as well. Maybe he might compromise and go with no red meat but fish and maybe chicken??

  6. #6

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    I was a vegetarian for many years but ate red meat during my pregnancy for health reasons, and continue to do so now. I'm a bit skeptical on the idea that a purely vegetarian diet can be as good for a person as a diet with meat in it - red meat contains certain amino acids that you can't get from other things. I would consult a dietician or at least your GP before removing meat from bubs diet, myself.
    Good luck!

  7. #7

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    We have a similar attitude to canberramomma - vegetarian at home, but if DS wants to try meat when out I certainly won't stop him. He's only 3 and a half, though, and terribly fussy and difficult about trying new things, so so far he hasn't had any meat. DH eats fish when out (I'm fully vego so don't cook it at home) and is trying to interest DH.

    I suspect if you want to raise your child vegetarian you'll have to convert your DH. He may be concerned that there are dietary issues - but a balanced diet is a balanced diet, vegetarian or not. Arm yourself with some information, make the changes to your own diet, and see if DH will follow (or at least accept!). Good luck!

  8. #8

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    BTW, the Mayo clinic site has a selection of healthy eating pyramids and they have one for vegetarians. It's worth checking it out!

  9. #9

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    I am a Vegetarian and have been for about 15 years now. Hubby is not but happily eats vegetarian food (he's not one of these 'must have meat' men). We do serve meat in the house at times, he will have a meat curry or meat and 3 veg type meal and i will have similar in a vegetarian form, it just works for us. We will not raise our children as vegetarians, I want them to make up their own minds and i want them to be able to go out to a birthday party and join in in eating little sausage rolls etc, I mean they wont really understand 'why' they cant eat meat. I figure in our household and eating out they will experiance a range of foods and can make up their own mind on how they want to eat when they are old enough to understand both sides and make that decision for themselves.

  10. #10
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    i myself am not a vegetarian.. but i only eat chicken (and minced beef for pasta and tacos!)

    Krystal east chicken with me most nights, as she doesnt seem to like the steak and pork dp cooks himself.

    i do worry that she should eat more red meat, and im happy for her to do so! but then again, as ppl have said, there are other things kids can eat to stay healthy!

    sorry, im not much help!!

  11. #11

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    I am not a vegatarian as I love meat too much (though I keep thinking of all these good reasons for becoming veg - environment, health, ethics - damn conscience!) I like to give Flynn vegatarian dinners at least 3 times a week so I would really like if you girls who are veggos could share some power-packed toddler meals which are vegetarian, cause although it is a little off topic it will help Celsie with her lil' man....

  12. #12

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    Hi Celsie,
    DH and I are both vegans of 10 years + each, and very healthy (he hasn't had a sick day in over 6 years)- I have a 6 month old daughter, we plan to raise her in the same way, have discussed it with the M&CH nurse and my GP who are both very happy with our decision. I think what you need to remember is that you aren't just omitting meat and continuing with side salad/vegies but that you need to factor nutrients from other sources such as tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds.
    There are some excellent resources out there to help with meal ideas- we have purchased a book called 'Super baby food' which is great.
    My GP actually pointed out that a vegie diet is much healthier than a meat eating one and that many cultures don't even eat meat!
    Good luck with your decision!
    P.S- Roryrory, I will try to post some veggie toddler meals- LO is waking up!

  13. #13

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    Hi Celsie

    I was a vegetarian for 10 years but got quite ill - fainting, dizzy and poor eyesight. When they ran tests, I was extremely low in iron and B12 and I had to have injections.

    So the moral of the story is that if you (or your kids) are going to be vegetarian, you need to read up on it and make sure they have a good, balanced diet - I was pretty poor at making sure I got the proper nutrients, hence why I got sick.

  14. #14

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    Absolutely- good nutrition is important for everyone

    I've been veg for 10 years and my iron levels are better than many eaters and have been high through my whole pregnancy- no extra supplement needed.

    There are some good books directed towards feeding veg children and not having been responsible for a veg chidl's diet I don't want to make too many recommendations so I'd suggest reading some. While nannying though some of the power-packed things I have prepared children are omelette's, lentil/chickpea burgers and tofu sticks with vegie sticks and dip.

  15. #15

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    DH and I are vegetarian and raise DS in the same way. I think someone summed it up perfectly - a balanced diet is a balanced diet whether you are vegetarian or not.
    There are many great reasons to be vegie but don't be surprised if your DH takes a while to come to the party. I would consult a good dietician who knows about veggie diets. I have one up here who does consults by email so pm me if you would like her details. She is vegan and raised three kids that way as well.
    Good luck!

  16. #16

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    Sorry for the delayed response ladies, I wrote a huge post, replying to all of you individually... and I hit post and BellyBelly ate it!!!

    I'd like to thank you all for your replies. It's been great to read the differing opinions.

    I've decided to continue with my decision. I've bought cook books and have booked in to see a nutritionist. I want to to it the right way.

    DH has come around on the idea (I knew he would). I've been making vegetarian meals for the past two weeks (which he's been loving YUM) and he now sees it's not such a big deal. He just said, if he wants meat, he'll just add it to whatever I've made. Fair enough.

    And in regard to DS, I've said I want him to be raised Vegetarian, but if he goes somewhere or he asks for meat, I won't stop him. I'll just make sure it's organic/moral meat. DH is okay with that.

    Family and friends are all ready making things hard for me. We went to my FIL's for a swim and his girlfirend called just before we were about to head up there and said "I've got tea here for you"... I explained that it was really sweet of her, but I'm now vegetarian and we've already made dinner at home. She got SO angry with me and didn't speak to me when we got there. WTF??? You're angry at me because I won't eat meat??? GET A LIFE WOMAN!!!

    Thank you so much again for all your replies and support.

    Celsie. xoxox
    Last edited by Celsie; February 18th, 2008 at 12:09 PM.

  17. #17

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    That is wonderful that your DH is so supportive as it would be really hard otherwise. Don't worry about your SIL. You will find it is a common reaction for people to be somehow offended by vegetarianism but after a while they realise that 1. it isn't a big deal and 2. you aren't criticising their choice to eat meat.

    Good work on the recipes and the dietician. There are a huge number of online sites with recipes and you will soon find a way to substitute all of your favourite foods.

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