Adults following vegan lifestyles is largely accepted nowadays. While there are still people who think vegans are crazy, most vegans can go about their daily lives without being ridiculed. But, as I've noticed, the situation often changes when parents make the decision to raise their children vegan. That's when the judgement and concern begins. Even I find talking about this topic difficult because of its controversial nature. I'll begin by saying that I am not a parent, and don't plan to be a parent for a long time. On top of that, I'm not an expert on this topic and won't ever claim to be, but I have done a lot of research and will present my findings in this article. My goal is to show, with scientific evidence and my own observations, that a vegan diet is adequate for people in all stages of life. Of course, most people reading this blog will already know this, but I'm hoping this post can be used to educate others about how healthy vegan children can be.
Vegan parents may face a dilemma. They can choose to feed their children a standard diet, igniting feelings of moral conflict, or they can choose to raise their children vegan and deal with the resulting judgment. Both options have negatives and positives, but my guess is that most vegan parents will risk judgment and will raise their children vegan - for the animals, for the environment, and often for their kid's health.
"Vegan children eat more varied, colourful and exciting foods than many of non-vegan children I know."
Vegan children are not deprived. They can still eat all the food their friends eat, only veganised. They won't be missing out on anything. I grew up as a vegetarian child, and while I was made fun of every now and then, I felt proud of my choice to not eat meat. It was part of my identity. I didn't feel ashamed or left out. I knew I was doing what, at the time, I thought was best for the animals, and this was comforting for me.
There's a fantastic group on Facebook called What Vegan Children Eat. It's full of posts of wonderful vegan food enjoyed by vegan children, and it shows that they're really not missing out at all. In fact, from what I've seen, vegan children eat more varied, colourful and exciting foods than many of non-vegan children I know.
"According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Dietitians of Canada, a vegan diet is suitable and appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle"
Now, let's get to the facts. According to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Dietitians of Canada, a vegan diet is suitable and appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle - including, of course, infancy. These are some very well-known, reliable organisations with loads of knowledge and decades of research under their belts, and they insist that well-planned vegan diets are suitable for children. Of course, with improper planning, health problems can arise - but the same can be said for any kind of lifestyle.
Milk-feeding is an important topic to address here. It's pretty much general knowledge that the best food for an infant is their mother's milk. That's nature's way. Now, I'm not going to fire up a debate about whether parents should breast feed or bottle feed. I think that choice should be left up to the mother or carer.
The way you choose to raise your child may change the world
And now I will reiterate on that exact point. I said the choice to breast feed or bottle feed a baby should be left up to the baby's mother or carer. A lot of people would agree with me on this. Many people believe that parents know what's best for their own child - so why does this often change when parents choose to raise their children vegan? As far as I see it, parents should be allowed to make choices that are best for their kids, so long as they aren't harming them. Vegan parents often make the healthiest choices for their children, as they are notoriously passionate about food and cooking - so they're likely to make more home cooked meals - and they're also accustomed to checking the ingredients in packaged food, so they always know exactly what's going into their child's mouth.
"Most vegan children will grow up with compassion for all life, respectful of all creatures great and small."
And so, to address the dilemma I mentioned before, I think it's best for vegan parents to raise their children vegan, if doing so is what's best for the child (and, in the majority of cases, it is). Most vegan children will grow up with compassion for all life, respectful of all creatures great and small. In my eyes, this is an admirable trait to instil in a human being. We can never have enough respectful and compassionate humans. Vegan children can also expect to grow up with a better understanding of where their food comes from, which will encourage healthier and more ethical purchases later in life. Although vegan parents will likely face criticism and ridicule, the benefits greatly outweigh these negatives. Raise a child vegan, and you'll have done your part in creating a better future for us all.