There’s Nothing Wrong With Raising A Vegan Child
We make decisions for our children every day. We shape their personalities, teach them right from wrong, and have total control over what they put in their bodies. Why do people get so offended when someone passes their dietary habits along to their child? It makes perfect sense to me that a vegan parent would raise a vegan child.
ActressÂ Â Emily DeschanelÂ (star of Bones and sister to Zooey Deschanel) talked to People magazine yesterday about her son’s upcoming birthday party. He will be three. There will be lots of vegan treats, because Deschanel is passing her vegan lifestyle along to her child:
â€œWeâ€™re going to have some vegan tacos for his party. It will be a lot of fun,â€ says the actress, adding sheâ€™s been vegan for 21 years.
â€œHeâ€™s 99 percent vegan. My husbandâ€™s not 100 percent vegan so sometimes he eats some eggs with him, but I try to make sure [they’re] coming from my friendâ€™s eggs,â€ explains Deschanel. â€œBut most of the time heâ€™sÂ 99 percent vegan.â€
This seems totally reasonable to me. The woman has been a vegan for 21 years. You naturally expose your child to your likes and dislikes when it comes to food, right? I love it when someone claims to feed their kid a vegan diet, and people go crazy talking about how unhealthy it is. If your toddler is anything like mine, getting any food in his mouth is a victory. Bonus points that this mom can manage to keep her son going with a diet that consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, grains, and healthy oils. My kid had a hot dog for dinner last night. I’m not judging anyone.
The fact is, I would get a lot less flack for serving my kid a hot dog than most vegans would get for serving their child a vegan meal. That is strange to me. For every study that claims vegan children may have growth deficiencies, there is one claiming that they are just fine (as with pretty much every parenting topic). An anonymous mom wrote a response to her choices on iVillage:
Now, Iâ€™m fine withÂ vegansÂ and vegetarians eating what they want to eat, but donâ€™t make my kids conform to your beliefs by not providing alternative dishes.
I’m pretty sure everyone’s kid would survive being fed one vegan meal at a party. They may even decide they like vegan desserts. Why not try it? Methinks this woman would have no objection to birthday mom baking a Betty Crocker cake full of trans fats for the kids.
Not only are you forcing your beliefs on your child (who still has to make their own decisions about the world), youâ€™re also depriving your child of necessary nutrients by forcing them into a vegan lifestyle â€“ when they very may well like bacon.
And not only do Vegans like Emily make their kid think tofu is yum (it isnâ€™t), now they are making other kids have to â€œenjoyâ€ veganÂ partyÂ food. Really?
Oh, please. We force our beliefs on our kids all the time – it’s pretty much our job.The real task is to allow our children to form their own tastes and opinions when they are old enough to start making informed decisions. As with any diet, you have to balance out what you omit. The ADA even points to research that showsÂ that vegetarian kids and teens take in less cholesterol, saturated fat and total fat and eat more fruits, vegetables and fiber.
There are vegan parents who make news for making bad decisions about their kid’s health. But I truly believe they are the exception and not the rule. If you have the time, energy and resources to craft a vegan lifestyle for your family — good for you. I’ll gladly bring my child to one of your parties.
(photo: Oleysa Turchok/ Shutterstock)