Why My Kids Aren’t Vegan

When I tell people I’m vegan, almost uniformly the first thing out of their mouths is, “Are the girls too?”  To which I reply no and they relax and stop thinking I’m totally crazy.

There are a lot of vegan parents out there who are adamant that their kids are raised vegan.  Celebrities like Alicia Silverstone and Emily Deschanel have eaten vegan throughout their pregnancies and have said they plan to raise their children vegan.   I think that’s great for them.  Whatever works for their families.  But it doesn’t work for mine.

First, I’m the only vegan in my family.  Not my husband, not my in-laws, not my parents, no one but me.  My kids will be exposed to non-vegan foods growing up and I don’t want them to feel deprived.  I also don’t want it to be difficult for relatives at family get togethers trying figure out what they can serve my kids.  No one feels too bad if an adult, like myself, misses a meal, but it would really bother them (and my hungry kids) if they couldn’t just eat whatever.

I want them to have a “normal” childhood complete with sleepovers and pizza parties and birthday cake. Maneuvering through social situations growing up is hard enough.  I don’t want to make it harder by having them have to say, “Thanks, but I’m vegan.  I don’t eat cheese”, or hot dogs or ice cream or baked goods with eggs in them or whatever else.

I also worry from a health perspective if a vegan diet could provide all the nutrients their growing bodies need.  I think it can be a healthy diet, if you are aware of what you need to eat to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.  That being said, I think to expect little kids to eat quinoa, hemp, dark leafy green vegetables, and a lot of other vegetables  on a regular basis might be pushing it.  I know there are studies out there that say it is a healthy diet for everyone, I just don’t want to take my chances.

The biggest reason though, is I believe veganism is a choice.  I made the decision to go vegan based on  ethical, environmental, and health reasons.  It was a personal decision based on my personal beliefs  and I know it isn’t right for everyone.  I would never force my beliefs on someone else, including my children.

I suspect as they get older we will have conversations about why mommy eats differently.  I suspect they will all try vegetarianism at some point during their adolescence.  I would be surprised if at least one didn’t become vegan.  And I’ll support their decisions and teach them how to do it right.  And if they want to stay omnivorous, I’ll support that too and keep cooking meat a couple times a week

Either way, I plan to teach my children how to eat healthy and expose them to a wide variety of foods so they can make their own decisions when they’re older.

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About Jessica Anne

11 Responses to “Why My Kids Aren’t Vegan”

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  1. Ratz says:

    You are right Jessica. I am a vegan too and in my case, i have always been. My parents never forced me to consume non-veg and so it was more easy for me.

  2. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli
    Twitter: kristinglas

    Good answer. I can tell you from my limited experience that feeding a child with a restricted diet is not an easy task when out and about.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I can only imagine how hard that would be. If there’s good reason, then it is what it is, but no need to make things harder than necessary. :)

  3. Galit Breen
    Twitter: galitbreen

    This is really interesting and thoughtful. I can tell that you really thought your decisions and explanations out.

  4. DaenelT
    Twitter: DaenelT

    Omg, Jessica Anne, you’re the first vegan I’ve ever met who has taken that approach. I’m not a vegan but I’ve had friends who were and they’ve even made their pets vegan (but that’s a whole nother issue). My twins were “veganish” from birth. They weren’t big on meat, even now that they’re in their teens, they don’t eat a lot of meat (maybe once or twice a week). We never forced them to eat it ’cause they genuinely seemed to dislike it. My other two kids, however, LOVE meat. I just make sure I keep plenty of protein rich foods in the house and let them go. They’re all healthy and strong. Anyway, love reading your vegan posts (hubs and I have talked about doing Meatless Mondays after we get settled).

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I think kids innately listen to their bodies and know what makes them feel good and what doesn’t. I want my girls to continue to listen to their bodies and I don’t want to force something on them that doesn’t feel right. Glad you like the posts. I plan on posting some recipes soon, so maybe you’ll find some inspiration for Meatless Mondays. :)

  5. Loncen Gray says:

    Thanks for posting, I am a father of a ten and three year old and I agree whole heartedly with your view on not forcing your choices on your kids. I am living a vegetarian lifestyle and my ten year old son loves stake. Although I made the choice for me I wouldn’t limit him as I think decisions are much stronger when they originate from the person making them rather than inherited from parents.

  6. Chris says:

    I understand that you want them to make their own decisions, but do you think that health wise you should be steering them to less dairy for example. Dairy is full of cholestorol, saturated fat and protein which actually leaches calcium from bones. Studies show that people who consume dairy have more problems with fractures. I won’t start with how inhumane it is for the mother cows. I actually have less of a problem with chicken and fish although I am a vegan. Dairy, dairy is the worst.

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I think that is one of the benefits of having them exposed to both sides. I don’t use dairy when I cook or bake, so they will learn that from me. I definitely try to watch their dairy intake and they are exposed to alternatives. I’m hoping they will learn from me why I choose to stay away from dairy, and will make the same decision themselves.