Raising a Mini Vegan... or my current state, A Wild Toddler!
Teddy Graham was vegetarian from conception to 9 months old. When I transitioned to Veganism so did Graham.
I get a lot of questions from people who’d like to follow this path but for one reason or another have been scared into questioning whether it’s healthy. I understand the fear, because we want the best for our children and wouldn’t want to do anything to compromise their health and well-being. But when I sit back and think about it, a plant-based diet of whole foods is healthier than the diet I grew up on, (eating chicken, cheese, beef, eggs, etc).
Graham consumes a variety and delicious healthy diet. I rarely go out of my way to make a meal just for Graham, because he always eats what Sean and I are having for dinner. During lunch time I still make him regular toddler food, but instead of eating animals and animal by-products, he eats the vegan versions—vegan chicken nuggets, vegan grilled cheese, vegan mac and cheese (his personal favorite), vegan ice cream. Overall he enjoys munching on whole grains, legumes, hummus, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, just like Sean and I.
My little boy is thriving on a plant-based diet, he's strong, energetic, smart, happy, and healthy.
I put this variety snack tray together for Graham whenever we head out to the park, or play in our backyard, long road trips, or just watching an afternoon movie in the living room. Its so easy and fun for him to munch on.
Sea Salt Popcorn
Vegan Cheddar Squares
Do Not Be Judgmental
I think it’s important that vegan children understand that having educated parents who can exercise their beliefs of animal cruelty and values of living healthy by choosing to serve them a vegan diet is a privilege that many other children don’t have.
As I stated in my first blog post about becoming vegan (Read it HERE)... As a child I wish I had the knowledge about living a vegan lifestyle earlier on and how I would have become Vegan if only I was educated on it.
Some children often do not have such a choice, and eat what they are served or taught to eat by their parents. If a child is drinking a carton of milk it isn’t because they don’t love animals; it’s likely because their parent wasn’t able to prepare a more healthy option, or are unaware of healthier alternative options, (Pea milk, Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Cashew Milk, Hemp Milk, etc).
I also believe that it is important that vegan children show those unknowing children the same level of understanding and empathy as the animals we are trying to save and love upon.
We all have to try our hardest to be as kind as we can to everyone, including animals. It's all a work in progress, and the best thing we can do is to be an example for the kind of world we want our families to live in.
But in the end children are still learning who they are and we are helping them to navigate their ethics in this world. This is the challenge of parenting in more ways than simply how we eat.