Concerns over being vegan/vegetarian

EdenBound

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Hi all, great to be here. I've been looking for somewhere to discuss my worries for quite some time now, and apologise that my very first post is based on negative feelings!

Bit of background history, me and my partner have been together for around 11 years. She had been a vegetarian since childhood, and it's something I adapted to after a few years of being together.

Six years ago we welcomed our first daughter into the world. We actually fed her some meat during her first 2 years because we had concerns whether or not being vegetarian was beneficial enough for a baby/toddler. However my partner decided after a few years that she felt meat was not necessary. But, when our daughter was a few months old, we began to notice her poo was always green and very liquified. We visited our doctor a few times who wasn't concerned and just said it was a virus/mild infection. However we then noticed blood, and we demanded to be referred to a paediatrician, who suggested that my partner cut out dairy because the symptoms matched up with a dairy intolerance passed through breast milk. We were also referred to a dietician who said when our daughter gets to weaning, we can challenge the intolerance by introducing mild dairy products. We did, and unfortunately the green diarrhea returned. My partner then decided she wanted to go dairy free full time, because she'd never liked the dairy industry - even though she loved cheese! I didn't mind because I grew to like the taste of soy milk, even though the cheese back then was horrid!

Fast forward to today, we have two daughters, and live mostly on a plant based diet except for eggs which we get from our own rescue hens - I know many vegans disagree with this, so sorry for upsetting people. We try really hard to make sure the children especially get calcium enriched foods, along with fortified foods, and we try and sneak in the good veg thats high in iron and folates that they tend not to like.

I have three areas where I'm concerned:

Both of our daughters are fairly small in comparison to friends. My eldest 6yr old is thinner than her friends, while my youngest (4) is quite short, although she is pretty solid and strong - something the teachers mentioned! My family always go on about how other kids are big and strong, and constantly question our decision to be vegan (apart from eggs).

I do have concerns about their health long term. Unfortunately I've been on quite a few meat vs vegan groups on facebook, and I am getting swayed that being plant based could be detrimental long term - especially for a developing child. There are loads of ex-vegan videos online about how people become very poorly and how vegan children are malnourished.

Finally, there's the food itself. After reading up about meat-free foods, I'm worried about the amount of processed foods we eat. We probably eat things like quorn pieces, meat-free sausages, burgers etc around 4-5 nights per week, along with things like quorn slices in sandwiches and vegan pasties for packed lunches. I make my own seitan at times, but keep on reading that this is bad for you as the flour is highly processed. We try and make things using lentils, pulses and legumes (falafels from chickpeas, lentil loaf etc), but I've read recently that consuming lots of this stuff can cause leaky gut and stop absorption of nutrients. It just seems like you can't win!!

Sorry one last point, we do take vitamins and supplements. We buy high quality multi-vitamins for the children along with algal omega chewies, and we just buy supermarket branded stuff.

Phew, I'm glad I managed to get this off my chest, and sorry it's such a long read, but my partner is just completely dismissive of my worries and my family are not really supportive of the vegan thing. Unfortunately I have suffered from anxiety since a teenager, and do have obsessional style thinking, and this worry has been going round and roung my head for weeks.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Beans and legumes do not cause leaky gut. There's a lectin theory of food that circulates every forty years or so from people with letters at the end of their names that want to sell stuff. I hear your pain, though: of the 37k+ books on health and nutrition on amazon, very few are reliable. I'd suggest material from nutritionfacts.org and the knowledge-army there. (And from a preventative medicine standpoint, not only should you stay away from social media for information but it's highly suggested that you delete all social media accounts and do the same with anyone you love. The more you use them, the worse off you become.) It's fairly simple, though: the closer you can get to a _whole_ plant habit, the healthier you are. Whole means nothing bad added, nothing good taken away. You are correct about refined flour products -- all the good stuff is stripped out before they fortify it with junk. The meat alternatives have chemistry sets added which are great if you're a curious person with a McSausage habit, but not ideal for long-term health investments.

There are only three necessary supplements (two depending on which part of Earth you live on): B12 sublingual, D3 (not necessary if you're on the equator and getting a lot of sunlight), and the algae-derived omega 3 you're already getting. The multivitamins with antioxidants are ineffective at best and harmful in some observations. Get your nutrients from plants. There's a variety of things going on that science still has barely scratched the surface on and people can't put that into a pill yet. A good metaphor is the principle trumpet player of the London symphony: taking an antioxidant out of a plant and putting it into a pill is like taking the second valve out of the London symphony's principle trumpet player, handing it to you, and saying "There you go! The London symphony! Don't you feel better?!"

There are no good nutrients in eggs.

"You need to put some meat on your bones!" is just code for "Why aren't you fat like everybody else?" The balance of evidence suggests that being lean is the most healthy thing you can be. What other people perceive as normal is broken and there's nothing you can change about their perception. Be the light. Your kids will get taller the more plants they consume as early as possible.
 
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LoreD

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Hi all, great to be here. I've been looking for somewhere to discuss my worries for quite some time now, and apologise that my very first post is based on negative feelings!

Bit of background history, me and my partner have been together for around 11 years. She had been a vegetarian since childhood, and it's something I adapted to after a few years of being together.

Six years ago we welcomed our first daughter into the world. We actually fed her some meat during her first 2 years because we had concerns whether or not being vegetarian was beneficial enough for a baby/toddler. However my partner decided after a few years that she felt meat was not necessary. But, when our daughter was a few months old, we began to notice her poo was always green and very liquified. We visited our doctor a few times who wasn't concerned and just said it was a virus/mild infection. However we then noticed blood, and we demanded to be referred to a paediatrician, who suggested that my partner cut out dairy because the symptoms matched up with a dairy intolerance passed through breast milk. We were also referred to a dietician who said when our daughter gets to weaning, we can challenge the intolerance by introducing mild dairy products. We did, and unfortunately the green diarrhea returned. My partner then decided she wanted to go dairy free full time, because she'd never liked the dairy industry - even though she loved cheese! I didn't mind because I grew to like the taste of soy milk, even though the cheese back then was horrid!

Fast forward to today, we have two daughters, and live mostly on a plant based diet except for eggs which we get from our own rescue hens - I know many vegans disagree with this, so sorry for upsetting people. We try really hard to make sure the children especially get calcium enriched foods, along with fortified foods, and we try and sneak in the good veg thats high in iron and folates that they tend not to like.

I have three areas where I'm concerned:

Both of our daughters are fairly small in comparison to friends. My eldest 6yr old is thinner than her friends, while my youngest (4) is quite short, although she is pretty solid and strong - something the teachers mentioned! My family always go on about how other kids are big and strong, and constantly question our decision to be vegan (apart from eggs).

I do have concerns about their health long term. Unfortunately I've been on quite a few meat vs vegan groups on facebook, and I am getting swayed that being plant based could be detrimental long term - especially for a developing child. There are loads of ex-vegan videos online about how people become very poorly and how vegan children are malnourished.

Finally, there's the food itself. After reading up about meat-free foods, I'm worried about the amount of processed foods we eat. We probably eat things like quorn pieces, meat-free sausages, burgers etc around 4-5 nights per week, along with things like quorn slices in sandwiches and vegan pasties for packed lunches. I make my own seitan at times, but keep on reading that this is bad for you as the flour is highly processed. We try and make things using lentils, pulses and legumes (falafels from chickpeas, lentil loaf etc), but I've read recently that consuming lots of this stuff can cause leaky gut and stop absorption of nutrients. It just seems like you can't win!!

Sorry one last point, we do take vitamins and supplements. We buy high quality multi-vitamins for the children along with algal omega chewies, and we just buy supermarket branded stuff.

Phew, I'm glad I managed to get this off my chest, and sorry it's such a long read, but my partner is just completely dismissive of my worries and my family are not really supportive of the vegan thing. Unfortunately I have suffered from anxiety since a teenager, and do have obsessional style thinking, and this worry has been going round and roung my head for weeks.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



All of my daughters were raised vegan. As adults my youngest is 5'1, my middle is 5'7, and my eldest is 5'3. You can see they vary significantly in height. My youngest and eldest were thin, while my middle tended to be a little chubby. The middle daughter slimmed down after she hit a growth spurt.

My grandson was so tiny until his teenage years, that we were worried that something was wrong. He hit a growth spurt during puberty, and shot up to 6'2".

You should have them checked at their yearly checkups, but I don't think a vegan diet would cause this.

The biggest recommendation is cut back on the vegan convenience food. A pack of tofu or a can of beans is just as easy, and a lot healthier for your children.