Transitioning to Veganism with 2 Young Children

dapretz

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Hi All,

My partner and I recently decided to try veganism.
I have always been keen to become vegetarian, but tried not to think about it too much in case I did, which would make life awkward.
My partner, Jen, used to be a vegetarian, but transitioned slowly back to a meat eater whilst living abroad (fish, then chicken, then everything).

Recently the feeling to significantly reduce my meat and dairy consumption had grown very strong. I purposely re-watched documentaries such as 'What the Health' to strengthen my views.
I spoke to Jen and she was in complete agreement. We did not want to become reliant on meat substitutes and cheese, so we decided to cook entirely plant based to acquire new recipes going forward.
This quickly snowballed, and we have found ourselves being essentially vegan.

I have done research online and I am fairly confident that I will be able to eat a balanced diet and not become nutrient deficient.
I am worried about my daughters though. I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old (currently breastfed) and would hate to make them deficient in anything.

Has anybody had any experience of bringing up young children vegan?

I'm unsure whether or not I should let my 3 year old eat some meat and dairy. My head is full of the negative health aspects of both, but both do have some health benefits too.

I'm also not sure how Jen becoming vegan will affect the nutrients in her breast milk.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 
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mavrick45

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It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.

:)
 
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Lou

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I think you are absolutely right to be concerned.

On the positive side, children and moms get frequent checkups and visits to the Doctor. Don't skip these and also discuss your concerns with your doctor. One of the nice things for you is with the frequent checkups, any deficiencies can be spotted early.

I recently read something online about B12, breast milk, and vegan moms. I will see if I can re-find it for you. I think it was also discussed in a thread here somewhere. If I remember it right there was some concern about it.

I also read something about Iodine deficiencies in the UK. Don't think this is a vegan issue. It's just that in the UK they don't iodize their salt like they do in the US. And if I remember right Iodine is real important for development.

Here is a link to a thread that covers most of the same ground and your concerns.
 

Emma JC

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congratulations and welcome to the forum @dapretz

Lou and Maverick have given you great information and my suggestion would be to watch some of the YouTube videos put out by vegan parents.

There are lots of them and I am sure a quick google search will bring them to you, some of those that I watch are:

Ellen Fisher
Sarah Lemkus
Kathrine Moen (husband Jon Venus)

Family Fizz is vegan with a 6 year old that has been vegan since birth, 1 one year old, also vegan/breast fed, a baby on the way and a 13/14 year old that has been vegan for half of her life. I don't necessarily recommend watching them as being vegan is only a small part of their "show" as they now have over 2 million subscribers and so spend much of their time doing challenges etc. I also don't agree with their type of veganism as they eat a lot of junk foods and oil laden, sugar laden, salt laden foods. All this said they are a happy cheerful sweet family that are living a dream life and part of that life has been built on their vegan connections and followers, myself being one of them. I watched because they were vegan and now watch because they feel like family.

There are many people, now in their 20's, who have been brought up vegan or vegetarian, and are thriving. Nimai Delgado is one such person.

Here is another and here is her YouTube video (this is the first that I have watched her):


All the best to your family and please keep us updated with your progress.

Emma JC
 

Emma JC

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hey @dapretz

I am not sure if you watched the video from Born Vegan? today I noticed she has a newer 5 minute video that she did a quick Q&A with Dr Greger on Veganism for Kids and is it Brainwashing...

Emma JC

 

dapretz

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

We've had an eventful first month as a vegan family.

Approximately 10 days in, my partner and I either contracted a stomach bug or had food poisoning (we had eaten at Yo Sushi the day before - all vegan of course). My partner then became nauseous at the though of what she'd eaten the day, and went back to eating dairy products.

I was a little disappointed, but she is her own person, and I can only imagine how hard transitioning to Vegan, then getting sick whilst breastfeeding must be.

I was still going strong, and was adding various vegan pages to my instagram, I came across a post from Eathling Ed which simply said, 'Why Vegans don't eat eggs' and this is the moment may life changed for ever!

I had no idea that male chicks were macerated on the day they hatched. I was horrified, and I realised how ignorant I was on global farming processes. This led me to watching Dominion, then Land of Hope and Glory, then Eathlings.

I told my partner the next morning and said she had to watch it. I likened what I had seen to the part in the matrix were Neo is offered the red or the blue pill... you can ignore the documentaries and return to you normal life, or you can watch them and see how far the animal cruelty goes.

She managed less than 3 minutes of Dominion (the part where the piglet is mutilated) and she broke down sobbing, shaking and repeatedly saying, 'turn it off, turn it off, I won't eat any animal products anymore just turn it off'.

Since then neither of us have strayed, and have both really enjoyed discovering the wealth of new foods and flavours that we ignored as meat eaters.
Our eldest daughter has been fussy with some of the new meals, she definitely misses eggs and cheese, but we're determined to find a way.

I have also managed my first convert. My best friend, an animal lover, watched Dominion and has just completed his first week.
 

Emma JC

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well done and thank you for the update!

Emma JC