In the early days of dating my now-husband, I came down sick after finally completing an important end of term paper. He asked how I felt and offered to make me some homemade chicken noodle soup and then deliver it to my dorm room.
I was deeply impressed with the sweet offer and also reminded that I didn’t have “vegetarian” written on my forehead. I told him how sweet he was, declined the offer, and hit him with the whammy: he had unintentionally gotten involved with a veggie chick.
We eventually moved in together and founded a vegetarian home. To this day, he doesn’t consider himself a vegetarian. He’ll eat meat when we go out or go visiting, but cooks fabulous vegan dishes for me. I make food for him with occasional success.
By the time we were married, I had already flirted with veganism a few times, so he knew what he was getting into. When our first born began gestation, I made my first attempt at a vegan pregnancy.
Oliver had unforeseen health problems, though. And we ended up having to supplement my breast milk with cow’s milk formula. He eventually had meat after 12 months or so when visiting my in-laws. And he loves it! He loves meat substitutes too. He’s even had pig meat and cheese together. My son.
My younger son, who exclusively breastfed, seems to be naturally inclined toward vegetarianism. He avoids meat and substitutes much of the time and gleefully tries all sorts of vegan food off my plate. He’ll even snack on lettuce and raw cabbage while I’m prepping dinner. We like to sneak the nuts together that my older son is allergic too.
My last child is still in utero. S/he is now being nourished by a vegan diet. I don’t intend to introduce dairy at home, my hope that veganism will be the norm for this child.
Parents cannot control what their children eat. I don’t want my children to blindly follow Veganism, but I do want them to choose it on their own free will. The best I can do is to create a Vegan home with lots of healthy and tasty food. I also have bought Vegan kids’ books (such as V is for Vegan by Ruby Roth) and share age-appropriate YouTube videos. I don’t sugar coat, but I don’t relay information with nightmarish specificity either.
When we go out, I provide them with Vegan examples and we only eat at places where this is possible. They are free to choose. Just like their dad. I predict the future will be filled with Halloween candy and birthday cake and ice cream. But maybe my choices will wear off on them.
Littering the streets are McDonald’s and KFCs. The Paw Patrol pups mow down on hamburgers. Old McDonald had a farm. The kids get food plates sent home describing a healthy diet as one that includes a cup of milk with every meal. Plus a picture of a drum stick. Their mother doesn’t know any real life vegans to share a cup of tea or a play date with.
Furthermore, their classmates and their teachers are all carnists (meat-eaters) and good people continue to support bad things.
I try to explain that when a viable choice exists (and for human history and still in many areas of the world a viable choice does not exist) it is wrong to choose suffering for pleasure.
I try to explain that our cat is an obligate carnivore, which means she must eat meat to survive and is therefore exempt from this decision.
That they can choose to be good people and save the planet.
I don’t know. I don’t know how to raise a Vegan family, but I can present a consistent message. Hope that as they grow they also question.
How about you? How do you raise little Vegans?
Until next time, keep that talk walking!