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To raise my child as a vegetarian?

(224 Posts)
rstuk Mon 06-May-13 09:25:04

Both myself and DH are vegetarians and we would like our children to be vegetarians too for both health and ethical reasons, however I'm a bit unsure because all of the websites i've checked have conflicting opinions on whether or not this is good for a small child (digestion issues etc) and our parents (non/ex-vegetarians) think we're 'depriving' the child
Help anyone? i'm completely lost

squeakytoy Mon 06-May-13 09:26:25

Feed the child vegetarian food at home, allow the child to eat whatever they like (obviously within reason regarding nutrition etc) out of the home.

Allow them to choose for themselves if they wish to be vegetarian or not.

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 09:27:56

I have a few Sikh friends, all of whom are vegetarian (some vegan) and raise their families in a vegetarian lifestyle.

We've raised all four of ours as vegetarians from birth. We both come from medical backgrounds and neither of us has read any reliable evidence to say that it's harmful. Presumably any long-tern risks would have come to light by now, as whole areas / cultures have been doing this for generations. We now have a 13 year old, an 11 year old and two 8 year olds who are all healthy.

Sparhawk Mon 06-May-13 09:29:22

As long as they have a healthy balanced diet and are happy and healthy, it's absolutely none of anyone elses business. Plenty of people around the world raise their children in a vegetarian lifestyle.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:32:38

We never considered cooking meat for DS (we are both veggies). I'm medical, too, and happy he gets a balanced diet - as much as any other toddler anyway!

When he is old enough to be eating away from us - at school etc - we'll explain what meat is and let him make his own mind up about whether to eat it.

rstuk Mon 06-May-13 09:33:21

Thanks I think i'm just a bit panicky as this is our first and i'm worried i'll get it completely wrong
I like the idea of a vegetarian lifestyle at home and then whatever they choose (within reason) outside the home to give them the option later in life smile

exoticfruits Mon 06-May-13 09:34:48

If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet it will be fine. You just have to bear in mind that they may chose differently when older.

Jinsei Mon 06-May-13 09:34:51

It will be fine, as long as you ensure that your child gets plenty of protein and other nutrients (iron, b vitamins etc). Children need a slightly different balance of nutrients from adults so you might need to read up a bit. smile

We are pescatarian in our house and eat fish/prawns 2-3 times a week. However, DH was brought up completely vegetarian (including no egg), and didn't eat any meat until his twenties. It doesn't seem to have done him or his siblings any harm!

LalyRawr Mon 06-May-13 09:34:55

As long as they are getting protein from other sources then its fine. You don't need meat in a diet, you just need a balanced diet of all nutrient groups (Protein, carbs, iron etc)

WeAreEternal Mon 06-May-13 09:34:59

DS is 6, he has never eaten meat, although he does occasionally eat fish (usually in restaurants, not at home) as he likes it. He is healthy and although I received a lot of negativity and judgement I think DS is much better for his diet.

I only buy locally produced organic food, I try to keep our diets as 'raw' as possible so I make virtually everything from scratch.

DS likes his diet and has never expressed a desire to eat meat.

usualsuspect Mon 06-May-13 09:36:13

You can feed them a veggie diet, but I do think you need to be prepared for them to make their own choices as they get older.

Branleuse Mon 06-May-13 09:37:08

of course its not unreasonable. Its not a particularly controversial or difficult diet

Jinsei Mon 06-May-13 09:37:14

YY, we have always told dd that she can eat meat outside the home if she wants to. At the moment, she doesn't want to, but we realise that may change in the future.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:38:21

Of course children brought up veggie will go on to make their own choices. Just like children brought up eating meat. It's just their default will be not eating it so if they choose to it will be an active choice.

TeacupTempest Mon 06-May-13 09:38:38

I am raising DD as pescatarian. She can make her own mind up later. At the moment she is too young to decide and I would rather she ate as I do. Many cultures around the world do the same and are clearly healthy.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:40:40

I don't think it's crazy to worry about, as I said we never gave it a second thought, but since having DS some of the attitudes I've encountered (including on here) about not feeding your kids meat are hilariously hysterical.

Spice17 Mon 06-May-13 09:42:46

I've been veggie since I was 10, DH is not.

Just started weaning DD and have decided to give her chicken and fish as part of a balanced diet, mainly because I'm not great at getting enough protein myself and wouldn't want her to be nutritionally deficient in any way.

I'm also a bit lazy and being veggie can be hard work at times, particularly when eating out.

However, I did consider raising her veggie and don't think it's a problem if you do at all smile

Ablababla Mon 06-May-13 09:43:05

I have been veggie from birth as have my both my parents (outs self completely) never a question for me that my kids would be the same. My parents are in their 60s and I'd say mum is still very fit and well whilst dad about average for someone his age. Certainly I don't think their diet has had any long term effects.

hackmum Mon 06-May-13 09:43:32

I am bringing DD up vegetarian. Lots of people around the world have vegetarian diets (a lot of Hindus for example) so I don't think it's particularly controversial. I would warn you, however, that it's bloody hard bringing up a child to be vegetarian when they don't like vegetables. Sigh.

Salbertina Mon 06-May-13 09:44:10

Yes

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 09:46:37

You do realise, that as my Sikh friends tell me, if you are brought up within a vegetarian lifestyle, never having meat from birth, that any intake of meat will make them ill; their digestive system could not cope with even trying it.

>disclaimer< I have no idea if that is factual, or perhaps their experiences.

grobagsforever Mon 06-May-13 09:51:10

DD is two and is being brought up veggie. One thing I did do was bf her until she was 2.7 as I wanted to be sure she was 'covered' nutritionally speaking for the first couple of years. (Breastmilk being a good source of protien and easily absorbed other vits). Anyway she is very tall, bright, healthy, loads of energy. I have been veggie since age four and I am never ill.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 09:53:25

It's not necessarily true Holly - although I wouldn't start with a huge steak! I have a friend raised vegan who had recently started eating meat and fish with no problems.

Ablababla Mon 06-May-13 09:54:25

Holly. My birth veggie sister is now fully carnivorous. Think she had to build up to it slowly but certainly no probs now.

rstuk Mon 06-May-13 09:54:36

Hollyberrybush
I've heard the same thing which is one of my worries as it feels like the choice is slightly being taken away and spice17 i'm the same and rely on proteins like nuts and quorn but since quorn is pumped full of processed crap i'd like to keep the diet as raw as possible
I also live in the country where i do struggle to eat varied vegetarian food out the house as its very 'local meat' based everywhere , I don't count chips and cheese sarnies btw haha

Jinsei Mon 06-May-13 09:56:25

Holly, I think that's a bit of a myth. There might be some people who struggle to digest meat if brought up vegetarian, but I know tons of Indian people who started eating meat as adults, and they don't seem to have experienced any problems. Likewise with DH, who started eating meat in his twenties and only stopped again when he met me. He was absolutely fine with it.

grobagsforever Mon 06-May-13 09:58:47

Oh do jog on Holly and spread your ignorance elsewhere.

What HollyBerryBush says is true. Vegetarian children do not build up a tolerance for meat. If they do decide to become meat-eaters then they need to start gradually with a very small amount.

DS3 was given a chicken pie for his school dinner in Reception (despite his photo being up in the kitchen with a big 'vegetarian - no meat or fish' label). When he had stomach ache and diarrhoea after school, I questioned him about what he'd had for lunch, checked the menu and put two and two together.

No, go for it. Vegetarian food is yummy and can be as healthy or unhealthy as meat dishes. It's what you make it!!

I often do vege meals. Bean chillies, sweet potato and chick pea curry, Dahl, lentil bolognaise sauce. I love vege food and my kids arent wasting away when they don't have meat wink

Of course there may be vegetarian-from-birth children out there who can jump straight in and eat a plate of steak with no repercussions, but in my (and my vegetarian friends') experience, they'd be in the minority.

realtalk Mon 06-May-13 10:05:07

Why would you want to eat something that's so natural for you that you have to "build up a tolerance" to it? hmm

amessagetoyouYoni Mon 06-May-13 10:05:48

I cant see any problem with it. People all over the world are veggie and raise ther children veggie. I'd draw the line at vegan for young children, though.

UnderwaterBasketWeaving Mon 06-May-13 10:07:43

Raw food diets are more concerning than vegetarianism. It was cooking that allowed humans to advance in evolution (not phrased well, I know).

And as for quorn being full of processed shit. Well, it is a processed plant product. Much like bread.

All things in moderation. Cutting out cooking or a sensible protein substitute is madness.

RedHelenB Mon 06-May-13 10:07:45

Threebeee - it may be in your case that 2 +2 = 5 as he could have had a stomach upset for other reasons.

HollyBerryBush Mon 06-May-13 10:09:47

Oh do jog on Holly and spread your ignorance elsewhere.

Which part of my post couldn't your read properly? I really have an intolerance of idiots myself and you fall into that category

seeker Mon 06-May-13 10:11:05

When my meat eating dd became a vegetarian, it took a while for her system to adjust- she was eating more pulses and it had an....interesting... effect on her digestion. I am quite prepared to believe that some people may have the same problem the other way. But it was very mild and sorted itself out over a week or so. We are designed to be omnivores- it would be completely counter evolutionary if we had significwnt problems adjusting to a perfectly normal bit of an omnivores diet.

Of course you can raise children as vegetarians- a significant % of the world's population does!

I am vegetarian and I my daughter was raised vegetarian, she has always had a healthy diet (vegetarian society has lots of good information), there have not been any problems with her health. She is still vegetarian, and happy to be so.
Son was vegetarian until he was 2 and went to nursery, he wanted to try meat, and has ended up a meat eater when he is out of the house.

It is possible that he had a stomach upset for other reasons, although no one else in his class or our family got it. Meat never really agreed with me as a child, which was one of the (many) reasons I became vegetarian.

If people who don't digest meat as easily are more likely to become vegetarian, then that would explain the anecdotal association with meat intolerance when they try to eat it again.

I don't think it is myth or coincidence, but it could be a phenomenon that only affects some people, and might be cause (of vegetarianism) rather than effect.

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 10:18:43

* have a few Sikh friends, all of whom are vegetarian (some vegan) and raise their families in a vegetarian lifestyle.*

I was going to say something like this people are vegitarian for all sorts of reasons so the children are too, contact the vegitarian society, I weaned my children on mostly veggie food and then introduced meat <shrug>

seeker Mon 06-May-13 10:19:28

Is vegetarianism a "lifestyle"?

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 10:21:00

It can be I suppose seeker some people make it a lifestyle choice, because of ethics but it is just food imo

Geezer Mon 06-May-13 10:21:08

There are millions of vegetarian children across the world, many who have been vegetarian from birth, you have no worries in that respect. To be honest you're not looking at raising a vegetarian child from what you say, you're considering raising a child who eats vegetarian food at home. That's a completely different thing altogether.

You may like to consider now where your line is. For me it would be no gelatine in sweets, for example, so my children wouldn't be allowed most Haribo or marshmallows. Some people wouldn't think of that and would in innocence offer these things to a vegetarian child, while getting others to accept that you don't allow something of animal origin as well as the more obvious ham sandwich, well, that can really try your patience.

We've raised our two with a veggie diet. DH was veggie first and then I joined him (though recently I've been eating some fish when out/ away from home - so, yes, I'm a pesky pescatarian now strictly speaking)
They've been quite happy eating veggie food, and now at 14 and 11 have embraced the being kind to animals philosophy as a small part of their identity. They are stricter than me at any rate - recently eschewing pesto as made with non-veggie hard cheeses (which was a slight nuisance !)
Given my approach and beliefs there have been occasional lapses, such as DS wanting to try a sausage at a birthday party - and I decided to let him go ahead. Personally I felt I didn't want to be arguing with my children about their food choices, though I'm sure if I'd wanted to be a little stricter it actually wouldn't have been a problem. Certainly being veggie as a family at home should be very straight-forward smile

Geezer Mon 06-May-13 10:23:01

If you mean a deeply entrenched way of life, seeker, then yes. Lifestyle means different things to different people so it's hard to say other than that, isn't it?

It's perfectly fine. I was raised vegetarian as were my 4 brothers, I'm a chubby strappingly healthy woman and they are all tall, healthy and very athletic men. It doesn't harm growth or development as long as you ensure they eat well enough. My DS is a pescetarian (but he doesn't really like fish) and he is very well and healthy too.

Choosing to feed your child meat is as much a choice as choosing not to. Meat eating isn't the default, and veggie the alternative choice. Most people see carnivores as the default because it's the cultural norm but that doesn't mean it is a biological norm. If you believe in vegetarianism and you understand nutrition then go for it.

loofet Mon 06-May-13 10:24:18

Brought all three of our children up vegan. They're all perfectly healthy, normal weight, no health problems, not deprived in any way... It's an absolute myth that vegetarian/vegan kids are in any way malnourished or lacking in anything. Ofc being the militant vegan I am wink i'd say they are healthier than meat eaters, especially ones who give their kids processed meat.

You would do the right thing to raise them vegetarian imo. It doesn't make sense to raise them against your own moral beliefs. It would be hypocritical if nothing else. Plus can you really see yourself prepping meat? And how would it make sense to feed your child a separate diet anyway?

It does take a little more planning to ensure they get all the vitamins they need as a vegan but that's better in a way than just giving them anything because it means you have thought about their diet and are ensuring they are the healthiest they can be grin

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 10:25:42

I do think some people think veggie children are weak and wilted feeble little thing who blow over in the wind, I am sure that isn't the case

NotALondoner Mon 06-May-13 10:26:15

All veggie here, wouldn't think of any other way.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 10:27:03

Is vegetarianism a lifestyle? I don't know how I'd describe it, tbh. For us it's part of a wider attempt to "tread lightly" environmentally and in terms of minimising our own negative impact on other people and animals. <raving hippy icon>

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 10:28:35

god vinegar you old hippy you grin

grin @ mrsjay - No, my 11 year old DS has his black belt in karate for example !

mrsjay Mon 06-May-13 10:32:05

thats OK Bhuddist monks do martial arts don't they admit it you are a right hippy wink

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 10:32:05

Hah, I know. We're quite normal, honest, and DH doesn't even have a beard shock

StuntGirl Mon 06-May-13 10:32:54

Raising your child vegetarian is entirely up to you and will do your child no harm either way. Just make sure you are providing a healthy, balanced diet (like most parents try to do anyway).

I'm sure the Vegetarian Society will have some helpful and encouraging info on their website. It must be quite a common query for them I would think.

And about gelatine in sweets you'll have to gradually develop an approach to these that seems right to you. Personally I let my two decide for themselves, though I think DH (who's stricter) told them that jelly and some sweets have gelatine in them, and then they decided they didn't want them. Jelly, marshmallows, and Haribo's are the main culprits if trying to have a pure veggie childhood I'd say !

ghosteditor Mon 06-May-13 10:43:58

I've been veggie since I was 12. DH is not. DD, 15 months, mostly eats veggie by default, but is sometimes offered meat. Despite BLW and a relaxed attitude she's not very interested in food, so for us I'm glad that she has the variety.

But I don't think it's in any way odd to raise a child veggie, particularly if they are given the option outside the home.

anonpost Mon 06-May-13 10:44:28

I'm vegetarian, plan on feeding my dd the same as me at home but she can eat meat at grandparents etc.

seeker Mon 06-May-13 10:47:52

I suppose I would talk about people trying to live an ethical lifestyle which might include vegetarianism. I just think calling it a lifestyle gives ammunition to the stereotyperers. After all, you don't talk about a carnivorous lifestyle, do you?

Dilidali Mon 06-May-13 10:48:19

Happy veggie for years, DH would eat meat when out. Now thr kid discovered meat, so I cook it. She really didn't have any till a few weeks ago, but her bowels are happy. I would have not been able to devour a plate of meat like mine two did yesterday.
The only problem I have is washing the pan and plates afterwards, I do find it vile, so if they want meat, they have to wash up. I don't mind cooking it, although I really have no clue when it's done, so they eat theirs half burnt, cause that's the way the cookie crumbled.
Also, no idea about how long can you keep meat in the fridge, we go to the butcher's and it has yo be ready for me to just shove in the oven, pan, I add some spices etc, but I'm not playing with it, sod that for a game of soldiers.

I guess just stick strictly to the use by dates Dilidali, even more so when you're unfamiliar with it. Just thinking would you be happier to serve mainly veggie meals to DH and DC Dilidali - I think you should try to do what you're happy with ? Maybe just cook prepared meat occasionally if you're OK with that ? Could DH cook any meaty meals for him and DC ?
At least you have an agreement about the washing up smile

gybegirl Mon 06-May-13 11:02:56

We're not a veggie household but my dd (7) is practically a vegetarian through her own choice. She's never really eaten meat but will occasionally eat a birdseye chicken nugget if pushed (does that class as meat grin). Now she won't eat fish at all . This isn't due to her not being offered a range of meat/fish - homemade / hidden she's just not interested.

She's super healthy with loads of energy! She does eat lots of nuts and seeds though.

So long as they have a varied diet I wouldn't worry about it at all!

JenaiMorris Mon 06-May-13 11:04:33

Some (not all) of the vegetarians I know, children and adults alike, are rather tubby - they seem to exist on masses of carbs.

I could of course say the same about omnivore friends, I just can't help but suspect that if the tubby vegetarians had more protein, they'd not be filling up on quite so much pasta.

A good vegetarian diet is undoubtedly healthier than mine, so I'm certainly not being snug - I just don't think it's a given, either way.

Startail Mon 06-May-13 11:10:06

My DNiece and DNephew and they do just fine. It's hard work though as veggi toddlers can still be mighty fussy and you can't resort to ham sandwiches and chicken nuggets.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 06-May-13 11:11:34

Dd was initially brought up as vegi. Dh is vegi ( not tubby at all but then he doesn't eat pasta or rice or cheese), and wanted dd to be vegi.

She soon decided as a toddler that she wanted chicken, sausages, etc.

Though oddly enough now at the age of 12 she barely eats meat, says she doesn't like the texture. She will eat a chicken nugget but not chicken. Will have sausages but not a pork chop. She's ok with mince but won't eat a burger.

My two veggie children are very healthy and slim Jenai
I'm sure that's because they are very active as well as enjoying good healthy food (with few sweets or puddings - though they have a pudding at school) I also wonder if extended breast-feeding has been good in helping to regulate their appetites throughout the baby and toddler years ?

ghosteditor Mon 06-May-13 11:17:14

jenai I think there are a lot of chubby folk, veggie or otherwise grin

But I struggled to lose pregnancy weight gain on carby diet. I discovered veggie low carbing, lost a lot of weight and am now not restricting carb but my choice meals and carb tolerance have changed, and I'm a stone lighter than pre-pg with a low-normal BMI. So you're not wrong that protein and fats have their place in a veggie diet.

JenaiMorris Mon 06-May-13 11:19:16

Of course I meant smug, although it is true that my waistband is a little snug grin

I think it's mainly teens/young adults who struggle to eat a balanced diet, vegetarian or otherwise.

JenaiMorris Mon 06-May-13 11:22:10

I'm quite keen on eating far less meat.

My family look at me like this hmm when I suggest it though, sadly.

GreyWhites Mon 06-May-13 11:23:08

YANBU, if your choice is genuinely based on what you think is nutritionally best for them. You most certainly would not be unreasonable to give them some meat or fish either, though.

Whilst a vegetarian diet may not be the worst thing you could do for a child, some meat and fish certainly wouldn't harm them either. And lots of studies indicate it may do them some good.

I used to be vegetarian but ended up craving meat and decided there was a reason for this. I do eat it now and again, but I don't go mad with it. There's a happy medium in nutrition and I personally feel that a vegan diet makes no sense other than from a purely ideological perspective, and I think it's slightly reckless to impose this on a child. But that's just my view. I now give my son meat and fish, but not any old crap, and not very often (fish once or twice a week, meat once or twice a week)

I would say, if you're thinking of a purely veggie diet, do some reading about soya products. There seems to be some very worrying research findings on the effects of soya products on growing children, especially boys (and thus also mothers' consumption of it whilst pregnant).

sunlightonthegrass Mon 06-May-13 11:24:31

I would raise my child as a vegetarian because ethically I disagree with eating meat, so I would not give my child something I disagree with on that level.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 11:27:37

Yes, you can get by quite nicely on chips, pasta, pizza and cheese as a veggie teen (I did) and it's certainly not a given that you won't be overweight. In general though veggies have lower BMIs and less chance of diabetes, heart disease, bowel cancer etc.

We try and all have pulses at least once a day and as adults are careful not to go too crazy on the cheese and ice cream, but we are fairly active too (walk and cycle everywhere as we choose not to own a car) which helps!

Morally of course vegetarianism is a bit of a minefield as logically ethical veggies should all be vegan due to the inevitable culling of young calves as part of the milk trade but I love my cheese too much to be morally consistent

lostinindia Mon 06-May-13 11:28:54

I would have preferred for my dc to be veggie like me and dh. We opted for veggie at home and their choice when out and about. I struggled seeing them eat meat initially and would prefer them to be veggie. Eldest at 4.5yr old appears to be a committed carnivore and is trying to convert us. confused

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 11:29:07

That was "all" as in our family, not all veggies! I'm not a veggie spokesperson by any means grin

trinity0097 Mon 06-May-13 11:31:19

If you go down the route of insisting that your children are vegetarian please can you ensure that they eat (a normal range of) vegetables and other vegetarian staple foods. I work in a school and find it so frustrating that so many of the vegetarian children do not eat vegetarian food, e.g. Won't touch a vegetable, won't eat cheese etc...

Hmm, the Japanese seem to do OK with a significant traditional consumption of soya products such as tofu GreyWhites From what I've heard it's a very healthy thing to include in our diets, especially in it's more natural forms such as tofu (Meant to be especially good during the menopause and with PMT IIRC)
Also nothing wrong with a thoughtful ideeological perspective IMHO - and I think actually very positive to raise children to think of others in their choices, whether that's animal welfare or the well-being of others sharing the planet.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Mon 06-May-13 11:32:41

YANBU at all

(In fact you were being a bit U for even worrying about it)

Ps, I am not even vegitarian smile

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 06-May-13 11:33:37

I'm a meat eater and I do think loads of people do eat far to much meat than is good for them nobody actually needs to eat meat especially not every day.

I also have very strong views about the depriving comments,in my experience people who make comments about the poor little children being deprived due to food products ( when those children obviously have enough healthy food) tend to also be the people who have such a lack of imagination with regard to showing love that they can only do so via food, and I think that's a bit shit really.

Either way why is this any of their Buisness? Why are you even having this conversation with them its bugger all to do with them

claraschu Mon 06-May-13 11:34:21

3 Kids all vegetarian from birth (now 17, 15,12), very fit and healthy, not even slightly chubby, boys both A-team rugby players.

We do take some trouble to feed them lots of greens and pulses and different whole grains. They are very unwilling to try meat, and won't eat gelatine. Obviously, at their ages this is completely up to them.

We do our very best not to talk about our eating habits because people are so prejudiced. It is mildly amusing when our 6'3", very muscular, cool, rugby-playing son tells people he is close to vegan.

I could do better with "greens and pulses and different whole-grains" clara What sort of things/ meals can you recommend ? I quite liked some whole wheat things, a bit like pearl barley, that I tried recently.
You sound very proud of your lovely DCs smile

Geezer Mon 06-May-13 11:50:17

"I just think calling it a lifestyle gives ammunition to the stereotyperers. After all, you don't talk about a carnivorous lifestyle, do you?"

Very good point, seeker.

claraschu Mon 06-May-13 12:02:58

There are so many different grains and beans, and it is fun being vegetarian if you experiment with cooking different ones. Some of our favourites are: black turtle beans, pinto beans, puy lentils, red lentils, red kidney beans, navy beans, then there are aduki beans, black eyed peas, yellow split peas, giant Greek beans, etc, which I cook less often.

We have about 4 or 5 different kinds of rice (my favourite is short grain brown rice), amaranth, whole oats, millet, barley, polenta, quinoa, bulgar wheat etc.

I make different soups, stews, pies, wraps, and so on.

I also use nuts, seeds, lots of herbs and spices, and many different vegetables, as well as tofu, seitan and tempeh.

We eat some cheese and eggs, but not an enormous amount.

Our diet is fun and varied, I think, mainly because I enjoy fooling around with different ingredients. At the same time I am very lazy and never take a really long time to cook anything, and never can be bothered to follow a recipe accurately.

(Thanks for not minding me saying how great my kids are. I hate to come off as smug, but there are always lots of people who thing vegetarians are self-righteous, sickly, flabby, joyless prigs. I guess I want to defend vegetarians from all those accusations. Vegetarians are just like everyone else: some of us are annoying all of the time, some are annoying some of the time, and some are hardly ever annoying.)

smile thanks & grin - especially @ your last line clara !

Oh, and the food sounds good at your house smile

Jan49 Mon 06-May-13 12:18:46

Go for it, OP. Look at the vegetarian society website and don't take notice of what the grandparents say.

I've been a vegetarian all my adult life and my ds, now in his 20s, is a vegetarian since birth. He is moving towards veganism. He's never wanted to eat meat or fish and is repulsed at the idea.

His paternal grandmother said he wouldn't walk unless he ate meat and once he started walking at 1, she said he wouldn't grow well. He passed her height when he was 12 and she stopped saying anything after that.wink He's now well over 6ft tall and calls me short as I'm under 6ft.smile If he had eaten meat on my MIL's advice, she'd say that's why he's now so tall.hmm

Willowisp Mon 06-May-13 12:25:42

It's true that you lose the digestive juices needed to digest meat. If you've never eaten meat, your body adapts.

I was vegetarian for over 20 years, I now take digestive enzymes with every meal as I have low stomach acid.

I also used to believe that vegetarian was the healthiest option but no longer believe this to be so. I only buy & eat high welfare meat for my family & don't eat meat out of the house.

The most important thing to consider with regard to growing bodies is the requirement for a high quality protein, it's all very well mixing grains/pulses but the protein is inferior & the volume of food need to be eaten will be very difficult. I assume your DC will eat eggs ? This is the only food where you will find vitamin b12.

My suggestion is you bring your children up as meat eaters - giving organic/free range meats & when they are old enough, then they can decide whether to go vegetarian.

Yes, we all know someone who has gone from veg to meat, but do you really think they're going to detail you their bowel movements etc ?!

Sirzy Mon 06-May-13 12:27:53

I think it's only normal that parents feed their children what they cook when in the house irrespective of the type of diet you have.

As children get older they will pick what they want to eat outside of the house and I think it's right that children are allowed to make those choices and try things when they want.

TheRealFellatio Mon 06-May-13 12:33:07

I think if you truly believe that vegetarianism is the right thing for human beings and you can argue for the supposed health benefits of it then I am surprised you feel you need to question your judgement where your children are concerned. Vegetarianism either is or is not a way of eating that is complete and comprehensive in terms of the nutrients any human being needs.

If you come to the conclusion that it is not a sufficiently diverse and adequate diet to sustain your child and provide optimum health then you should be asking yourself if vegetarianism is the right thing for human beings at all.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 12:33:20

Willow that's not true, dairy products are a good source of B12. (As well as Marmite!)

iclaudius Mon 06-May-13 12:36:29

Vegetarianism for my last two children and not the others. Last two are the lardy ones!!

CarpeVinum Mon 06-May-13 12:43:21

Why would you want to eat something that's so natural for you that you have to "build up a tolerance" to it?

People who have eaten a low fibre/high processed diet have to build up a tolerance to pleanty of veg, legumes etc. It's not unknown for belly ache, toxic fart-i-tus and a bit of "the world just fell out of my bottom" at the start of a significant change in diet. Starting small and building up lets the digestive system adust.

Does that make veg and beans slightly less natural ? No.

two of mine are (one has now chosen to eat meat).

they were brought up in a vegetarian house so that's what they ate.

people judged but that's their problem not mine.

i remember my gp asking what i fed the youngest at weaning age and thinking 'here we go again, more abuse' but he was just interested and said it was helpful for him to pass on to others.

all my children are happy and healthy.

MostlyLovingLurchers Mon 06-May-13 12:44:16

There was no question that i'd raise my son as anything other than vegetarian. He also has no dairy due to allergy. The official advice on soya milk is not to feed to under 2s, though other soya products can be used from 12 months (the evidence for there being a problem is a long way from conclusive, but that is the advice). There are some pretty good recipe books for vegetarian babies and children - the Carol Timperley one has been the most useful one i bought (goes from weaning to toddler), and as others have said there is good advice on the Vegetarian Society (and Vegan Society) websites.

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 12:48:08

DH & I are vegan. DCS eat cheese, milk & fish. Over time we will phase that out but while they are little it gives them good fats & oils, but we're vegan for health reasons so that is why we'll phase it out when they get to toddlers.

I don't think you can be vegetarian for ethical reasons because diary cows are treated far worse than cows that are destined for steak dinners. Ethically you would be better off eating a big juicy steak than drinking a pint of milk. If you're doing it for ethical reasons you should be vegan. I'm always a bit confused when a vegetarian tells me they are doing it for ethical reason because is bollocks. That aside, I think it's fine to raise children vegan or vegetarian as long as you have a healthy balanced diet. Just make sure there are plenty of quinoa, legumes and such in your diet.

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 12:49:20

Plenty of other milk options, quinoa and oat milks are good.

I was brought up veggie so have never eaten meat. Perfectly happy with that, I'm 5'10" and have always been a healthy weight.

DD eats meat, but then so does DH. If we were both veggies we'd be bringing her up veggie as well. FWIW, all my family now eat meat, I'm the only one who doesn't.

My parents used to live above an slaughterhouse in the 70s...kind of put them off for ages!

WeAreEternal Mon 06-May-13 12:52:00

My family are all vegetarian, which is why I chose to bring DS up as vegetarian.

I occasionally eat meat because DP does but it is only maybe once a year as I have trouble digesting meat, and it usually gives me quite an upset stomach.
the first time I ate meat was when I was 17 I thought I had food poisoning I was so ill, but it just turned out that because I had never eaten it my digestive system had never produced the enzyme required to digest meat.

If I wanted to be a meat eater I could force my body to produce the enzyme, but I don't see the point really.
I'm allergic to dairy so I eat a pretty good vegan diet.
And I don't believe meat is at all beneficial to a person.

I do however think fish can be beneficial, which is why I allow DS to eat it.

BedHanger Mon 06-May-13 12:52:49

I don't think you're being unreasonable, but as someone who was vegetarian from birth to mid-20s, I would never raise my own children as vegetarians. I'm absolutely convinced that meat and fish are necessary for optimal health.

PurpleBananas - whilst I take your point about the treatment of animals in the dairy industry I think you were a little harsh when you said that being a vegetarian for ethical reasons was bollocks (or words to that effect)
I guess everyone draws their own line in the sand (is that the right expression ?) on these things.

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 14:48:59

Maybe, I didn't mean it to come across as harsh. I have a friend who is forever going on about how he is veggie because he hates the mistreatment of animals and frequently posts on fb links about the poor animals yet he wears leather shoes and belt. Eats loads of diary, sweets containing gelatin etc, I just can't take him seriously. If he said it was for health reasons then fair enough I can understand that. I just find the whole thing a bit hypocritical.

I wouldn't say that was really hypocritical Bananas - just maybe not very thoroughly thought through ? - but then lots of people are veggie but still wear some leather eg.shoes.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 15:00:54

Purple I absolutely agree it's not morally consistent - and I posted about it upthread. For me personally the ease of eating dairy/eggs from a healthy diet point of view, and my fondness for cheese and coupled with concerns about the environmental sustainability of eating large amounts of air-freighted "meat alternatives" mean that right now I do eat dairy/eggs but when life is less hectic, I'm not pregnant/BFing and have more time to think and cook well, I fully imagine myself going fully vegan. It's unquestionably the right thing to do morally from the animal rights POV.

We are leather-light ie always buy alternative if feasible and affordable, but no gelatine (imo eating gelatine just isn't compatible with calling yourself a veggie)..

GreyWhites Mon 06-May-13 15:21:42

The Japanese seem to do OK with a significant traditional consumption of soya products such as tofu GreyWhites

Have a look at this article for example. It also deals with the "but what about the Chinese/Japanese?" argument. From an ethical point of view, soya is also fairly questionable (links to deforestation and slavery).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2004/nov/07/foodanddrink.features7

More info here too summarising some of the research to date:

http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/food_and_drink/1337453/the_dark_side_of_soya_how_one_super_crop_lost_its_way.html

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 15:23:26

Vinegar have you looked into local veg boxes? We get organic veg boxes delivered twice a week, all from a local farm on the outskirts of the city we live it. Very reasonable cost and delivered to the door which is very handy as you don't have to cart it home from the shop while pregnant/bf. They also have some chickens so eggs are also available, the chickens are treated well and we know that as we have visited the farm. We eat in season so produce is constantly changing.

We do get quinoa, mung beans, oats etc from the shop but the bulk of our food is local and much nicer.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 15:28:55

Oh yep, we are part of a local veg/fruit scheme already. It isn't delivered, but we pick it up from an independent health food shop 2 mins walk away.

It's the pulses/soya/grains stuff I struggle with in terms of environmental impact. And it's easy to cook exclusively veggie, with zero brain input at the end of a long shift at work and cycle home! Probably just because it's what I'm used to (veggie since age 12).

But as I said I know it's morally nonsensical really, I'm just making excuses!

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 15:38:45

I know what you mean. I don't think soy products are very healthy tbh and we generally avoid them. We have mung beans once or twice a week and quinoa, everything else is veg and you're right it is so easy to cook. I think part of the problem is people think if you are veggie/vegan you must eat tofu and that's not the case at all. I wouldn't eat it and certainly wouldn't give it to the DCS.

The hardest thing for me was finding sweet treats but since a vegan friend told me about frozen bananas out through the juicer and The Wannabe Chefs raw salted almond brownies I haven't looked back.

VinegarDrinker Mon 06-May-13 15:48:09

Did you see this article, Purple m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa ? Do you find you get enough protein with only eating pulses a couple of times a week? We have a 2 yr old and I'm currently 32 weeks pg so try and get some into most meals, but that may be overkill.

The footnote is also important though - that 97% of soya worldwide is used for animal feed....

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 16:05:48

No I hadn't seen that, sadly it doesn't surprise me. We buy fairtrade so hopefully we are doing the best we can.

I think we get enough protein but we do eat a huge amount of vegetables and juice 2-3 times a day (usually with broccoli & spinach) so I think that's enough. Being pregnant you really shouldn't juice though, and you are probably doing the right thing eating more whilst pregnant. You could always lessen them in meals and move to juicing when you have had the baby.

We never get ill, have loads of energy, exercise each day are healthy weights so I'm confident our diet is good.

I find mung beans are excellent as an alternative to mince. I often make a big mung bean pie packed with veg and topped with mash, the DCS love it.

TidyDancer Mon 06-May-13 16:07:32

Veggie family here! <waves>

DP was pescatarian until recently, but is now vegetarian. We have taken the decision that we will raise the DCs on a vegetarian diet and that includes when they eat out in restaurants or at other people's houses, etc. It was an easy decision to make nutrionally and also avoids either DP or I having to handle meat, which I think he would find difficult and I find impossible.

If the DCs make the choice to eat meat when they are older, we will respect that, but will still serve a vegetarian diet at home.

TidyDancer Mon 06-May-13 16:07:53

Oh, and we are all healthy. smile

megsmouse Mon 06-May-13 16:38:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 06-May-13 16:42:31

In terms of protein seitan is really easy to make in whatever flavour you fancy.

fuzzpig Mon 06-May-13 17:53:56

YANBU at all, so long as you respect their decision to try meat if they want to one day. But that works both ways - so if my non-vegetarian DCs want to go vege/vegan one day then I will not stand in their way.

As it happens we don't eat meat every day and thanks to this thread I will be looking up the Vegetarian Society website for inspiration.

I have been making an effort to include more protein due to a health condition and it is surprisingly easy to find other sources that we all enjoy - for example I rarely bought nuts due to expense but now I started my 5yo absolutely loves them too, and they are a goldmine of other nutrients.

Generally we don't buy red meat but stick to poultry, and I am trying to increase fish intake for oils etc. But we eat vege meals quite a lot, I wouldn't stand for the "it's not a meal without meat" attitude that some people I know have.

I certainly agree a good vege diet is very healthy indeed. Definitely better than relying on protein intake from heavily processed meat like ham and sausages which I am phasing out of the house now. They make me feel horrible lately anyway. Can't comment on the processedness of quorn/tofu as I don't eat them. Totally understand wanting to avoid all processed food but I couldn't stick to only raw food, too many things I'd miss!

rstuk Mon 06-May-13 17:55:50

Hi, sorry took so long to reply, been enjoying the sunshine
I initially had no worries about giving my child a veggie diet its more other peoples horror stories that are worrying me that veggie diets aren't suitable for weaning and young children but from the sounds of things a veggie diet is perfectly fine for everyone grin
Thanks for all the lovely suggestions and support thankswine

greenformica Mon 06-May-13 19:10:39

As long as they get all their vitamins from a well balanced diet, it's fine. Beans and pulses can provide lots of protein

cyberfairy Mon 06-May-13 21:02:25

I would add that as a pretty much lifelong vegetarian who has a toddler who I have bought up veggie that you tend to make more of an effort making super healthy dinners than someone who relies on (often crappy processed) meat for protein. The lovely dinners often go in the bin but would not feel comfortable making my child dinner I can not test. Squished avocado on a piece of toast or rice cake with a face made out of chickpeas and olives is currently the way my fussy toddler is eating pulses. Oh and sweetcorn fritters are your friend...lots of recipes online.

cyberfairy Mon 06-May-13 21:05:56

You can also 'hide' pulses by making a pate with say cannellini beans (pretty much just by squashing them with garlic or something) then pop it in a wrap with some cheese/tomato/whatever they like that day.

Catmint Mon 06-May-13 21:07:06

Another veggie family here, hello!

Shallishanti Mon 06-May-13 21:09:40

I have 3 dcs in 20s and one teenager all vegetarian since birth all fine and none have fancied eating meat once independent. I don't see why people think it's an issue- you bring your children up the best way you can, to do the things you do...madness to think you would cook meat for children if you were vegetarian yourself.

Fab41 Mon 06-May-13 21:12:23

My Ds is proud to be the only vegetarian in his school. Admittedly this is a small village school, but he made the decision himself at around 4. We rarely buy meat for ourselves, occasional bacon or duck, and we will eat fish. He is completely vegetarian and also doesn't eat cheese. He is happy with lentils, tofu, quorn and vegetables. He is a lean, strong rugby playing boy, so no problems health wise.

exexpat Mon 06-May-13 21:17:42

And another 'success' story here: I'm vegetarian, my 2 DCs have been brought up mainly vegetarian with a little fish (DH was omnivorous, & they were born in Japan, where fish is hard to avoid); one won't eat cheese and one won't drink milk but otherwise they've had a broad veggie diet with lots of veg, tofu, pulses etc plus dairy and eggs, and a small amount of fish, maybe once or twice a week.

They are now aged 14 and 10, both healthy, very tall for their ages, quite muscular, and both still vegetarian/pescetarian by choice - I would not try to stop them if they wanted to eat meat at school or elsewhere, but they have not wanted to.

I think it is perfectly natural to bring children up eating the same food as their parents - doing anything different seems weird to me.

Dilidali Mon 06-May-13 21:48:45

JugglingFromHereToThere thank you for the reply. I found out that when you buy meat from butchers there is no sell by date lol.
I was worried that my kid would rebel just because mummy says meat is vile, so now I am 'letting' her try. Given that 50% of the time I cook, 50% of their meals will still be vegetarian, I am just being open.
I grew up on a farm, I understand how life works, I just absolute hate the smell/texture.

fuzzpig Mon 06-May-13 22:06:23

I was pleasantly surprised at how well chickpeas go in a stir fry.

Also if you heat them in a little oil, add curry paste, then mash them up with a little water to a smooth consistency they make a fab dip. Much nicer than hummus IMO smile

Avocado is one of my very favourite foods, I'm pleased my 5yo loves it (pretty good considering I refused to try it until I was 18 blush - fell in love instantly thereafter) but DS doesn't unfortunately.

Purplebananas Mon 06-May-13 23:56:29

And chickpea curry is lovely.

Ludoole Tue 07-May-13 00:33:45

Ive been vegetarian since 9 and im now 37.
I made my choice to not eat meat or fish and my children will make their decisions as they grow.
I dont like cooking or handling meat but i have for my boys since they were weaned (they are now 10 and 13).
They like burgers, sausages, chicken and fish but also enjoy quorn products.

Every parent is entitled to make a fully informed decision for their own children, just as long as they are ready to accept that a child may decide otherwise as they grow.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 02:40:39

The main problem with bringing up kids as vegetarians is the difficulty in finding bioavailable iron and B12 in vegetarian food. Some veggie foods are rich in iron (such as pulses and leafy vegetables), but it's a form known as non-heme iron, of which we can process and use about 10%. Heme-iron, which is the prevalent in animal foods, can be processed and used by humans up to 80% (and it is more abundant in animal foods to start with). Pregnant women who are vegetarian NEED iron supplements, I still have not met a single one who is not iron-deficient. And most non-pregnant women could benefit from iron supplements. One of my friends, a veggie, thought she wouldn't need them. She also went through periods of being really tired and distracted. She had a blood test and yup, very low ferritin (hamoglobin is the "currently available" iron, ferritin are iron stores, in lay terms). She started on iron supplements and in her own words, "her life has changed".

B12 is completely absent in non-animal products. Don't let anyone fool you telling you spirulina has loads of it... it does, but it's a form with no bioavailability at all for humans (i.e. you will pee it all out). There is no B12 in Vegemite, and the one in Marmite is added as a supplement (no B12 in yeasts). It is not such a big deal for adults, but it IS for babies and toddlers, and for pregnant women, as B12 is crucial in brain development (and children's brains are not completely developed until 3 years of age).

Spirulina, however, has a very good protein content, very similar to the amino acid composition in meat. So it is recommended in order for vegetarian children to achieve proper muscle development.

TheRealFellatio Tue 07-May-13 04:09:51

and of course all children love Spirulina. wink

Even I, a true spinach and sprouts lover, can barely stomach that bitter slime.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 05:56:15

hahahaha I loath the damned thing. But I am not a vegetarian, so I have no need for it :P

Children usually do not love Marmite either...

JenaiMorris Tue 07-May-13 08:17:09

What about eggs though, aurynne?

Salbertina Tue 07-May-13 09:02:29

We're omnivores, fgs, there's s reason kids can't get enough iron from a veggie diet! They may also eat way too many carbs- pasta/rice/bread etc.

i agree we shouldn't have too much meat though- the occasional free-range chicken dish, for example rather than
a daily, processed burger. Also respect to those veggies who are giving their kids the occasional meat/fish dish.

FreedomOfTheTess Tue 07-May-13 09:28:24

Salbertina - you don't know what you're talking about.

There are PLENTY of ways to get enough iron in a vegetarian diet. It just requires planning. Spinach, tofu, pumpkin/squash/sunflower seeds are just three examples.

It's all about balancing meals and making sure our children get the right amount of nutrients, and of course, they don't have too much of certain things.

All parents should do that, not just veggie parents.

Salbertina Tue 07-May-13 09:38:59

Interesting way to express disagreement...

Are you claiming we're not natural omnivores?? Iron levels far lower in green veg than meat and of course it's stating the blooming obvious to say we should all watch our kids' diet.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 09:45:09

But you didn't say we need to watch our children's diet, you said children can't get enough iron from a vegetarian diet. The first would would have been true, the second is rubbish.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 09:51:03

aurynne - re the B12 issue, you seem to be confused between vegetarian and vegan diets. There is absolutely no difficulty with getting sufficient B12 in a vegetarian diet, as it is found in eggs and dairy products. Vegans are the ones that have to pay a bit more attention, but many vegan foods have added B12 so it's not really a big problem unless you avoid all processed food.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 09:54:25

And re the iron in pregnancy thing - my iron levels were fine in my first pregnancy, despite having been vegetarian for about 15 years by then. They were a little low in the last couple of months of my second pregnancy, but then I think at least half of the non-vegetarian mothers I know were also low on iron in pregnancy despite eating red meat.

plinkyplonks Tue 07-May-13 09:55:57

I see nothing wrong with it. Been a veggie for years, had no problem getting the right nutrition. OH is a meat eater so we will probably do a 50/50 split with our kids until they are old enough to make a choice.

Whoever mentioned veggies not getting the right nutrition - it's OK if you don't feel comfortable with vegetarianism, but backing it up with bad science is very wrong :/

Salbertina we are omnivores meaning we can happily live on meat, vegetables, grains and pulses. Cats are carnivores for eg, they need meat. Cows and vegetarian because they can't live on meat. Humans have the choice. We are healthy enough without eating meat, and healthy enough if we do.
I don't agree with this idea that meat eating children get an ideal balance in their diet and vegetarian children need a lot of special thinking and planning. Many many meat eaters feed their children a carb heavy, meat heavy, low of fresh fruit and veg diet, with a lot of salt and processed food. I actually think it's simpler than we assume. I make sure DS has a variety of food throughout the day, to include grains, dairy, protein, fruit and veg. That comes quite naturally to me and doesn't involve spirulina or similar weirdness. He doesn't have a very varied palate but he eats enough of what he needs. He's healthy and strong. Job done!

Salbertina Tue 07-May-13 10:09:32

Thanks for the simple explanation wink

My point is that as natural omnivores, we therefore naturally need a well-balanced diet which should include the occasional portion of meat/fish. I realise I am hugely outnumbered by veggies on here, fair enough, as you were. Just expect -and respect- different viewpoints if you post in AIBU!

Purplebananas Tue 07-May-13 10:21:45

I'm vegan and have my iron levels tested regularly, the last time a couple of months ago my levels were higher than average. It is possible if you eat properly. On the other hand when I was pregnant with my DTS and eating meat, my levels were so low I could barely manage the energy to get out of bed so had to take supplements.

Yes, but as natural omnivores, there is no should about where we obtain our minerals, protein etc. you believe we should eat occasional meat and fish, I disagree. As long as the diet is balanced it will meet our needs as humans. It's a choice...

TheSlug Tue 07-May-13 11:21:13

I was raised veggie, and am now pregnant and will raise my children veggie. I've never had a health problem related to my diet, I've never been deficient in anything, never over weight, never underweight, although I was slim as a young teenager. My two brothers are the same, one is very tall, the other is tall as well and very well built, and both still do not touch meat or meat products (gelatin, supplements etc) I eat a much more varied diet than most of my friends, and certainly more varied than my husband ever did before we were married. I do rely on Quorn quite heavily though, this thread has inspired me to look up some recipes to try this week!

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 11:27:36

exexpat I did not say it is impossible to get these nutrients in a vegetarian/vegan diet. But it is indeed very difficult to get the proper balance, and as you say, frequently have to resort to supplementation or fortification... when if we just made use of our evolved omnivore gastrointestinal system we could obtain all necessary nutrients, in the right proportions, without needing to import foods which we would never have access to naturally otherwise (such as cyanobacteria, tofu or quorn).

And what I talked about is not "bad science". It is bloody good one, published in reputable international journals and thoroughly peer-reviewed. Bad science is what you find most times in "vegan online websites" and "the natural world magazine" :P

FreedomOfTheTess Tue 07-May-13 12:07:15

The British Dietetic (you know the qualified EXPERTS in diet and nutrition) make it very clear that vegetarian and vegan diets are perfectly healthy (for adults and children alike), providing meals are carefully balanced.

I trust the opinion over the fully qualified experts over random people on the internet.

FreedomOfTheTess Tue 07-May-13 12:09:40

I've not seen anyone say this on here, but my vegetarian parents were told that raising children as vegetarians would "stunt growth".

I'm 6ft 4, my brother is 6ft 7 and my sister is 6ft 1.

If it stunts growth, thank heavens for that, otherwise we may have ended up over 7ft! wink

crescentmoon Tue 07-May-13 12:25:50

reading this thread reminded me of something i read ages ago about how average eight in Japan has increased...

www.nytimes.com/2001/02/01/world/tokyo-journal-the-japanese-it-seems-are-outgrowing-japan.html

from the end of the second World War until now by 5 and a half inches, and its thought to be related to the doubling of animal protein intake in their diet since 1960. are vegetarian nations shorter on average than non vegetarian nations all other things being the same? it wont change my ideas about cutting out meat anyway but i wonder what others think?

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 13:04:31

Younger Japanese are certainly getting taller (as are younger generations in most fully developed countries - most people are taller than their parents) but I think the effect is exaggerated in that study because the first cohort was one which was stunted by the effects of serious malnutrition during the war years in Japan.

Among Japanese families I know, the grandparents (born in the 1930s and so growing up at the peak of food shortages) are tiny, but their children (my generation, born in the 1960s) are often a head taller; the third generation (born in the late 80s/90s) seems to be growing up a little taller than their parents, but the difference is nowhere near as dramatic, despite a big leap in the consumption of meat and dairy products in the past two or three decades.

spiderlight Tue 07-May-13 13:14:59

We're a completely vegetarian household. DS is now 6 and very tall, strong and healthy - he's had 100% school attendance for two years apart from one day when I was too unwell to walk him round, and has never needed to see a doctor. He has a suitable liquid iron and B12 supplement several times a week, which he loves the taste of, we make sure he eats a varied, balanced diet and we've never encountered a single problem. We've always let him make his own decisions about sweets that other people give him in party bags etc. but he gets me to help him check for gelatine and then politely declines or gives them away to another child. He's far healthier than many of his meat-eating friends, in fact!

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 13:15:05

The question about whether vegetarians are shorter on average is interesting, but it would be very difficult to separate out from genetic/ethnic factors.

The only country I can think of which has a large number of vegetarians by choice (rather than by default because of poverty) is India. Indian men are short by world standards on average, but there are huge variations mainly to do with socio-economic status. I can't find any data, but I would guess that high-caste, wealthy, Hindu vegetarians would tend to be better nourished and therefore taller than meat-eaters living in poverty.

I certainly don't think being vegetarian from birth has stunted the growth of my two DCs - both followed the 98th centile line from birth, DD is still the tallest girl in her year at age 10; DS has now (I think) stopped growing at age 14 and nearly 6ft. He is by far the tallest male in our family, and is about 3 inches taller than his meat-eating father was.

spiderlight Tue 07-May-13 13:16:49

x-posted - DS is March-born but the second tallest in his class. DH and I are both slightly on the shortarse side, so it's not as if he has very tall genes.

Height is also favoured in terms of status though isn't it, tall people in most societies are rewarded with higher status, better jobs etc. ? So, if Indians from the higher castes are taller it probably isn't all due to diet.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 13:27:46

I may have this wrong, but I think caste in India is inherited, and fixed for generations, so you can't improve your caste status by being taller - you get better nutrition/jobs/status because of your caste, and that makes you taller.

It is true that height tends to be correlated with higher salaries/higher status jobs in Western countries, and as parents with a higher income can generally afford better nutrition and medical care for their children, the next generation are also likely to be taller and earn more etc etc.

crescentmoon Tue 07-May-13 13:28:36

thanks expat thats very interesting about the food shortages during the 2nd world war having an effect on the first records of heights taken in the late 50s. i think as you say people are generally taller than their parents everywhere. when i asked all other things being the same - the major economic differences between Brahmins and Dalits would mean they probably suffer from malnutrition.

but if vegetarians and non vegetarians both had healthy balanced diets, but the latter took their protein from animal sources and the vegetarian didnt would it on average make a population difference in height. would that be because of what their mothers ate during pregnancy or because of what the children ate growing up? i faintly know theres a link between nutrition during pregnancy and other factors but i dont know about height.

MummytoKatie Tue 07-May-13 13:37:26

I'm a happy meat eater but do believe that the easiest way to give your children a healthy balanced diet is to ensure that your own diet is really good and then feed them what you eat. (Or a better version - I tend to wait until dd is in bed before hunting out the mini magnums!)

I'm a bit obsessed with iron levels (due toa massive PPH after dd's birth and the horror that the iron tablets caused) and red meat is a nice easy way of getting it. But there are lots of others (including dried apricots which are dd's favorite food ever!)

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 13:39:56

crescentmoon - the article says the first measurements were taken in 1946, and the article dates from 2001 and talks about the past 50 years, so the baseline would be precisely the wartime generation, turning 11 between 1946 and 1950. I would guess by the late 1950s, the effects of wartime and immediate postwar malnutrition would be diminishing, but the Japanese economy did not really take off until the late 50s/early 60s, so the main nutritional benefits and increased height would be noticed in children born from then onwards.

If a mother is well-nourished during pregnancy, and children are well-nourished from birth, I don't know if it makes a difference whether the protein sources are animal, dairy or vegetable. In my experience, I would say not (see above: two large babies (over 9lbs) who have been consistently tall for their ages) but of course anecdote is not the same as extensive data.

VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 13:44:40

Some interesting discussion. But just to pick up on one point: aurynne said " Pregnant women who are vegetarian NEED iron supplements, I still have not met a single one who is not iron-deficient."

Well, I beg to differ. My Hb and Ferritin are fine, thanks, at 32 weeks, and they were last time too.

And as an obstetrician I see a lot of healthy non anaemic pregnant vegetarians all the time.

crescentmoon Tue 07-May-13 13:51:58

reading it over again i think i mistook the increase in animal protein from 1960 as roughly when the records began, but as you said they started right after the war.

what about the effect of dairy products? more milk, yoghurt and cheese in the diet?i know its vegans not vegetarians who dont have dairy but nations like china and japan that have increased their dairy consumption has that led to any changes in average heights etc?

ghosteditor Tue 07-May-13 13:52:21

Ditto, I had my bloods checked pre- and post-natally and my levels were fine, and I've been vegetarian for a long time.

GirlOutNumbered Tue 07-May-13 14:08:30

My son has a few allergys and I am weaning him at the moment. The dietician suggested I up hi s meat content and she was telling me that it's really unusual for anyone to have an allergy or intolerence to meat.

Not much to do with the conversation, but thought it was interesting.

OscarIsABookworm Tue 07-May-13 14:33:13

I think height has a lot to do with being undernourished. Under Franco Spain had a couple of generations where the people were shorter due to undernourishment.

My iron and ferritin levels were fine in the singleton pregnancies but I did have to take iron in the twin pregnancy. I think it was less related to my vegetarianism than to the fact that it was my fifth pregnancy in four years.

Hullygully Tue 07-May-13 15:07:28

Haven't rtft

just wanted to say

HOW THE HELL DO YOU THINK MOST OF ASIA MANAGES?

StuntGirl Tue 07-May-13 16:40:45

Hully grin

rambososcar Tue 07-May-13 17:23:51

" " Pregnant women who are vegetarian NEED iron supplements, I still have not met a single one who is not iron-deficient."

aurynne, you have now. Nice to 'meet' you.

May I introduce my healthy lifelong vegetarian children too.

Ah the old vegetarians are not healthy myth. Cos of course meat miraculously turns a meal into something highly nutritious no matter what it is. Meat eaters don't get malnourished at all hmm

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 20:41:52

So I assume all the vegetarian pregnant women with healthy iron levels who post here "showing me wrong" are vegan, do not eat quorn, tofu, spirulina, and do not take food fortified with iron or B12 AT ALL (which are the ways for vegans to get their iron and vitamin B12 levels right). In which case I would be very interested in using you for one of our nutrition research papers, really, because you are a very select and rare population

Or perhaps they do some of these things, and they just did not read my post properly, or they feel they have something to prove.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 20:42:22

(oh, and they do not take any supplements)

rambososcar Tue 07-May-13 20:49:05

I'm not pregnant so would be of no use to you in your research by the sound of it but otherwise, yes, you'd be welcome, aurynne. When I was pregnant I fitted that description. I have nothing to prove apart from that I did read your post properly.

MissBetseyTrotwood Tue 07-May-13 20:53:20

My DSs have four friends between them who come from entirely veggie families. We have another friend who raised her DCs vegan. They're all totally healthy and fine. I'd say more planning is involved and the vegan ones read up massively before committing though.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 20:55:49

Aurynne - you still seem to be confused about vegetarian v vegan. In your original post you only used the word vegetarian; now you seem to be saying you are just talking about vegans?

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:02:39

Aurynne's original quote : "pregnant women who are vegetarian NEED iron supplements, I still have not met a single one who is not iron-deficient".

I am long-term vegetarian, and was not iron-deficient in my first pregnancy (no iron supplements); mildly low on iron at the end of my second (levels of 9.5 or something, so only just). Sounds like lots of other women on here were also fine.

PaWithABra Tue 07-May-13 21:06:06

we were a vegetarian family until my son tried some ham. He loved it so much he couldnt stop from running round shouting meat, meat , meat.

with such incoent enthusiasm my self depravation for 'health and ethical' reasons started to look a lot like posturing and fashion .. so we all tucked in and never looked back smile

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:12:50

We use vegetarian as you use vegan and call any other person who eats animal products by defining what animal products they eat (i.e ovolactovegetarian). Eggs and milk are not vegetable products. I should have mentioned that at the beginning.

VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 21:14:45

I think you are looking for vegans, not vegetarians aurynne

I am no use to you as I'm veggie, not vegan. In addition, shockingly, I have been known to occasionally partake in cornflakes which are apparently banned too?

So what you want is vegans, who don't ever eat fortified breakfast cereals, or tofu? (Or spurulina, though I have no clue what that is any way...)

Surely you are the one with "something to prove", setting such ridiculous and arbritrary conditions. And you've contradicted yourself, too - if vegetarians can get sufficient B12 and iron via tofu, fortified cereals, spurulina and whatever else, let alone dairy, then surely your earlier quote "all pregnant women need iron supplements" is just nonsense.

VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 21:16:21

Who is "we"? I've never heard of vegetarian meaning vegan before.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:19:00

Scientists, VinegarDrinker. We are constricted by having to use precise terms. And as I am not a vegan or vegetarian, I really never worried about using the "popular" term (I till struggle to call someone who eats eggs a "vegetarian" to be honest). But hey, there are people who eat fish and chicken and still call themselves vegetarian...

Why would you call yourself a vegetarian when you eat eggs, milk, honey... why not call yourself a non-meatarian instead? smile

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:19:44

Who is 'we'? Because the standard definition of vegetarian - as used by the Vegetarian Society, all supermarkets, cookery books, restaurant menus etc - is someone who doesn't eat meat or fish, but does eat dairy products and eggs. Someone who avoids all animal products, including dairy and eggs, is a vegan.

seeker Tue 07-May-13 21:20:19

"We use vegetarian as you use vegan' AH- that explains it! Personally I use elephant as you use windmill- hope that doesn't confuse anyone....

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:21:00

X-post. Which scientists? Because research reports I've read also make the distinction between vegetarian and vegan.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:21:38

grin at seeker

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:22:16

seeker, there a slight difference between using two completely different and unrelated terms, and choosing to use the more precise one of the two. How do you explain calling yourself a vegetarian but eating animal products? Isn't that a bit hypocritical? (not criticising here, it is a true question)

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:23:31
VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 21:25:00

I'm not sure what is so tricky about the concept of vegetarianism vs veganism.

Without trying to be rude, is English your first language?

rambososcar Tue 07-May-13 21:26:13

aurynne, are you British/in the UK?

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:26:13

Oxford dictionary basic definition of vegetarian: oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat or fish.

I'm afraid you are rather swimming against the tide here, Aurynne...

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:26:14

We do explain the terminology at the beginning of the reports and articles. But as I don't really use it much in everyday talk (very few vegetarians of any kind where I come from) I tend to think (wrongly) that vegetarians do not eat animal products.

Now, can we move on to answer the rest of the stuff? It was getting interesting smile

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:27:15

No, I am not British and I am not in the UK. But I am sure it can still allow an interesting debate smile

VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 21:27:57

Anyway. Can you explain a bit more about why you are excluding women who eat good vegan sources of iron/B12 from your study? Surely that is going to produce results that are worse than useless.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:28:08

(there is a whole World out there outside of the UK, and non-British people also eat)

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:30:33

VinegarDrinker, what I was trying to point out is that vegan diets are poor sources of heme-iron and vitamin B12. in order for a vegan person to achieve healthy levels of these two crucial chemicals they need to retort to supplementation, fortification or consumption of processed food which has to be imported from very far away places and would not be naturally found anywhere close to where they live.

I was honestly not trying to offend anyone, and I am very open to hear from those of you who seem to be convinced this is wrong.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:32:40

Oh, and all this came from the idea of bringing up children vegan. Iron and B12 are crucial for many processed involved in early development: hematopoiesis (synthesis of red blood cells), oxygen transport, brain cell development... So I personally would not think being vegan orn raising a child vegan from birth is a very reasonable option, unless they retort to supplementation, fortification or using sources of food which are rich in these nutrients. That was all, really smile

Hullygully Tue 07-May-13 21:33:42

Why can't vegetarians eat tofu? It's from a bean.

rambososcar Tue 07-May-13 21:35:16

"No, I am not British and I am not in the UK. But I am sure it can still allow an interesting debate smile "

I'm sure it can too. What I was wondering, and your answer seems to have proved me right on, is whether there might be a difference in terminology between natives of my country and wherever you are from. smile

rambososcar Tue 07-May-13 21:36:26

Hully, because it's vile!

The truth is, if you eat a shit diet be it vege vegan or meat then yes you will end up deficient. A vegan living off toast and jam will be as poorly as a meat water who lives off chicken and chips. The key to health is a balanced diet , be it with meat. Or with vegetables and dairy priducrs. Or with vegans and substitutes.

Meat eaters can get complacent assuming because they don't exclude anything that their diet is complete. It is possible to be deficient eating meat too. A heavy meat diet can also be bad for you.

People on restricted diets either thru ethical reasons or allergies are usually much more conscious of what they need to eat and how they can obtain a optimum nutrition.

Casting a study in the nutritional deficits will count for nothing unless you run a study along side using meat eaters.

Hullygully Tue 07-May-13 21:37:17

It's all right. Even my dog likes it.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:39:30

I can accept that vegan diets for children and pregnant women need more caution, planning and possible supplementation. The problem was that you seemed to be saying that those warnings also applied to vegetarian diets, which is not true, according to all the research I have read, as well as my own experience and that of other people on this thread.

It really does help if you use words to mean the same as the standard dictionary definition or common usage, but if you are not a native speaker, that is not your fault. Glad we have cleared the confusion up.

VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 21:39:31

Well, of your list Quorn is produced in the UK (although not suitable for vegans) as are fortified cereals,. but I take your point regarding shipping etc.

But then we are getting into the realms of environmental impact rather than nutrition or animal welfare. I happen to also be interested in the environmental aspects of food production (see some of my earlier posts re quinoa, soya etc as part of why I am not vegan) but not all vegetarians or vegans are. For some it is a purely animal welfare issue.

exexpat Tue 07-May-13 21:42:45

Tofu is not vile. But if you have only ever eaten it in the UK you could be forgiven for thinking that.

Fresh tofu as made and served in Japan and China is delicious - all you need is a drizzle of soy sauce and some grated ginger and you can eat it raw, just as it is.

VinegarDrinker Tue 07-May-13 21:44:09

I would see "using sources of food which are rich in these nutrients" as a positive thing vegans/vegan parents are doing to improve their health rather than the negative or failure you seem to be implying it is confused

Of course if we are talking food miles, there is a lot to be considered in terms of soya, quinoa etc but vegans are hardly the only ones eating air freighted food!

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:44:47

I understand, and sometimes the language I use hen debating can be incendiary, as seen by the responses I get. This happens in any language I discuss in, so I have assumed it is my fault. It actually annoys me, because people get offended and stop discussing the really interesting stuff, damn!

OscarIsABookworm Tue 07-May-13 21:45:13

In aurynne's profile she says she is Spanish living in NZ.

We have actually come across some restaurants in Spain that consider ham vegetarian confused

Just for the record what most people (certainly everyone I know) consider vegan/vegetarian is..

VEGETARIAN:
Vegetarian is a blanket term used to describe a person who does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.

VEGAN:
Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products.

aurynne Tue 07-May-13 21:46:30

Thanks Oscar. Actually, I eat tofu too :P.

OscarIsABookworm Tue 07-May-13 21:48:54

I don't it's disgusting stuff.

rambososcar Tue 07-May-13 21:51:03

grin @ aurynne.

spiderlight Tue 07-May-13 21:56:40

I'm reminded of the lovely scene in the Royle Family where Nanna is told a guest is vegetarian and responds with great sympathy, as if it were some terrible affliction, and then asks 'Could she have some wafer-thin ham?'

fluffypillow Tue 07-May-13 22:02:19

I'm veggie, DH meat eater. My children ;

DS1 : kept him veggie until 2, then he started to eat meat. Age 12 told us he wanted to be veggie, and has been strict veggie for 3 years now.

DS2 ; kept him veggie until 2, then he started to eat meat. Still eats meat, and I think always will do.

DD ; 2yrs old. she is veggie, and will probably remain so for a long while as she has shown no interest in meat at all.

Each to their own I say. just go with your instincts as a parent, and always listen to your childs point of view. When they are old enough to make a decision either way, repect it and accept it. Then you can't go wrong. Good luck.

ZebraOwl Tue 07-May-13 22:39:18

As plenty of other people have said, children raised on a healthy vegetarian diet will be grand. Like children raised on a healthy omnivorous diet. I'd think the sensible thing to do would be to provide them with a vegetarian diet & if, as they get older, they want to try eating fish &/or meant, let them do so. Same way omnivorous parents should allow their children to choose to become vegetarian.

My brother became pescetarian at the age of 4 when he asked if the chicken you eat is the same thing as chickens at the farm or if it just happened to be called the same thing. On hearing it wasn't just a coincidence he decided he'd not be eating meat anymore. Sadly, the one occasion he did so it made him very ill: early on in his time at Junior School he was forced to eat a beefburger by the evil bully of a dinner lady. Probably it was partly the distress that made him sick, but still... I wasn't allowed to turn vegetarian until I was 13 due to concerns about my dairy allergy meaning I would Eat Nothing. At 13 I decided I was just going to not eat the stuff any more & no one was going to try forcing me to.

With vegetarian children you'll have to be prepared for other people to hoik their judgeypants up and/or Just Not Understand. Several times as a teenager adults tried to force me to eat fish. I should probably have considered a career as a highly specialised magician using the skills I developed to make the poor fishy corpses disappear without my having to eat them. Then there was the awfulness of my French Exchange family thinking I ate fish because a pescetarian girl called herself vegetarian so her mother thought I'd be fine with fish for tea when a group of us went to her house when the French students were here. Couldn't stand to make a fuss, but then had to endure a week in France avoiding fish. The night my exchange student's brother brought his new fiancée round I managed that horrible combination of swoony-sick when they had lobster. Just the noise of the shell cracking made me feel so unwell my exchange student's mother sent me off to bed because I looked terribly ill. Bleurghle.

There are an awful lot of myths kicking about with regards to vegetarianism, but plenty of people have helpfully been along to this thread to bust them. As others have advised, look to the Vegetarian &/or Vegan Societ(y/ies) for advice & support & make use of the tonnes of recipes there are available out there.

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 08-May-13 09:36:18

Having ended up with a vegan baby by default (he would always have been vegetarian but then he also had a dairy allergy), i have never had to resort to supplements. What i have done though is opt for extended breastfeeding and aim to continue to natural term. He now also has oatmilk which (so shoot me) is fortified. I also saw a paediatric dietician to put my mind at rest that he was getting everything he needed - he was.

Once in France i'd ordered a salad, and it turned up covered with tuna, despite my explaining no meat or fish - they said they couldnt possibly just serve me a garnish as a meal! I lost a lot of weight on that trip.

Talking about extended breastfeeding LovelyLurchers - My DC's asked recently if a vegan baby could be breast-fed. I said definitely yes ! That was kind of the point - that the milk was for the mother's own babies !

Willowisp Wed 08-May-13 17:30:48

you might not need to 'resort' to supplements, but long term deficiencies will cause problems as the years go on.

I'm all for animals - I just think eating grass fed, well reared, organic & free range meat is better than for health than than trying to balance plant protein.

Of course, the 'thing' with a vegetarian diet, apart from the cheese/crisp & pizza eater further up the thread, is most will make a conscious decision to eat a diet full of fresh food, won't drink too much (not so much choice in vegetarian & vegan wine) & probably won't eat refined sugar via biscuits/mlk chocolate.

MostlyLovingLurchers Wed 08-May-13 18:16:53

you might not need to 'resort' to supplements, but long term deficiencies will cause problems as the years go on.

An unbalanced diet may result in deficiencies, but this is true of a poor meat-based diet as well as a poor vegetarian one. Have a look at this:

ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/502S.full

Willowisp Wed 08-May-13 20:48:06

Might be worth actually nutritionally analyzing you & your kids diets before stating they are getting the required amount of protein (which you need to grow strong - not tall - strong) & iron & look at the amount of carbs you & they eat.

I had quite a shock at how difficult this is - think for my height & weight I need at least 55g protein a day. The average vegetarian meal packs less than 10 g. Not filling, not nutritious.

The only vegans I know look ill - terrible hair, skin & look older than they are. My strictly veggie friend has rotting teeth, prematurely lined skin & terrible hair. Her finger nails split, as do the sides of her mouth. Other veggie friends are always watching their weight because they are always hungry because carbs just distrupt your blood sugar.

Yes, of course 'everybody knows someone', but go into any diets being informed.

FWIW the inuits eat mainly meat supplemented with berries. Their diet is high in omega oils & they do well on it. Year long studies on 2 men eating meat exclusively for a year showed NO vitamin deficiencies.

My vegetarian diet has seen me anemic, vitamin B12, folate & vitamin D deficient.

Bring on the liver & the bone soup.

cyberfairy Wed 08-May-13 21:52:21

Willowisp a pointless anecdote from you so one from me- I have been strictly veggie from 10 and at 34 get IDed and am asked my skincare routine (depite it only consisting of water)
A crap dinner is a crap dinner- most vegetarians make more of an effort to give a balanced healthy dinner as they work out proteins etc - a lot of meat eaters just shove sausages on a plate.

plinkyplonks Wed 08-May-13 21:52:48

Agreed that it is important to go into vegetarianism/veganism informed. However, just because someone is vegan/vegetarian/meat eater doesn't mean they will necessary have a balanced/unhealthy diet.

As for protein, I'm surprised you think vegetarian meals are low in protein. I have no problem meeting my protein targets for the day. Lot's of lovely pulses and soya! http://www.care2.com/greenliving/vegetarian-protein-sources.html

cyberfairy Wed 08-May-13 22:07:18

Agree with Plinkyplonks I ate crap as a student along with all other students-my crap was cheesy chips instead of kebabs. Once I became a bit older, started to be healthy and make good healthy food, other friends of the meat or veggie eating variety also did the same or else carried on eating crap...my child made me strict in looking up balanced healthy protein rich veggie meals rather than falling back on bags of --factory farmed--meat from the supermarket.

TheSlug Thu 09-May-13 09:18:29

Willow why on earth do you imagine that your friend's teeth have anything to do with her being vegetarian?

exexpat Thu 09-May-13 09:42:52

I've never met any vegans who sound like Willow's friend - does she have other health issues? I've been vegetarian nearly 30 years, don't take supplements, and look pretty healthy, though I say it myself. The vegan couple next door (also my age, with four vegetarian children) look the picture of health.

QuacksForDoughnuts Thu 09-May-13 10:01:41

Willow, I am a 30-something vegan who gets ID'd for alcohol on a regular basis. I have been told I look less exhausted than my immediate colleagues at the end of a five-week stint where I was working two or three times as many hours as them. First year students mistake me for a classmate rather than their tutor when they first meet me, so I have to dress really formally for work and wear a staff ID to avoid this. A colleague thought I was taking the piss when I told him how old I was on my birthday. I get a bit unfit over the winter when not doing much manual labour, but give me a couple of months of decent weather and I'll shake that off. I take a B complex as an insurance policy, but so do many meat-eaters. I get anemic around periods, but again so do many meat-eaters I know who bleed heavily - in fact I think the person who recommended my current favourite iron supplement might have been a meat-eater. I get bouts of depression, but you've guessed it, so do a wide range of my friends including those who eat meat. I also have a tendency to go nuclear on people who suggest that depression, be it mine or that of someone who lives on Mucky D's and microwave pizza, is a nutritional issue - that can have an effect but not a major one if your brain is determined to hate you. My skincare routine and products are no better than those of other women my age whose bathroom business I'm acquainted with, so the whole looking young thing isn't down to that. I would take extra supplements if I got pregnant and give my baby B12 from the start, again as insurance, but I had vitamins pushed down my throat from an early age when I was, guess what, eating meat several times a week from weaning. So the vegan thing only makes a difference in that it pushes me to think harder about these things.

Ok, this is purely anecdotal, but so are the cases you describe!

OscarIsABookworm Thu 09-May-13 10:27:11

Willow Really? Sounds like bullshit to me. If your veggie friend really has rotting teeth. bad hair and nail etc then I would think there is something else going on and she is ill. You should take her to the doctors.

Since going vegan, so many people have said how great I look, my hair is thicker, nail stronger and there is nothing wrong with my teeth.

I guess you can eat a crap diet if you are a meat eater, veggie or vegan. The meat eaters I know generally eat quite poor diets compared to me, and processed foods feature quite a bit in their diets.

OscarIsABookworm Thu 09-May-13 10:38:20

Sorry typos on phone

iclaudius Thu 09-May-13 11:22:49

If we're talking like this...
I've been a vegetarian exactly 30 years am now 45. When I took my son for his first day at university I was mistaken for his friend and later students said to him 'you are the one with the young mum!'
Last week a friend texted me that her dd had said I looked younger than her ( the mum) in fact I'm four years older !!
I am only anaemic in pregnancy when I gestate huge boys and have never had health issues. I do not eat pulses etc nor piles of protein . I do love carbs but my bmi is 20
I never take supplements
People are ott about this
I just avoid meat and meat products it's simple

GreyWhites Thu 09-May-13 15:40:13

This is such an interesting thread! I am so happy to hear of veggies managing to raise healthy children. I must admit I am very skeptical about the idea of a vegetarian and especially a vegan diet for kids, based on my own anecdotal experiences. (Friends who were brought up veggie and who are, for want of a better expression, developmentally stunted, the perennially unhealthy vegan friends, etc).

My own concern with a vegetarian diet is down to maintaining a diet which is relatively low in saturated fat. I found when on a veggie diet that cheese seemed to feature far more than I would have liked. If you then factor in concerns about the safety of protein sources such as tofu, it can get tricky.

SquirrelNuts Thu 09-May-13 15:47:19

I've been a vegetarian since I was 4, I'm pretty healthy, I've had 2 healthy DCs. My DCs eat what I cook in doors, DS occasionally tries some of DPs meaty food and eats meat when they give it at nursery. I certainly wont be cooking him any though (not that I'd no how to anyway!) I do give my DCs vitamins when I remember I think i'd give them even if we were meat eaters

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