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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

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

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.

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 06-May-13 09:59:53

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.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 06-May-13 10:00:34

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

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 06-May-13 10:04:01

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!

Ilovewaleswhenitrains Mon 06-May-13 10:11:31

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.

ThreeBeeOneGee Mon 06-May-13 10:15:53

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?

EhricLovesTeamQhuay Mon 06-May-13 10:24:13

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>

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