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View Full Version : curiosity speaking: how do you raise your kids vegan?



lamb
09-11-2005, 09:00 PM
Hey, I'm only seventeen and NOT looking for my own kids any time soon, don't worry! But it just struck me today how hard it would be to raise vegan kids during the schoolyear. It's true that i come from a small town so my school's menu is very limited, but i just eat at home every day to avoid the hassle of packing a lunch. For those of you out there with kids, how do you do it? Do you pack their lunch every single day and make them promise not to eat animal products when they're off with their friends? Or do you let them just make their own choices? Like i said, the thought just hit me today and i become curious. Thanks for any input!

Jennarator
09-11-2005, 10:07 PM
For the record I am not a parent either, not to humans anyway. But to add to your post, I know a family who raised their kids vegetarian "in womb" as it were. The kids usually got, no, always got lunches packed for their school days, but by the time they were in highschool and leaving during the day for sports trips and games and things, their food choices changed. For example, actually I've been in this situation also on the highschool soccer team, if the whole team bus stops for dinner/lunch, and they decide on Mcdonalds, then what? The kids of this family I knew would order chicken nuggets occasionally, or else get teased about being vegetarians. They didn't really like ordering meat, didn't think it tasted all that great, and are still, as adults today, practicing vegetarianism. I agree vegan is a whole new story. I don't think the issue of food choices crosses school faculty minds much. Just wanted to add my comments.

lamb
09-11-2005, 10:26 PM
thanks for the input! I was wondering about the same thing... It's like even if you feed them packed lunches every day what do they do when left to their own devices and at the mercy of peer pressure? That's a really big influence when you're a little feller... I hope it's one of those things that you just naturally hang on to if you're brought up with it, for the sake of the future.

attackferret
09-12-2005, 09:16 AM
It's not just peer pressure.. while away on a school trip, one of my friends (who was raised vegetarian) was forced to eat a meat-based soup by the teacher! Her parents were really, really pissed off when they found out.

ETA: her parents weren't pissed off at her, but at the teacher.

gladcow
09-12-2005, 09:59 AM
My son (7 years old, 2nd grade) is vegan. He brings a lunch I pack everyday to school. I often add something "fun" like cookies so that the focus is off how "different" his food is than others (like, it contains fruit! and vegetables! *gasp*). I also keep some treats on hand in his classroom (usually packaged cookies) so that when kids bring treats for their birthday he can have something too. We've done this every year since kindergarten with little to no problems. I have a little chat with the teacher at the beginning of every year to let her know the issues (he is allergic to cow's milk, so I always stress that issue).
easy peasy.

bird
09-12-2005, 11:10 PM
Mmm... gladcow's new avatar is making my mouth water! gladcow, you sure have a talent for doing that! :p

equality
09-20-2005, 03:40 PM
I don't know if my opinion is valuable for anyone since I don't have any child nor I plan to, but if I would, they would be vegans.

shedonteatmeat
09-20-2005, 06:57 PM
My 6 year old is vegan, we pack his lunch daily- I don't think he'd want to eat the nasty school food even if he could ;) He chooses not to eat animal products, so there is no issue when stuff is offered to him. And like gladcow, we keeps snacks at school "just in case".

And @ gladcow- fruits! gasp! soooo funny. Shae was shocked this year, a little girl in his class "brings lunches just like mine!!!" he says. Turns out her mommy feeds her fruits & veggies too, not kool-aid & chips...

ConsciousCuisine
09-20-2005, 07:11 PM
Ditto on what the other lovely vegan mommies have shared. My daughter is 12 and in middle school and she helps make her lunches and has 75% control over what goes into them (with a bit of guidance to make sure it's well-rounded ;) ).

I always bring in treats to share and whenever I pack her lunch I tuck a few extra treats in to share with friends so she can have fun with the social aspect of eating and also show others that organic vegan foods ROCK!!! :D

She has the added benefit of attending a small cooperative charter school with *no* vending machines or the like to tempt/brainwash her peers and sodas are discouraged even in sack lunches. Also, the children can eat during class (as long as they don't distract themselves or others much) whenever they are hungry and making good choices is supported/praised at her school. I LOVE her school!

I *know* my sister occasionally takes her to places I don't approve of and while I express my dislike for her eating a veganized Taco Bell bean burrito when she's with her auntie (white flour, hydrogenated oils, high sodium, cross-contamination) I must trust her to make better and better choices for *herself* or she'll just rebel completely...hey, at least it's vegan and she only eats one a few times a year at this point, so I know it's best to back away from the subject!

I *do* make sure to have fun and "junky" foods for her a few times a week (vegan "chicken" patty sandwiches, pizza, nachos) so she doesn't feel like a freak. She says that even our "junk" foods are healthier than most anyone's healthiest foods and I tend to agree... The whole food thing is working well and she loves veggies and fruits, so we are doing good thus far!

bird
09-20-2005, 11:51 PM
Awesome parenting, gladcow, shedonteatmeat, & CC! :banana:

AdiaStar
09-24-2005, 09:57 AM
My daughter Mia is ten months old and vegan, because she is being nursed. She eats a few fruits and veggies(man do those veggies make her gassy!!!) I haven't tried to give her any soy or tofu products yet because of her gas issues.( knowing my luck she'll be allergic to soy! NOOOOO!! :o )

These past few weeks Angelus71 and I have been thinking about when she attends school what would her lunches consist of. I don't want them to be so different looking than the rest of the kids.
I can remember a few times when I was in elementary school and a brought a Nutella(Oh How I miss you sweet Nutella!! :embarr: ) sandwich for lunch. The stares and comments that I had a poop sandwich. I was dubbed the poop eating girl. Not very nice when you're 6/7 years old.
I even got comments when my mom made me a tomato, basil, olive oil, salt sandwich. I was like hello, I eat these all the time!!!
We have a few years before we have to deal with that with Mia. My concern now is when we go to people's houses and they offer Mia every single food under the sun, (even my mom which really pisses me off!!!) cookies, and cakes, and coffee!! I just started to bring her little cookies and breadsticks with us everywhere we go.

Sorry for going a little OT.

Take Care!
AdiaStar

Kat
09-24-2005, 11:19 AM
Adia, that reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the girl brought moussaka to school and her classmates were like "EWWWW YOU'RE EATING MOOSE KAKA!!"

AdiaStar
09-24-2005, 11:32 AM
Adia, that reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the girl brought moussaka to school and her classmates were like "EWWWW YOU'RE EATING MOOSE KAKA!!"

That's exactly what it was like! I love that movie by the way.

bird
09-24-2005, 11:32 AM
Kat just loooooves My Big Fat Greek Wedding. :p


Adiastar, I feel you on the teasing. In junior high, a longstanding friend of mine (meaning since elementary school, naturally ;) ) and I were eating lunch together one day. I had brought vegetable sushi, which my mother had made, in a Japanese-style children's bento. My friend, Mary Ann, yelled when I opened the box.

"Eeew! Gross!! What's that black stuff?"

Puzzled, I said, "It's seaweed." I didn't see what the big deal was. I ate nori all the time, and would frequently snack on roasted (unsalted) sheets of it.

"Ew! Seaweed? How can you eat that stuff? That's disgusting!"

I told her off and made her go away, leaving me alone at the lunch table. It was lonely in the cafeteria from then on. :(

That conversation is burned into my brain. We had been pretty close before then, but that incident ended our friendship. I never spoke to her again after that. I still remember how revulsed she looked. It's a horrible feeling, especially when you're in seventh grade. :(

Emiloid
09-24-2005, 11:58 AM
...We had been pretty close before then, but that incident ended our friendship. I never spoke to her again after that. I still remember how revulsed she looked. It's a horrible feeling, especially when you're in seventh grade. :(
That's terrible, cymraegrrl. I bet your former friend feels terrible about it even now.

bird
09-24-2005, 12:20 PM
Thanks. :) She never apologized or spoke to me again, either, even though we were in school together for another year before attending different high schools. I haven't seen her since, so I have no idea if she even remembers it.

You know how celebrities, and even regular folks, always claim that their junior high/middle school years were horrible, and that they were always picked on? This was relentlessly true for me. People said and did horrible things to me. But I'm not writing this for pity - I'm writing this because my experiences have always caused me to wonder:

How can it be that everyone claims that they were picked on in JHS? Who is it that's doing the bullying and gossiping and ostracizing, then? Why don't you ever come across, as adults, the people who ruled their junior high schools? Is it because no one wants to admit that they were popular back then, or something? Do people feel an unspoken social pressure to pretend that they, too, suffered with their fellow man - even if they didn't?

This is just something I've always been curious about. I know it's OT. Feel free to move it to the Random Questions thread. :)

bird
09-24-2005, 01:00 PM
That's terrible, cymraegrrl. I bet your former friend feels terrible about it even now.Ok, I just Googled her. (I remember her last name and birthdate.) Apparently she's a math teacher in Oceanside, NY (on Long Island). Kind of ironic. Well, she must have more sensitivity to kids by now, then! :p

Kat
09-24-2005, 02:32 PM
Kat just loooooves My Big Fat Greek Wedding. :p

Ha, it's true. Having personally been "the girl with sideburns" and having also come from a big weird ethnic family of my own, I think I can relate to that movie!

About the seaweed, kids are strange. I probably would have ventured to try it, in middle school, but I think if I were younger I'd have been like "Ewwwww" too.

Actually, when I was really little, my Auntie Coleen was eating some candies, and when I asked her for one, she told me they were seaweed candies. My only experience of seaweed was the cold slimy stuff that would tickle my toes and get caught in my hair whenever I swam in Lake Erie. So naturally I was like "No thanks." Little did I know at the time that common food ingredients like carigeenan and agar agar are seaweed derived and in practically everything. People eat seaweed all the time and don't even know it!

Hippopotamine
09-24-2005, 03:35 PM
I ate nori all the time, and would frequently snack on roasted (unsalted) sheets of it.
Me too! When I was a child I used to snack on roasted seaweed sheets and loved them! Sometimes I would pretend they were edible books or newspapers. You just gave me a terrible craving, cymraegrrl! Now I'll have to go out and buy some nori! ;)

bluedawg
09-24-2005, 07:16 PM
well, i can't speak for special occasions like kids bringing birthday treats to class, but it just occurred to me that i had a vegan bag lunch every day when i went to school: pb&j, an apple, and 2 cookies. :)

my mom wasn't really the "pack them new and interesting stuff every time" type. heh.

lamb
09-24-2005, 11:22 PM
How can it be that everyone claims that they were picked on in JHS? Who is it that's doing the bullying and gossiping and ostracizing, then? Why don't you ever come across, as adults, the people who ruled their junior high schools?


(i hope the quote turns out, i'm somewhat new to the forum and don't know how to work all the butons!)

That's a very good point cymraegrrl, funny how everyone claims to have been the victem in school. I think that even the people that were popular and acted horrible to the other kids still think they had it bad because they fought with the other popular kids, warred with the other cliques, etc. I dunno. Maybe atleast the people that were terrors are now remorseful and don't like to say how great and popular and revered they were for shame of the way they treated the other kids. Just thoughts.

As the author of this thread, I want to thank everyone that has left ideas, and those of you that have shared stories about your lovely children. (AdiaStar, your little Mia is so darn cute!) I find it difficult at times to keep myself on track, so those of you that are raising vegan families and encouraging your kids to be green are so inspiring! I figure if you can pack lunches and make 3 square meals every day for your family, I can work a little harder to be a better vegan myself.

Thanks so much to all who have posted and all those that will!

shedonteatmeat
09-25-2005, 07:37 AM
Shae's had a few comments on his school lunches... he says he just jokes about it. One kid asked him why he brings carrots to much he said he was bugs bunny and did some "whats up doc?" imitations :D And all was well. I think most comments about "different" food don't come mean spirited. Alot of kids just aren't exposed to healthy foods or a wide variety of foods! If it isn't advertised in between cartoons or if it isn't in colorful packaging with a free toy, most kids don't know/care that it exists. It's not really their faults that they haven't been taught something, right? :)

Some days, shae's lunch looks "normal"- the peanut butter sandwich, fruit, cookie days. But then somedays its all bizarro and questionable, (VEGETABLES! gasp! heehee). I highly recommend letting kids be apart of the lunch process, if they choose it, they'll eat it and as I've found, will be able to deal with negative comments in a positive way :)

ConsciousCuisine
09-25-2005, 10:02 AM
Blake has also been teased in the past for her lunches. Hummus, cucumber, celery, carrots and pita is apparently *exotic* to the twinkie-hot Cheetos-Pepsi crowd :( Who knew?

She regularly eats nori rolls, veggie stir-frys, salads and all things vegan for lunch and snack at school and finally isn't teased. When she was 9-10, at the onset of puberty, she was teased because her lunches were "too healthy" and also teased and told she was "fat". She's not "fat" by the way, she's a muscular dancer and musical theatre performer and very ethnically mixed, so not a frail, bony little thing. What can you do? Children are the product of thier environment and apparently many of them are growing up in toxic, nasty, empathy-less homes and it shows. Thank Goddess she's in a supportive environment now :)

bird
09-25-2005, 12:58 PM
Shae's had a few comments on his school lunches... he says he just jokes about it. One kid asked him why he brings carrots to much he said he was bugs bunny and did some "whats up doc?" imitations :D And all was well. I think most comments about "different" food don't come mean spirited. Alot of kids just aren't exposed to healthy foods or a wide variety of foods! If it isn't advertised in between cartoons or if it isn't in colorful packaging with a free toy, most kids don't know/care that it exists. It's not really their faults that they haven't been taught something, right? :)Good for Shae for coming back with such a witty rejoinder!

You're right, shedonteatmeat. It's not a child's fault that they haven't been taught something. Looking back on it, I could have acted better with my own schoolmate. I guess I just felt betrayed because we were close friends, and it hurt that she looked so revolted by my lunch, especially since the food in question (seaweed) was one strongly identified with my culture. Maybe I took it too personally, but then, I didn't have the perspective of maturity. :confused: If that happened today, I wouldn't be so quick to end a friendship.

shedonteatmeat
09-25-2005, 04:52 PM
Good for Shae for coming back with such a witty rejoinder!

You're right, shedonteatmeat. It's not a child's fault that they haven't been taught something. Looking back on it, I could have acted better with my own schoolmate. I guess I just felt betrayed because we were close friends, and it hurt that she looked so revolted by my lunch, especially since the food in question (seaweed) was one strongly identified with my culture. Maybe I took it too personally, but then, I didn't have the perspective of maturity. :confused: If that happened today, I wouldn't be so quick to end a friendship.

You were just a kid too, remember :) :hugs:

Sunshine
09-25-2005, 09:11 PM
Here in Chicago one year ago in Oct a few of us vegan families started what we now call the "Chicago Vegan Family Network" or CVFN for short. Anyway, the idea was really for the kids to get to know other vegan kids. We now have about 20? (help me out Eggplant Girl) families that attend and growing. And us parents discuss these types of issues. Anyway, it's one way that these kids will hopefully feel less like weirdos later on (most are under 5 at this point) and it's really great for us parents! I think this is a great group and I highly recommend starting a similar group in all your respective cities.

AdiaStar
09-26-2005, 07:07 AM
(AdiaStar, your little Mia is so darn cute!)

Thanks vegan lamb!! :D Angelus71 and I think so too, but hey, we're her parents!! :laugh: :p :laugh:


Here in Chicago one year ago in Oct a few of us vegan families started what we now call the "Chicago Vegan Family Network" or CVFN for short. Anyway, the idea was really for the kids to get to know other vegan kids. We now have about 20? (help me out Eggplant Girl) families that attend and growing. And us parents discuss these types of issues. Anyway, it's one way that these kids will hopefully feel less like weirdos later on (most are under 5 at this point) and it's really great for us parents! I think this is a great group and I highly recommend starting a similar group in all your respective cities.

What a great idea Sunshine!! I have a handful of acquaintances only, really no friends(just my best frriend in Vegas :( ), this would be a great thing for Mia, Angelus71 and me(I-whatever!!) So hard to make new friends as an adult, esp veggie friends!! I'm going to look into this and see if there is a group already in Brooklyn. Thanks!

shedonteatmeat
09-26-2005, 03:52 PM
Here in Chicago one year ago in Oct a few of us vegan families started what we now call the "Chicago Vegan Family Network" or CVFN for short. Anyway, the idea was really for the kids to get to know other vegan kids. We now have about 20? (help me out Eggplant Girl) families that attend and growing. And us parents discuss these types of issues. Anyway, it's one way that these kids will hopefully feel less like weirdos later on (most are under 5 at this point) and it's really great for us parents! I think this is a great group and I highly recommend starting a similar group in all your respective cities.

brilliant idea sunshine :) probably alot easier in bigger, more vegan-friendly places like chicago though! We do know one other vegan family in our town, and have met a handful of other veggies. And just knowing them, and shae playing with their little girl (who happens to be just his age-6) helps :)

Sunshine
09-26-2005, 05:34 PM
I always find it funny when Chicago is referred to as vegan-friendly considering it's still such a meat-oriented town, but yes, due to just the sheer numbers of people that live here, we're destined to have a decent vegan population. Adiastar being in NYC I'm sure there are a bunch of you for the same reason. We started out with about 5 families and get bigger each get together. And we always have the get togethers around dinner or lunch time and do a big potluck so the kids can see that we all eat this way!
FYI - the CVFN is in yahoo groups so you can look it up there is you're curious!

Stitches
09-28-2005, 12:02 AM
How can it be that everyone claims that they were picked on in JHS? Who is it that's doing the bullying and gossiping and ostracizing, then? Why don't you ever come across, as adults, the people who ruled their junior high schools? Is it because no one wants to admit that they were popular back then, or something? Do people feel an unspoken social pressure to pretend that they, too, suffered with their fellow man - even if they didn't?

Oh, they exist, all right. My evil ex was one of them and made no bones about it. (He once told me I'd reformed him, but I somehow doubt it.)

You know what, my school lunch used to consist of baguette slices spread with brie, a bunch of red grapes, bottled water, and something sweet (typical French girl)...half my friends thought that was weird, the other half were jealous.

AdiaStar
09-28-2005, 06:18 AM
I always find it funny when Chicago is referred to as vegan-friendly considering it's still such a meat-oriented town, but yes, due to just the sheer numbers of people that live here, we're destined to have a decent vegan population. Adiastar being in NYC I'm sure there are a bunch of you for the same reason. We started out with about 5 families and get bigger each get together. And we always have the get togethers around dinner or lunch time and do a big potluck so the kids can see that we all eat this way!
FYI - the CVFN is in yahoo groups so you can look it up there is you're curious!

I did a qucik search and found a list of playgroups on VegFamily. Here's the link if anyone is interested on checking it out: List of Vegan & Vegetarian Playgroups (http://www.vegfamily.com/playgroups/)

I'm off to search for more!

Take Care!