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Old 08-27-2008, 01:08 PM
23 posts, read 97,562 times
Reputation: 27


We're raising our son an ovo-lacto free-range vegetarian. NO animal fat products or gelatin, etc.

We know the basics and we got the ok from the pediatrician.. they said we're doing good so far, but it seems like a daunting task, but I know some of you out there have done it... any tricks of the trade or recommendations? Or even book recommendations that may help? He just turned one... any specific deficiencies we should look out for in doing this? Especially because I turned veg when I was 13. I need more info on raising a baby/toddler veg during those critical years.

Thank you!
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Old 08-27-2008, 05:50 PM
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Raising Vegetarian Children by Joanne Stepaniak and Vesanto Melina is a very good, complete book which is also easy to read. It takes you from birth through the teen years.

I have said it before--tofu is an awesome toddler food (and beyond), especially tofu fingers (firm tofu cut into strips, "breaded" with cornmeal and nutritional yeast and baked).

From what I have gathered, the main nutritional concerns are B12 and Omega 3. Flaxseed and nuts can take care of the Omega 3. I also give them a daily vitamin.

My main recomendation is serving your son a great variety of food. Our house, at least, depends on a huge variety of food from many cultures. Sometime around 4-6 years of age, children tend to get picky. The more they have experienced different foods, the greater the chance they will eat them during this picky time (but don't count on it). My oldest (5) really doesn't like beans. We call gabanzo beans chick peas for this reason and he will eat them--whole, no hummous for this boy!

My husband has also researched growth rates for veg. kids. We have two boys and I guess it is ingrained in the malehood to be tall, so he has been a little obsessed about their heighth--they are both short. He has comes across a couple studies that suggest that veg. children start out shorter than their counterparts, only because their growth spurts happen at different times in childhood. Therefore, by the time they are adults, there is no cordinlation between height and vegetarianism. (We would not be a good study family for this, though, as both my mother's and MIL's side are extremely short and my father's side isn't short but not overly tall).

Having a supporting doctor is a great first step. If you can find a fellow vegetarian doctor, it is even better. Some people (especially non-veg. for some reason) really stress going to a dietician. I really don't think it is necessary--there is enough literature out there, plus if you continue to cook a medley of foods, your child will be okay (IMO). I have never had a problem getting my boys enough protein. However, if you continue to be concerned or worried, an appointment with a veg.-friendly dietician would help you (make sure they are veg.-friendly!)

I have found what has been most important in raising my boys (ovo-lacto, by the way), is finding other vegetarian families. Unfortunately, I haven't been very sucessful. Although other people will say that "fitting in" isn't important for children, it is. Extremely important. We are not talking fashion or interests here--it is the very foundation of their family life. My son has been known to go up to children on the playground and introduce himself by adding, "I'm a vegetarian." It doesn't take much thinking to realize he is searching for someone else like him. I would suggest looking for get-togethers sponsored by your local co-op, or even contacting a 7th Day Adventist church nearby. Many members of that church are vegetarian. And although they may be veg. for different reasons, it will still help your child as he grows, as well as yourself. Depending on your area, there may be other veg. gatherings. Unfortunately, we always live in tiny towns, often away from co-ops. I just recently discovered the 7th Day connection, although I haven't followed through yet.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:05 AM
Location: Bay Area
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I raised my daughter vegetarian since birth. She has always been the tallest, strongest healthiest kid in her grade. Not girl but kid. It did take lots of reading, learning, etc. I would advise finding, reading and rereading a few vegetarian baby books. They typically have great recipes and ideas as well. Certain stages of a baby's life need to focus on certain nutrients, and these are good about explaining and giving food ideas.

My daughter is now 12 (almost 13). She never talks about being vegetarian unless someone asks. She doesn't think its anything, its just natural to her. She is baffled by junk food and that people could put that crap in their bodies. She started a new school in a new state last week. Several girls would stare at her lunch and she thought it was really odd but ignored them. Finally, one said, wow you are the healthiest eater I have ever seen. Then the girl said, you know if my parents fed me like yours, I would be thin too, instead I'm fat b/c of what they give me. Then my daughter told her she was a vegetarian. The girls were shocked at first, but then went into a huge discussion about the guilt they feel for killing the animals and eating them. I told my daughter, see you thought they were being rude by staring at you, but really they were just intrigued, if not a bit jealous of your healthy meals! Even if there are not other vegetarians around, there are always those who could learn from the lifestyle.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:04 PM
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What a great story! I hope my sons will be as strong as your daughter; I also hope they will be able to relate great stories like this one as they grow.
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Old 09-25-2008, 05:49 PM
23 posts, read 97,562 times
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Thank you both so much for the suggestions and for sharing your experiences. People seem to think that it's bad parenting to raise my son vegetarian, but we know we are doing the right thing. faina00, you mentioned vegetarian baby books? I can't seem to find any, believe it or not. Any specific suggestions so I can just order online perhaps?? I've been looking but no dice... Thanks again!
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:33 PM
Location: wrong planet
5,127 posts, read 10,242,201 times
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Here is another book that you might find helpful, you can order it online...

Amazon.com: New Vegetarian Baby: Sharon K. Yntema, Christine Beard: Books

just found another one...

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. ~Henry David Thoreau

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