Why I Raise My Child Vegan
By Bhuvaneshwari Gupta
Nutritionist and Mother
Mothers are faced with countless decisions while raising their children. There’s so much to consider while we ensure that our kids live healthy, happy lives. As a vegan mother and a nutritionist, I understand the vast health benefits of eating plant-based foods, which is why I choose to raise my child vegan. You can raise yours that way, too.
My 1-year-old daughter, Tara, has been vegan since birth because plant-based foods are high in fibre, low in saturated fat, full of vitamins and minerals, rich in healthy plant protein and completely free of cholesterol, unlike meat, eggs and dairy products.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Milk proteins, milk sugar, fat, and saturated fat in dairy products pose health risks for children and encourage the development of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease”. And of special concern for infants, the amount of iron found in cows’ milk, as compared with human breast milk, is low. Colic is another worry because it’s linked to milk consumption. Even the babies of breastfeeding mothers can suffer from colic if the mothers consume cows’ milk. Cows’ milk is also linked to food allergies, particularly in children, as well as chronic constipation in children.
I’d say it’s no wonder then that Tara is a healthy child and rarely falls ill! Her height, weight and other growth parameters are on a par with those of non-vegan kids her same age.
In addition to mother’s milk – which contains antibodies that strengthen babies’ immune systems, lowering their risk of asthma and allergies and helping to fight off viruses and bacteria – Tara enjoys a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lentils seasoned with traditional spices. Her favourite drink is fresh watermelon juice, and she loves to chew on pears, carrots and cucumbers. For a sweet treat, she feasts on sweet-potato purée.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, appropriately planned vegan meals satisfy the nutrient needs of infants, children and adolescents and promote normal growth. In fact, one study revealed that the mental age of meat-free children was advanced for their chronological age and that their average IQ score was well above average.
Teaching our children to eat well, right from the start, makes a lasting positive impact on their future. I rest easy knowing that my daughter is powering her body with nutrients from delicious vegan foods while learning to be kind to animals and to respect the environment. And I couldn’t be prouder.
Mothers, spread the word about how to ensure good health by sharing this post on social media pages.