Why We Raise Our Children Vegan
“Mothers are faced with countless decisions while raising their children. There’s so much to consider, but at least, they can be sure of setting up their children for a lifetime of good health by raising them on delicious vegan foods.”
“As a mother, the routine killing of male calves and chicks because they can’t produce milk or lay eggs by the dairy and egg industries breaks my heart. I also can’t imagine stealing another baby’s milk for my own.
“My son, Kiyash, is now nearly a year and a half old, and he has been vegan since birth, consuming foods that give him the strength he needs. He was on human breast milk for the first part of his life. Now, some of his favourite foods are tofu, coconut milk kheer, peanut curd rice, vegan fruit pancakes, raw fruits, and smoothies.
“Kiyash is not only a healthy child but also a happy soul, and I’m sure the right foods contribute to his cheerful mood.”
– Erika Goyal, digital marketer and mother
“My toddler 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 calcium, and completely free of cholesterol, unlike meat, eggs, and dairy foods.
“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.
“As a baby, she had mother’s milk – which contains antibodies that strengthen babies’ immune systems, is thought to lower their risk of asthma and allergies, and helps fight off infections. Now, she 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.”
– Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, nutritionist and mother
“As a society, we need to have a perspective shift from convenience eating to conscious eating.
“The two core principles that I follow are to ensure that my daughter eats a wide variety of plants: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Along with this, we’re sure to include a supplement for vitamin B12, which renowned nutrition expert Dr Neal Barnard says meat-eaters and vegetarians should also take.
“I made sure that I followed long-term breastfeeding for my daughter, too.”
– Neha Chopra, filmmaker, sustainability blogger, and mother
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine warns, “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, reliance on cows’ milk can cause an iron deficiency. Colic is another worry, because it’s linked to the consumption of dairy milk. Even the babies of breastfeeding mothers can suffer from colic if the mothers consume cows’ milk, which is also linked to food allergies, particularly in children, as well as constipation in children.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ position is that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
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