Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Vegan Debate – Is it Selfish to Raise a Vegan Baby/Child?

So I have been doing a lot of reading and researching about nutrition.  At this age (12.5 months) our daughter is already forming eating habits and tastes that will influence her future.  To start this post we must ask ourselves is it selfish to raise a vegan baby?

Babies are like sponges they soak up everything that we put in front of them, we as parents decide what they will eat, how it is prepared where it is purchased from but the baby will decide how much she will eat if at all.  So to never offer homo milk, salmon or chicken (I mention only these as we would never serve pork or beef, merely typing those words makes me squeamish and these were never in my diet) she will never know the difference. 

But if there is no way to replace homo milk, she is not allergic or intolerant to it (that we know of) would we be doing more harm than good to not offer it?  Our situation is complicated by the fact that our daughter struggles with constipation and had a minor surgery at 12 days old so we have been advised no dairy products at this time as it only worsens constipation in little ones (which we are fine with as my husband and I don’t consume dairy anyway).  So at this time I have started a transition back to work part-time I have weaned my little Julia from breast during the day so she gets 2 sippy cups of soy formula (which she loves) and I continue to breastfeed in the morning and evening and will continue to as long as it works for us. 

So back to the milk debate.  There are many different types of milk that can be supplemented: soy, rice (to be avoided in children with constipation) also when buying rice milk you must be careful to ensure that it is fortified with calcium as not all are, almond (as well as other types of nut milks), hemp, coconut (can you imagine drinking a cup of coconut milk, let alone serving it to your baby as a sole source of nutrition?) and oat.  I am going to do a post later this week discussing different types of milk.

In some of my thoughts I wonder if it would be more reasonable to rename this blog “Simply Pure Vegan Baby in Moderation?” Or “Simply Pure Veggie Baby +” this leads me to self reflect further on my own eating one thing is for sure dairy products make my stomach curdle just thinking about them and for myself and my husband we can get adequate calcium and nutrients from a variety of sources so we stand firm.  Salmon and chicken used to be our two weaknesses? However, given the lack of access to pure wild salmon it makes the decision easier in that we could have pure salmon 1 or 2 times as year as we could find it.  As for chicken take it or leave it…

 So these decisions are nothing that have to be made over night, but it gives you (and us) something to think about.  In the meantime I will continue to educate myself regarding veganism and babies and children, although resources are scarce most baby food books will have a small section on eating vegetarian an even smaller one on vegan (if at all).  Leaving me feeling compelled to find the pieces and put this puzzle together…

Do you think that it is selfish to raise a vegan baby?  Are you or someone you know raising a vegan baby/child? Love to hear your thoughts.


  1. Hey Jessica,
    I love all of your recipes :)
    Jena made your delicious bean salad today!
    We will be looking online for more of your meal ideas!

  2. Thank Jennifer I am so happy to have you as my first follower... many more recipes to come they will fuel you guys through the rest of your study's!!

  3. Hello. I found your blog when I searched for vegan first birthday cakes, and I'm going to try your recipe. My son is one today, and my daughter will be 6 in a couple weeks. I've been mostly vegan for almost 20 years, though I started eating a little cheese after my daughter was born. I've raised her as a vegetarian--mostly vegan at home, but at her preschool, she ate a lot of dairy because that's how they accommodated a vegetarian. She loves her veggies, whole grains, tofu, etc. She's curious about meat and junk food, and my stance has been to be very clear about what meat is and let her make a decision about it when she's older. I believe that humans' natural state is to be mostly-vegan. In ancient times, meat was rarely available and people had to work hard to get it! I think the current diet is unnatural and unhealthy and that it's not selfish at all to raise a child on a natural-foods, plant-based diet. It's a gift to give them a taste for healthy foods. So many kids aren't given that gift. Instead they are given processed, packaged convenience foods. I don't blame the parents--people are soooo busy and most of them are doing their best to balance everything. It takes extra work and time to make real meals and to send lunches to school. That's the opposite of selfish.

  4. Hi Kylie thank you very much for your message I couldn't agree more with your comments... at the time of this posting their were many outside influences coming from family and friends about raising a vegan baby their still are but I feel better equipped to handle them stating exactly as you have a vegan diet offers so much variety (that most people are oblivious to) and opens their taste buds to a world of possibilities that they wouldn't otherwise get no doubt a lot of work and time making real wholesome food some days I feel like I live in the kitchen but I would have it no other way my daughter is in daycare now and I have created a 4 week rotating vegan menu to mimic the one at the center so far so good I send everything w her. Did you experience any negativity from others about raising vegan children? Oh the "junk" food - haven't had to cross that bridge yet any tips? Thanks for stopping by I have been working very hard behind the scenes and planning to start blogging more routinely. Happy birthday to your son!