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OT - raising your children vegetarian or vegan

I'm just curious, what are opinions on this topic?

I've heard of people who have vegetarian pets too, how about this?

Sun. Jan 3, 8:30pm

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OP are you curious because you are considering it? I would tell you that my wife and I are raising our son veg. He is three and doing well. People used to tell me that he has to get enough protein etc. I got that all the time, but he has done so well and eats a wide range of foods. He eats some veggies, along with tofu, whole grains and so on. I personally believe there is too much hormones in meat. Its just my opinion but I don't want my son eating meat. He can decide that when he is old enough. Because he started on tofu, and veggies; he loves it. I believe if people want to give their kids meat thats completly their choice and I don't want to judge that. We all do the best we can and I hope I am doing the right thing.

Sunday, January 03, 2010, 9:19 PM

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I don't know much about kids, but I do know that vegetarianism is a very healthy way to live provided you make sure you get enough stuff like iron and vitamin B-12. Protein, from what I've read, isn't as much of an issue as people make it out to be. Most Americans actually have way too much protein in their diets; we don't need nearly as much as people tend to think. I recently went vegetarian, and I've been keeping track of my protein a little bit. I've been landing within the healthy range without a problem.

Do some research on the subject. I personally think raising your kids vegan/vegetarian is a very good idea. For one thing, if they develop a taste for vegetables and such early on, they'll have an easier time eating healthy when they're older. I know I'm always grateful that I like fruits and vegetables, and I'm sure I can attribute most of that to growing up with apples in the fridge and peas and broccoli on my dinner plate every night.

Sunday, January 03, 2010, 10:49 PM

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Hi, I'm 9:19. I agree with the prior post. One thing we do is put nutritional yeast on a lot of things like brown rice. It gives it a cheesy flavor and my son loves it. It also is high in protein and B12 as you mentioned. Its a great way for vegetarians to get that vitamin as its really not in anything else veg.

Sunday, January 03, 2010, 11:17 PM

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Hello all. I'm a carnivore but I am reading "Eat To Live" right now and I have to say for a few minutes I wanted to go vegetarian! I am considering cutting back on the meats and upping the fruits and vegetables as a result.

A few comments about this though.

One thing I didn't like is how Fuhrman always talks about how it is ESSENTIAL to get nutrients from fresh fruit/veg and then he turns around and says it is perfectly acceptable to be vegetarian and take iron/B12 supplements..

Also as far as letting your kids decide when they get older I'm not sure they'll have the choice. I have an indian friend who was raised vegetarian and she really wants to try eating meat but it makes her sick when she does. She has consulted her doctor and he claims she has never developed the enzymes/etc to digest meat.

Also - although there is room for debate on the topic - tofu may not be good for you. Especially men. Personally I'm a guy and I avoid it.

Monday, January 04, 2010, 10:21 AM

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I;m the poster before you. There is misinformation about tofu and soy. It's just fine for men. People get so scared, espeicially men because it has plant estrogen. The reason soy is suggested for women in regards to brest cancer is that it actually fills the estrogen receptors. In other words it helps women from getting to much from other areas like milk. Its funny because some men are afraid of soy but will drink a ton of milk. Cows are pumped with tons of hormones to produce massive amounts of milk. Those hormones along with antibiotics they use to treat Mastitis can be passed along in the milk.
Although I would say to much of anything is never good. I am not sure what you mean about it not being healthy. Some reading I have done suggest soy can be a bit acidic. So that I would say as before about not eating to much of one thing. Our family eats a wide variety protein sources, including nuts, seeds and whole grains. Not to mention even veggies have protein. Sorry I didin't mean this to be to long. Thanks for the debat. I think its a good discussion.

Monday, January 04, 2010, 11:54 AM

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Well, I researched it last year and there were definitely 2 sides to the estrogen thing. I think anyone who is considering giving estrogen to young boys should certainly do their own research.

Monday, January 04, 2010, 10:01 PM

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Something to remember is that Tofu and the soy bean have been staples in cultures for ever. The rural, poor Chinese eat a lot of it and they have tremendous health compared to the rich who eat a lot of dairly. The China study is a great book to read on that. I'm not really sure what giving boys estrogen means anyway and what is the effect? Could the prior poster clarify? I'm curious what your research turned up. Thanks!

Monday, January 04, 2010, 10:17 PM

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Perhaps it is all the genetically modified (GMO) foods we consume. Especially with soy.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 12:45 AM

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Its very easy to get organic non gmo soy. Most stores cary it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 1:08 AM

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I don't think that I would raise a kid as a strict vegetarian, although for sure a lot of kids don't like meat and won't eat it anyway. As others have mentioned, it's difficult to get all the B-vitamins without meat, and then there's creatine as well; also without dairy one has to be careful about vitamin D; and without fish one has to be careful about Omegas, which seem to help brain development.

While a vegetarian meals some or a lot of the time would seem to be a good idea, vegan or vegetarian eating requires a ton of supplementation to make sure a child is getting optimum nutrition.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 8:17 AM

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please dont make your pets vegeterian...
there's a reason God made them carnivores and us omnivores. We get to have the choice :)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 9:39 AM

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dogs can be vegitarian, though I think that's repugnant. You make a cat vegetarian and you'll kill it. Also repugnant.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 9:57 AM

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I am not a vegitarian or vegan myself, but my daughter is going that way on her own. I spoke with the doctor about her aversion to meats, and he shrugged and said "good". He assured me meat is not a necessity to a healthy child and as long as vegetarian does not equal lots of processed non-meat type food (hello, candybars and pasta don't have meat right?) then she will be fine.

She has always been a herbavoir... she loves her fruit and veggies (mostly veggies over fruit though) I joke she was switched at birth, but she has just never been pressured to any particular way and I don't keep junk food around any way and this is her chosen direction.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 12:16 PM

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One of the funniest things I ever saw:

I stayed a weekend w/ a group in a rental house in a ski area. One couple brought their dog and set it loose in the snow. I said, "You need to put her on a leash or she will chase deer." They replied, "Oh, we only feed her vegetarian dog food, she would never chase a deer."

2 minutes later, dog is chasing 3 deer across the front of the house...

You have to wonder about some people's intelligence. Dogs will chase cars, too, but they don't eat them.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 1:08 PM

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Iron deficiency

In this Age, many women are deficient in iron on a 'normal' omniverous diet due to heavy periods, and it has been estimated that, without Fe supplements, at least 50% of women of child bearing age who do not eat RED meat, will eventually become low in iron. ( there is also a suggestion that women were not naturally designed to have periods every month as they would either be pregnant or breast feeding, so like men, they would be OK eating less red meat)

Vegetables do contain iron but it is non-haem iron and therefore very poorly absorbed. Chiken and fish likewise do not contain haem-iron.

Children who often don't like red meat can also be found to have low iron levels.

Our teeth are of a design which suits eating both meat and vegetables, so probably a mixed diet is more "natural" for us than Veganism.

Therefore vegans and vegetarians should be careful to have the correct supplements. It takes about 3 years of avoiding red meat for the natural iron stores in the body to be fully used up and after that time VitB and Fe supplements are usualy essential.

I do not have the references but from memory from many years ago, there is no evidence that vegans for 10 or more years live any longer, and the few that I have met, certainly look much older than their chronological age.

Luckily, in my view, to be a true Vegan is very difficult, so few keep to a really strict diet for long . Luckily also, children will soon grow to an age where they will no doubt eventually be tempted to eat 'normal food'...

I do agree however that we eat far too much meat and protein in general, and far too little veg fruit and grains.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 1:58 PM

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Disease Proof Your Child

Great reading. My granddaughter is just over a year and the healthiest of all her peers; no ear infections etc. She is just now being weaned and they are giving her Coconut and Hemp milk in her bottle. She has a little cheese and meat now and then, but mostly has fruits veggies and a little sprouted bread or pasta- they are staying away from processed grains and sugar.

Re: tofu - the reading I have done suggests that it is only the isolated soy that creates problems - the fermented soy (milk & tofu) seem fine and we use them regularly. We eat a lot of beans, and my granddaughter's favorite meal is minestrone soup that has been drained, and the beans smashed and spread over sprouted bread that has been cut up into squares.

I am so much healthier eating for nutrition - what a great gift to give a child!


Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 2:37 PM

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So far this has been a really good thread as a discussion rather than arguing as some others have turned out. I wonder if the real question is should we be raising our children on the food most of them eat now. Our family is vegitarian, but I would rather see some children eat a skinless chicken breast rather than fast food. Our family eats very well rounded, except we don't eat meat. We eat a lot of different fruits and veggies, but stay away from fast food, sugar and high fat foods. I would be the first to admit that vegans can eat terrible. I base that statement on that there are a ton prepackaged veg foods that are loaded with salt and other terrible things. Less processed is the way to go in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 7:12 PM

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If you don't make a big deal out of it - they won't either. Just do what's normal for you and your kids will follow along or rebel depending on the kid. My parents eat very few vegetables and only a little fruit. They are true blue meat 'n potatoes folks, and they just about can't stand visiting me now because I eat a lot of veggies and meat 'n carbs (pasta, etc) are almost like a condiment. They wonder whose kid I am. :-)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 7:32 PM

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How very true 7.32 !

My father was brought up to be an "ovo-lacto "vegetarian until the age of 9. Then his parents changed their minds and tried to force him to eat meat which he consequently vomited up, so they stopped trying!

His older sister stuck to her guns too, and remained vegetarian with milk and the occaisional egg. She lived into her mid 90's and Dad was hale and hearty all his life apart from a wonky valve in his heart due to rheumatic fever as a child, which caught up with him in his 80's.

Dad however always felt his inability to eat meat was a real social inconvenience for everyone else, especially for Mum who loved her steak. He insisted that we children ate everything put in front of us. and wouldn't let us be "fussy eaters".

Strangely both my sister and I are now confirmed Coeliacs since our 50's and have to be extremely fussy for the rest of our lives about gluten free food for medical reasons, not choice. But I notice that we both tend to eat very similarly. Lots of veges and fruit and nuts, and only small amounts of protein, so it is easy to go without starches if we have to.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010, 8:44 PM

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