This post is a follow up to my Veganuary review I posted here. In the last 3 months but mainly from January I turned my attention to veganism and my diet reflects that now 99% of the time. Which means the dishes I cook at home and share with the kids are mainly vegan. Every time I tell this to someone the next question they ask, but how about the boys? So, yeah. How about them?! The research I have done. The pro vegan documentaries I have seen. The mums I talked to – raising vegan kids and raising non vegan kids (when parents / or mum is vegan)- and mainly after all the long and interesting conversations we had with my Man we came to the following conclusions on what the boys will be eating and why. I know it sounds very serious and complicated (like I need a whole blog post for that) but it isn’t. I am mainly going to be talking about Brendan as Caelan will follow with the same diet (hopefully, unless he has his own agenda which I am not aware of yet).
Are they going to be raised as vegan?
The short answer is, no. We will raise them semi-vegetarianism or flexitarian (only learn the latest word 2 days ago myself). As for the why not. I think being vegan is a very personal lifestyle choice. Although there are tons of useful information out there (pro and con) I still don’t feel I know enough about what nutrition is needed for a growing baby. Apart from everything I learnt in the past few months I still feel more comfortable following a similar diet I grew up with perhaps with less (processed) meat. So here is how we are planing to achieve that (emphasys on “plans” – we will see the reality as we go along).
At the moment it is only Brendan who has been eating meat. He used to love hot dogs / sausages / spag balls. He was never really into chicken / poultry in any forms. So what I did change now – knowing that sausages and hot dogs are the worst in terms of processed meat – is swapping them with veggie sausages. Honestly, you can not tell the difference. They taste very nice and he had it many times now and loved it. As for spag balls (and red meat) I have made a lentil one with the same veggies as before and he eat the whole thing up just as he eat it with beef before. It doesn’t mean though that they will never have meat… just keep reading.
Brendan eats fish a lot. His absolute favourite is fish fingers which he has at least 2x a week (yes, I am lazy). I know qourn sells vegan fishless fingers but it seems none of the 3 bigger supermarkets near us stocks them. I am yet to order some in to try. Trialing them however doesn’t mean we will completely cut fish out from his diet. He does have fish cakes (lazy mummy again) or fish pie. I think we will stick to the 2-3x a week fish for them for now. I am terrified at the thought of my kids having in their system mercury (that is why I never had shark when I was pregnant with them) but I am hoping with the small amount they eat it won’t be significant.
Dairy and eggs
Initially, I was going to stop giving Brendan milk altogether and Caelan milk based formula (occasionally he does have some apart from breastmilk). I was recommended via the Vegan Kids UK Facebook group to try the Soya growing up milk. I still haven’t ordered it as we decided to stick to cow milk for now. Brendan has a 2o0ml bottle when he goes to sleep so that is at the moment unchanged. What I did change was all the other dairy products. He has soya yogurt and for breakfast I make his weetabix with either coconut milk or oat milk. He has never been a huge cheese fan (babybells / cheese sticks – wasn’t really his thing) He has cheese on a pizza or I grate some on this pasta. Those we won’t change moving forward. For Caelan during baby lead weaning I haven’t given him any cheese yet and I can’t see that happening at the moment either. As for eggs, occasionally Brendan has been having some and Caelan will have them too.
Eating out / at a friend’s house
Since November last year, when we go out as a family to have lunch we ordered him either fish fingers or a vegetarian dish like veggie bolognese. I think that will be the way forward until he / they will come to make their own mind up (which I am sure won’t be too long now) As for eating at a friend’s house I will just go with the flow. They can have there whatever the other kids are eating. I have to say I am just not that organised to pack lunch when I know people are preparing for us. Although I love the idea to have vegan mum friends close by to hang out with I personal haven’t got a single one (YET) which leaves us with at a friend’s house “everything goes”. I have never been fussed about that before and I want to keep the same attitude.
Nursery / school
At the moment Brendan goes to nursery 2 days a week. Being a newly flaxiterian we didn’t tell the nursery about his (our) changed diet so he eats there what is on the menu. Meat / fish / dairy. I know it is still a long way away when he starts school 5 days a week with 2-3 meals there a day and I think that will be the time to rethink whether we want to tick the vegetarian diet box.
Generally – talking about animals
We have talked about where milk comes from (especially since Caelan arrived) and how the cow feeds their calves. Not on an educational level but keeping it as a light conversation. Moving forward I want to keep these conversations but always being aware of not scaring them or making them nervous/ traumatise them. For example I don’t want to bring up the fact that eating animals hurts them, definitely not for a while. I think 1) Brendan is too young 2)when it comes to it, he will ask or we can stir a conversation to it when I feel the time is right. Answering their questions truthfully when they ask but appropriate for their age is key. See as it comes and take it from there. (I have to say as I write this, it sounds easy but I have no idea yet how will I deal with it there and then) At the end of the day I want them to make their own mind up about their diet. In the future they will have the freedom to decide what they want to eat and what they don’t.
Thank you for reading me again. Do let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions. I always love reading your thoughts.