Hands down, one of the most asked questions I’ve received since I announced my pregnancy last March is whether we will raise our daughter a vegan. It’s something that Eric and I discussed long before getting pregnant, but we revisited the topic again when I did get pregnant. I’ve been clear in the past that our household is not a vegan household – Eric doesn’t follow a vegan diet, although a lot of his meals are vegan because he loves the food that I make (yup, tooting my own horn! hah). He now enjoys hundreds of foods he wouldn’t even touch when we first started dating and it’s been incredible to see his diet transform over the years from deep fried fast food to vibrant veggie-filled home-cooked meals. From eating a huge bowl of frosted flakes cereal to a huge green smoothie every morning, the change has been huge. So even though he’s become more conscious about selecting organic meat from local farms whenever possible and eschewing a large amount of dairy from his diet, he has no plans of going vegan. I support him completely; after all, he was never vegan before we met and he is happy and healthy which is what matters.
Many people have assumed that we would raise Adriana on a vegan diet, but we’ve actually decided not to label her diet in any shape or form. This is for a couple reasons. First, I want her to be able to try any food that she wants to, including the food her dad and family members eat in front of her. Second, I want her to decide for herself when she is older whether she will attach any sort of label to her diet. I have personally experienced benefits and drawbacks to labeling my own diet, and I don’t want to put my beliefs on her or assume that my diet is the best diet for her. That being said, we eat so many plant-based meals in this house I have no doubt that her diet will be filled with vegetables, fruit, legumes, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats! We are very grateful for the food we have access to and above all, I’d like to instill this sense of gratitude in her and also an excitement for healthy food, understanding its impact on our energy, etc. We are incredibly lucky that we even have the privilege of discussing this topic. But would we stop her from enjoying some of her dad’s chicken or a birthday cake at a friend’s party or a home-cooked meal at Mimi’s or Babcia’s house? No we won’t (assuming she doesn’t have an allergy down the road, of course).
I know that deciding what to feed one’s family is a very personal topic, but I want to be open about it as I have with my own dietary changes in the past. Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Vegan households can work really well if that is the goal (and I know many friends who are currently rocking it!), but this is what we’ve decided is right for us.
I’d love to hear from you about this topic. Have you ever struggled with the decision as to whether to label your child’s diet? Do you live in a household with different diets or allergies? How do you find a balance?
PS – Adriana turned 6 months on Saturday! We celebrated by giving her her first solid food – avocado. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time. It was seriously awesome. I also re-read her birth story and cried a little. More on this feeding thing later.
Comments are now closed – May 20/15
I think that is totally the right attitude, I feel EXACTLY the same way. Sometimes I think it would be easier if my husband had the same diet, but not fair of me to change who he is! The same goes for my children (they are 2 and 5). I cook 100% vegan food, but like you, at birthday parties and grandmas and grandpas etc. they eat what is served and I am okay with that and will also let them come to their own conclusion. Thank you for publishing my stance exactly and I really hope you dont get any flack from anyone, Also. I never call myself a vegan for the same reasons…. I just tell people I am plant-based as I continue to have local honey as I believe it helps with my severe seasonal allergies. You rock Angela, you inspired me to become plant based and to keep going at it with your wonderful cookbook and beautiful blog posts. I can NOT wait for OSG2 :)
Avocado wad my little guys first food too!
I think that that’s a great approach to take. I was raised in a vegetarian household, and was the product of a vegan pregnancy, but was always allowed to eat meat outside the house if I wanted to.
What do you know, that as soon as I got old enough to really know my own mind, I chose to become veggie, then vegan all by myself. I am really pleased that my mum let it be my own decision, as it feels like something that is mine and wasn’t fobbed off on me.
I think I’ll do the same when I have kids, too.
Thank you for posting this article, it has reaffirmed the decision I made for my children as well. I am the only Vegan in my household and I had at one point tried to get my daughters on the same, however, they started to complain and said that they really like meat and wanted it and cheese back in their diet. I have since come to the same conclusion as you did and I am not forcing my way of eating on them and I will allow them to decide when they are older, what works best for them. Don’t get me wrong, these little girls still get a healthy does of vegan cooking, but I do include what they enjoy as well.
I had the exact same approach in mind when my daughter was born. Had the same conversation with my omni hubby and we agreed to the exact same thing. Our daughter would eat what we all eat.
Then I started doing more research on the harmfulness of meat and dairy. Plus that I would have to cook it for her. And that during family gatherings I would have to feed it to her.
I immediately changed my mind. If I’m eating a healthy vegan diet, take so much care to avoid chemicas and the toxic products that are meat and dairy, then my daughter shall also.
We also learned early on that she was lactose intolerant (non vegan formula top up when my milk didn’t come in) so I wouldn’t want her to eat something she was allergic to just because she may have “grown” out of it, or just not showing obvious signs of allergy.
It wasn’t hard for us and my husband is supportive. We are working on family understanding, which takes time.
I think there can be something in-between: I am feeding my baby girl only vegan food and am asking others only to feed her vegan food (in daycare, at grandparents) as long as she is still a baby and is being fed by adults. When she starts asking about food and feeding herself and going to birthday parties and such, or sees what my relatives eat at big family gatherings, then she is allowed to try whatever she wants. Still doesn’t mean I as a parent am feeding her anything but vegan food. Maybe that is what Angela is trying to do as well? Maybe she means that her husband will let her daughter try his food too. Not that she is going to cook non-vegan things for her.
I’m vegan and my fiance is not. We both agreed that we let our future children choose the lifestyle they want. I, however, will educate them about where their food is coming from, how it is made, how it affects our bodies, the animals, and our planet. These information were not given to me growing up which I know would have helped me. I feel that I got deceived living the way I did before and would have made a compassionate choice earlier if I had known the truth.
My daughter turned 4 months old on Friday and it has been so much fun reading your posts on Adriana – it is like a sneak peek into what lies in the weeks to come! :)
My husband is vegetarian and I am not, and we have had very similar discussions about what our daughter’s diet should include. I cook mostly vegetarian food and often weeks go by when I have not cooked any meat in the house. However, on those occassions when I do cook meat, I want to have both the vegetarian and non-vegetarian options on the table and let her decide, with no pressure at all from mommy or daddy! Once she is old enough, we are going to explain our choices to her, and again, it will be up to her to decide what she wants in her diet!
On a side note, we had a hilarious episode on Christmas morning that involved your cookbook! It so turns out that my husband and I had the exact same idea – we gifted each other a copy of your cookbook – so now we have two copies on our bookshelf! Seriously, what were the chances of this happening?! We laughed a lot about it, but it made me feel good that we were so in sync! Keep up the good work and we cannot wait for your next cookbook! :)
Oh my goodness, she has a Babcia! How lucky, Babcia’s are the best! Mine always had the best cooking.. :) I’ll always remember her food. I think you have a wonderful, healthy perspective on this topic. Best wishes to you and your little one, Halina
Haha. I thought the same thing! I was like “Babcia”! My daughter is 7 months old and we are discussing her food as we have introduced her to solid foods (and I am considering staying vegan past my current 30-day challenge) but I was thinking of all the delicious Polish food I will miss out on like Kielbasa (especially since we are visiting Poland next year and my own Babcia)
My husband and I have the same take on the subject. I’m mostly vegan and my husband is pescetarian. Our daughter doesn’t eat meat but we don’t deny her little pleasures in life such as birthday cake or popcorn on occasion. We’re not naive and know as she grows older she will be curious when she goes to have sleepovers and her friends eat pepperoni pizza or burgers. She will try meat and she may like it and choose that diet. We constantly talk to her about what is healthy and what is not. She is always asking and honestly at 3 1/2 she has more knowledge about health food than many adults. She makes us so proud but we feel restricting her too much will only cause retaliation. We find balance is best.
No offense, but there’s no such thing as “mostly vegan.”
She means she mostly eats a vegan diet. What’s wrong with that? Would you prefer she be a carnivore?
She’s a vegetarian.
You can be a vegetarian and eat very little dairy/eggs, ie mostly vegan.
Of course there is :) Please dont be so narrow-minded.
What she means is the exact definition of being vegan, which has become very watered down recently with plant base diets growing in popularity. So yes technically speaking you can not be mostly vegan. It’s a belief system not a diet, which is to avoid any and all exploitation of animals through diet, entertainment and clothing. That has been the definition since the 1940’s. Just thought I would clarify, it is something that does kind of bug most strict vegans because it only hurts the cause unfortunately when people water down the meaning.
Yep Mariana I agree. Why label yourself half vegan or 3/4 vegan? Is there something you feel isn’t good enough about being vegetarian? Then go vegan.
I understand the point being made here for those who define themselves as vegan. When you say “I’m vegan” you are expressing a whole belief system, just as I do when I say “I am a Christian.” It’s about more than going to church, it’s how we believe and behave in all we do. It really matters to us. However, I think it’s fine for someone to say they eat a vegan or mostly vegan diet, as my family does. I always explain what that means to anyone who asks and clarify what a vegan lifestyle actually means, too. For us, I am 95% plant-based at home and my family is 85-90% plant-based. My husband and girls drink organic milk and eat organic cheese and eggs. Occasionally they have deli meat that is nitrite and nitrate free. But when it comes to my cooking, it’s vegan, with the only exception being wild caught fish, maybe shrimp. I know that I am not a vegan in terms of my belief system. However, I do see the tremendous value in eating a mostly-plant based diet…and if you told me you weren’t Christian but wouldn’t mind coming to church with me sometime, I would welcome you and be thrilled you were there:) There’s room in this world for all of us and our beliefs as long as we’re respectful and tolerant of each other, and our children have the right to make decisions for themselves as they wish to. My girls understand the importance of healthy, whole foods over processed and refined foods and that those things are for the very rare indulgence. My oldest daughter loves meat, is a self- professed carnivore who is healthy and vibrant and plans to be a veterinarian! Figure that one out!!;)
it all about a label or not. I eat mostly vegan but eat fish on occasion. There is obviously a difference in being a vegetarian or eating mostly vegan. I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy and when I need to register somewhere I sure as heck am going to say ‘vegan’ and not, no meat, eggs, dairy, etc. that’s way too cumbersome. Im sorry to say but it’s that attitude that turns people away from the vegan lifestyle. Would you rather people say screw the animals, this is too militant to me or show some openness towards different styles of eating? If the time is right for me to stop eating fish I will call myself vegan until that time I will be a ‘mostly vegan’.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. I used to be an aspiring vegan. I can get behind the lifestyle/belief system associated with that and I’ve come a long way in achieving a cruelty free diet and lifestyle but the people can be embarrassing. And with an all or nothing attitude and propaganda I see from so many vegan resources, I’d rather not be associated with them. I don’t call myself vegan so much anymore, I just let my choices and food I share do the talking and hope that it will start a dialogue.
No need to bash vegans.
Hello not trying to rock the boat here (honestly)-I think that identifying as a vegan means recognising entirely putting one lifestyle behind you and moving on to another (ie wholly vegan) especially if the veganism is for ethical reasons. It also gives some recognition to the personal sacrifices you’ve made (cheese is wrong but giving it up was harder than expected!) So I think that’s why a lot of vegans get angry at the term ‘mostly vegan,’ because they see it as kind of undermining their own identity, as well as obviously going against their ethical beliefs. I know it’s pernickety but even saying ‘eating mostly vegan’ as opposed to ‘mostly vegan’ has much less impetus to insult-‘mostly vegan’ can quickly be read as ‘I believe in cruelty free living and am against the oppression of animals-however chickens are obviously exempt from this because they are tasty.’ I just want to say that there are 2 sides of the coin-for every militant propaganda toting vegan there is a more symapthetic vegan (or 2 or 3-we definetly outnumber the extremists who are apparently giving us a bad rep) who is so happy that you’re eating mostly vegan and just want to support and encourage you to turn full vegan. Sorry if you’ve had a bad experience, but as in all representative groups the extremists tend to be the minority so please don’t generalise and assume that because someone is annoyed by your term ‘mostly vegan’ that they are all people hating angry vegans about to go and stab steaks in the local Sainsbury’s. I’m sure you could easily sympathise with the anger some feel at the term you are defending-when it comes to morals and ethics I think everyone has the right to be passionate. Another point I have to make is that a lot of vegans are CONSTANTLY fighting criticism over their diet-mostly by their friends who seem to take dietary choice as a direct challenge/insult (sigh) so I think a bit of anger/bitterness against people they associate with eating non-vegan products can probably be explained by that as well.
I agree with what you’re saying (and the other Amanda). I will always believe that any positive change deserves recognition. I definitely agree that people that are fanatical about ‘the rules of being a vegan’ are what scare people away. Telling someone they’re not doing good enough will just make them give up not motivate them. We need more positive steps (even if they are baby steps) from as many people as possible, not just the few ‘elite’. I feel like vegan has become kind of a dangerous word. If you say it to any strong minded vegans they’ll scrutinize you and if you say it to an omnivore they’ll cringe because they’re waiting for you to go into a rant about how evil they are. I like to stay out of the danger zone and use the words plant-focused (when I was still eating fish) and plant-based. For some reason those words seem more acceptable to everyone. lol
That might technically be the definition but I disagree it hurts the cause to water down the meaning. I think many people run away screaming at the prospect of being a “vegan” on these terms. So they don’t even try. If more people tried to be vegan the world would be a better place for all. I have nothing but respect for you sticking so closely to your principles it is impressive but just not inclusive enough.
Honestly, I was thinking about going vegan, but the idea and pressure of having to adhere to such a strict philosophy with such scrutiny and little flexibility is a little daunting.
I think a lot of omnivores feel just the same way you do Tracy which is unfortunate. I have heard so many people say I couldn’t ever be vegan because….it is one food or another they couldn’t live without. So they don’t even try and meat and milk multiple times a day. If they could be vegan except when they eat what ever it is they cannot live without they would be a lot healthier and and animals would be a lot better off. If everyone observed meatless Monday for example it would have a much larger impact than and one person becoming 100% vegan all of the time. When people realize how wonderful a plant based diet can be maybe many of them would be plant based more often.
Exactly, you eat a variety of foods, mostly plants but not always? Then you’re an omnivore. Done. Simple as that. Stop giving yourself an unearned title to sound like your doing more than just eating mostly plants but not always. It’s really very, very simple.
Well said. It’s not complicated at all.
I am a strict vegan and I think it is absolutely disgraceful to shame someone about being “mostly vegan”. Good for them! I am thankful people are taking notice of the change that needs to be made in the world! Who am I to judge someone who is trying to better themselves, and in turn, make a difference? Perhaps vegans who are “offended” by this should try encouraging those who are almost there instead of knocking them down. How dare you put such an ugly face to the vegan diet? Those of you who are taking this nasty approach to other aspiring vegans aren’t the true vegans. This lifestyle is not something you adopt in order to shame others and put yourself on a high horse. You are not better than anyone else. Perhaps you should try to adopt a more loving, understanding and peaceful mindset before tying to pass on your poisonous one to others.
Well said Esther.
I believe there is no such thing as mostly vegan or mostly vegetarian. If you eat mainly a plant based diet but you include meat you are still an omnivore. It’s good that your eating less meat, but it doesn’t mean you are a vegetarian or vegan.
Well said Esther! I think it is so pretentious to come down on someone for saying ‘mostly vegan’ I mean please, people need to get over themselves. Who gives a shit about ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ or any of that, labels are bullshit, plain and simple. Let’s just be happy that people are choosing to eat less meat and animal products. geez.
Brilliantly put Esther, no need for shaming at all.
So being vegan is an earned title now…huh good to know.
Umm, yes, there is. Or you could say predominantly vegan. How about 80% vegan?
I’m learning to say “I eat a plant-based diet” to avoid all that goes along with the true vegan lifestyle. I eat honey, I would wear silk clothing if I had it, and I do wear shoes made from leather. But I don’t eat meat, fish, dairy, eggs or cheese. I used to tell people I’m vegan, but I realized that’s not entirely true when someone commented about the leather and honey issue. Since then I’ve tried to remember to tell people, “I am plant-based.”
As always Angela, you are balanced and reasonable. The guys at Green Kitchen Stories have a similar take – though they are both vegetarians I remember reading about them letting their kids eat things like fish and whatnot when they’re at daycare, with their grandparents etc.
On an oddly related note: I was raised by a very atheist mother and very Catholic father. I asked my mother once why she bowed down to her kids having first communion and being confirmed (especially me, having always raged against the church unlike my brothers). Living in Ireland, there were at the time of my elementary education no options but Catholic schools open to us. Mam said that she thinks it’s tough on kids to make them stand out at such a young age. I would have been removed from my classmates multiple times a week. And, indeed, I remember the occasional kids who weren’t involved in the rituals really missing a lot of bonding time and adventure.
I think there’s a lot to be said for letting kids blend in unless they choose not to (I went veggie at 7 and did not give a single fuck what the other kids and their parents had to say, but it was very much my choice!)
Keep on being your awesome mama bird self!
I am completely behind you 100%! What you’re doing is amazing and your daughter is super lucky to have you guys as parents! Xo
I hate diet labels too! I feel diet evolves as we do. I am gluten free and what I guess could be called vegan but my husband is omnivorous. Our 13 month old enjoys a high plant based diet but also loves a few animal proteins. We let him choose what he wants. I feel I cannot tell him to eat one thing when my husband and I have different diets. I believe giving choices is important, at least for our family.
Well put! I have been veggie for over 20 years and vegan for 3 months. I, too, have a meat eating husband and we have raised two daughters with a healthy mix of both. Some days I have to do a lot more cooking than most but allowing my family to make their own food choices has worked for us. Plus it’s kind of cool to know they have the knowledge to make and enjoy healthy choices! :)
Thank you for posting Angela. I am currently 36.5 weeks pregnant, Vegetarian and my husband is a meat eater. We had a lengthy conversation about this very topic last night! I’d love to raise my children as Vegetarian, but I know its going to be challenging especially as I live in a world where meat is eaten. Eaten in our house, and also by my family and friends. I think we’ll try to stick to plant based meals with our new son as much as possible, but once he asks to try something his Dad is eating, then we’ll let him try.
We decided something similar. We won’t stop our son if he decides to eat any meat or dairy when he’s out or if it’s available. However, we won’t cook any of it at home, so at home he will have to adhere to our diet.
As a mother of a 3-year-old, I can tell you it isn’t easy to live in a world with so many diet labels.
My husband and I were faced with this decision when my son started solids and around that same time, our transition to a plant-based diet was becoming more and more apparent.
Today, we don’t call ourselves vegetarians (we still eat eggs, little fish and the weekly meal at each of our parents’ house does sometime include meat).
I would say however that we do eat meat-free 85% of the time, which is huge in today’s society.
Like you, we believe in letting our son try everything there is out there and let him decide, once he’s older. But he looooooves his veggies so we’re not worried that he’ll have a healthy, whole foods diet which will include lots and lots of fruits and veggies (and probably the occasional meat if that’s what he wishes).
I don’t think being a vegetarian or a vegan is about being perfect. It’s about being aware of where our food comes from and making decisions based on what we believe.
Thanks for this post…..I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.
Can I also say THANK YOU for your cookbook. I absolutely love every recipe I have tried so far and each week, when I plan my meals, your book is the first I reach out for. Can’t wait for #2!
We have the same beliefs. I eat a plant-based diet but my husband does not. I try not to put labels on my own diet because people often have an expectation that if I eat a “vegan” diet, then I’m vegan and should be raising my children the same.
Growing up, my parents forced their beliefs on me and I really had a hard time with that. I want our girls to make their own decisions about what they eat so that they have a healthy relationship with food and get to try out a variety of foods. When we eat meals as a family they are vegan and my husband will prepare them and devour them. My kids enjoy them too. When they are out, they can each choose what they want to eat.
I haven’t eaten meat in almost 10 years and for many of those years I was vegan. My daughter has just turned 6 months old as well and friends and family are constantly asking me the same question.
The last couple of years I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit health wise. Since becoming pregnant I’ve been trying to get back on track.
I was litterally just searching your page (this morning) to see what you planned on feeding your little lady!
Your blog has helped me SO MUCH (for many years). Finding your recipes and reading about your lifestyle has been quite inspiring. I’m so happy I happened to have a baby around he same time to follow your progress and learn from your practices.
Such a wonderful post! I love how open and honest you are. Your approach to raising her is so thoughtful and reasonable, I love it!
Sounds like a very sensible way to raise your daughter, and I’m sure she’ll be thankful for it in the long run. But your recipes are so delicious that she won’t be wanting for delicious, nutritious food. :-)
I’m in a mixed household too: husband is an omni, my daughter and I are veggies. I too would not prohibit my baby from trying all the foods available to her. But since my decision to be veggie is primarily out of compassion for other sentient beings, then I would continue to buy only enough animal based food for one person like I currently do. That way I can still have my 200 animals spared per year. There are always ways to minimize the amount of animal based foods too and I think that’s what I’d turn to if she decided to go that route as she got older.
I love love love your recipes! And I so appreciate what you do!
Sounds very reasonable to me! :) I’m veggie and my husband isn’t; mostly he’ll just eat what I cook, but when it’s “too healthy” he goes for takeaway. I think it will upset me if my daughter wants to try chicken or pork when she’s older, but I’ll try my best to hide it so she doesn’t feel guilty about it at a young age. Hopefully she’ll understand why I don’t, and be veggie too, but it’s not a choice I’m going to make for her!
You say diets are a personal choice, but in what way is the violent death of an animal a personal choice?
New born calves are ripped away from their mothers, so their mother’s milk can be sold to those who drink it as a “personal choice.” Diets that include animal products are anything but a personal choice.
Why wouldn’t you want to start your child out on a life path of compassion and life-long health?
How can you teach your child to love her cat but eat the dead animal on her plate?
It’s incredibly sad that people are so afraid of labels or being different that they forgo compassion, long-term health and wellbeing.
And…now for the hater comments. Go for it. Someone has to the a voice for the voiceless.
Please tell me you are pro-life…
I just want to say, well said, Veronica! Thank you for pointing out what should be obvious, and standing up for the animals. I am the only vegan in my household (husband and three children who are not – they are 20, 18 and 12) and it is hard watching them consume animal products and knowing that they are contributing to so much animal suffering and death. If I had to start again, I would unquestionably make my household a vegan one.This is my biggest regret.
I agree with Veronica and Maureen. Ethics are at the core of veganism, not nutrition. It is not a diet.
Agree with Veronica and Maureen. Eating meat is a backward way of life which is only perpetuated because we ate it when we were children and didn’t think about what it was. It is our duty as parents to teach our children. We teach them about love, manners, being kind to others. Does that not include animals? What about the consequences of factory farming on our health and to the planet? We should stand behind our beliefs and raise our children by our beliefs in a healthy and loving way. We do this with every other topic in life–why not diet too? I think with all the fad diets today the ethics behind veganism have been diluted and that’s sad.
Once again, the word “vegan” has been hijacked to describe plant-based. I agree with Veronica’s comment and the responses from other true committed vegans. Like Maureen, I wish I had done things differently and that I had seen the light of veganism decades ago. If I had it to over again, not only would I myself have gone vegan much sooner, but I certainly would have raised my children to understand the truly personal compassionate choice that is veganism.
So happy to see the above comments! I was surprised how many mothers say they are okay with their children eating meat cause their husbands do! I too would do things much different had I “woke up” so many years sooner and become vegan. My household would have been vegan. I didn’t do so until my oldest son was away at university, two other teenagers and the youngest was not quite 10. One day he said “mommy I don’t want to eat animals anymore either”. He was probably about 12 and is now 21 <3
I would have raised them vegan and told them the truth about where meat, dairy and eggs come from and by teaching them compassion I'm pretty sure they would have remained vegan. A lot harder to do when they are older, but hopefully one day they too will "wake up".
Why Angela do you not want to teach your child compassion? Let her make the decision about eating meat after she is old enough to know how that meat got on her plate? Sure organic is better than factory farmed but there is no such thing as humane meat!
I think that it is absolutely ridiculous to assume that one cannot eat meat and still be a compassionate human. I work with hunter gatherers in Africa and study the evolution of human diets, and it is absolutely ridiculous and untrue to assume that humans who eat animal protein or products in order to supply vital nutritional needs are less compassionate than you.
Would you suggest that people living on a diet comprised of only wild foods starve or suffer from malnutrition in the absence of complete protein sources in their diet rather than much needed animal foods or honey?
In my opinion, judging others for personal (and rational) decisions related to their diets shows a complete lack of compassion.
Well Chelsea, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that you would compare a hunter/gatherer in Africa that I’m sure eats whatever they can catch or gather to survive and feed their family to those in North America that are lucky enough to choose to eat whatever they want!
Angela is not “living on a diet comprised of only wild foods” and herself and her daughter will not “starve or suffer from malnutrition in the absence of complete protein sources in their diet”!
Comparing Angela feeding her child animal products to those in Africa that do not have the resources of fresh plant foods like we do is just plain stupid!
Lori, I believe that Chelsea’s point was more to your lack of compassion in your judgement of how someone else decides to care for their child. Her example of hunter-gatherers spoke to why someone would make a different choice in protein consumption.
I can appreciate your commitment to compassionate treatment of animals, and yet where is that same compassion for someone who is brave enough to share her life story with strangers?
all of you ask Angela why wouldn’t she want to teach her child compassion. Where is your compassion for others? Trying to make Angela feel bad about decisions she makes for HER family is not compassion. I think more people would be open to a vegan lifestyle if vegans were not so judgmental of others. Don’t make someone feel bad about a decision she and her husband sat down together as a couple and decided was best for THEIR family. Angela is the one who carried that beautiful baby girl and is the one who will with Eric’s help raise her to be a thoughtful, caring, and honest member of society. None of you have any part in that so it’s none of your concern what she and Eric decide is best for their family.
I think it’s great that you stand up for animals but tearing down others is not the best way to get your cause across. Everyone’s body reacts differently to different diets and some may not have a choice in eating animal based products. so keep trying to make people aware of the health benefits of a plant based diet, try to get farmers to provide better living conditions for animals but do so in a respectful way to others.
I think it’s incredibly shortsighted to assume that Angela “doesn’t want to teach her child compassion”.
So Robyn, I should feel compassion for Angela because she has chosen not to be compassionate towards the animals that will suffer should she feed her child animal products? Makes no bloody sense!
I am vegan and stand up for animal rights so why would I feel any other way towards the animals that suffer because of her chose?
There no reason what so ever to feed her child anything but vegan when she has the ability to make delicious nutritious vegan meals for her daughter to thrive! It’s not like she hasn’t the money and needs to buy Kraft dinner etc to feed her. Anyone that eats plant based is going to have read about animal welfare so she knows exactly what is going on but guess she has chosen to “put on her blinders”. Hey if you don’t see it or don’t think about it, it doesn’t happen right? I’m ending this here cause there is no point arguing with those that don’t live a vegan lifestyle for ethical, moral and unselfish reasons!
Thank you this thread. I was scrolling through the comments and not believing that everyone is so relaxed about animal suffering. Veganism IS being hijacked. With my children I intend to only permit cruelty free compassionate healthful food until they are able to consciously decide for themselves. You don’t need to label your children, and you should let them decide for themselves but wait till they have reached an age when they can reason for themselves. The comfort and convenience of other people and family members is not worth the trade off of animal cruelty and suffering.
Robyn, if you see a rapist or murderer you call them out for their choices. You can have all the compassion in the world for them, but that wouldn’t stop you from saying that what they are doing is really shitty.
Wow. SO interesting reading everyone’s opinions and beliefs. I am curious about the vegan label… I personally eat a plant based diet that is complemented with a small portion <5 % of self harvested animal proteins. Ie chicken eggs that live a lovely life, and we raise a cow which we "steal" some milk off, we also butcher yearling when they are 6 months and share with our family. I understand that this is not "cruelty" free however, all that animals live in great conditions (better than many humans, as i have seen firsthand) and are loved and taken care of.As far as the butchering, I am a nurse, and volunteered as vet assistant in a former life. I am comfortable saying the animals death is nearly painless, with no signs of distress. But it is very different than the horror story that many of you Vegans are talking about. I very much agree with the ethics behind a plant based diet, but is there any lee-way? I don't believe that animal husbandry means neglecting a system that has been in place for so long that if humans stop "interfering" many animals would do worse off.. (The chickens for example, go broody and will kill themselves trying to hatch eggs of you don't take them away). Any thoughts? Is there a middle ground?
But a grass fed beef, well grilled steak just tastes so darn delicious.. I’m mostly omnivore but also love a delicious vegetarian dish — can’t we like it all? Aren’t there other things to argue about…guess it’s first world problems..aren’t we lucky..
Wrong. I’m vegan and I am doing it completely for health reasons. Before you make an assumption about why everyone else makes such a personal choice, just think about it. Do I think the farming practices are horrible? Yes. Do I hope there’s a way to fix it? Yes. And my choices are making a positive impact while eating a mostly-Vegan diet. Angela is living a reality many of us are – the world has many differing nutritional choices/dietary guidelines. It takes courage to be compassionate to all of the choices out there, and be tolerant even if it is in the animals’ best interest – or our cholesterol, BP, inflammation levels, weight and overall health.
I eat a plant based diet. Choose not to eat meat, but do not believe killing an animal is murder, so for that reason do not call myself a vegan. Being a Vegan is a belief, it’s not eating an all plant based diet. I would like to know the answer about pro-life. If this strong stance of murdering animals applies to the murder of the unborn human life. I mean that sincerely.
I’m hoping my previous comment was not confusing. To clarify, I am 100% on side with Angela’s choice. I was trying to be diplomatic about the harsh negative reactions to Angela’s decision. My point being, let’s be compassionate to both animals and our fellow human beings. Namaste.
It’s obvious that the truth behind industrial dairy milk is upsetting to Veronica, but whether or not she is pro-life is irrelevant.
Commercial/industrial dairy comes from cows who are forcibly impregnated. Their calves are weaned- taken from their mother- between 24 and 72 hours after birth. The video accounts of this separation are heartbreaking. The mother, like any, is distressed- fighting and bucking and calling for her young as the calf cries in fear. Males are sold to veal farms; females are destined for the same pathetic existence as their mothers. The calves that are sickly are thrown on dead piles to succumb to the elements. This process is repeated over and over until the female’s body literally gives out- then she is sold for hamburger.
My absolute disgust for this process has nothing to do with my opinion over what an adult woman does or is allowed to do with her body. These animals have no choice and the brutality they endure is not only legal, but condoned every time we purchase commercial dairy products.
I am vegan because pleasing my palate became trivial compared to the abuse it took to get it to my plate. The truth of factory farms was enough to make me lose my appetite- for good. If I were “mostly vegan” I’d still be an omni or a vegetarian- but people can label themselves whatever they wish and believe/deny whatever as well.
I am impressed by your passion, and bravery! In a perfect world all of these complicated issues would be sorted out, with animals as beloved creatures and not food. All of us working at being vegetarian and vegan are contributing to the momentum of positive change, but it will take time, patience and compassion toward our human friends as well.
Icompletely agree with you i think its best to teach them while they’re young and then let them eventually make the decision for themselves. I think once you explain to them why you’re not eating yet animal cruelty hormones just the fact that you’re eating one of your best friends is just a really sad thing to admit and once you put that thought into a child they’re like I don’t want to eat my dog I don’t want to eat the cat why would I want to eat that pig. This is just my opinion my nephew is vegan(so am I) and I’m so glad he doesn’t eat flesh and whatever toxic chemicals in nonvegan food.
I know so many families that eat meat and dairy but, for some reason, I was disappointed to hear this answer too. Love the recipes and the cookbook though. The children in our home do not eat meat or dairy, and they are told why. Not only because of the cruelty involved, but also for health reasons. That said, it is VERY difficult to keep that stuff out of their lives because so many places (church, school, friends) serve it. We just do the best we can.
I struggle with eating certain places with my boys at church, some friends, and families. My oldest watched Food Inc. and both have selected books (on their own!) about vegetarians and vegans. These books explain why some choose a life style. We eat a whole foods mainly plant based diet. I would love to be more vegan, and my oldest would as well. I believe it is OK to take a stand now on big no-nos and be clear as to why with family and friends. If my kids know where there food comes from and makes their own decisions based on that, fine. Until then, we lead by example and share information.
What you describe is exactly how I feel inside. The whole “personal choice” thing is so so upsetting to me. You’re absolutely right- when is the animal’s personal choice considered?
However, not everyone sees the world the way you and I do. And in order to help animals most, I believe that we need to allow for degrees of vegan-ism. Or whatever you would call it. Every reduction of animal consumption that a person makes is significant, a vegan will save roughly 100 animals from suffering each year, but nonvegans can make a difference too!
If we make going veg an all or nothing thing, than many people that might have made a reduction will be completely turned off to the idea, because they will think that being compassionate to animals is difficult. Or they will think that veggies are freaks. We aren’t. We’re just normal people with compassion.
And that’s what I think this blog embodies, the attitude that everyone can do something. It has nothing to do with what you label yourself. I would be very surprised if this baby doesn’t follow in mom’s footsteps. She will see the passion for eating this way. Babies pick up on that without restrictions and labels. Mine did, and we are both veggies now :-)
I love this comment Sylvia! I think acknowledging any progress is the right direction is helpful! Every meatless meal is really a victory for the animals. In a society that has been eating meat for hundreds of years, it is a victory to have a plant based meal even if it’s not every single meal of everyday. I think it’s important to encourage plant based foods, but no need to alienate anyone right?
please let this woman raise her child the way she wants. Jesus! You people need help lol
Angela shared this post and is expecting a variety of replies. She also approved my comment, which she did not have to do.
She could just have the comments unfiltered, you know. I’m a vegan too, and up until Angela’s post, I thought I would raise my future child a vegan, but she made me realize that it isn’t fair to Adriana to close some doors she may want open. Kids look up to their parents, and since both her parents eat healthy whole foods (even if Eric isn’t vegan, he is still tremendously helping those animals), she will most likely be turned onto the healthy eating bandwagon. Just because people eat animal products, doesn’t mean they’re antipathic or incompassionate. Now, I think I will let my child choose, and hopefully that will do. You have to trust your child and instill in them compassion and awareness. Vegan or not. Way to go Angela!
*coming from a vegan*
But how can children *choose* what they literally cannot comprehend? A 1-year old or a 3-year old is incapable of making a choice about something like ethics, animal suffering, factory farming, etc. Those concepts don’t exist to them.
For what it’s worth, my son is 5 and has been raised vegan since conception. I always tell him, “I am helping you make these decisions until you are old enough understand the issues and make the decisions yourself.”
So he is vegan now. I imagine that he will choose to eat non-vegan foods when he’s older. But I want to give him the opportunity to have lived an entirely vegan life, if he so chooses. And, I think as a parent it’s my job to pass on my own beliefs to him.
That just makes more sense to me than doing it the other way around. Just some food for thought.
Exactly. You always make a choice for your child on what they can eat. Why choose to give them harmful foods? Harmful for their bodies and for animals?
Agreed. A baby can’t make that decision. They are unaware of the moral, ethical, environmental, and health implications that arise from eating animal products. I’m all for my son 29 weeks pregnant) choosing to eat animal products one day, but not until he understands what it means. You can’t undo eating animal products. And babies want to eat everything! I’m really unfortunately disappointed in this post. I feel like it should have been kept private.
I for one, salute Angela for her public post. Bravo for sharing in an open and honest manner her thoughts on a subject that she surely knew would generate a hot debate. She was just as open and honest about this aspect of her life as she has been with many other aspects. Thank you, Angela, for sharing. I appreciate your careful and nuanced evaluation of the impacts of your decisions on your daughter.
reiterating that this is right on, I don’t understand when people say “your child can choose to become vegan when they’re older,” or “you should let them taste everything and then they can decide.” Once a child is desensitized towards animals, cruelty, and compassion, it is going to be much more difficult for him/her to reverse that process. However, if they understand the moral/ethical aspect of eating animal products and choose to make different choices at least they have all the information.
Hi, i was just wondering the types of foods that your baby ate in his first year? I tried making my daughter mixtures of fruis, veggies, grains, lentils, etc but she refused all of it.. I started feeding her more meat and dairy when she wasnt gaining weight.
We did lots of healthy plant fats (avocado, coconut, etc) plus proteins like tofu chunks or lentil mash, plus the typical fruits and veggies and stuff. He was heavily breastfeeding do the first year was mostly just taste/texture exploration for us.
I wrote specifically about feeding a vegan toddler if you’re interested, here:
Plus in various ways all over my blog. Hope that helps!
Passing your beliefs onto your child, Sayward? I believe that’s called brainwashing. High fives for not trying to dictate Adriana’s life with your beliefs, Angela. Biggest hugs to you.
your narrow-mindedness is what’s wrong with people
Nobody is not “letting her raise her child the way she wants.” She is asking for feedback, and I’m glad Veronica spoke up for the animals, as their feedback is never asked for. It is the animals who need help. Google “Farm to Fridge” to find out why. There will probably be no LOLing.
You’re talking about factory farming which I agree is horrible. However, many small farms raise healthy, happy animals in an ethical, thoughtful and loving manner (myself included)
You’re fooling yourself if you think animals are happy to die for your food. There is nothing ethical about murder.
I think it would be in the whole families’ interest, given what we know now about animal agriculture and the harm it does, not only to the animals and human body but to the planet (water, air, soil ) itself, to go vegan. Just so that there is a planet left for the beautiful baby to live in.
Veronica, excellent comments. Every single one of them. Thank you.
This is the circle of life, my friends! Should we be trying to save all the animals that get eaten by other animals? Including baby animals that are ripped away because they get eaten by the bigger animals? (Comparing your comment about us ripping away calves from their mothers so we can have their milk). Where does this thinking end? Again, this is the circle of life.
I think we all need to remember that choosing vegan is done for different reasons; some do it for their health/how it makes them feel, some do it because they feel animal cruelty is wrong. Fine. I can also appreciate all the comments about wanting to raise children “the right way” but this is her own child therefore her own decision. How about applauding someone for being honest and candid instead of focusing on something that isn’t going to change (animals eating animals)?
Ashlyn, it ends when you have a choice not to kill others. HUmans have that choice, so we make the right one – i.e. not to harm others.
I noticed you have a cat in your picture. Is your cat vegan? I ask because we are vegan at home, but we have a cat and, based on our research, it’s just not okay to give a cat a vegan diet, so I wondered how you have resolved that conflict.
don’t be silly. Humans have a choice to eat a plant based diet, a cat is an animal which does not. Simple as. Feeding it solely on plants would make it a very sick kitty. Shock news: you can be a vegan and love animals (ie own a cat)-what we’re discussing here is the human animal which has the resources and digestive abilities and ability to make independent decisions regarding their diet…
The circle of life does not include forcing pregnancy on cattle and pigs via artificial insemination and then raising the animals to maturity and cutting short their lives so that people can have a piece of dead flesh on their plate.
Choosing to call yourself vegan means you are adhering to the moral stance that animals are sentient and must not be eaten, worn, exploited, or used in any way by us herbivores. Yes, that’s what we humans are…. we’re herbivores.
In being honest about her situation, Angela Liddon has revealed that she is not vegan. She follows a plant based diet, that’s it. If she were truly vegan, then never in a million years would she allow her child to eat dead flesh.
I can appreciate what you (Judith) and Rebecca are saying, no doubt. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Correct me if I`m wrong, but I just don`t see Angela`s blog as an outlet for these types of comments when she says she follows a plant-based diet, or follows a vegan diet…again, I may be wrong but I don`t recall ever reading that she claims herself to be a vegan. So unless I`m wrong, I think everyone needs to tone it down a bit.
The title of this blog is Will You Raise Your Daughter A Vegan, and in it Angela keeps referring to eating “vegan” meals. To us vegans, that is insulting because it is NOT a diet. If she took out the word vegan for plant based then none of us would have a problem about this.
Don’t ever pretend that being vegan is just following a diet. That’s what we’re trying to get through to Angela and all the other omnivores who enjoy her plant based recipes. We’re recognizing she has appropriated the word vegan to market her site and her recipe books. On the first page of this site, she actually says “plant based vegan recipes”. That is a deliberate use of the word vegan to ensure that a google search would bring people to this site.
That said, her recipes are fabulous, and everything I have made from this site and her Oh She Glows cookbook have been amazing (yes, I bought the cookbook too). I encourage my patients to follow a more plant based diet, and often give her website address to them to help with creating wonderful and delicious meals. I wish her well, I just want her to be aware that using the word vegan implies that she is following the vegan lifestyle and is 100% against eating, using and exploiting animals. This is not the case, according to this particular blog, and I appeal to her to stop using the word vegan. She is plant based, not vegan.
What’s wrong with taking advantage of the system that is in place in order to reach more readers and get more people to eat a plant based diet. Even if every post doesn’t directly overlap with the vegan definition and goals of the vegan movement it is helpful to the movement by getting people to eat in a way that aligns with the goals of veganism and perhaps get some carnivores to look into veganism and change their lifestyle. This is how people learn and grow. My diet choices were not fueled by a burning desire to end animal cruelty but as I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian to plant based I learned more about veganism because as I was searching vegan recipes I found other vegan resources. If this overlap did not exist I may not have had the encounters to learn more about animal cruelty and become interested in the vegan lifestyle.
By being so close minded about what is beneficial to the vegan movement you are turning people away and giving the movement a bad name. I’m embarrassed by the close mindedness of vegans and the mindless propaganda they spew. Despite having the same goals as the vegan movement, I’d rather be a decent human with a respect for all life than be labelled as a vegan. I believe that this sort of attitude about keeping the vegan definition pure is self defeating and I can accomplish more as a compassionate human that consumes a plant based diet than I can as a zealous vegan.
Amanda, there’s nothing wrong with being open to reaching more people and encouraging them to eat more plant based meals. That is a positive step, I agree, but I am not thrilled with seeing Angela’s blog posts where she refers to herself as vegan, tell us that she will allow her child to eat an omnivore diet. When you ARE vegan, you just ARE. If she qualified it by saying she eats a vegan or plant based diet, but does not follow a vegan lifestyle, then that wouldn’t be an issue for me. I believe with the concern we are showing about this issue, it’s obvious that vegans don’t like being led to believe she lived her life fully as a vegan.
I fight for the vegan definition to be pure, because if we don’t keep it pure, if we let slide the many comments of “Well, I’m mostly vegan”, etc., then the vegan movement becomes a confusing muddle and is weakened. In my opinion, we have to stay strong and united – otherwise we will not be respected for holding our beliefs to high standards.
I also believe that stating what the term vegan really is, and what it means to all beings that inhabit earth, that it can be done with great compassion and love. I usually ask the people who are curious about veganism to watch lectures by Richard Oppenlander, Melanie Joy, and Gary Yourofsky.
If refusing to water down the definition of being vegan makes me an extremist, then I will proudly stand behind that label. I can’t compromise on this. This is for the animals, for the health of my fellow humans, and for the survival of this planet.
Just a quick sidebar: the ‘vegan’ vs. ‘plant-based’ is a very American thing. There’s actually not a commonly understood term for ‘plant-based’ in many languages. I think that tells something about the importance of drawing the distinction.
With all respects, do you think it is fair for you to define what “vegan” precisely means to everyone?
I like the idea that people can make choices for what something means to them within their own contexts of children and marriage. I have found that life decisions can be really tough when making them with another person in a family and social context.
I respect Angela’s open-minded and flexible approach to this tough decision.
Yes, “vegan” has a specific meaning. It is a word invented about 75 years ago, so we can quite easily find its definition from its founder’s very mouth and not dispute what “vegan” means (definition as of 1979 by The Vegan Society):
“A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
I am sorry if some people feel they’re being told they aren’t vegan by the vegan police, but there really isn’t room for “do whatever” here.
You have given one definition for vegan and it’s from 1979. Just as the words “cool,” “google, ” and “gay” exemplify how word use and meaning adjust and change according to common use, so the word “vegan” also has changed. Yes, for some, it is a system of belief, for others, a dietary expression. Perhaps there will become a way of expressing different forms of veganism… some who have left comments might be “fundamentalist vegans,” others “vegan reformed,” still others might be called “terrorist vegan.” Hopefully we will have more “open minded vegans” than anything else.
I should mention that the definition quoted DOES provide for “vegan” to express a dietary meaning. Quote: In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.
Note that it can be used as a dietary term. Let me state that again, The Vegan Society definition of vegan states that the word vegan CAN be used as a dietary term.
As I previously stated, however, we must recognise the evolution of language – words and their meanings, and account for those changes. Vegan no longer means, even in dietary terms, dispensing with ALL animal products derived wholly or partly from animals. It is no longer so clearly defined, some vegans use, for example, sugar and others do not. We must all account for the changes that have occurred with this word, Fundamentalist Vegans, or Extremist Vegans, included. However, even if they do not adjust to change well, the rest of us can.
Jaime, nobody’s saying you can’t make your own choices. If you choose to eat plant based yet wear leather shoes, eat the occasional bakery treat that has dairy and eggs in it, and yet you call yourself a vegan, well, that isn’t being honest, is it? You can say you’re 95% plant based, and that’s fine. Your choice. But you can’t be 95% vegan, that doesn’t exist. Because it’s a moral baseline, a philosophical stance. You either live it, or you don’t.
Angela has every right to be, as you say, “open-minded and flexible”. I have no problem with that, but just label yourself as plant based, not vegan. That’s okay, because that’s honest.
As to the definition of vegan, please see Lu’s response. Obviously it’s not up to me as to what vegan is.
Vegans don’t just “feel” animal cruelty wrong, they think and know it is wrong. It is the circle of life for animals that stalk and kill their prey eating it raw and shredding the meat with their teeth, beaks, and claws. It is not the circle of life for humans. Choosing to be vegan can only be done for one reason; compassion for all living beings. Until you make it to that point you are not a vegan. People who eat a plant based diet for other reasons have no right to call themselves vegans.
How is it not the circle of life for humans…we, too, are animals.
I understand there are some pretty questionable/inhumane tactics that farmers are using these days to extract what is sold in grocery stores today, but why attack Angela for voicing her honest opinion, someone who says she follows a vegan diet…key word being follows? I don`t recall her ever being an advocate for veganism due to animal rights. She is simply providing recipes that both vegan-diet-followers as well as `vegans` can follow. Bon appetite!
It is the circle of life for humans who hunt with their bare hands and eat their flesh raw. It’s not for anyone else. I’m not attacking Angela. She should not label herself as vegan, and neither should anyone else who eats a plant based diet. There is NO “vegan diet”. You are not a vegan and cannot claim to be one if you are okay with animal exploitation or understand it through some sort of twisted logic. There are NO vegan diet followers. You should now find yourself in the plant based category.
Yes we too are animals just like other herbivores. The day I see a man kill an animal like a carnivore or omnivore and consume it’s flesh I will call that the circle of life. When grown animals consume secretions of other animals after forcibly raping them, then I will consider that the circle of life. The fact is this isn’t part of the circle of life.
“After learning about the horrors of meat and dairy …how could I, the lifelong animal lover, continue to support a system that brought so much pain and suffering to so many animals each year?”
~ Angela Liddon, Oh She Glows Cookbook.
She also calls herself a vegan in her bio. I’m not sure if you plant based diet followers understand what vegan means. It is there to specifically define people who live a compassionate cruelty free lifestyle by removing themselves as perpetrators of all animal products, violence and suffering.
Spot on Veronica. There is nothing humane and will never be anything humane about murder.
I’ve been vegan since I was 5 and didn’t want to eat animals anymore. This sort of argument for not eating animals makes me so angry. We are all entitled to our own beliefs, but calling it murder is too much.
What’s your take on eggs? Is that wrong to eat eggs? I have free range chickens and gather their eggs to eat, do you think that is wrong?
Tiffany, thank you for asking about the eggs!!! I have wondered about this myself, but only if the conditions are right. Let me explain: I have family members who keep several female chickens as pets; they will live out their days until they experience a natural end to their life, they will never end up on a dinner plate. They are housed in a beautiful coup and get high quality food and tons of fresh greens and veggies on a daily basis. They freely roam the property while the sun is up and they choose to go “home” as the sun sets, they also do a fantastic job at bug control. These “girls” are well cared for and are members of the family (just as many of you have household pets). Since there are no roosters, the eggs that they lay will never become chicks, sorry not possible :) but the hens still lay eggs. You aren’t supposed to allow hens to peck the eggs apart, so instead this family member collects them daily for fresh eggs. There is absolutely nothing unethical about how these hens live, and there is absolutely no way to prevent eggs from being laid. Those eggs that are collected are just a bonus for the family that keeps those hens. Is it considered unethical to have pets if you are following the vegan lifestyle?? Please don’t bash me if you choose to respond, I am asking a simple question, I am trying to understand better and am not looking for harsh criticism, and I find those responses that have been so judgemental a huge turn off as I move closer to totally eliminating all animal products from my own diet and household. My transition toward a plant based diet (with the target being veganism) has been done over a short period of time. Having been raised knowing only knowing “one way” to do everything and making those same choices into my adult years, it is easier to transition rather than go cold turkey. This is a permanent lifestyle change, not some sort of experiment or “diet” that will be reversed as it suits my mood. I want to make sure I am not leaving any holes in my diet that need to be filled by handfuls of supplements. Having eliminated most animal products from my diet, I have continued to use eggs that are raised locally in the exact same way that my family members have been keeping their hens. All of this criticism makes me feel like I could never measure up and claim that I am also a vegan once I reach that point because of my choices until this point, it has made me question whether or not I should keep my mouth closed about being vegan, when asked, and just politely reply that I am plant-based rather than vegan. Once I meet my goal I know that I will never judge since I have been raised to eat animal products and have continued to do so into my adult years. But I can honestly say I have never met a vegan who was a second or third generation vegan, most made a choice at some point to adopt this lifestyle, some of you were much younger, and some of you were already in your adult years. I understand the basics of veganism and that it is not a diet, but a lifestyle, and one that is dead set against using anything (food, clothing, cosmetics, personal care items, and even household items) made from animals, or made by animals, or anything that has been made that has been made that has exploited animals in the process. I have seriously struggled with understanding all of the negativity that has come from this post. I respect Angela for sharing her and her husband’s approach to foods with respect to their daughter, and to me it is a completely logical approach. I have thoroughly enjoyed following this blog for a few years now and appreciate Angela’s transparent posting style as she shares more than just a recipe that she has created. Anyone can find plant based recipes anywhere, cookbooks, other blogs, but what attracted me to this blog from day one and has kept me coming back, is Angela’s blogging style. Angela (and her husband) has graciously allowed us to follow her life as she shares more than just a recipe that she has created. I check regularly for updates and I get excited when I see that another delicious recipe has made its debut on the blog. Thank you for sharing your lifestyle Angela, I am sorry to hear that you are shifting your own approach to this blog as a result of the backlash from this post. I look forward to many more recipes and cannot wait for the release of your second cookbook. You have been a catalyst for my transformation toward a plant based diet and cruelty free lifestyle. I stumbled onto your blog searching for a recipe and found out how wonderfully delicious, nutritious, and possible it is to be entirely plant based and keep healthy over the long term, and during pregnancy too!!
Sorry for the essay.
What she said!
Ann – I would consider you a vegan, although more specifically an “ethical vegan” (i.e. a person who lives a vegan lifestyle for ethical – usually animal rights – reasons) rather than a simple “vegan” which typically denotes a diet/lifestyle free from animal products. But that’s being really specific.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think many people in the vegan community would chastise you for eating the eggs you describe. As a fairly hardcore vegan myself, who is purely interested in animal rights (the other good reasons are bonuses), I agree that there is nothing cruel about keeping chickens as pets and eating the eggs that they lay.
Best of luck in your transition to veganism, and welcome to the community!
So the lion who eats the gazelle is a murderer, too. This world that we live in isn’t intended to be black and white, and you’ll make yourself dizzy trying to make it so. Many animals on this planet rely on the flesh of other animals to sustain their own lives. I make a choice to be follow a vegan diet; that is the path that I’ve chosen to walk. It’s one of the ways I practice compassion. However, I have friends who practice compassion through volunteerism, donating to worthy causes, etc. We don’t compare notes over who is “better” at the end of the day.
Ethics and morality don’t come in pre-packaged, labelled boxes. And if they did, these boxes weren’t ever intended to be flung at each other’s heads. But..trying to pass off your rage under a veil of ethical superiority…sigh sigh sigh. It makes my heart hurt.
Well said Kat!
You are fooling yourself if you believe you have the ability to decipher an animal’s emotions. They have instincts and reactions, not emotions. Factory farming is abhorrent but each person has the right to choose to eat as they wish. I love animals and follow a mostly plant-based diet but I am not a murderer, no matter what you think of me. You, as am I, are entitled to your opinions but you, as well as I, do not have any entitlement when it comes to the personal choices of others. We don’t have to like what others do but using animal products, unless an animal is endangered, is not a crime and we have no right to judge. The difficult truth is that if no animals were used for food or other kinds of products the animal population would grow to a point where there was not enough food or resources for them and they would begin to die in equally horrific ways. I understand your passion for your beliefs and greatly respect it. My passion is being a Christian and believe we were intended to be vegetarians because in the Garden of Eden, it was perfection, only life with no death. When original sin occurred, our course was changed. I know not all people share my Christian beliefs but it is my truth. My hope for a better world involves not having an “us against them” philosophy and using our differences to grow as individuals and truly appreciate the diversity.
I find your whole argument very strange. What are you actually trying to say? On the one hand everybody is entitled to their own opinions on the other hand you claim there’s no right to judge. So isn’t this a contradiction? And in this whole thread not one person said that different opinions aren’t allowed to be stated. (You being the exception.) So what exactly is it you’re saying? You’re arguing with laws and crimes but these aren’t really part of this discussion at all. We all know that eating meat is not considered a crime. But this doesn’t change the fact that many think it’s problematic.
And for a matter of fact: yes, animals do have emotions. There’s really no scientific doubt about this. In this regard they are not different from us humans who happen to be animals, too.
This question has always been about perspective first, and everything else second. Is your perspective that animals should have the right to a life without suffering from humans and, to go beyond that, a life without oppression from humans? Whatever your answer might be, it’s the root of the choices that follow. If you think it’s wrong then a vegan life in diet, clothing, and so on is probably the way to go. If you think it’s right the question will not concern you and so on. But as soon as you think that it’s wrong it becomes incredibly difficult to accept people telling you that it’s all about personal choice. If you think it’s a personal choice, fine, I don’t agree with you and I think your premise is ethically horrible in most cases.
That is – in a simplistic way – all that there is to it. So yes, I’m judging – I think the suffering of animals is wrong and I think that your personal choice is nothing I need to have any respect for.
Happy until they are taken to be slaughtered, no different than the animals that were mass bred and raised in a factory farm! No sure thing as humane meat! Our dogs and cat live a happy life too but would it be right to line them up and slit their throats or give them a bolt to the head? You are only raising those animals for your own greed not because you love animals!
Thank you to those who are standing up for the animals!
Do you all realize that GOD created us all and gave us the animals for food?! I understand factories are inhumane in what they do, so just raise your own animals or buy from local farms.
Sorry, Tiffany, even for those who are bible believers (I am not but I know the bible well) your argument does not hold up as god gave the animals for food AFTER the Fall, and the death and resurrection of Jesus is to bring things back to BEFORE the Fall.
Genesis 2:16 “…you are free to eat from any tree in the garden…”
Genesis 9:3 (after the Fall and the Flood) “Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything…” This is not what God originally intended – if you believe in the bible and in god.
If this were so then the apostles would have taught the early church to eat a plant based diet.
Have you heard of evolution? So did God also create the rapist, child molesters, and factory farms? If God is so good why is our world going to hell, why do innocent young children suffer at the hands of adults, why do some die of cancer? Why did God create elephants or giraffes, don’t see people eating them?
Sorry but your God theory just doesn’t hold up! Maybe watch Earthlings, Forks Over Knives and Cowspiracy so see how animal agriculture is not only harmful to the animals, but also ourselves and our planet! Check out what science is and you might see how things really work!
Don’t you know? Elephants and giraffes were made for the circus and zoos, respectively. #sarcasm
Free will, Lori. There is rapists, child molesters and all that bad stuff because of free will. We all have our desicions in life, just like this one, whether Angela is choosing to have her baby lead a vegan life or not! How did this post get dragged into this belief thing? Maybe y’all should just mind your own business and leave the poor girl alone and let her do her own desicions without y’all bashing others. Y’all just made a stream of insults to everyone here on what they believe. This website is for recipes and from first hand opinion from me, this website has helped me a lot, from dropping pounds here and then, to feeling better about our environment. Is it really that hard to have a diverse world to live in? Just read the post, respect the decisions, and enjoy the purpose of it!
Except that you also take them to the same slaughter houses that those factory farmed animals are sent to. #profit
I partially agree, and I appreciate that you were willing to say it with such passion. Seriously, thank you. I don’t love labels or the idea of forcing an identity on my child either, but I think it’s important to understand where our food is coming from. Once my child is old enough to understand and make an ethical and informed decision about her diet, I would allow her to make choices outside of the home about what she will eat. However, until she can make that ethically informed decision herself, I will be feeding her a vegan diet. I only wish my parents had done the same for me instead of going so far as to trick me into eating meat, even when they knew I didn’t want it.
sidenote to Angela: Although I disagree in part with the main post, I love and appreciate this website. Thank you for this deliciously vegan website!
I think you make a great point. I just found out I am pregnant and I really want to raise my child vegan. But, how do I tell him/her that what my husband is doing is wrong? I guess I could divorce him but I really like him. A lot! Instead, I try to lead by example and expose my husband to the realities of the farm industry. I hope that I can do the same for my son/daughter when the time is right. And before then, I hope that I am the only one doing the cooking! I hope that I can give him/her enough education so he/she makes a sound decision and then fully believes and is committed to that decision so that it becomes a life habit. (And, I hope that that decision is to be a vegan and I don’t accidentally push him/her in the opposite direction) Can I do all this? I have no idea. But I hope.
I agree, Veronica.
I am the only vegan in my household. My husband eats meat, but at least he has agreed to the children being vegetarian until they are old enough to be told *exactly* why mama doesn’t eat animal products (they’re only 2 and 4, so I can’t be too graphic yet), at which point they can decide for themselves. But I hate seeing them eat cheese, for instance, and, worse, I hate that they see their dad eat dead animals as if that were a normal thing to do. I wish my children could grow up seeing vegan as the norm (as it should be), but unfortunately my husband does not agree.
So while I understand Angela’s position – I am in a similar one – I, too take offence at the “diet is a personal choice” position, for the same reasons as Veronica.
Buy them vegan cheese! I sure hope they aren’t drinking cow’s milk too!
Once my son put two and two together ( meat = murder of once alive animals) he wont touch it now. Kids are actually strong advocates for vegan/vegetarian living because of all the compassion they have for animals. I love it!
This is great! Teach the children compassion not violence! x
+1, great comment to being up in this thread Veronica.
Right on finally someone talking sense. Call yourselves vegans. Disgusting. Hypocrites mostly. If you eat meat now and then or rarely that does not make you vegan that makes you a freaking flexitarian.
I don’t understand humans and their backwards logic of teach kids the WRONG way their entire life and hope they do the opposite later.
Thank you Veronica! THANK YOU!
I don’t understand how these people call themselves vegans either. They completely miss the mark. Thank you Veronica and VeganElite.
I’m sorry that you (and others) lack understanding, perhaps it will come and with it, compassion for all life – people included.
Bravo, Veronica! I’m so glad to see your comment!
Nothing hater from me! I’m 100% on your side. Thank you for speaking up!
I respect your passion and voice for animals that do not have this power; however, as humans I believe we do have a choice, many of them. I think we hold such power through our ability to make life’s difficult choices.
I think one of the most important elements of our individual power of choice is not just to choose our own actions but respect the choices of others.
Well said, Jaime!
Can I just say people have been drinking milk long before vegans were born. It wasn’t until they could artificially make nutrients to supplement what you are missing in a vegan diet. Just buy locally sourced dairy.
I’m sorry but this comment doesn’t even make sense. In the nicest way possible I would suggest looking into the ‘benefits’ of dairy as to what artificial nutrients are made to supplement these benefits. I know you’re not talking about calcium since that is found in many vegetables that are not artificially made… and ‘milk’ is truly only for babies (baby cows, baby humans, baby pigs). Milk is to fatten the baby, not an adult, or even a child. We do not need another animals breast milk to sustain us into adulthood. I would also like to mention that even though things have been done a certain way in the past does not make it right. I currently have an indoor toilet, I am thankful we have made ‘progress’ in many areas of our lives!
“And now for the hater comments. Go for it.” ????
It’s okay to disagree with someone…. respectfully. But cyber bulling (and promoting it) is NEVER okay. There’s a really great Ted Talk about this. Please watch it.
Because you have to realize to love your cat it has to eat dead animals to survive.
Actually, not true. Cats CAN be plant based, and I am currently switching my cat over. It can be very healthy if done with care. obviously you would have to research before believing me… the facebook group “Vegan Cats” has opened my eyes a lot over the last couple weeks and along with scientific evidence has lots of
anecdotal evidence of cats living their entire (long) lives without animal products.
Surely you cannot stop your cat hunting birds when it is outside, isn’t that a natural instinct?
No no no, cats are obligate carnivores. Obligate as in required. They *cannot* survive on a plant based diet. Please don’t remove meat from your cats diet, unless it finds a way to feed itself (ie: killing wildlife) you will kill it in the most inhumane way possible. This is coming from a vet. That anecdotal evidence you speak of is just that, anecdotal. I guarantee that those so-called vegan cats are sourcing their own meat elsewhere, and in spite of this are not healthy and happy. Cats need meat, they are not omnivores like humans.
I agree with Veronica. It is the animals that pay the ultimate price for our selfishness. I have been pounded on by family and friends for my choices. I do not push my beliefs on others. If they ask I explain my choices are about cruelty free choices and sustainable food sources and leave it at that.Most people have no idea what I am talking about. People actually have brought veal and chicken to my parties.
For all those personal choices and you folks with new babies the world is dying because of unsustainable, cruel farming practices. Think about the world our children will inherit.
It is not a light and personal choice when meat habits are destroying the very planet we live on, contributing to the antimicrobial resistance crisis due the indiscriminate use of antibiotics to keep sick and crowded animals alive to go to slaughter and sending millions of people to bed hungry each night because raising meat denies them the benefit of grains fed to farm animals and the wasting of huge amounts of water on these filthy polluting farms.
You made the right choices now see it through. I like the lady that said she did not give a single fuck what others think. Be the change. It takes courage!
Excellent comment. Agree 100%.
Oh the irony! Veronica, please keep your hateful comments to yourself. And shame on you and all the other militant vegans in this string for trying to shame Angela Liddon who is one of the greatest advocates for plant-based diets on the web. She deserves much better than your collective angry words. “Vegan” has now become synonymous with “Vicious.”
Well done to Veronica, VeganElite, and all the others who are making sense here.
To Ellie (and others) Angela ASKED people to comment and contribute, so don’t make out like vegans have invaded this thread without invitation. There is no bullying going on. Expressing opposing opinions strongly is not bullying. That term is thrown around so much, but as far as I can tell, the only contributors here who have actually lashed out are those trying to protect some wishy-washy notion of ‘don’t judge, man’ while also stating that those people who are judging are ‘vicious’ or ‘militant’. ergh.
You (the “anti-judgers” who supposedly so compassionate) are doing nothing other protecting the status quo, and you don’t like confrontation, and you don’t like your choices being called out as questionable. That is it. You’re not more compassionate- you’re more complacent.
What seems to go over most people’s heads most of the time about veganism is that it is a philosophy that has decided that humans are able to make a difference in a positive way to animals, our environment and our own bodies by choosing not to harm animals. This philosophy is an ETHICAL STANCE. There is no room for fence-sitting on this. Again, as others have stated- JUST CALL YOURSELF A PLANT-BASED EATER.
It’s true what others have stated- the term VEGAN does need to remain strict and well-defined, or else it loses all power and meaning altogether.
For those that claim that they don’t like ‘Labels’ then don’t call yourself vegan. Just don’t. You’re not. Admit that your compassion and commitment to the cause waxes and wanes depending on convenience. Don’t try to bend and flex the parameters of a ethical stance that is important to many people and to the planet. It is gaining momentum, and if it doesn’t stay true to its definitions then it will get so bastardized that everyone will be saying they’re a sometime-vegan if they eat a friggin apple a day.
Veganism is a form of activism. If you don’t like the politics of that, then stay away from the term and don’t apply it to yourself.
It is good that Angela has made so many great vegan dishes and a great cookbook and has a lovely website and I actually really appreciate her honesty on this. But her choice is a disappointing one to me, and this post does confirm that she is a plant-based eater and not a vegan.
I am a mother to an 11 month old girl. She is and will remain vegan, unless she decides otherwise when she is older, and let it be known that that would be a HUGE disappointment to me if it ever happens. My husband went vegan after many philosophical debates on the issue and after he heard a great speaker on the subject. I flat out asked him to try to become vegan because it meant that much to me, and he agreed. He now loves it as much as I do, and our lifestyle has changed so much for the better.
I also agree that it is an absurd cultural practice to, as VeganElite stated, “teach kids the WRONG way their entire life and hope they do the opposite later.”
A lot of people act as if an omnivorous, thoughtless consumerism-based lifestyle is a neutral position. It is not. It is a choice, you are making choices. Harmful ones. It is not a harmless position, and should not be spoken about as if it is.
Children are raised to love and nurture animals. Except then they are also taught to eat and wear them. The connection is deliberately obscured to maintain the status quo. I will not let that connection go unnoticed and unstated when informing my daughter of the realities of the world we live in. It’s not going to be easy for me, or for her, as she grows older, but no one ever said it would be easy going against the grain. I’m proud to be living a life that I believe in and I would love to pass that onto her. I don’t consider my family’s choices to be shameful, or worth giving up on because they face a little resistance from relatives, friends, strangers, or whoever.
I am not attacking Angela, but I am disagreeing and disappointed with her decision.
We have raised our child like this and he knows exactly why we choose to eat what we do. It has been an education based on compassion and kindness not necc the gory details. This said, as he got older we let him know that if there comes a time when he feels differently/makes a different choice that we will honor his choices(stopping short of making animal meals at home)At 10 yrs old he has no interest in eating animals or anything that is obviously from an animal. In recent years he has chosen to eat cake at birthday parties, etc.
While I agree we must be a voice for the voiceless that is a decision I made on my own long long ago. I would like him to also come to this conclusion on his own. For the most part this has been the case and I can only assume part of it is because we chose to instill this kindness and understanding into our family at a young age.
No hate comments from me :) I completely agree with you, what some humans are capable of consuming is disgusting. As a vegetarian since birth, I find the thought of eating animals sickening.
We are a mixed household – and I’m raising my children vegetarian so far..my husband eats meat so they both have tried meat and didn’t like it..I stopped eating meat very early on as a teenager so I am open to see what decisions my children will make. And just like your husband, mine eats everything I cook (if it’s successful)…
I think you are doing a great job as a mother!
Thanks so much for this post. I don’t have kids but have just got engaged and suddenly the thought of kids has been filling my mind! Mainly the normal panics, even though kids won’t be on the cards for a few years yet.
One of them has been diet and how we’d raise a child/children. I strive to be completely vegan. Haven’t quite got there but that’s my destination. My fiance is a complete omnivore. He used to eat meat every meal of every day, and since being with me and happily eating my food, is probably vegan some of the time, veggie most of the time with meat occasionally.
But I love your attitude about freeing her of labels. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s a tempting thought to bring them up as vegan but you’re right, how will that work when they go to a friend’s house and discover chicken or dairy chocolate and like it?
I decided the other day, it was more important to instil certain attitudes in my children (such as choosing meat locally and responsibly if that’s what they choose to eat) and giving them autonomy whilst making sure they are confident and see the point in asking questions about things other people take for granted.
I’ve also found that leading by example in a non-preachy way is actually far more powerful than forceably putting your way of life on someone (not that I’ve tried the last one!). My omnivore friends and family therefore don’t feel threatened and feel comfortable to explore this new way of eating when I’m around.
Sorry for the essay, but thank you for sharing, I love your website and cookbook and love reading the Adriana updates! I have a folder of certain recipes from your website that aren’t in the cookbook as I need them to hand regularly. Thanks for the inspiration x
This is PERFECT! And it describes our situation almost to a “T”. If I needed to explain our house to someone, this would be it! We keep a plant-based home 95% of the time but may have eggs or fish 2 times a week, and wanted to avoid confusing/confining labels. My husband and I got onto this discussion when we had to think about whether or not our oldest daughter (2 years old) would eat cake and ice cream at a friends birthday. As a child with no allergies or medical reasons for eating a gluten-free, plant based diet, we thought it unnecessary to place on her the awkwardness and confusion of being “that kid” not eating with the others :). Thank you for your blog and your passion. It has been a lifesaver to me as we’ve made our journey these last 2 years. Blessings this chilly spring day!
Thank you so much for this post! I am currently pregnant due Sep 23rd – so just about a year behind you (which has been great to read through your pregnancy posts!). I am vegan (well, I did cheat a bit during my crappy first trimester) and my husband is not. I’ve really struggled with how we will raise our child knowing how important food is to our non-vegan families. I have been leaning towards the approach that at home will be mostly vegan, and then our child can explore and enjoy food options when at birthday parties and grandparents homes (along with a heavy dose of education/appreciation of where food comes from) and hope they will make their own choices as they grow. Thanks for sharing your plan which makes me feel even better about our decision.
I am expecting my baby on the 25th of September!
I appreciate your comment and I would say we are on the same page. At home I am in control and I love to cook and provide my family with healthy cruelty free food! That being said when my child is elsewhere its ultimately in their hands, we can only educate and lead by example.
Wish you all the best with your pregnancy and baby!
I love this post. My son is 9 months old and as we add more to his list of foods, I find myself struggling with this issue. Somethings are decided, he will be raised vegetarian until he is old enough to decide other wise (this was a deal my husband and I made before we even knew we wanted kids) Most likely when he gets to school age. Our extended family is half vegetarian and the other half is very respectful of our choices.
My biggest hang up right now is introducing dairy. I am not up for it yet. Maybe it’s my own preferences being vegan, I don’t know.
But I have never had any intention of raising a dairy free kid. I think it’s too hard, cake, pizza parties, enjoying the food his dad loves.
I love that your aren’t labeling Adriana’s diet, I love the thought that went into the decision as well.
For now diary is on the bottom of the list of stuff to introduce. I am sure we will get there, but I have a whole list of nuts to get through first!
I am vegetarian and my hubby is not. I was open to our daughter (who is now 3) eating freerange chicken or organic/grassfed beef, but I said NO to pork, because it truly grosses me out. (Well all meat does, but to me, pork in particular is the worst.) I am honestly not a fan of her eating any meat, but I had to compromise. This way, I also less heat from the in-laws, who think I’m crazy for being vegetarian. :( Plus, being how picky our daughter is with eating (as with most toddlers,) I am just happy when she eats anything!! However, I don’t prepare any meat for her, it is always up to daddy. He will usually just give her some pieces of whatever he is eating.
I decided that when she is older and able to understand where the food comes from, she can make her own decisions on what she wants to eat. My parents tried to raise me vegetarian but unfortunately I grew up not really understanding why; only that I wasn’t supposed to eat meat. I eventually rebelled and ate meat for awhile, until completely giving it up when I was 19 and have remained a veggie for over 15 years now. The interesting thing is that lately, our daughter doesn’t seem to eat much meat anyway. She LOVES eggs and cheese, but she seems to prefer tofu over chicken these days…which is fine by me! Ideally, I would like to cut back on the amount of eggs and cheese I eat..which is why your cook book and recipe blog come in so handy! So, THANK YOU! :)
Man, am I glad I continue to follow you. I love your openness and your choice to eschew labels. Vegan or not, YOU and Eric are the parents, and parents know best. If you happen to get a hater, ignore them. You have a thousand fans for ever hater out there.
For myself, I have had a different struggle for my daughter. I remain morbidly obese and cannot stand the thought of my daughter not only growing up with a mother like that, but absorbing my eating habits. My husband and I are doing a very delicate dance right now with her. He’s of a normal size and has normal eating habits, so at least she has one good example. We don’t force her to clean her plate. We encourage lots of fruits and vegetables and healthy fats like all natural peanut butter and avocados. She drinks organic milk, lots and lots of water, and rarely gets juice. Everything in modification and we do not vilify any food. Foods either make you grow up big and strong or they don’t. And if they don’t, we only have them once in awhile. I want her to find her own way and have a fair shot at a healthy life without food issues, and I hope I find my own before it’s
Thank you so much for posting. We get this question A LOT as well. I am vegan but my husband and children are not. I have never, nor will I ever push my choices on others. I am happy to inform them when they ask and support them in whatever decision they feel is best for them. My kids (8 & 4) ask me why I do not eat meat and I tell them my reasons (including the fact that an animal needs to die if I choose to eat meat). We never go into gory details but I do not act as if animals are not affected by them eating meat. When they still choose to eat the meat on their plate that is something I support. It is a personal decision that I will support them on whether it is in line with my beliefs or not.
When telling people I am a vegan I admit to them that I am not perfect. I do use raw honey (some believe this to be a violation of my veganism) and the odd time if I am at a friends house and they serve a baked good that likely has egg or dairy in it I will have it but never cook those things for myself.
It is all about achieving a balance that makes sense for you and feeling good about the choices you are making. I love being a vegan, I love having your cookbook as the food is amazing and it makes it so easy for me to serve vegan dishes to my family and friends without complaint. I cannot wait for your next cookbook. I could live off of Oh She Glows alone :) I will be making the banana bread muffin tops tonight :)
It’s definitely VERY interesting hearing the take on dietary preferences for raising children! I’m truly thankful my hubby went vegan not long after I did and as a result, that’s how we are raising our daughter, Nia. Shall we do a celeb comparison that goes with this post today? I was just wondering about Channing and Jenna Tatum raising their daughter since she’s a vegan and he’s not- and I think it’s a similar view to yours!
I love your level-headed view of everything, Angela! Even though we are both vegan and now raising Nia that way, I ultimately will let her decide what she would like to eat once she comes able to make those choices! I honestly don’t know what the future looks like, but I know that whatever makes her happy will make me happy!
Hi Angela, thanks for sharing the details around Adriana’s diet, of course the choice is purely yours and your husband’s. Personally, I wholly respect your approach as fair, sensitive to family members, and in Adriana’s best interest. You are a great role model.
My daughter’s first food was avocado too, and it remains one of her favorites two years later. Great choice :)!
Thank you for such a thoughtful post. As you mention, it’s your decision and Eric’s decision right now, and in the end, it will be Adriana’s decision. Food-wise, as long as she’s getting enough calories and nutrients, and gets all the love you can give her, then you’re doing an excellent job as a parent.
Thanks for this wonderfully honest and reassuring post. My husband and I are in the same boat and have had this discussion several times without coming to a complete agreement on the issue. My husband eats plant based whenever I cook it (thanks to your amazing recipes I rarely hear any protests when there’s no meat in our meals- you’re totally allowed to toot your own horn, you rock!) but the fact is that he does eat meat and doesn’t want to deprive our daughter of the opportunity to try it if she would like to. She is 6 months old and just started solids last week which has been a blast! So far she loves avocado, banana and prunes (necessary because of the banana we think) but makes faces and immediately spits out sweet potato… We have decided to avoid dairy for her as much as possible since we both feel so much better since eliminating dairy from our diets but your post helped so much by helping me to realize that we don’t need to label her diet at all and that its ok not to. I feel like maybe that should have been obvious to me but I was getting too hung up on it – a weight has been lifted off my shoulders! Lol. We eat healthy and stay fit and we will lead by example and hope that she follows our lead. You have a way with words and I look forward to your posts and updates. Keep them coming super-mama! (I have no idea how you get so much done in the run of a day with a 6 month old at home- can you also blog about that? Ha ha).
I love this. The balanced approach is an important one in families I think. It’s very much how we’re raising our boys. We’re a little more hesitant when it comes to meat as neither their father nor I eat it so we don’t want them sick (as they’ve never experienced it) but a cupcake or a brownie at a party isn’t going to kill them. If either boy wants to eat meat as they grow older then they will make their own choices and I will continue to cook what I feel is healthy food for when they come home. We never want them to feel isolated because of a decision that we made as parents. As they grow we will continue to educate them on healthy living and hope that they will make wise choices when they are older.
Perfect way to look at this. People, especially my family, think I’m going to make my kids freaks by being vegan. Very open minded you can see. I basically say they eat vegan at home, but if we go out to dinner and they want Mac’n Cheese, they can have it. They eat what the other kids eat at daycare. This way they experience all different types of food, but I know at home they are getting healthy and nutritious meals. What 3 year old loves tofu??? Mine does! :)
I love your attitude! I’ve definitely struggled with my diet “label” myself. I have a dairy allergy and limit meat consumption… my family definitely thinks I’m a little crazy in a loving way. To me the bottom line is whole food and finding what works for you.
I have been vegetarian for almost 20 years (working towards vegan) and my husband eats what I cook but also eats meat when out and about. We have two boys (a 3 year old and 1 year old). They are both being raised vegetarian. There was never any question about if they would be raised vegetarian. Even though my husband comes from a family of cattle farmers we both agree that not eating meat is the healthiest thing for our children. Just because meat is part of a conventional diet I see no reason why I need to offer it as an option for my children. We have to make choices for our children every day until they are old enough to make logical informed decisions for themselves. So until my children are old enough to make this decision for themselves (and not just because they want what everyone else has without fully understanding the what/why/etc.) I will make it for them just as other parents who choose to feed their children meat do.
As others have said, your approach is very balanced and reasonable. It also reminds me of something Mark Bittman wrote in _Vegan Before Six_, about how when we make certain foods permanently taboo it can lend to compulsive behavior and negative associations with eating and body. We would rather have eating together be a pleasurable experience–a delight to the taste buds as we gather together with loved ones. A solid example of good eating coupled with balanced choices will go a long way in setting your little one up for great success! So happy for you!
This is what makes you so appealing to people like myself who are not vegan, or vegetarian, for that matter. You have a sensible, non-fanatical approach to food choices and your recipes promote healthy eating, and they are, of course, delicious!!
The extreme fanatical food choice is to eat plants, not dead animal flesh?
Thank you for sharing this post. It makes me feel good to hear that a very successful vegan blogger has a husband who has no intention of going vegan. I’ve always felt like I was doing something wrong – not cooking well enough or being convincing enough to get my hubby to make the switch. It’s frustrating to see him and my son eat meat, but they do eat a million times healthier than most men and boys we know thanks to my cooking only vegan at home. Like you, I don’t want to put pressure on my son (he already has a peanut allergy that puts unwanted restrictions on him), but I’m hopeful that one day he and my husband will see the light. If not, it’s a balance that I will have to accept. Thanks again!
I for one am sick and tired of labels.
They cause nothing but trouble…
You get the meat eaters who think you’re weird for being veg/vegan
You get the hostile Veg/vegans for for not doing as they do… etc etc
Everyone should be left alone about their choices when it comes to their diet.
We may not all agree with each others choices, but we all should do what we feel is best for ourselves, no having to explain yourself as to why you will or won’t eat this or that.
I am glad you have an open mind when it comes to your families diet and that you and your husband respect each others individual choices,
That’s the way to be.
Just eat what feels right for you.
You don’t do as vegans do. You subscribe to a plant based diet and think that somehow makes you vegan. It is not a personal or individual choice to kill other living creatures or be responsible for their deaths.
A little late to the dance and I think it’s already been said but, “Vegan” is defined both as a dietary choice and a lifestyle. The person using the word is the one that defines it for themselves. Not you.
This was so refreshing to read! Thank you for sharing!!
My husband and I were vegan for years before having children. We thought for sure we would raise our children vegan. Then when our son was about to turn 2 reality hit that it wasn’t going to work for us. No one else in our extended family is vegan so when grandparents came to visit for a week they wanted to eat non-vegan things in our house and our son didn’t understand why he couldn’t have what they were eating. Then we went to a birthday party where the menu was hot dogs, Mac n cheese and cupcakes…literally nothing was vegan. How do you tell a 2 year old he can’t eat what other 2 year olds are? Then we talked about our childhoods and doing things like trick or treating, getting ice cream after baseball games, etc. and how that was something special that we wanted him to also experience. So we made the choice to at least incorporate dairy into his diet. It was a choice we went back and forth on that ultimately made the most sense to us. I want my children to be able to make their own choices on food when they are old enough to understand. But we still try not to go dairy crazy and cook mostly vegan in our house but it’s nice to not be so restrictive.
Hearing your story has really validated our decision and made me feel relieved that someone I admire so much has the same feelings my family does. Sometimes the vegan community who is supposed to be compassionate can judge people so harshly on decisions like this.
If animals could communicate their feelings, would you still be okay with your daughter making her own choice about the animal holocaust that is totally accepted. We, as parents, must teach what is right and what is wrong. If we don’t, then who will? Does anybody acknowledge the fairness, sensitivity and best interest of animals?
My kids LOVE being vegan and feel like they are lucky to be ALLOWED to be vegan, compared to so many of their friends that wish their parents were vegan and would let them be too. It isn’t always easy but if we didn’t teach them the reasons behind why we are vegan, I doubt they would have this perspective. I know it isn’t always possible for parents to raise their kids as strict vegans when both parents don’t agree, but even when my husband was an omnivore, he always supported my desire and our choice to raise our kids vegan. I’m so thankful for his support and so proud of my kids for the compassionate, loving choices they make everyday with their food.
Good job, Melinda! Nice to see someone raising compassionate kids instead of selling out just to fit it.
Susan, I find it pretty harsh to judge someones intentions of “fitting in” (I assume that’s what you meant to write?). I think people make choices for what is right for them and their own family and it is not anyone’s place to make assumptions as to why they make the choices they do.
I also believe that people can exercise compassion regardless of their diet choices. I find it ironic for you to praise compassion in the midst of a response that, in my opinion, lacks it.
Animals undergo intense suffering so people can have animal products. Animal products are unnecessary for a healthy diet, and are, for the most part, unhealthy. Therefore, the animals suffer and are murdered for the sole purpose of satisfying taste buds. What about that is compassionate? If someone was a rapist, would you want me to ‘accept’ their lifestyle because they can choose how to live their lives? Yet, cows are raped daily as part of the regular process in the dairy industry. Would you like me to accept someone who is sexist because it’s their choice? Yet, treating animals like they are inferior and don’t deserve as much of a life of freedom like anyone else is not only ok with you but you think that’s compassionate? I’m sorry the truth offends you, but I absolutely must disagree that people can exercise compassion regardless of food choices. There is nothing compassionate about what we do to animals. Nothing.
Me and my wife have both been vegan for about a year now and raise our three kids,
Two boys and a newborn girl a mostly vegan diet. They eat some meat outside the house. I think that way of thinking is fine and appropriate. I would only comment on the idea of “putting your beliefs on her” to me at least didn’t make sense. a parent who eats meat is doing the same thing with their children. It’s our job as parents to show or children the right and healthy and thanks to you tasty way to eat in this changing environment. If we instill a healthy diet in out children at an early age then that’s what they will feel comfortable with when they are older and then if they want can choose to try other food if they want, but I think instilling compassion and kindness at an early stage couldn’t possibly be bad for the next generation. Just my point of view but again I think your choice is fine and good just want crazy about the wording. :)
We feel the same way here too! My daughter is 9 months and we follow a mostly vegan diet but do not label ourselves either. This is right for us.
Further I have read a lot about allergies and am introducing foods that are likely allergenic before a year. She has had peanut butter, tofu, whole wheat bread, eggs, and dairy. Its better for your child to be exposed to all foods early to help prevent allergies/ sensitivities in the future.
Thanks for sharing! My family is dealing with this issue as well. I’m vegan, my husband is omni. With our first two kids, we decided they would not be raised vegan and could make up their own minds. Turns out my son is so intolerant of dairy that he cannot have any. And my oldest daughter is fairly lactose intolerant as well. With my youngest (she’s about 18 months), so far, she’s vegan and it’s sparked a number of arguments with my husband. We agreed she’d be dairy free due to all the lactose intolerance, but not as to other animal foods. She actually loves plant-based foods like tofu and veggies. So far, she’s vegan by default but at a certain point, we’ll have to figure it out. My older two are old enough to know where animal-based foods come from and we never sugar coat anything about where meat comes from. They have actually told me that when they are older, they will become vegan.
I just want to say that you handled this topic with such grace! I asked you on Instagram if you would be pissed off if she wasn’t a vegan and you said not at all, which surprised me. I am not a vegan and neither am I a vegetarian, but I enjoy cooking and consuming both types of recipes. Great post and good luck! She’ll be crawling and then running soon :)