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 all these comments that say that us vegans are cruel to Angela and judgemental are so badly placed. We (vegans) see the cruelty that occurs every single day. We have to live with the norm of exploting animals every second of our lives. I don’t think that most of these comments are directing toward Angela’s choice as to allowing her child to eat animal products. I think it’s more how she frames veganism as a diet and thus limiting the message veganism carries. A lot of us live with omnivores.
For me, it’s all about how Angela reduces veganism to diet that upsets me. Also downplaying the ethical ground gets to me. I can see why Angela wouldn’t want to talk about the animals, because then she might exclude a lot of her plant-based readers. Most non-vegans don’t want to hear the truth.
I think there has been a transition from the ethical perspective of a vegan diet to more of one that is centered around nutrition for quite some time now. Honestly, you should be happy. It seems to be much more effective than fear mongering. There are SO many more options on menus at restaurants that are not only vegan, but also GOOD for you and not just junk food vegan.
And it may be “plant-based” but that’s not to say it still isn’t benefiting animals
Plant-based does not mean you stop looking at animals as commodities.
Plant-based does not mean that you stop supporting cruelty.
Plant-based does not mean that animal rights is a priority.
Plant-based means you are not eating meat and therefore you are reducing the suffering of animals by not participating in the exploitation of animals for food. The end result is the same whether you are doing it for animal rights, better health, or because you keep up with trends. Everyday hundreds – if not thousands – of people are eating meals that have no meat because of Angela. It would behoove people to think more about the animals and less about some pure definition of a word. Otherwise, what are they really contributing?
Asa we should just be happy. They are reducing the vegan message to something that has nothing to do with the animals or animal liberty but rather exploits peoples own self interest and indulgence because after all who cares in the end if the converts are still blissfully ignorant; they are furthering our cause?
I don’t see how they are furthering the vegan message by diluting it. Vegans recognize that our lives are no more valuable than that of a chicken or a pig or a dog.
Please please please stop confusing plant based with vegan.
Vegan is NOT a diet, it is a compassionate way of life causing the least harm possible. Vegans are against all animal exploitation. Why not raise your baby as vegan? then your child, as an adult, can decide what or who to eat. Lets remember here that a human baby needs zero animal flesh or secretions to grow healthfully.
I totally agree! I’ve been a vegetarian for 21 years, but my husband eats meat on occasion and my 13 month old has already eaten different kinds of meat. I want him to choose his own food path when he gets older like I was able to do. It can be really tricky to be a vegetarian and visit with friends, and I’d like him to be able to eat whatever he wants at friend’s houses as he grows up. That being said, his favorite foods are still spinach and hummus, which makes me pretty happy.
I guess if veganism was a fad diet I wouldn’t worry about what anyone else ate. I am a vegan not because I want to be healthy but because I want the whole planet to be healthy. The production of meat and dairy is killing this home of ours and the number of people who are developing sicknesses because they eat these items is causing immense stress on the medical system and people are not making the connection between what they eat and how they feel. Dairy is so hard to give up because it is addictive. I has a drug like affect on baby animals so they will sleep and stay close. Look at your baby. Baby cows too and you get all that opiod type drug when you use dairy creating a very strong addiction. We think it is because it tastes so good…..we are stuck on it which makes the dairy producers very happy. It takes courage to stand up for ones beliefs. I would never feed my children anything I wouldn’t eat, no matter what Nana or NooNoo eat. When the child is old enought to make an educated decision (12 -13) set them free to choose. Babies and toddlers cannot make those choices.
You radiate love in your posts for her :) You’re such a wonderful mother that I actually get teary-eyed on these posts. <3
Thank you for the wonderful post! My husband is a meat eater but has taken a similar path as yours. I have two daughters and I have never told them they couldn’t eat meat. I have never forced them to eat meat or not or let anyone else force them to either. Recently my 7 yr old who never liked beef or pork decided to become vegetarian! I was thrilled and my husband is supporting it because he knows I will help her eat healthy. It has been a struggle though because she has food intolerances that include Gluten and Soy. She also is a little bit of a picky eater. I am hoping that these food limitations will only be for a few months. I love your recipes! If you have any suggestions on how to work around the Gluten free and soy free diet please let me know!
My husband and I were vegan for 4 years before I became pregnant with my first set of twins. I went vegan for the animals initially but then for the environment and my health. There was no question about our 2 sets of twins, now 10 and 5, being raised vegan. If I cared enough to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan for me, I certainly was going to do it for my children. They are not deprived of any foods or treats, as some of your readers have suggested happens to vegan children and they are loving, compassionate and healthy children.
I also live in a house with family members who eat meat and feel that it is not my right to impose my ideas on them. I find the extremism demonstrated in some of the earlier posts very disconcerting and it makes me want to separate myself from the label of ‘vegan’ if that is what it means. I applaud your decision to allow your daughter to experience different foods and agree with Patti in her assertion that food taboos can cause a host of psychological issues in young children and adolescents.
This is a great site and I absolutely love your cookbook!
Beautifully written as always Angela! The emotive subject of what to feed one’s child can lead to many opinions being expressed rather vociferously as I’ve seen from some of the comments I’ve just read. I pretty much ignored all the current guidelines when it came to weaning and what feed my child. She now eats a varied diet and is always open to trying new food. You seem to have it sorted – trust your instincts and you can’t go wrong.
just wanted to say thanks for writing this. I have a 13 month old son and my husband and I are in the same situation (except he’s the 100% plant based one). It’s interesting to see so many people facing the same decisions. We basically are doing what you plan to. But it’s hard- especially talking to pediatricians who aren’t that familiar with plant based…
I’ve scanned the responses to this post and the doctrinaire tone in some of the posts have given me pause. We are all trying to do better and to encourage each other along. Angela has been open about the decision-making in her family, something that is really none our our business, and has been repaid with some rather vile responses. My family may not make the same decision, or even embark on the same decision-making process, but that would not justify demeaning Angela, as has happened here.
Disagreement is ok. Strong feelings are okay. The expression of a moral cause is okay. Put downs aren’t ok. Lack of respect for the decisions of other people is not ok. They don’t help anything, anyone, any animal.
This is exactly what my husband (carnivore!), and I decided about how we would raise our son.
My kids are being raised vegetarian. Of course I am going to put my beliefs onto them. That’s what parenting is all about. It’s an ethical situation and I want them to learn what I feel is right about what we should eat. They have plenty of years later when they are adults if they don’t agree with it and want to change it. Whether a parent is handing a child a veggie burger or a beef hamburger they are still instilling their values in that food choice.
Your approach is wonderful and very reasonable, I think it is great. I’ve seen families trying to raise their kids one way or another and when the child feels they have no choice in the matter sooner or later they rebel. I believe children should be exposed to the world with and the reasoning behind your choices should be explained to them truthfully.
They are so smart, and the role of a parent is to prepare children for independent lives by giving them all the tools they possibly can to make their own decisions.
I think you are doing a wonderful job.
There will always be people how are haters no matter what you do, but they are so few, and they are idiots. They do not understand that the fact you are helping millions of people change from one to all meals to plant based you saved countless animals and impacted our world greatly. Some people do not understand that you cannot force change, people need to want to change and you show them the way. Incredibly delicious might I add.
So THANK YOU for everything you have done, and please don’t let idiots discourage you in any way, they are a mere tiny little fraction of the masses of fans following you.
I love your blog Angela and I think this was a really great post. It’s good to know your honest with your readers rather than just having a blog persona. I’m really horrified at the judgement from some of these readers. I believe that people are entitled to their own views and beliefs and nobody should be so disrespectful to other human beings.
Angela – I love your approach to feeding your daughter. Whatever works for you and your family is by far the best. I have found that no matter what we do as parents is going to be questioned, I don’t like this at all. My son is 7 months and I’ve learned that someone is always going to have an opinion on how I raise my son – right now it’s we are taking this solids thing too slowly, or that we shouldn’t have started with the food we started with. My husband and I truly believe that we are doing what is best for our son and for us and it works. Do what you want to do and what is best for your daughter, it is always right. You rock and I have always loved your blog, keep on keeping on.
I trully though that being a vegan means primaly to be a compassionate person. And not respecting others opinion really does not seem to be very compassionate tough. Lot of hate in the comments. I Hope that all our love/respect/compassion for animals spread to each other as well.
It seems to me that Angela prepares vegan recipes, in which case, the term “vegan” is describing the type of recipe. A Vegan person may feel fairly confident that her recipes would conform to their dietetic preferences. That is not true of “plant based” or “vegetarian” recipes. She also appears to eat a vegan diet, again, using “vegan” as a descriptor to define her diet as not ingesting any animal products whatsoever.
I may be wrong, but I strongly suspect that Angela has done far more to encourage people to explore a vegan diet (and possibly the Vegan lifestyle) than the vitriol spewing naysayers who have been so remarkably rude in some of the remarks.
Angela, it is none of my business whether or not you raise your child as an omnivore, herbivore, or carnivore. I do appreciate you sharing your decision as it may help other parents who are struggling with similar concerns. Thank you for your wonderful blog and for sharing your amazing recipes.
My husband and I cook mostly plant-based meals. I can go days and days eating no animal products. When people ask for a label we say “situational vegan” and we say it tongue-in-cheek. It means that we cook plant based at home and eat what we’re served as guests. When we have company we cook vegan and then go out to dinner so others can order what they choose. If the goal is to get everyone on the planet to eat a more plant-based diet then is it worth it being dogmatic about labels? Vegan is not like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Curious, is drinking breast milk considered vegan as it’s milk from an animal?
Breast milk is entirely vegan if it’s taken with consent :) no exploitation there!
As a vegan and a teenager who is the recipient of a lot of negative comments about veganism I think we all should take a step back and realize how hard it is to be a vegan in this world. A lot of the responses Angela got for this post were criticizing her about not teaching her daughter compassion for animals. People are animals too. If we can’t be nice to each other, how do we expect anyone to take the decision to not eat animals seriously? Just being a nice person teaches compassion for all living things.
I agree Angela. I am a vegetarian, but I cook meat (a couple of times during the week) for my family for exactly the same reasons you stated. I want my girls to make up their own minds about eating meat or not. We eat clean and they eat all the fruits, veggies, clean food and homemade breads and meals that we do. I haven’t pushed the issue, but my six year old has started asking questions. We answer her questions and discussed that she doesn’t have to eat meat if that is her choice. We also explained that in place of meat she would have to get her protein from others places. I think it’s good to give them information because I don’t want to force my beliefs about not eating meat on her. Great post!
Please read your own words:
“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
I am saddened and disappointed. Do you understand how obscene meat is?
“her dad’s chicken”:
Raised in a factory farm, trucked to slaughter without food or water or protection from the elements, likely scalded alive at the processing plant. The workers in the farm and slaughterhouse are likely migrant workers with no rights. Some probably abuse the birds for fun too. You got a minute? Google “MFA investigation”. Their tortured flesh contains dioxins, arsenic and saturated fat. Cook this chicken? Cancer-promoting heterocyclic amines. The air and water around the farm is polluted by manure. Nitrate and pesticide-drenched cornfields are killing the Gulf of Mexico. But hey. What climate change? What food crisis? What water shortages?
Typing this was a waste of my time. Like reading the feel-good drivel in your cookbook.
Alex, it wasn’t a waste of your time. I’m glad you shared this. There is such a disconnect, thinking it’s okay to let your child eat animal foods when you profess how much you “love” animals and how you hate to see them suffer.
I hope people follow up with your google suggestions. Then maybe they won’t be so gung ho about applauding the message in this blog.
Angela, in case you needed the reminder, YOU ARE AWESOME!!!
Supporting you 100%!
I grew up in a “basic american diet” household and wanted to be a vegetarian as a teenager for moral reasons. I did not eat a great diet though and needed to eat meat to get nutrients that a fast food vegetarian diet was not giving me. I am 47 now and chose to be vegan about four years ago. I have three children, all of whom have decided to be vegetarian on their own. My husband is eatig more veggies and way less meat than he would otherwise. And one of my daughters has gone back to meat. All in all, our home eats way less meat than usual homes, but i let the kids do their own thing and they al have really healthy diets overall. I think food is one thing that should not be forced on a kid. There are sacred
boundaries and the mouth is one of them. It is their choice. I applaud your decision.
What an interesting, honest blog. Honesty is the best policy, you’re right. And all families are different! My other half ate meat a few times a week when I met him, but soon stopped when we were really “going out” together. He’s basically vegetarian now, although since I only cook vegan food, his diet is largely vegan.
I found it difficult at first to accept that he would bring non-vegan foods into my house, but he is who he is, and I either accept it or we split up. I can accept this small concession as it happens less frequently, whereas I know I couldn’t even have gone out with him if he ate meat products.
We all draw our own lines in the sand, and either choose to label ourselves or not – it’s time we all learned to respect each other’s choices – who the heck is perfect????
Good luck with your daughter – it’s the most magical time of your life – enjoy it to the full.
Angela, I think your decision to allow your daughter to come to her own conclusions regarding diet as she grows up is SPOT ON. I am the only vegan in my house and that is my choice. My husband and teens will try some of my meals and many time enjoy them with me. My personal feeling is that every plant based meal a person eats makes a difference. It affects the animals and the planet. I will never force my diet or my beliefs on another person. My family knows how I feel and they respect it. And I find with my two teens that the less I “preach”, the more they tend to be more open to trying plant based meals. No one is perfect. No one. Especially me. I think the decision you and Eric have made regarding Adriana’s diet is yours to make as a family. You are a vegan and a very kind one at that. One that does not push veganism and equate that with perfection. You are not the stereotype of a militant vegan, and that is what draws people to you. You want people to succeed at living a plant based diet and that includes making mistakes. Being human. I applaud you for your loving, kind and honest approach,
I just wanted to say thank you so much for your honesty on this subject! It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately! I have a 10 month old son who I’ve so far fed a vegetarian diet. I am constantly asked by friends and family if he will be a vegetarian and I’m never sure how to answer. I love the concept of not labeling his diet, or my own diet for that matter (I eat a vegetarian, mostly plant based diet).
Keep up the good work. I absolutely love your blog and cookbook! You are such an inspiration!
I read your Food for Thought post and it made me so sad to learn that people have been giving you a hard time about this decision. I am vegetarian but eat probably a 75%-80% vegan diet. My husband is pescetarian. I don’t like that he eats seafood, but he’s his own person and although I’ve tried to explain gently why I disagree with his choice, it’s his choice. We have one child who is now almost 4 years old. I really wanted to raise him vegetarian but my husband wants to let him have fish every now and then. There are two parents and neither one of us makes all the rules, so I do allow it from time to time but I always tell my son, pretty bluntly now, that the fish he is eating used to be alive and swam in the ocean (or wherever) and I personally don’t want to eat fish because I want to be able to see them in the ocean, alive, instead. He has asked to eat meat several times and I always tell him that when he is old enough to drive he can eat meat if he wants to. (I became vegetarian when I was 15 years old and have been for 20 years now). I’m not saying what I am doing is right or wrong, but this is what works for us in our house, and I feel like my husband and I are supportive of each other and teaching my son extremely good eating habits. I make a lot of food from your blog and everyone in the house loves it.
Anyway, thanks for being who you are and for sharing yourself with us. There will always be haters and they just suck.
Hi Angela! I’m so sorry to hear that so many people are being so critical of your decision and that it hurts so much. I want you to know that I support you 100%. I do not have any children but I can tell you at least this – my husband is like yours, he is not vegan, nor vegetarian; however, in our house he does not eat meat at all and enjoys my vegetable-based recipes immensely. He has even created a few of his own! When we are at social gatherings with friends or family, he sometimes indulges in something meat-related and very unhealthy. I look at it this way (similar to you): he was not even remotely vege when I met him; he ate all kinds of horrible junk; so the fact that he eats the way he does now is tremendous. I am a firm believer that “every little bit counts.” I am not an “all or nothing” person because I think that kind of attitude is often destined to fail. Every vegan option chosen, every healthy option chosen, is helping to chip away at the problems associated with animal agriculture. If you are doing “something,” then you are helping and every little bit counts for yourself AND for the animals. Not to mention that as humans we have free will and to try and impose “restrictions” on each other is truly counterproductive to the overall cause. I love your recipes and receiving your emails, I purchased your cookbook immediately when it came out and love it. I am truly sorry to hear that you will remove your “personal label” from your emails and blogs. However, I for one will still look forward to hearing anything you have to say <3 Keep up the great work my friend and don't let the "haters" bring you down! xoxo
I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. Why don’t people ask ‘will you raise your child carnivore’? Why do people have to be so concerned about what you’re eating?
Hi Angela. I am happy you found what works for you and your family. That is very important and it can be difficult at times dealing with individuals who don’t agree. I am a doctor who uses a whole foods plant based diet every day with patients. I am also a mom and wife. So my objectives are different so I have changed the whole family to a whole foods plant based diet because one I feel it is healthier and two I need to be a leader by example for patients. However I don’t use the word vegan to describe myself very often because of the connotations that come with the label. I just wanted to applaud you for your decision! Keep up the good work and I will continue to send people to your website.
After reading today’s email about the flack that many have given you regarding your decision, I’d like to say: May God bless you for what you are doing. You are an inspiration to so many. May He bless your family and the decisions you make. I’m very impressed by the decision not to label your daughter. Way to go.
“If we make going veg an all or nothing thing, than many people that might have made a reduction [in animal consumption] will be completely turned off to the idea, because they will think that being compassionate to animals is difficult.”
THIS COMMENT. This is a very important statement. Furthering veganism as a movement requires this kind of tolerance. The truth is, most people are very resistant to change their eating habits and are afraid of what they don’t know/understand. I have talked to so many people (co-workers over lunch, for example, when they ask about my vegan goodies), who say “I could NEVER give up X, Y, Z food”. What we need to emphasize is that making positive changes doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing.
Meatless Monday is a great example. What if every single person in North America celebrated Meatless Monday? How many of those people might say, “Hey, maybe I can do this two or three days per week…” Simply a REDUCTION in animal product consumption would benefit SO MANY people (especially in the USA where preventable disease is an epidemic), not to mention the environmental impact that reduction would have.
People need to be realistic. Rome wasn’t built in a day, to be cliche, and a major change in animal consumption won’t happen overnight either.
Ang, I think you are doing great and you’re one of my biggest role models when it comes to plant-based eating. Your daughter is so lucky to have you as her mama :-)
God created everything and in this he created man to have free will and choices. Please be respectful, loving, kind, non harming either intentionally or non intentionally. Look inwardly at self and ask yourself the above, everyone is individual and we all have a purpose. He said above all, LOVE one another. If we create unkind words or do not listen to others opinions, then are we really focusing what we believe in. In Jesus name, Amen.
I am expecting in a few weeks and I have decided to raise my daughter on a vegan diet. I have no problem with the vegan label – I think movements and social changes need labels. Unlike you, I live in a vegan household – my husband is also vegan and we are very mindful that we don’t bring in non-vegan products to our home and people who visit do the same thing. We don’t impose, but they know that we are vegan and I find most people are very mindful and respectful of our decision to have a vegan household and raise our daughter vegan. The reason why I will raise her vegan is because I truly believe that it is the best diet out there (if done right). And as a baby, toddler, child, she isn’t ready to decide on what food is right for her yet and I don’t think we should allow kids to choose what they want to eat. Looking at my neice and nephew, they would choose soda and candy every meal if they are allowed to choose. As a parent, it is my responsiblity to share with my daughter what I think is best for her and one of the major decisions is what food she eats. I think it will be fine for her to choose once she is an adult, but as a young child, it is my responsiblility to make sure she eats right. I think we need to get away from the mindset that eating vegan is somehow a fringe choice or abnormal. Instead, I see it as the way that we should eat – the normal choice. Somehow along the way, we left the normal path and ended up eating factory farmed meat and dairy, which to me, is anything but normal.
I do agree that calling someone like you as not “vegan-enough” is probably wrong. I don’t think you should care what those people say, but I agree it is hard to read or hear sometimes. At the end of the day, people like you inspire more people to be vegan than the “militant” vegans. I live a very normal life – my husband and I have corporate jobs, we are not hippie-dippie and don’t fit into the stereotypical vegan image (whatever that is), but I think living the life we live actually makes vegan mainstream and show others that they can be vegan and not be considered “weird”, whereas the “militant” vegans actually holds the movement back and make it seem unappealing to most people – all they do is alienate others. Don’t let them bother you, because being a mainstream vegan is probably the best thing for the movement. At the end of the day, we can only inspire other people to be vegan only by living a life that they want as well, not a life that seem restrictive and unappealing.
I completely support the approach of your family defining what is a healthy diet. 100% Vegan or 75% vegan the point is you and your family make conscious decisions about food, the environment and overall wellness. It’s disappointing that individuals are using this as a means to attack you and your decisions. I imagine that’s very hurtful. I love following your work from Alaska! Have a blessed SPRING!
Not all, but many vegans arrive at their lifestyle decision based on what they believe is morally and ethically right for all sentient beings across the board. While many, but not all, quasi-vegans adopt their dietary habits based on slightly more self-centered reasons. This is, I believe, the main reason why people debate this subject to the point of discussion melt-down. The former camp views their choice as a critical addressment for the gross violence we collectively allow to be perpetrated upon many other species every single day, while the latter sees it as a matter of personal health and preference, which is interpreted by the vegan camp as completely selfish and environmentally careless.
While I do side with the vegans in terms of lifestyle choice, I can see how the militant approach wins over no one because, clearly no one likes to be told what to do. I personally have had to put up with the imposition of all non-vegan-degrees who can’t believe that my unyielding choices are not meant to be a “passive-aggressive” affront to the commonly shared mainstream dietary choices, despite the fact that I have ALways conscientiously refrained from even suggesting that anyone choose different.
Anyway, I guess my point is this: all people (vegan and non-vegan alike) need to stop trying to change other people. It’ll never happen. Realize that not only is everyone at a different place in their evolution, everyone’s pace is different as well. Also, love beats out faultfinding every time. And finally, if you find yourself looking out at the world and seeing someone you believe is wrong, wrong, wrong, and in need of change, change, change, I assure you you are likely projecting! Attend to yourself and the world around you will fall into place.
Geez, it seems like we are cut form the same cloth: my husband is definitely not vegan, but gladly eats my food and has overall changed his eating patterns for the better. My 4 year old daughter is not plant based. We have decided to expose her to many different foods and ideas, with the hopes that she will decide what is best for her when she is older. She knows that ‘Daddy eats animals, Mommy doesn’t’. That being said, we have decided to model good eating habits and good decision making. While our daughter has yet to have juice and has only eaten McDonald’s 1x, she still gets her share of sugar and treats (daily). I have felt sort of bad/ashamed, because every other plant based/vegan blog that I have read was very specific on raising children in the same manner. While I would get down on myself from time to time about not starting her as plant based (if I didn’t give animal products to her, she wouldn’t have gotten them!), I have tried to think about what I am doing for her int he long run. Seeing your blog post has made me SO HAPPY. It has helped to validate what our family is doing. I have always liked your blog posts and cookbooks, but I do so now even more!!! Congratulations for standing up for your own beliefs – for doing not what was easier, but what was right, for you and your family :)
As with ANYTHING in parenting, you do what feels right in your heart. I have 2 boys (17 & 8 yr old) and I have the same perspective on the diet. While I feel good that they eat a variety of helathy plant-based foods at home (because that’s all I cook), they still have the freedom to choose what they eat. My hubs is not vegan either. It’s unfortunate that the diet labeling & critism has gotten out of hand on the interwebs! I’ve started just simply referring to my diet as a freedom diet, because I feel free when I eat this way. — As I have an older son now, I can tell you, that raising them with both the choice & the exposure to helathy food has a positive impact on them! He requests my vegan dishes & even makes some of them himself.
I am not vegan, but I really enjoy vegan food. I LOVE vegetables. Dairy and wheat don’t make my body very happy, but thank goodness for alternatives! I like to have a grass-fed, organic beef burger every now and then, and I live in a place that nurtures my appreciation for seafood. My diet is balanced and I am healthy. Key words: balanced and healthy. For me. Everyone else is doing what they need to do for themselves, and I think that is amazing. (Except when there is judgment.)
Angela: Your blog (and now cookbook!) has been very inspirational for me and has helped me enjoy cooking (which I used to dislike) and love, even more so than I already do, baking. I have learned so much since I found your blog in 2010! You and Eric have made a decision for your daughter that I respect and admire because she will be able to make her own decision when she is older. And it will be one made with your support. Keep believing in what you are doing!
Thanks for your post, I feel like I can totally relate. My two little boys (6 &3) began their lives as vegans and over the past year we have transitioned to what I call a “plant-based diet” or “veganish” or “we’re vegan at home” or technically, I guess, vegetarian. We will likely never eat meat or buy dairy products to cook with at home but we do eat dairy on special occasions and when we go visit family and friends. The reason being is that, like you, I do not want them to miss out on eating cake at a birthday party, or enjoying my mom’s freaking amazing potato salad, or walking down the street to the local ice cream shack once or twice a year. I regret that I used the label “vegan” to begin with. Many people are quick to point out accusingly, “well that’s not vegan”. It bugs me. I can’t really explain why I feel like it is perfectly fine for my kids to have cheese once in a while but that the thought of them downing a glass of cow’s milk horrifies me. It’s just what I think and feel and how I want them to be fed. Right now I can mostly control what they eat, someday they will choose for themselves. I certainly talk about why we don’t eat meat, but it’s never a lecture. I hope that one day they choose to continue to eat the way we do now but I would never want them to feel guilt or shame over it—they won’t ever get that from me. How we eat does not have to be a black or white decision. We need balance. For my family—eating dairy now and then keeps us on track to eat vegan most of the time.
Babcia’s??? I was so surprised seeing this word
Angela – you have made me sick to my stomach – you of all people should know better – should know the pain and suffering you are causing to so many animals – the damage to this planet.
you have disappointed me – I will no longer support you or you blog for endorsing cruelty
Replace being vegan with being against racism……
I am not racist because being racist is wrong – but i will teach my daughter to be racist and I will let her enjoy racist activities when she is with her family – I will continue to not be racist but teaching her not to be racist would just be wrong
I believe in gay marriage but my husband does not – I will teach my daughter to be homophobic
Think about what you are doing and saying Angela…. The truth hurts because you know its wrong to abuse animals….
Trish, comparing veganism to racism or homophobia is a moot point. Being a racist or homophobic is socially inacceptable in today’s society. On the other hand, being an omnivore is socially and widely acceptable, that is for the time being anyhow.
Same goes for comparing an omnivore to an abuser, rapist or murderer. People committing those acts of violent will be sentenced to jail. Omnivores will not end up in prison if they eat a piece of chicken.
[…] comparing *eating animal products* to racism or homophobia […]
Right, homophobia and racism are the same as being an omnivore. How ridiculous does that sound?
Not at all ridiculous.
I am a reader of this blog (have been even more so since my little daughter was born, just one day younger than yours, Angela :) and I love reading the posts that Angela so lovingly shares with us, and have often commented in my head, but this is my first time jumping on.
Angela this was very open minded of you to approve this comment even though if someone was commenting this way about me, I would find it a personal attack and would just delete and forget about it.
Angela, thank you for sharing your views and your family’s views.
In my humble opinion, not ALL of the meat and dairy industry is cruel. Small farms, hand slaughtered meat (rather than machine production) and a growing industry of responsible farming is helping people to make a choice.
I’m missing out on my daughter’s playtime so I”m going to sign off. Angela, I respect you so much and I really admire how personably and articulately you write on your blog and I can see from the comments you have helped a lot of people with their diet and body image. Thank you <3
I’m so sorry that you’ve encountered a lot of negativity on your post. I haven’t read the entire thread, but a few things jump out. So let’s start with the Vegan Society’s definition of vegan, posted by someone else but I couldn’t find it again so here it is:
Veganism is a way of living that seeks to exclude, as far as possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing and any other purpose.
Then let’s consider that a few posters equated the idea of veganism as a belief system akin to Christianity, and I can certainly the parallels.
And finally, let’s please remember that Angela is not the only person involved in this decision, and Eric is not a vegan. This doesn’t make her less of a vegan, in my view. It makes her a real person in a real relationship who’s navigating the tough choices of parenting the best way she can. And she’s being incredibly honest about it.
Or put another way, let’s say a Catholic woman marries an atheist. Is the Catholic mom not a Catholic anymore if she doesn’t baptize her child immediately? My guess is no, she’s still a Catholic, but the priest will certainly talk to her about bringing the child to church. Now I get that some people *would* believe that (You’re not Catholic unless…) but if the Church itself excluded everyone who was a near-miss on the doctrines they’d be preaching to no one. The same may well be true of veganism — including people who are on the continuum or are still learning or struggling with certain issues can only help the cause over the long term.
I’m not saying that people who are not vegan should call themselves that (confusing, at the least), but I’m not sure you can say that Angela is not a vegan just because her daughter isn’t. Yet.
Here’s the word that comes to mind that describes your attitude to food, your family and your daughter: HEALTHY
If we want a healthier planet and for animals to be well treated we have to give each other agency, respect and heart felt teaching. Personally I think you’ve aced it!
Yowza, people can get very serious about definitions and labels. Unfortunately, many lack tact and end up coming across as bullies. Not a good combination.
Regarding balancing different diets in the same household, we’ve got a similar situation as you. I have celiac disease, but my husband does not.
I do most of the cooking so most of the time he eats gluten free by default, but he still enjoys gluten as much as he wants and I absolutely don’t try to stop him! The only thing he’s careful about is cross-contamination of the peanut butter and stuff like that.
We do what works for us, and you do what works for you. Preach.
I just wanted to write to you after getting your email today about how people were really negative towards you and I wanted to say how much I appreciate and love your blog, philosophy about life, and of course the recipes! Thank you so much for being who you are and sharing your life journey with all of us, even though we will probably never meet. It takes a lot of courage to open up about what you and your family decide to do and I honor and recognize that courage, something that most people would be too afraid to do.
Thank you for listening to your heart, you inspire me (and I imagine everyone else who reads your blog!) to do the same.
Angela….good on you for shrugging off the hateful replies. Not easy I am sure. Follow your heart and your body wisdom, and thank you for your beautiful blog.
I MADE THE SAME CHOICE THAN YOU ANGELA FOR MY BABY BOY, I totally support your decision! I am vegan like you, my husband is omnivore and my son will be raised omnivore too. My decision to eliminate all sorts of animals products in my alimentation results from a long reflexion, like a spiritual path, it took several years & I did it when it made sense for me, like a revelation. It’s a decision I made conscientiously. I don’t want him to be vegan “because mum eats like that”, by this (wrong for me) way it will just be a list of prohibited and delicious looked-like foods…. no way! If one day he decides not to eat animal products I will encourage and help him, but it will be his own choice! Vegan or vegetarian or omnivore, the most important is to be in accord with your soul. SPREAD LOVE… <3