Why I’m Raising My Child Vegan – Is A Vegan Diet Healthy For Children
“Does she get sick a lot? Where does she get her protein?” These are just some of the questions I hear when people asked me why I'm raising my child vegan. It does get annoying but I usually try to answer all their questions.
I think it's just as important to share the message of veganism as it is to live a vegan life. There are only so many animal lives that me and my daughter can save on our own. If I can convince others to go vegan I can multiply the effect. It's important.
I'm very lucky that I have a really good doctor that totally supports veganism. When people ask me for the best tip I have on raising a vegan child I always say find a great vegan doctor. There are several reasons for this that a vegan parent should know.
Children have much different needs than an adult. A child's cells are growing and dividing much more quickly than those of an adult. Their body is building new tissue all of the time. This includes everything from brain cells to muscle cells.
I wanted to include this information first to stress how important it is that you do not take raising your child vegan lightly. Adults can get away with a more casual approach to vegan nutrition but children can not.
If you are considering raising your child vegan you can do online research and find a lot of great information like this article from PRCM. That can not replace the invaluable guidance from a medical doctor that understands nutrition and a vegan diet.
Why I'm Raising My Child Vegan
I care about life. All life.
I want my daughter to know that all life is valuable. I don't think there is a more important lesson any of us can learn. If we can learn to see the value of the lives of all animals it will translate to an appreciation of human life as well.
We seem to live in a society that puts less value on life than ever before. Maybe I watch the news too much but so many stories I see make me sad. From crime, murders, wars, to terrorism it seems our appreciation of life is waning.
I care about health
I want my daughter to be as strong, healthy, smart, and active as she can possibly be. I don't want her to develop the chronic diseases that are plaguing the western world. These are all food borne illnesses and can be prevented with a healthy diet.
Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, and cancer have all been linked to the standard American diet. I want something better for my daughter. To know that there is a better way to eat and not do it would be child neglect. I love my daughter and I want to raise her for lifelong success.
I care about the environment
The environmental impact of the standard American diet is devastating. The efforts to keep up with the demand for animal products means meat producers are causing more harm to the environment every year.
- Over 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are from raising animals for food
- It takes over 600 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk
- It takes over 2000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef
- One vegan uses over 200,000 less water per year than an omnivore
- Runoff from animal farming is the leading cause of pollution to lakes and rivers
- It takes 20 times more land to produce food for an omnivore as it does for a vegan
The impact on our planet from factory farming is going to rob our children of many of the things we take for granted. Fresh air, clean lakes and streams, sufficient clean water to drink, lower global hunger.
I don't think I would be a good parent if I didn't do everything I could to make sure my daughter lives in the best future possible. I should also teach her how to take care of the plant for her generation and the next.
Children don't just survive on a vegan diet, they can thrive. My daughter is living example of that. She is learning how to eat in a way that will give her the best chance of being healthy for the rest of her life.
My daughter has learned to value all life. She sees all life as being equal. It's hard to ague against that being best for the world. If everyone saw every other living creature as equal, how much better would our world be?
My daughter knows the delicate balance of our plant's ecosystem and how her choices impact it. There is no larger issue facing human survival than climate change and the consumption of animal products is the leading contributing cause of climate change.
When people ask me why I'm raising my child vegan I have plenty of answers. The larger challenge is getting people to listen to all of my answers. All to often I am dismissed as being weird. Many times I'm labeled as a bad parent.
The only way to overcome the ignorance about the vegan diet is to tell others about it. I know many vegans are hesitant to be vocal. It would certainly be easier for me to never tell anyone my daughter is vegan. I'd get a lot less grief. But it's important.
How I live is important. How my daughter lives is important. Everything we do, right down to the diet we eat, affects the entire planet. Do you want to know why I'm raising my child vegan? Because it's the right thing to do. For her, for us, for our planet. Photo Credit: Donnie Ray Jones
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