Cardiff family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.

1/12/2018

Veganuary: What about the kids?!


See what I did there?! Ha, it's the simple things that keep me going. In this post I AM talking about Veganuary, but I'm not talking about goats... Well, they may get a mention, but it's all about the kids, the children, the little ones, whatever your choice of wording...

So, when it comes to adapting our lifestyle, a big concern may be how our children will react or how they will feel, right?! It was for me. I saw lots of people in the groups I'm part of suggest we should be forcing our children into veganism if it's what we believe, just as we once offered milk and meat to them before we discovered another way to live.

Now, I get their point, to a point...

Before January our household was middle range when it comes to nutrition and balanced foods etc. I do feel since we started Veganuary that we're eating a whole lot better; we're cooking more from scratch and we're looking at our daily portions and what this means in terms of health. I've embraced this change willingly and Warren has been amazing too, considering his taste for meat. BUT, when it comes to children (and certain adults), change can be a terrifying prospect.

Imagine suddenly changing your baby's milk from one to another instantly, they'd probably be sick or reject it, which is why it's always advised we wean from one thing to another. I believe this stands when it comes to changing any diet for anyone, but especially for children.

Over the past week we've talked a lot about animal cruelty (avoiding graphic content), watched some amazing child-friendly Youtube videos and we've completely changed how and what we eat...

BUT, there have been some exceptions. George and Molly are still so young, and we've spent years telling them dairy and meat is fine to eat, only recently discovering the horrid truth about the majority of farming and re-awakening my inner child's beliefs. This means that although I'm 100% on this vegan train, they are not... yet.

 

What about choice?

I'm at a crossroads here, mostly because they didn't really have a 'choice' when we were eating dairy and meat, it was just the norm and it was served up to them daily. We'd eat it, and I'm a firm believer in leading by example, so after a while they began to eat it too. To suddenly tell them, 'No, it's bad, it's gross, it's killing animals!!!' and take it all away, well my two questioned this, and good on them for that! They asked, 'Why have we always eaten it before?' And I told them, because I didn't know, because I ignored things I did know and because we're always learning...

Now, they've both taken to dairy free spread, dairy free cheese, meat substitutes and other meals, but there are some things they can't (yet) get their heads around. Take Dairylea Dunkers, Kinder Buenos, Muller Corner Yogurts, for example.... All dairy products, all produced in farms where calves are taken away and its milk is used to produce these products, but firm favourites in my children's eyes.

Slowly, slowly wins the race...

At first I was a bit like, 'Oh it's only a month, let's just do it, what's the problem?!' But then I realised the problem was too much change and too soon. That if I push and push I will 100% fail and completely put them off any kind of vegan lifestyle, mostly because we've NEVER lived like this before as a family and it's a HUGE change to make.

So I've decided to ease off. To let them make informed choices, to talk to them about what's in their food, to listen to them, to spot when they're overwhelmed and to guide them into a place where their bodies and minds are taken care of through making good, wholesome decisions and eating good, wholesome foods...

I do wonder, why wasn't I doing this anyway?!!!

I also want to say, to anyone out there who thinks this concept of cutting dairy, meat and products tested on animals out of our lives is forcing our children to do something we want to do, really needs to look at it from a different point of view. I used to (and I feel ashamed about this!) think parents who were vegan (and whose kids were vegan) weren't allowing their children a choice, but when I constantly produced meat based meals and encouraged my kids to eat it, I wasn't offering any alternatives either. There's no difference. A bit like a Christian family and an Athiest family, these views will stem from the parents regardless of how free thinking and open minded you may think you are.

At the end of the day, kids follow in their parent's footsteps, the biggest difference in me now is that I don't want mine to harm the planet.

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