The Joys of Vegan Mothering

There exists a misguided notion out there that while a whole foods vegan diet may be good for heart disease patients or diabetics, it’s not good for children. On the contrary, a vegetarian/vegan diet, when based on whole foods, is an excellent foundation for children. There are many advantages to a vegan diet (read here, for more). (For ideas on healthy snacks, see here).

I thought it might be helpful to show you what some vegan children look like, which hopefully will dispell any myths out there that vegan children are wasting away, stricken with all sorts of maladies and defeciencies, ect.

Let me introduce the joys of my life:
Hyrum, my oldest was 9 months when I started transitioning to a whole foods vegan diet and was still breastfeeding. Asher has been vegan since birth and Amalia has been vegan since conception. I have been through two pregnancies and breastfeeding on a plant-based diet.
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to feed my children this way. The joys of vegan mothering are many.

My kids love vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes! No need to “disguise” them in brownies or chicken nuggets or bribe them with goodies if they eat their veggies. They like them straight up.

Mothering is made so much easier in many ways. I still deal with tantrums and time-outs and all of the other ups and downs of motherhood of course, but the ear infections, constant tummy upsets, diarrhea, constipation, and other unpleasantries are virtually non-existent. My kids are healthy, energetic (an understatement!), and do not require frequent visits to the pediatrician. This makes my job so much easier.

No worrying about hormones, antibiotics, steroids, pesticides, and other potential and known carcinogens that are found abundantly in animal foods. No worrying if my kids are going to struggle with a weight problem, or develop diabetes (at least on my watch!). No worrying if my kids are getting the nutrients they need–their diet is rich in all the many important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients necessary for proper growth. No worrying that someday I’m going to have to explain that the hotdog they are eating is made from the dismembered and mutiliated body parts of pigs and other animals.

And lastly, I don’t know if this one will fully realize itself for awhile, but my kids are/will be more aware, more conscious of their surroundings, how their choices (not just food choices) affect not only themselves, but everyone around them (including animals). It is my hope that they will grow up with a strong sense of compassion and love for all beings, human and non-human.

Amalia, our bright-eyed girl, loves her daddy, eating bananas, and playing with kittie cats.

Asher, has more energy than three kids his age combined. He loves running (he ran 1 mile without stopping once!), jumping, climbing, eating rice, coconut ice cream, and frozen berries.
Hyrumis very responsible, an excellent oldest brother. He has such a playful and loving spirit. His favorite foods are corn, beans, guacamole, and oranges.

He gets his lovely olive complexion from his daddy (and yes, all my children share the same father, although they don’t look like they do!).

It’s true, it is much easier to raise your children vegan then do a switcheroo when they’re older. However, if you’re wanting to make some positive dietary changes and your children are older, don’t despair. While they might be more resistant to change, they can and will change. With a little love and encouragement, and good food (if it tastes good, they will eat it!), positive changes can occur.
While feeding children doesn’t vary greatly from adults, they do have some specific nutritional needs that are important to be made aware of. For the most part though, what the parents eat, is what the kids will eat.
For more info on feeding children on a vegan diet check out Becoming Vegan (written by two vegan R.D.’s that includes a great section on children), Dr. Atwood’s Low-fat Prescription for Kids, &ย Vive le Vegan (a cookbook that includes a section especially for babies and toddlers).

Comments


  1. Micah
    on June 21, 2016 at 9:54 am said:

    Hi,

    Ive 7 perfect children and another one is on her way.
    Is weird that during pregnancy, i love veggie. Thats all we eat since my firstborn. Am glad my weight stays at 121 (pregnant possibly reaching 154; 5.8 height) for the past 13 years. Yay to you for choosing a healthier way.

  2. Anja
    on August 3, 2012 at 2:35 pm said:

    I came across your blog today and love it. I am pregnant with my first baby. I am thinking and reading a lot about food and how it affects your body for quite some time but a lot more intense recently. I am thinking about going on a plant-based diet and want to raise my baby as healthy as possible. I was wondering how your children eat at their grandparents’? I am curious because I have not figured out how I will proceed here.
    Again wonderful blog, pictures, and I am very curious about your recipes.

    • Janae Wise
      on August 4, 2012 at 9:49 am said:

      Hi Anja! So glad you stopped by & took a moment to comment. I always love hearing from readers, especially moms, like me.

      In regards to dealing with family, I find it best to be upfront & direct while also being polite & open to discussion. If this is a long term thing, your family needs to know exactly how you feel, it makes it much easier in the long term.

      Here’s a post where I talk about dealing with others who disagree with my dietary/lifestyle choices, here.

      I really ought to do a post going into detail some of the experiences I’ve had with family members, thanks for bringing up this topic, it’s an important one for so many.

  3. Janae Wise
    on May 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm said:

    Serena: So glad you found this blog to be helpful! Way to go on your commitment–I know it's not always easy to stick with principles, but your children will be better for it, in more ways than one. Looking forward to hearing your comments, welcome.

  4. Serena
    on May 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm said:

    I just found your blog last night, but wanted to tell you how much I love it, especially this post. I am a vegan momma, too. I have been vegetarian for 13 years and vegan for 6 years. I have 2 vegan sons both under age two. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thankfully, my omni husband is supportive of our dietary differences.I will be sharing this post with others whom question my children's diet.

  5. Whole Foods Vegan Momma
    on February 2, 2012 at 3:48 am said:

    Madison: Wow! I'm so impressed with the changes you have made. Way to go! Not easy, to say the least, but worth it, eh? I know exactly what you mean! Clean up your diet and all the bloating, discomfort, and overall blah feeling goes away, leaving you feeling amazing. I'm so happy for you, and thanks for stopping by to share your story!

  6. Madison
    on February 2, 2012 at 3:39 am said:

    I just wanted to leave a message saying how much I appreciate this blog! I am 17 years old and have spent most of my life being a vegetarian because my body cannot process any meat products. In a family of meat-eaters, this is quite a struggle! I am now transitioning to a vegan, whole foods life-style and this blog has been such a help! When I started focusing on having a more balanced diet I was 148 pounds. I am 5'3". Being vegetarian in a family of omnivores, I was eating mostly carbs! I had lost 18 pounds when i started incorporating a more balanced diet and removed all empty calories I was eating so much of before like white sugar and past. Since then, it has been such a struggle to get down to my goal wait! I was always left feeling so hungry with how I was eating. I really wanted to stop dieting and counting calories and start living! That was when I came across this blog! It has really helped discover a new life-style that leaves me feeling so healthy and energized! It helped me to be motivated to start investigating a new way of life. It is so helpful hearing and seeing the results from an actual person! Not to mention your family looks so healthy and beautiful! Now, I never feel hungry, bloated, or overly tired anymore! I have also lost 8 more pounds as well! Not to mention my hair, skin, and overall my entire body feels completely healthier! This is definitely a new way of life that will be permanet for me!

  7. Ryan & Nora Peterson Family
    on July 27, 2009 at 5:03 am said:

    Your children look beautiful and healthy. I have decided when people question my eating choices I will ask them,"So what have you studied to decide what type of diet (in the literal sense) you will adhere to?" I would assume most have done no research and are only influenced my the marketing of the S.A.D. Thanks!

  8. tbsomeday
    on June 25, 2009 at 5:23 pm said:

    i am BEYOND excited to find your blogit's just what i was looking for!!a vegan who uses REAL food and raises childrnyippee!we are "wanna be" vegans….vegans at home and working on outside of the home (hard with kids in daycare)look forward to following youyour family is BEAUTIFUL!

  9. Emily
    on June 9, 2009 at 1:49 am said:

    Your kids are so adorable. I just switched to being a vegetarian, and am hoping to progress to a vegan lifestyle someday. My kids are still young so i'm hoping this switch will go over smoothly. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I have enjoyed reading your blog.

  10. Nadia
    on May 22, 2009 at 12:15 am said:

    Your children are absolutely beautiful!

  11. Vegan Mothering
    on May 19, 2009 at 9:16 pm said:

    Abbie: I know I promised you to post on the ranch recipe. I’m long overdue, but I promise I will!

  12. Abbie
    on May 17, 2009 at 12:55 am said:

    Love the pictures and I’ll definitely need to pick up one of the books you recommended. I need a good “ranch” recipe to help me out with making Cafe Rio. And I’m also way interested to see your running blog! Will have to put it on my blog roll.

  13. Vegan Mothering
    on May 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm said:

    Humdrum Hero: the benefits of eating whole, unprocessed plant foods will increase the more you eat them. Good for you for looking into ways to cook more healthfully.

  14. Humdrum Hero
    on May 16, 2009 at 2:22 pm said:

    Came across your blog this weekend and have enjoyed reading it. I’m not a vegan, a vegetarian, or even much of a meat-eater. I like to find new ways to cook with whole foods, which I how I stumbled on your blog. I’ll have to try a milk recipe. Looks fun. (I’m a latter-day saint too!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Deja
    on May 15, 2009 at 4:16 am said:

    What lovely new pictures! And the kids look healthy, for sure.