What are some common misconceptions about vegetarianism
How to make sure your vegetarian kids are getting the nutrients they need.
Would you like to feed your children vegetarian with a wholesome vegetable diet? Three mothers tell young parents Eveline Gan why they decided not to include meat in their family's diet and how they balance their children's nutritional needs.
Ng Shwu Huey, 35, is a housewife. Their children, Jude and Julia Tan, are three years and one year old, respectively.
“Raising our children vegans is one of our greatest gifts to them. We believe it will provide them with a solid foundation for lifelong health as there is substantial evidence that a plant-based diet is best.
“I've noticed that Jude rarely gets sick compared to his colleagues. During those few times when he felt bad, he recovered very quickly. But of course, with any diet, it is important to be well informed and know what you are doing.
“In terms of nutrition, we make sure that we research constantly and update ourselves with information from reliable sources. I make a weekly meal plan to make sure we have a different mix of vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits in our diet. I get my recipes online and from vegan cookbooks. We also offer Jude B12 and DHA supplements.
“Some people believe that a child who goes vegan will be deprived of“ good ”food. “Believe me, vegan food is really delicious! The child will certainly not feel deprived - there is a vegan alternative to almost any kind of food.
“Ice cream, chocolate, cake, candy, cookies and burgers? Whatever, there is a vegan option.
“But we don't glorify these foods as delicacies. So Jude will ask to eat cauliflower and kailan or watermelon and blueberries as much as he would ask for ice cream.
“Contrary to what most people think, a vegan lifestyle can be easy to understand. Fortunately, most places in Singapore have vegetarian options so we can eat almost anywhere.
“So far, apart from some of the common misunderstandings mentioned, we haven't encountered many negative comments about our decision to raise our children vegans. When they see that we are thriving on a vegan diet, what else is there to say? "
No animal should suffer.
Amy Corrigan, 37, is the advocacy group for the Animal Concerns Research and Education Society. Her daughter, Ella Ng, is 11⁄2 years old.
“Ella has been a strict vegetarian since she was born. It's actually more accurate to say that since conception, because I was on a vegetarian basis during my pregnancy.
“I haven't eaten meat since I was 11 because I respect animals and don't support their suffering and slaughter. My husband (also a vegetarian) and I also know that people can survive and thrive on a plant-based diet.
“I know a lot of children who get upset when they realize that the meat they eat comes from the very animals they read in fairy tale books, nursery rhymes and petting zoo games. Ella will never have to go through this harrowing experience.
“I am also firmly convinced that a vegetarian diet is much healthier than a diet that contains meat, especially since so much meat comes from“ factory farms ”, where intensely kept animals are supplied with hormones, antibiotics and so on. Ella has been exclusively breastfed since birth, so I make sure I eat a balanced diet to make sure my breast milk is rich in nutrients. Now that she has started growing solid, I offer her a variety of foods to make sure she is getting all of the nutrients she needs to grow well.
“She is extremely active, alert and rarely gets sick. In fact, Ella is a shining example of the benefits of raising a child on a vegetarian basis.
“When she is older, she can make her own informed decision about whether to eat meat. I believe that once she knows where it comes from, she will likely choose not to do it and that we don't need it to be healthy or to have a delicious meal. "
Do you see how well he's growing?
Halimah Ilavarasi, 34, is a vegan baker and founder of the blog Evolving Parenthood. Her son, Akshel Sudhan, is two years old.
“My husband and I went vegan five years ago for ethical and compassionate reasons. As vegans, we stay away from all animal products, including dairy products, eggs, and meat. Of course, our baby will follow our diet until they are old enough to make an informed decision about their diet.
“Some common misconceptions I've heard are that our child will not thrive, or that they will wither or be developmentally challenged. But the truth is that a vegan diet can be a balanced diet as long as there is variety.
“To make sure that my child gets their nutritional needs, I have come up with a weekly meal plan. We rarely eat out, so I have good control over what he eats.
“Akshel's diet includes various plant-based foods from soy (tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy milk) to legumes (dhal, peas, peanuts) to seeds (quinoa, millet, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, chia seeds) and nuts (walnut, pistachio) , Almond) as well as various fruits and vegetables. He also takes multivitamin and herbal DHA supplements.
“Our immediate family has come to terms with the“ eccentric ”couple in the family and takes our needs into account when eating or cooking for us. My husband and I are lucky to have your understanding.
“However, during my pregnancy, my mother was always concerned about my diet and the health of my unborn baby. But she now supports our lifestyle as she can see how well my son is growing on this diet. "
If you want to eat vegetarian or vegan food with your family: MARAE in Lübeck is looking forward to seeing you!
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