6

votes

What if your child wanted to be vegan

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 28, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Not that I have kids, but I was thinking about the type of things I would deal with if I was a parent in the far future. It's already hard dealing with misguided ideas of the modern days. If you had a child who wanted to turn vegetarian or vegan for whatever dumb reason, such as "meat is cruel" "we're a new society now we don't need to eat meat", what would you say? I know that non-paleo people bought into the idea that vegetarianism is the ultimate diet for health and claim that your kid is right for choosing vegetarianism but we paleo folks know better. Right? I would hate it if a child of mine, who is still developing and needs the most nutrition possible, decided to sabotage themselves. You wouldn't want to be controlling or authoritarian on your kid because he'll probably rebel further, so what would you say? Possible arguments your child may make: "Meat is cruel", "It's more ecofriendly", and whatever else reasons vegans use.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 29, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Boatload of supplements.

489706f5480edccc9f01130582f7f296

(233)

on March 29, 2013
at 12:29 PM

True...NO book has had a more profound effect on my psyche...But Folks, This Ain't Normal comes in at a close 2nd

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 29, 2013
at 02:11 AM

I'm not sure that I actually ate better than SAD. It was junk food that was even lower in nutrient density.

D2b653e1bb95489af69ece6182abec48

(375)

on March 29, 2013
at 12:51 AM

Fatherly advice is not that different from other types of advice. Voluntary, to be sure, but only effective if sufficiently though-provoking to the desired audience. If you have personal objections to fathering children, I hope they're not based on the quality of your advice.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 29, 2013
at 12:40 AM

@Albert83bcn what are you talking about? Mitochondrial DNA? Crazy epigenetic methylation stuff? I'm pretty sure the man still contributes 50% of the DNA, just like always.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 29, 2013
at 12:38 AM

Aw, thank you! Personally I don't think I should be anyone's dad. But if you happen to need a kindly uncle I would be happy to oblige.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 28, 2013
at 11:58 PM

Then keep in mind that what spouse you pick up may be the most important point and will probably be the responsible for the genetic heritage. It seems that we men play a small role in this.

D2b653e1bb95489af69ece6182abec48

(375)

on March 28, 2013
at 11:41 PM

You may find that kids engage in rebellion for reasons unrelated to the issue at hand. Hormones and stuff. It's at least worth considering the possibility.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:36 PM

honestly i feel the same way. i wish my family had also been more educated about diet, even though i ate much better then SAD. i wish healthfully and happily raised meats were more available and commonplace back then.......o well.

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:30 PM

in my next life i want you to be my dad..

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on March 28, 2013
at 09:44 PM

we could disown these rogue kids :P

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on March 28, 2013
at 09:31 PM

vegetarian and vegan are 2 very different things , id make sure the kid was aware of the differences and caveats of each.

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18 Answers

12
72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 28, 2013
at 10:22 PM

Forcing a child to do something that they seriously, truly find morally wrong sounds like a terrible idea. You might win that battle but you risk losing the war in terms of having an ongoing relationship with them or keeping them from developing dangerous food issues. Even for a ten year-old, you may be able to have a serious conversation where you dig into what's bothering them and find a way to address it.

  • If it's because they don't support factory farming, then tell them about how you source your meat from ethical farmers and ranchers (or explain how you'd like to, anyway).

  • If it's because they feel bad about killing, talk about consciousness and the meaning of life for creatures with different kinds of brains and different understandings of what's going on in the world. Presumably you have an explanation for why it's okay to kill cows but not humans, so see if you can convey that to them.

  • Alternately, talk to them about the different kinds of brains and nervous systems that different animals have, and see if you can reach a compromise. They can get excellent nutrition from fish and molluscs. This could be supplemented with offal and bone marrow, which you can explain are by-products that don't strongly support the meat industry.

  • If it's because of spiritual or metaphysical reasons, talk to them about cultures that respect and give thanks to the animals that sustain them. See if you can find ways to incorporate this into any religious or spiritual practices that your family engages in.

  • If it's because of stuff that they heard from PETA, talk to them about how to tell when someone is manipulating your emotions to take advantage of you.

If they weren't very serious about vegetarianism, this will probably bore them into giving up on the subject. If they still want to explore it and can't be persuaded, you could agree to study the topic with them together and use the opportunity to teach them more about food and nutrition. From there you can convince them that veganism is unwise, at least.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 29, 2013
at 12:38 AM

Aw, thank you! Personally I don't think I should be anyone's dad. But if you happen to need a kindly uncle I would be happy to oblige.

89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

(2097)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:30 PM

in my next life i want you to be my dad..

D2b653e1bb95489af69ece6182abec48

(375)

on March 29, 2013
at 12:51 AM

Fatherly advice is not that different from other types of advice. Voluntary, to be sure, but only effective if sufficiently though-provoking to the desired audience. If you have personal objections to fathering children, I hope they're not based on the quality of your advice.

7
89fa2da4805b0b4e54b77a5a20a2e206

on March 28, 2013
at 10:28 PM

say to them -HOW CAN YOU HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YOU DONT EAT YOUR MEAT! :) l o l

5
Medium avatar

on March 28, 2013
at 10:33 PM

I wish my family had smacked me around and/or staged an intervention when I first mentioned it.

2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

(1533)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:36 PM

honestly i feel the same way. i wish my family had also been more educated about diet, even though i ate much better then SAD. i wish healthfully and happily raised meats were more available and commonplace back then.......o well.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 29, 2013
at 02:11 AM

I'm not sure that I actually ate better than SAD. It was junk food that was even lower in nutrient density.

5
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:15 PM

I'd ask them to read The Vegetarian Myth and then decide.

489706f5480edccc9f01130582f7f296

(233)

on March 29, 2013
at 12:29 PM

True...NO book has had a more profound effect on my psyche...But Folks, This Ain't Normal comes in at a close 2nd

4
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on March 28, 2013
at 09:22 PM

If the kid is say 10 years old then they're out of luck, they're going to have to eat at least some if not most of what they're given and it's up to me to decide the best diet for them.

But if they're an adult (18-ish though I'm not stuck on the exact 18th birthday) then they can do whatever they want and live with the consequences. I would make sure they're working with good information and are making an informed decision but sometimes the only way you learn something is to try it and either succeed or fail with it.

3
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:24 PM

I have one adult child (20) and one 12 year old. My 20 year old is a responsible adult, she knows my feelings and concerns, but it is up to her to decide. She lives in our house and we are going to prepare food our way, but she's welcome to buy her own groceries and prepare her own food to supplement what we eat (we eat tons of veggies, so there's some overlap)--and she darn well better clean up after herself, too!!!! I would work hard to remember that nutrition is not my religion, and that she has the right to choose her own path to health (or not).

My 12 year old's health and well-being, however, is still my responsibility. That doesn't mean I wouldn't allow it, but I'd do a lot more to make sure she understood my concerns, and I would insist on health monitoring and supplementation with things like B vitamins.

Our kids' job is to separate from us parents, and finding a way to do that over things they have control over like what goes in their mouths is developmentally normal. It's hard to watch, but I try to keep in mind that's what they are SUPPOSED to do. I'd much rather my kids "rebel" with the diet they choose than with religion (;o), drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.

2
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 29, 2013
at 11:11 AM

Ask myself: What did I do wrong?

I'd likely be raising kids on a farm of some kind, and farm kids don't go vegan. They understand how the world works.

1
D3d945f6dce4161dab37d668e0876632

on March 29, 2013
at 02:07 AM

You could compromise with them and explain to them the difference between factory farming and humanely raised animals/products. The may eventually come around. I was vegetarian in high school, it drove my mother nuts. If I had know about small scale farming and humanely raised animals I probably would have eaten those then.

0
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on March 29, 2013
at 02:07 PM

It depends. Assuming he was of an age to be allowed to make his own decisions... if he was talking about a carefully monitored and balanced low carb diet of coconut, avocado, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables with some "safe" starches like rice and sweet potatoes in moderation, I'd probably say good luck and follow the experiment with interest. Most of his friends are eating chicken fingers and fries out of a frozen box and drinking soda.

0
3f88a571150a1adeea99899ab0181651

on March 29, 2013
at 12:59 PM

My daughter went through a "I'm going to be a vegetarian" stage last year. She was 10 at the time. I listened to her concerns, and we researched it together. We weren't paleo at the time, (I've only been at it for 2 weeks and LOVE it, by the way), so being vegeterian actually would have been a small step up from what she was eating. She was vegetarian for about a week, but she gave up when she realized that I was going to make her eat other sources of protein like quinoa and beans. Apparently she was hoping "vegetarian" means you don't have to eat your meat at dinner, and you can just eat all the candy and chips you want instead.

0
6967518836bd7e2331601a71e937ae0d

(170)

on March 29, 2013
at 12:02 PM

I don't want kids, but if my hypothetical kid is as stubborn as me, I fear nothing would convince them to not be vegan except their own deteriorating body. I wouldn't force them against it. I wouldn't make them feel like they've "lost" or "given in" if they wanted to eat meat again. I would be accepting and supportive, but like others said, I would ask them to read The Vegetarian Myth and tell them of my own painful vegan experiment.

Unfortunately, even if a kid is raised on a farm, that doesn't guarantee they'll stay meat eaters. If I remember correctly, Scott Jurek used to be a huge meat eater when he was young, hunted and fished too. Just because they understand how the world works, doesn't mean they want to be a part of it. Humans in general are removed from a lot of nature (environment, technology), but our biology isn't.

0
33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

on March 29, 2013
at 07:06 AM

It may not be ideal but it's likely better than a diet of processed foods, depending on what foods those are. I just know that I wish my parents had never allowed me to eat tons of processed crap. The implications have been persistent and perhaps they will be lifelong. I would focus on preventing them from eating things they are allergic to as this will do much more lifelong damage to metabolism, immune function, and digestive health in my opinion.

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on March 29, 2013
at 06:46 AM

My oldest son went vegetarian as a sophomore in college. He & his girl friend decided to do it. Luckily he didn't want to do vegan. It lasted less than year. He's 30+ now. I'm not sure he's eating better or worse since then. He thinks I'm nuts for going Paleo.

But to answer the question directly... it would depend on child's age. Any age before "nearly full grown" I would reason with them. Inundate them with nutritional data and discuss the risks. Since we'd already have a history of logical, rational approach to questions.

The trouble is, poor nutrition prior to physical maturity can have lasting effects. Doing the vegan thing as an adult has much lower potential for long term problems.

Luckily I've got two sons (less likely to go vegan, IME). One of whom is a committed meat eater. Now if I could just convince him to knock the refined carbs, esp the liquid ones. :)

0
028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

on March 29, 2013
at 04:14 AM

I don't have kids yet but this question is quite tough.

On one hand, I want my kid to make his/her own decision.

On the other hand, it is possible or even likely that s(he) is influenced by a vegan community. I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but in China, the vegan community is quite toxic, and would offer absolutely no real help in case diet related problems occur, other than berating that s(he)'s not doing vegan right, begging him/her to stay vegan and offering Earthlings.

So guess I need to make sure s(he) is armed with a scientific mind first. I need to make sure that s(he) knows correlation doesn't equal causation. Give everything doubt as well as the benefit of doubt.

0
2006ccb2b60f9cc5ba5e8eff8a7abc46

on March 28, 2013
at 10:32 PM

it wouldn't happen. i would raise my child to know that the most respectful relationship they can have with nature is one where it is the responsibilities of humans to care for nature and vice versa. my kids will have chickens and grow up in an agricultural setting, they will learn about mutual sacrifice, sharing and giving.

they will grow up eating a healthful whole foods diet, with hopefully a lot of wild game. they will be intelligent and strong and have no reason to question their consumption.

D2b653e1bb95489af69ece6182abec48

(375)

on March 28, 2013
at 11:41 PM

You may find that kids engage in rebellion for reasons unrelated to the issue at hand. Hormones and stuff. It's at least worth considering the possibility.

0
089dd41b18fbb95ebb5347cded708d98

(5635)

on March 28, 2013
at 10:29 PM

i would support my kid and let him/her make decisions on diet. i would also be sure that they know what can happen on the diet and share with them how my health deteriorated over the 5 years i abstained from meat. my parents gave me the freedom to eat what i wanted and they still do since paleo is a PITA diet to follow anyway.

0
E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

on March 28, 2013
at 10:10 PM

I have two kids, ages six and four. We've discussed animal welfare and good, humane farming practices. I plan on giving my kids both access to as much information as possible as they grow. If they decide to be vegetarian, that'll be their choice. I have told my daughter that I support a vegetarian diet if she felt morally obligated.

Here's where I have a responsibility as a parent, right? My husband and I homeschool our children. I feel as though giving my children access to worthwhile reads when they study biology and health in school will allow them to make educated decisions as adults. You can bet I'll be using some of the texts I've read since becoming an ex-vegan, as well as some vegan texts we can use as discussion.

If, as adults, my kids decide to be vegan I'll support their decisions by not sabotaging their meals when they visit. If they choose vegetarianism I'd be happier so long as they're doing it right.

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 28, 2013
at 09:34 PM

My child will have all the nutrition necessary to build an awesome brain. He will also have the genetics. Well, I do have the problem of picking a good spouse, so I am not totally sure if the genetics will be quite as awesome. I have moral qualms against cloning, so I can't go that route. So, Q.E.D. my child will not want to be a vegan because he will be able to think.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 28, 2013
at 11:58 PM

Then keep in mind that what spouse you pick up may be the most important point and will probably be the responsible for the genetic heritage. It seems that we men play a small role in this.

72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on March 29, 2013
at 12:40 AM

@Albert83bcn what are you talking about? Mitochondrial DNA? Crazy epigenetic methylation stuff? I'm pretty sure the man still contributes 50% of the DNA, just like always.

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