I am just starting out as a vegan and as a parent. My daughter is almost five months old so right now it is just up to my diet while breastfeeding her. I try to do the best I can as far a health goes, I take regular veg prenatals, vitamin B-12, and when I was pregnant an iron supp. I drink soy milk fortified with DHA. It seems that at every turn though I find out something else I am eating is not healthy. I am being told now that soy is terrible for you. I was having soy milk everyday, tofu, and lots of soy meat replacers (which I realize probably aren't that good anyway because of all the processing). I have also recently realized that when I thought I was being healthy by eating wheat bread, I was only adding more high fructose corn syrup to my diet. It is also in ketchup and grape jelly, which I will be abandoning for the organic versions.
When she starts solids I suppose it will be easy because she will still be getting most of her nurtition from breastmilk and with little babies you usually only give mashed up vegetables and fruits anyway. But for me nursing and for her later on, I am worried about putting together balanced meals.
I have a lot of concerns, obviously, so what I am looking for is any advice you can give. Meal plans, recipes, general advice on rasing vegan kids, how to deal with peers, other caregivers, family, etc.
My partner is non-veg but he is supportive. He looks up recipes and cooks for me. He totally gets the lifestyle and how I will be raising our daughter. Somehow though I have rubbed off on him very little though. He still eats meat and dairy. There is very little meat in our house, some frozen chicken strips and a can of meat ravioli, but I never cook it for him. Sometimes his mother gives him meat and he always eats it at fast food places. There are no eggs or cheese in our kitchen because I am recently vegan enough to miss it, but there are products he eats which contain such.
I wonder someday how I will explain it all to my daughter. We don't eat meat or dairy because we love animals and don't want to hurt them. But daddy doesn't. Is daddy bad? Is daddy evil? It is all very confusing.
I already face criticism and challenges from family members. My mother, who is a veggie but not vegan, became super concerned and upset when I was pregnant to the point that I went to a dietician, who was of absolutely no help with meal plans or anything but assured her that it could be done safely. My baby eased her fears when she came out healthy 8 lbs 12 oz and is now above the 97th percentile for weight and in the 97th for height. She is a chunky veg baby! My brother relentlessly teases that he is going to take my daughter out for her first steak someday. And that is my family, my partners is MUCH WORSE!
So, how has raising vegan children been for you? What kind of meals do you prepare in a typical week? Have your kids ever tried meat or dairy at other people's houses? Do they champion your cause? Do you have problems from in-laws or other family/friends? Has anyone ever fed your young, unaware child meat or dairy? What are the day to day challenges you face? Are your kids healthy? Do you get problems from your pediatrician? Do your kids take vitamins (all the childrens vitamins in my supermarket contain gelatin)?
Do you have any other tips, tricks, or advice to being a veg parent?