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Thread: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

  1. #1
    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Right, this is outrageous. Completely false claims of malnutrition in vegan children. I ask everybody on this board to go to the article and post a comment, in particular those among us who actually raise vegan children on the safe, healthy diet we all know it to be. The article is here
    Last edited by Barry; Apr 20th, 2010 at 10:08 AM. Reason: I'm being a bit inarticulate cause I'm in a rush
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Ugh, I quite like them as a paper and have to read them (we're told to for Uni) but this is just stupid.

    Write them a letter rather than just comment, the paper are more likely to look at it and possibly send them on to the writer.

  3. #3
    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    I like The Guardian as well, that's why I'm pissed off. Writing a letter is a good idea too, although I still encourage everyone to comment cause I regularly see the writers engaging with people in the comments section, we should all do both. I haven't commented myself yet cause I want to choose my words carefully and that's pretty hard when you're still pissed off about something!
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    I didn't think the article itself was too bad as these things go. It's mainly the headline and standfirst that are stupid and alarmist. Subeditors strike again.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    "Vegan parents have to plan their child's food carefully".
    The usual misleading statements are already in there... The truth is that vegans, like non-vegans, need to know what they do when feeding a kid. If they don't, both vegan and non-vegan children may become ill/malnuorished.

    Once a parent knows what s/he is doing, there's no need to keep "planning" food any mor ethan non-vegans need to plan their meals.

    Vegan parents need to learn something about nutrition, but that's certainly true for non-vegan parents as well!
    Last edited by Korn; Apr 20th, 2010 at 12:17 PM.
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Just comment. Tell it like it is. It's unresearched, shoddy, farcical journalism with no reference to fact whatsoever. It only just falls short of being an advert for the dairy and meat industries.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote Korn View Post
    Vegan parents need to learn something about nutrition, but that's certainly true for non-vegan parents as well!
    I agree, but I suppose the argument is that non-vegan parents can just imitate what their parents did and their children will probably be OK, whereas people who have switched to veganism as adults need to research what constitutes a proper diet for a child (which is true IMO, we have had parents on here in the past who didn't seem to have much idea of what nutrients etc their children needed).

    In reality, though, a lot of omnivorous children have such terrible diets that giving their children what they had themselves won't guarantee anything

    ETA Staffy I don't think we can have read the same article! An advert for the dairy and meat industries probably wouldn't conclude with a 3-paragraph quote from the vegan society.

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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Ahh, i should've kept reading then. I got a few paragraphs in and thought it was the same kind of paid for tabloid rubbish we get in our local rag. My mistake!!

  9. #9
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Give it time and we'll probably get some of that tabloid coverage as well! These things seem to come in bursts.

    As one of the comments points out, the "news peg" in this story is a bit tenuous seeing the people in that case weren't vegan anyway. There has been some other coverage of that news item though what I have seen is mostly about the civil liberties aspect: http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/l...cle7100908.ece

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote harpy View Post
    I agree, but I suppose the argument is that non-vegan parents can just imitate what their parents did and their children will probably be OK
    ...which as we know of course would have made if it wasn't for the fact that mpst meat eaters are deficient in a number of nutrients, and the fact that a very large percentage of the population will suffer from diseases related to their diet.

    In reality, though, a lot of omnivorous children have such terrible diets that giving their children what they had themselves won't guarantee anything
    It may not guarantee them anything 100%, but giving them a standard diet is very close to being a guarantee for being sick around 10 years of your life, and for ending up in the large group of people who gets cancer, heart disease etc. So there's more or less a guarantee, but not the kind of guarantee they'd want it to be.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote harpy View Post
    As one of the comments points out, the "news peg" in this story is a bit tenuous seeing the people in that case weren't vegan anyway.
    Exactly.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    What an absurd article. I responded...
    but what I really want is the pointless stories that aren't even connected to veganism to stop.
    context is everything

  13. #13
    Stuart
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    I pretty much agree with what Harpy says. I thought the article itself is pretty even, and mostly - save Amanda Baker - those quoted seem to warn against the dangers of deficiencies within a restricted diet, which veganism is.

    I suspect the reality (well, we are told it is!) of that first line is altogether different, but word it in that way and you've got yourself an article, I suppose. I don't see Veganism as being condemned here, just questioned for a spurious reason.

    I also thought i'd add another sentence beginning with 'I'.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote Stuart View Post
    warn against the dangers of deficiencies within a restricted diet, which veganism is.
    One problem with such a statement is that when read by people who are new to veganism (or know nothing about it), they get the impression that being a vegan is potentially more 'dangerous' than not being a vegan. Since there are still so many misconceptions about a plant based diet out there, it's IMO very important, when potential deficiencies among vegans and vegetarians are discussed in media, to mention that deficiencies are very common among non-vegans. If not, the perspective when discussing which nutrients vegans need to pay most attention to will become distorted and isinterpretted. VEgans, of course, need to pay attention certain nutrients, but the same is true for non-vegans. I'm ptty sure that most non-vegans out there aren't aware about this situation, which is why they sometimes ask us where we get our nutrients from.

    If someone, especially a vegan, talks about the 'dangers' of eating vegan, 9 out of 10 readers will get the impression that living on a vegan diet can be dangerous, usually in the sense 'more dangerous than living on a standard diet'. My point is that while living on a 'vegan diet' as such (whatever that is, it could be popcorn and soda) potentially can be 'dangerous', the danger aspect is even more important to consider when not living on standard diet, because not only is it almost 100% sure that you'll miss out on certain nutrients, but you'll also eat and digest a lot of stuff assoicated with serious health problems like eg. cancer.

    Unfortunately, a couple of important pro-vegan sites/organizations are doing a lousy job presenting these important persepctives.

    Non-vegan dieticians and organizations now more and more seem to agree that a balanced, varied vegan diet (with supplements when/if needed) is more healthy than a standard diet (with supplements when/if needed).

    I'm sure you have seen this statement from the American Dietetic Association:
    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.
    The potential 'danger', when comparing a standard diet and a vegan diet doesn't seem to come out as disfavourable for the vegan diet.

    I've seen several situations where dieticians with authority can confirm that vegan food is healthy and recommendable, but vegans with little knowledge about nutrition and little 'self-confidence' on behalf of the healthiness of the food they are eating are worried that their diet is 'dangerous' (read: more dangerous than a standard diet).

    What you wrote about 'restriced diet' is IMO also misleading.

    A cannibal would see a standard diet as 'restricted diet', because it dosn't include human meat, which he is eating and see as suitable for consumption by humans. I'm not a cannibal, so I don't see a non-cannibal diet as restricted. I don't consider animals' muslces or liver (or their mother's milk) as food either, so I don't see that there are any 'restrictions' in terms of food. If a cat isn't food, not eating cats isn't a real restriction - it's a choice, based on ethical values.

    (There actually is a restriction in the standard diet, in that when eating animal products the intake of plant food will be reduced/limited; animal products fill up the stomack and restrict/reduce the general intake of plants. It's important to have a generous intake of plant based food regularly, for instace because animal products lack fiber/antioxidants/flavinoids/phytochemicals etc).


    I hope humans one day will come to the point where we don't see other living beings as something relevant to consider when talking about food. Although many such areas exist already, it's not common in the Western world. The day people don't consider a lamb, a monkey or a dog as 'food', not eating these poor creatures won't be see as a living 'restricted' diet.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

  15. #15
    patientia
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    In this document, on the page 8, you can see the percentage of Americans not getting the EAR (intake of nutrients satisfying the needs of half of the population) of various nutrients:

    http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles...les2001-02.pdf

  16. #16
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Thanks. Could you post that link in the this: http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24 thread as well?
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote Korn View Post
    What you wrote about 'restriced diet' is IMO also misleading.

    A cannibal would see a standard diet as 'restricted diet', because it dosn't include human meat, which he is eating and see as suitable for consumption by humans. I'm not a cannibal, so I don't see a non-cannibal diet as restricted. I don't consider animals' muslces or liver (or their mother's milk) as food either, so I don't see that there are any 'restrictions' in terms of food. If a cat isn't food, not eating cats isn't a real restriction - it's a choice, based on ethical values.
    I agree it's a choice based on ethical values but nonetheless both non-cannibalism and veganism technically are "restricted" aren't they, in the sense that fewer substances are considered suitable for eating and so there is a narrower range of sources from which to get nutrients - I imagine that's all Stuart meant.

    What's more, unlike cannibalism, in the case of veganism we rule out whole classes of substances - e.g. all flesh, not just a particular kind. In that sense (only!), non-cannibalism is like cutting out pineapples and veganism is like cutting out all fruit from one's diet, say. If we cut out all fruit we would have to take steps to ensure that we still got the nutrients we were previously getting from fruit, and cutting out meat is analogous IMO.

    With omnivores who are worried about people depriving their children etc it's probably more effective to concede that there are some (what they would regard as) restrictions in veganism but then to point out that it's fairly simple to ensure that they don't lead to deprivation.

    Regarding "a standard diet is very close to being a guarantee for being sick around 10 years of your life" that is a good point, but I suppose on the basis of the current research a lot of people would see it as an argument for a "Mediterranean" diet or whatever rather than for veganism. (Obviously I'm talking about people who don't see the ethical case for veganism.)

    Fortunately, to win the current debate I think all we have to do is show that it's possible to rear vegan children who are as healthy as omnivorous children.
    Last edited by harpy; Apr 21st, 2010 at 09:40 PM. Reason: said opposite of what meant :-/

  18. #18

    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    This article made my sister so angry XD she's omni and doesn't understand veganism at all so it resulted in her usual arguement of "you can't comment unless you have children" argument.

    What concerns me is that the cases of ill children are pretty extreme, so it must have been going on for a while and the parents weren't sorting it out. That's not really to do with diet but with bad parenting and those parents not getting help. Surely?

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote Mollfie View Post
    What concerns me is that the cases of ill children are pretty extreme, so it must have been going on for a while and the parents weren't sorting it out. That's not really to do with diet but with bad parenting and those parents not getting help. Surely?
    In the case of the ones mentioned at the beginning of that article, it appears that the child was only discovered to have rickets after he collapsed, according to the Times report http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/l...cle7100908.ece

    If that's the case then the parents didn't have a chance to do anything about it. I agree that there are other cases where they probably did have a chance, but as you say that's a parenting thing rather than a diet thing.

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    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote Mollfie View Post
    This article made my sister so angry XD she's omni and doesn't understand veganism at all so it resulted in her usual arguement of "you can't comment unless you have children" argument.
    Can I take that to mean she read the article and now views veganism in an even more unfavourable light? If so, that's exactly the reason that the article annoyed me in the first place. It's currently the most viewed article in the life and style section, which means a lot of people have read it, and have no doubt had the same reaction as your sister.
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote Barry View Post
    Can I take that to mean she read the article and now views veganism in an even more unfavourable light? If so, that's exactly the reason that the article annoyed me in the first place. It's currently the most viewed article in the life and style section, which means a lot of people have read it, and have no doubt had the same reaction as your sister.
    It's reinforced her opinion really. Which is just as irritating because it's wrong and uninformed.

  22. #22
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Have you tried showing your sister the American Dietetic Association stuff about vegan diets, Mollfie? People sometimes take that on board because the ADA doesn't have a vested interest. Here's their main paper http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8357 and they have other stuff about children and vegan diets e.g. http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=8060

    There seems to be a range of reactions to the article judging by the comments, but I suppose there is stuff that could be seized on to reinforce existing prejudices, particularly if people read selectively.

  23. #23
    Stuart
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote harpy View Post
    I agree it's a choice based on ethical values but nonetheless both non-cannibalism and veganism technically are "restricted" aren't they, in the sense that fewer substances are considered suitable for eating and so there is a narrower range of sources from which to get nutrients - I imagine that's all Stuart meant.
    Yes, exactly.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Thanks Harpy, I'll show her next time it comes up x

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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Thanks for posting this. That is completely ridiculous. It's sad how in our society it is acceptable to feel children soda and junk food, but call them a vegetarian or vegan, and you are endangering your children.
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    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Quote xrodolfox View Post
    What an absurd article. I responded...
    but what I really want is the pointless stories that aren't even connected to veganism to stop.
    This.
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

  27. #27
    rxseeeyse
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    wow!
    vitamin D, calcium, iron and possibly vitamin B12...
    seriously! vitamin D is in meat then? how outrageous and ignorant those social workers are! do they not have something more urgent to deal with?
    and honestly, comparing with those things, I'd rather consider all the antiobiotics and chemicals in meat or MILK first.
    plus the parents even said they are NOT vegans....and wasn't fish suppose to be"healthy" and very"nutritious"? so why deficiency in iron? or B12? blasphemy! it honestly has NOTHING to do with vegan children.
    plus fiber fills u up? wow, good point. so meat doesnt huh. milk doenst and they suppose to make you more hungry so children will eat more?!?

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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    The couple say they don't eat dairy produce because asthma runs in the family – but they're not vegans, as social workers claimed, because they do eat fish. However, the case raises questions about how difficult it is to nourish a young child adequately on a restrictive diet – and whether the risks involved are too great
    That's really really good, of course an omni diet is very restrictive, therefore they should go vegan aaaaaaall the way as eating animals isn't healthy at all.
    Last edited by veganese; Aug 27th, 2010 at 04:37 AM. Reason: grammar mistakes

  29. #29
    Keane
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    'Ridiculous article in the Guardian' could sum up almost everything it publishes nowadays. It ceased to be a newspaper when it became the propaganda sheet of the New Labour Project.

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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    It's always amazing to hear how restrictive a vegan diet is, eg, omg, what do you eat then if you don't eat meat? Because if you follow this logic through you would have eat lots of meat at every meal which in itself would be restrictive. A vegan diet would only seem to be restictive to those who don't eat the variety of foods that everyone should be eating like fruit, veg, legumes, carbs, etc but fill their stomachs with mostly animal products. And this of course everyone knows is not healthy.
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    All I can say is I really wished my parents raised me as a vegan, even vegetarian.. maybe then I wouldn't be overweight and have various health problems.

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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    I'm 13 and vegan, my parents don't plan anything for my diet. I have to figure it out myself.
    A friend is just a known enemy.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Was it your idea to go vegan, though, rrqu? I guess if so your parents may think you're knowledgeable enough to plan your diet yourself! You sound as if you are quite knowledgeable, in fact?

    These articles usually assume that it's the parents who decide the child is going to be vegan, but you could be a counterexample.

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    Charley333's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    I think every so often these articles come about after one particular example of ill-informed parents who feed their children a ridiculously restrictive diet and everyone who is on a so called restrictive diet i.e. us get tarred with the same brush.

    I agree with a lot of what's been said here already, parents who feed their children nothing but frozen foods and crisps because they eat meat and drink milkshakes, are they healthy or well informed? Of course not. The solution I think is to teach children in schools about a healthy diet and about the nutrients that can be found in fruit and veg rather than meat and dairy, the problem is though that on the conventional food pyramid, meat and dairy are prevalent and this is what gets taught in schools. Also you then have these ill informed parents complaining to the school that their child has come home and said "we don't eat healthily because Miss so and so says we should eat 5 fruit and veg a day".

    Also the key point is that the article talks about children. And all newspapers like these inflammatory stories about "endangering" the next generation, like it's ok for you crazy vegan freaks to eat that way and "endanger" yourself if you want to, but don't inflict it on your poor defenceless children. I had a conversation with someone once where they said they thought feeding your children a vegetarian diet was tanatamount to abuse!!! This is someone with vegetarian friends whose children are healthy and energetic and bright. My response was that teaching your children to live in a way that is ethical and informing your children about a diet that is healthful without meat is what a parent should do. My partner is fine with me being vegan and supportive and yet will only consider us having children brought up as vegetarian if a nutritionist says it's ok... When it comes to children, all the examples of the healthy, intelligent, active vegan children will be wiped out with one example of a parent who did not provide their child with all the nutrients they needed.

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    Default Re: Ridiculous article in the Guardian - 'Is veganism safe for kids?'

    Well the guardian may have posted that but at least a few months down the line they had this article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...meat-free-diet


    Edit: I just read one of the comments that said you should let your children decide what they eat so should bring them up on a diet that encompasses all foods including meat and dairy..but to me that isn't given your child a choice..you are forcing them to eat animals.

    I will let my son decide what he eats when he is older..but right now I have to do my best to protect him and make him understand where his food comes from. I personally don't see meat and dairy as food. Dairy is DEFINITELY not food for people...and although meat is debatable I have felt immensely better without it on all levels - health and ethics etc.

    Saying that though...my son DOES decide what he eats for the most part (I do make some decisions lol) - I have never forced him to eat anything though...he pretty much eats what he wants to which usually is a lot of fruit, a lot of vegetables and he loves potatoes. That and breastmilk still.

    It's funny though whenever he sees meat in the store he always says "ooo gross" and he is only nearly 3 so he doesn't know what it is yet.

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