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Thread: Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

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    Default Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Hello Everyone!

    My little family of DH, DD, and myself have made the informative decision to go vegan! My DD who is 4.5 yrs is an avid cow's milk lover. First thing in the morning she asks for milk. I have given her chocolate almond milk in the past and she loves it, but I don't want to be doing that all the time. Do any of you more seasoned vegans have suggestions for helping DD transition to plant based milk? Is there a way to wean her off slowly or should I just suck it up and make her go cold turkey?

    Thanks!

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    Draíochta Blueberries's Avatar
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    Hi, I don't have kids but I have heard of parents transitioning children by mixing cow's and soya milk, gradually reducing the cow's milk until the children are used to the taste of soya milk. But my guess is that it depends on your kids' personal tastes. Hopefully the members here who are parents can be of more help!
    Houmous atá ann!

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    Default Re: Vegan Newbie Mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    I would have thought she is old enough to discuss this with. You don't have to go into all the gory details but explaining that you are all as a family going to stop having cow's milk because cows make it for their babies and the babies get taken away from their mummys so we can have the milk. And think about something she might really like as a treat that she rarely gets now to compensate a bit? Was she breastfed? If so, she knows about milk production and might have more empathy with the calves.

    Having said that, I bought my children up as vegan from birth and messed up. Probably from not being flexible enough - my daughter grew up really distressed around the issue as she was so confused by her friends doing things her parents said were not good and is a lax veggie now, who doesn't care about rennet in cheese or gelatine in sweets so maybe don't take on board what I say, see what others suggest. My thread is here somewhere, read it as an awful warning ;(

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    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan Newbie Mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Quote Forestdweller View Post
    I have given her chocolate almond milk in the past and she loves it, but I don't want to be doing that all the time ..
    An idea, if all else fails, for you FD ...

    Get regular almond milk. Add your own chocolate if she doesnt like it 'raw'. Slowly reduce the amount of chocolate.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    phoenix rising's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan Newbie Mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    If you'd rather steer away from the chocolate, you could try stirring just a little agave syrup into a plain almond milk it to sweeten it up. Also she might like to try rice milk or oat milk if it's available where you are.
    when everything changes...change everything

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    Pea-utiful... Peabrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan Newbie Mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    I started to offer various non-cow's-milk drinks, soya milk, etc, and just let them decide and explore what they liked the taste of, they chose rice milk in the end, which is my favourite too. It comes in a fortified variant (although make sure you always shake the carton to get the calcium and vitamins evenly distributed)...

    To me, it tastes the most like cow's milk (with a slightly semolina-ish aftertaste at first but that seems to stop being noticeable quite quickly and it's not a bad taste anyway). It's also quite pleasantly sweet and not as pungent as soy milk IMO... I like to use soy products like tofu and certain vegan sausages etc, but I didn't really want them to get used to having is as a main drink...

    As for chocolate almond/rice milk, I don't think it's an entirely bad thing to let them have it once in a while. I also deliberately give them non dairy chocolate sweets on a reasonably regular basis (interspersed of course, with healthy fruit snacks and healthy meals) to get them used to the new taste and then when their tastes have adapted it's easier to offer them the alternative when they ask for the "standard" cows milk choccies.

    The suggestion to mix the cows milk with the alternative, and introduce more and more of the alternative is also a good idea, but I also think what gattona said is actually a pretty good idea too, maybe just a gentle explanation that cow's milk is better for cows, and we don't need it, might suffice.

    Gattona I think I know what post you're referring to, but I'd like to say that you did your best, and at least you can pass on the knowledge you've gained in hindsight to the newbies (including me)... My mum was a vegetarian, and she really didn't say much to me AT ALL about why, so I didn't know I could choose not to, and she let me eat meat. But I guess she was just doing her best too. Especially as at that time nutrition and fortified foods were not as good as they are now. I kind of wish she hadn't done that in some ways, but then maybe I wouldn't have the insight into how to handle the non-vegan world so well if I hadn't been a non-vegan myself...

    Forrestdweller, in terms of how to teach children about the reasons behind the vegan diet, I personally think that the first thing to do, is really search and experiment with loads and loads of really tasty drinks and foods (ie. replacement sweets or cakes so they don't miss the milk in those things so much). Type "vegan" and/or "milk free" in your local supermarket's online search and see what they come up with, you'll also find vegan options that aren't listed as vegan because they've either been overlooked, or are "accidentally" vegan (although make sure you recheck the ingredients every now and again in case they "improve" their recipes by adding milk! LOL... You could also try http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk which has some yummy stuff (the vegan stuff is all labelled)! The main thing is to make sure they know that the vegan diet can be really healthy and tasty so it's much more likely to stick! Look at the vitamins and minerals chart on http://www.greenleafy.org/ kids really like that because it's colourful and simple, and they like seeing what vitamins they're getting from they eat.

    I also think that it's best to teach kids that veganism is a choice rather than a "should"; although I really wish all people would be vegan, and kind of do think they "should", I have to be really careful about not giving my two youngest children in particular, the idea that meat eaters are bad (especially as their dad is one) as it can be very upsetting for them.

    If you feel that you don't want to explain yet (different people have different preferences on this and different children can understand different things at different stages) maybe just don't tell her right now why she isn't being given cow's milk, and instead just immediately point at something she CAN have instead, so it's being substitued rather than the focus being on the denial of the thing she's asked for.

    This is how I do it with my kids at the moment as one of them in particular is a bit too young I feel and very emotionally attached to animals... Then as they get into somewhere around the 5-10 age bracket, I will explain more, and say it's much better for the cows, and is not as healthy for us (which will be quite easy as one of them does seem to have a lactose intolerance), following it up with pointing out the foods on the vitamins/minerals chart that contain calcium. It's quite easy for me not to explain much more than that as it's pretty much always up to me what they eat at the moment (although I'm slowly trying to get family to understand that they are not being given these things, so they don't go offering them tonnes of milk-laden crap)...

    Following that, at around the age of 10 onwards, once they're a) IMHO starting to be emotionally ready to understand it, and b) preparing for big school and will be making some of their own choices about food, I will gently explain what meat dairy and eggs actually are, and why we don't eat them in a "basic" way and then invite them to ask more questions, that way they usually control how detailed the conversation gets and of course I still wouldn't get gory. However, then I will make sure that it is clear that the people we love who do eat meat are still loveable, and I might say that some people genuinely believe we need it and that's it's natural to eat it, much the same way other animals eat meat, and that although we know they are misinformed about that (therefore enforcing that our choices are still good ones), sometimes it takes more time for certain people to understand that, especially if they don't know about all the gorgeous, tasty, and nourishing foods we do.

    Hope that makes sense (my brain's a bit tired today)...

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    Pea-utiful... Peabrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Quote Peabrain View Post
    I might say that some people genuinely believe we need it and that's it's natural to eat it, much the same way other animals eat meat
    Tried to edit that but can't seem to get the website to play nice... What I meant was; I might say that some people genuinely believe we need it and that's they also believe (not I believe) it's natural to eat it, much the same way other animals eat meat...

    Still tired so forgive me if the prose/syntax/whatever you call it is a bit odd.

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    Default Re: Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Gattona, do you think it could just be your daughters way of rebelling against you? I was talking to my partner about this the other day. We were looking at out nephews and nieces and wondering what they had to rebel against. Unlike our parents theirs are open minded and liberal. We were wondering if children might start becoming more conservative like Saffy in Ab fab as their way of being different to their parents.

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    Default Re: Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Possibly, Mymblesdaughter, but I think she has moved on from her rebellious stage and we have a pretty good relationship now. I think she was genuinely hurt and confused as a child - did you read my thread? We had a very tearful evening talking about it. She loves animals and hates the way they are treated but feels that she is powerless to do anything so might as well consume whatever takes her fancy. She hasn't had meat AFAIK but if offered sweets with gelatin I think she eats them. When given parmesan cheese that is always made with animal rennet she took it saying what differenc does it make, its been bought and been put on my plate. She did say that maybe if I had given more gory details so she understood more completely why we are vegan she would have stayed with it, and then back tracked quite quickly thinking about herself as a little girl faced with the horrors she now knows about

    So, I don't know. I'm playing it very low key now, not hassling as I like to think that her inate kindness will surface, maybe in a few years but if I alienate her any more I doubt she would ever go vegan again. She has blocked my face book feeds as she doesn't like the animal cruelty stuff I post from time to time, horrible stuff she can do nothing about she says, buying her egg sandwiches ;(

    But hey, this is my family, I'm sad it's worked out this way but in so many other ways I am proud of her and let her know as I wonder if some of the issue isn't a feeling of powerlesness.

    Peabrain, thanks for your kind words and excellent outline of how your family works.

    Forestdweller, how is it going now, have you had any more thoughts on how to handle the matter?

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    Pea-utiful... Peabrain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Sorry it was so long. I do tend to ramble sometimes... :P

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    Default Re: Vegan newbie mommy with a cow's milk problem!

    Quote Peabrain View Post
    Sorry it was so long. I do tend to ramble sometimes... :P
    Nah, 'twas worth reading. I'm glad your Christmas went so well too

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