Vegan kids

My gorgeous vegan boys.

I have to admit, when I first decided to adopt a vegan lifestyle, I didn’t intend to have the kids join me.

Like many people I had the idea that it wasn’t a ‘complete’ diet, that they would inevitably end up missing out on vital nutrients. Luckily, after much research I realised how wrong I was in making that assumption, and I’m now convinced that rather than imposing my ideals on my children, I am providing them with the healthiest diet possible.

My eldest was just 3 at the time of my ‘conversion’ and a complete cheese fiend, and although he’s very young, he’s very stubborn and knows his own mind. I thought that vegetarianism would be as much as I could hope for from him and to be honest, he’s still a work in progress. We eat entirely vegan meals in the house now but I know that when he’s at his grandparents’ house or out for a meal he inevitably chooses cheesy pasta for his dinner! I’m hopeful that once he’s a bit older and understands where his beloved cheese comes from, he’ll make the right choice! He doesn’t seem to have noticed that we no longer have any cheese in the house and he happily munches on the occasional packet of dairy free chocolate buttons without a word of complaint.

The baby is a different story – at only 5 months old when I took the vegan plunge he has no choice but to eat what is put in front of him! And so far he seems to be perfectly fit, healthy and happy on a vegan diet. He is a perfect weight for his age and has reached all of his milestones without any problems. He’s also made it to nearly 10 months old without a trip to the doctor and without having more than the odd sniffle.

I am by no means an expert in nutrition, nor am I a mother who would take the health of her children lightly. I am a mother who has done an extensive amount of reading and research into vegan diets for kids and I am confident that I can provide my children with a supremely healthy diet without the inclusion of animal products.

Since I cook for the whole family, when I get my pots and pans out the majority of my recipes are suitable for children and babies – where they are not, or where modifications are needed I’ll add a note to that effect. I have a very sweet tooth so many of the recipes are for cakes and desserts – moderation is the key word here for children (and adults too I suppose!).

Here are some useful tips for children following a vegan diet.

1. Try to limit fibre. Use white bread, pasta and rice. While brown is better for adults, high fibre foods fill kids up too quickly. The danger here is that they’ll stop eating before they’ve taken sufficient calories.

2.Peel fruit for the same reason.

3.If you don’t have allergies in your family and on the advice of your health visitor, use smooth nut butters. My boys love a peanut butter sandwich for lunch or pasta or rice served with a sauce made from cashew butter and coconut milk.

4. Tahini is fantastic to add to sandwiches in place of butter. Fairly high in fat and full of healthy nutrients, including calcium, I frequently feed this to my boys.

5. Consider having your kids weighed regularly. I don’t know if this is strictly necessary but I find it encouraging to hear from a health professional that my babies are thriving – even though I can see for myself that they are growing like weeds! It also gives me good ammunition for when I meet resistance from those who would question my decision to feed my boys a vegan diet.

6. Consider giving your little ones a supplement. My 3 year old gets half a vegan vitamin daily while the baby is given vitamin drops that my health visitor kindly gave me. No matter how tasty and healthy the meals you provide your children, all kids go through faddy phases when they won’t eat their meals – the vitamins give me extra reassurance for such occasions!

*Please remember that small children can choke on nuts and seeds so smooth nut butters, seed pastes and ground nuts are advisable. Also, consult your doctor or health visitor if you have any concerns regarding possible food allergies.

*Many health visitors aren’t clued up on vegan diets so if you meet any resistance, keep pushing. My lovely health visitor contacted a dietician especially for me when I had questions about the kids’ diet she couldn’t answer herself.

*If you have more questions about a vegan diet for kids, contact me or go to the Vegan Society’s website for more information. They have a fantastic book for sale, ‘Feeding your vegan infant – with confidence’

Update June 2011

I have found an interesting article outlining the benefits of a plant based diet for children – where it says ‘vegetarian’ it means ‘vegan’.

http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/veg_diets_for_children.html

Update July 2011

The kids are now completely vegan and have been for a couple of months. The baby is thriving – the picture of health! Rosy cheeked, just the right amount of cute baby chub and at 11 months is crawling with super speed, attempting a good few words and even standing unaided when he’s feeing brave.

The toddler, the one, who I thought would be tricky? Well, he goes around the supermarket asking ‘Mummy, is this vegan?’. When I say no, he puts whatever it is back with no complaint. He knows that milk is for baby cows and as long as he gets the occasional slice of vegan cake or dairy free chocolate, he’s perfectly happy. Like the baby, he’s thriving. I was slightly worried that he hadn’t gained any weight (on an omnivorous diet) for over 10 months. A month of being vegan and he has gained a lb and at age 3 and a half is finally wear age 3 – 4 clothes. He’s a whirlwind of energy, always on the go!

We regularly see our local health visitors who are perfectly happy with the progress of both boys.

Update November 2011

My wonderful husband has decide to join us in becoming vegan so we’re a completely vegan family now.

Update April 2012

Well, we’re all still happily getting to grips with our new lifestyle.

My eldest is getting ready for school (starting in August – yikes!). His nursery teachers are very pleased with him. His latest report card talks about his skill with computers (he’s four!!), his love of counting and numbers and his overall fabulousness. As if I didn’t already know all that!

The baby is growing like a weed; normal height and weight for his age and is just a typical 19 month old – running riot, causing chaos and throwing tantrums whenever he doesn’t get his own way!

Although both boys have just recovered from chicken pox, we survived the winter relatively unscathed by illness. In great contrast to previous winters when the eldest would be floored for weeks at a time by coughs, colds, chest infections and earaches, we hardly had more than the odd sniffle and runny nose between us. Is this related to their diet or simply a coincidence? It’s such a dramatic change for the better though that there’s no way we’ll be straying from our plant based diet.

My little troublemaker!

28 responses to “Vegan kids

  1. Pingback: Weighty Issues | babystepsvegan

  2. This is ridiculous!! Humans are omnivores and have been for centuries. This is the way our bodies are designed to eat and function. Children need good quality plant and animal protein for brain development and a vegan diet does NOT provide this .A healthy diet also includes good amounts of fibre not only for proper bowel function but general health. Depriving developing children of vital nutrients in this way is borderline abuse. If an adult want to become vegan for whatever reason then that is fine.This is a parents choice and not the child’s. I heard of a case where a pregnant vegan woman gave birth to a baby that was a failure to thrive because it was starved of nutrients in utero. It then later died because it’s mother was so devoid of general health and it wasn’t getting anything from her milk in the way of nutrients. She was charged. What a real shame for her and her baby. If she had eaten better and taken better care of her unborn baby through her own diet, no doubt the baby would have survived.
    Please don’t make your children follow your vegan ways. That is your choice not theirs. Give them the best possible start in life and if they choose to become vegan later in life then that is their choice.

    • don’t mean to be funny but the children were taken to doctors and their development is fine. are you a nutritionist or medical professional? if not your advice is inadmissable. just how much do you know about calcium, iron and protein on a vegan diet? none i suspect.

      you should do some research on human diets as not all humans have always been omnivores. high fibre is good for adults not children. there was also a case of an omnivore woman who fed her child nothing but junk food and cause malnutrition and obesity. there are many healthy vegan children who are not being forced to eat animal products.

  3. Tell me Sara, do you have children? If so, what do you feed them?
    Whenever you feed a child you inflict your beliefs on them. If you feed your children meat or dairy products you expose them to all sorts of nasty chemicals and toxins. But that is your choice, your belief system – we all impose our own belief systems onto our children. You might have your child christened because you believe in God, you might teach your child that it is wrong to abuse homosexuals because you believe it is wrong. I choose to teach my children that it is wrong to exploit animals. When they are old enough to make their own decisions regarding their health, ethics and morality then I shall let them do just that, but until they are old enough, then I will teach them and feed them based on my own beliefs – as does every mother in the world.
    Exactly what nutrient do you think my children are missing out on? Please tell me and I’ll reassure you. How much research have you done on feeding children a vegan diet?
    My children have regular checks with their health visitor – they are healthy, intelligent and growing beautifully. They are not underweight, malnourished or deprived in any way.
    Re. the fibre. Fibre is of course vital in everyone’s diet. However, vegan diets are typically very high fibre (what with all the fruit, veggies, legumes and pulses). The danger with this is that a child will stop eating before he or she has consumed enough calories or fat. To ensure my children eat enough calories, it is sometimes necessary to control their fibre a little. I’m am NOT advocating a low fibre diet in any way.

  4. Oh, and regarding my own health, I have had medical checks to ensure that I’m am following a nutritional sound diet. My iron, vitamin B12 levels etc are all excellent.

  5. Another comment for any doubters: please don’t base your opinion of a vegan diet on isolated incidents you read about in the papers, or on a google search. Obviously the cases where a child has died is big news; the countless people who have been vegan from birth or indeed conception and are perfectly healthy are not so newsworthy. Naturally we never hear about them.
    In the cases you read about when searching google, the children died because of parental stupidity, not veganism. There’s a big difference.

  6. Sara, all the main dietetic associations say that being vegan from birth is perfectly healthy. There is nothing the human body can’t get from an all plant diet that they get from adding animal products. Of course you are going to read horror stories about vegan children, but this has nothing to do with the vegan diet, but everything to do with the parents failure to provide adequate nutrition. A child born into a family of omnivores can suffer this same bad parenting too. And, as pointed out above,feeding your child an omnivore diet is as much you forcing your beliefs on them as feeding your child a vegan diet.

  7. Sorry Sara, but as an omnivore and auntie of these so-called abused children – what rubbish. These boys are unbelievably healthy, and growing so fast that after not seeing them for a while, I almost didn’t recognise the youngest the other week!

    Is giving them a vegan diet any more harmful than taking kids to fast-food restaurants and stuffing them full of high-calorie and fat burgers and pizzas? Surely it’s much better to give them home-cooked, nutritional meals!

    And when the boys are older, if they choose to eat meat or dairy, of course that’s their choice. But it will be an informed choice. I have every faith in Clare that if they make that choice, she’ll be supportive, just as any good parent would be.

  8. Thanks Fi, it does make me laugh to think of the boys being malnourished or underweight or lacking in some way! If only I had half their energy! It may or may not be related to their diet, but they’re rarely ill and so full of beans (literally as well!) – they certainly run rings around the rest of us!
    A very good point about fast food restaurants and the like – one could argue that feeding a child that would be borderline child abuse. Especially as we’re constantly hearing about the rise of childhood obesity, diabetes and other diseases typically linked to diets high in processed food and animal fats. I would also argue that because a vegan diet *could* be nutritionally lacking, if it is not properly planned that most vegan parents have MORE nutritional savvy and have done oodles more research than many, if not most, omnivorous parents.

  9. I have been vegetarian for 14 years, and vegan for 7 months now. Before becoming vegan I always thought that I would raise my children on on an omnivore diet, however, after reading enough research to pursued me to take the steps to becoming vegan I can know confidently say that if I have kids in the future they too will be vegan. This is because I strongly believe that a vegan diet is only beneficial for the individual, it also greatly benefits the environment as a whole. And of course, means I can sleep easy in the knowledge that no animals are harmed for my ‘pleasure’. I have researched the topic thoroughly and personally believe that raising a child on a vegan diet is one of the most loving, caring, thoughtful decision a parent can make. Ensuring their child grows healthy and strong with no nasty chemicals or toxins entering their young bodies. Love this blog, and will definitely add it to my list of useful resources.

    • What a lovely comment, thank you!
      As I say in the blog, I never intended to make the kids vegan too, but the more I learnt about the health benefits of a plant-based diet and the health horrors of meat and dairy, I decided that I couldn’t, in good faith, feed my children animal products. Taking all animal welfare, ethical, and environmental factors out of the equation, I simply wouldn’t feed my precious children animal products for health reasons. For what it’s worth, my health visitor has consulted a paediatric dietician for me and is perfectly happy with my decision.

  10. Sara, There is no essential nutrients that cannot be provided from a vegan diet, except Vit B12 which I am sure Babysteps gives her children in supplements. The only thing her children are missing out on is the opportunity to to eat the corpses, mothers milk and menstrual cycles of tortured animals, and participate in a process that causes death from malnutrition for millions children each year, destroys our planet and causes endless suffering and animal abuse.

  11. lisa sullivan

    being a good parent means that you ensure that your children have all the essentials in life needed to thrive and grow. I’d say that vegan parents (in general) put far more effort into ensuring that all the necessary minerals and vitamins and fats and fibre are present in their meals. Vegans have less access to ready-meals which are loaded with preservatives and excessive quantities of salt and un-healthy saturated fats. I think parents who regularly take their kids to mcdonalds or serve micorwave food have more to answer for !
    as vegan parents we teach our children to cook and use fresh ingredients.
    Vegans do not get diabetes (in fact diabetes can be entirely reversed with a plant based diet).

    If you don’t want to be vegan you don’t need to be, but it is not your place to accuse others of being neglectful because you don’t agree with there choice and vice versa vegans to non-vegans

    since both i and my family have gone vegan we no longer need to take asthma inhalers, my daughters excema has cleared up (both of us with with dr supervision), My insomnia has disappeared, I no longer suffer from high blood pressure, my cholesterol has dropped back into a healthy zone and every day my family and I enjoy wonderful home cooked complete foods.

    as far as humans being onminvores, and meant to eat meat.. well we’ve got more in common with gorillas and primates than tigers .. and they certainly don’t seem to suffer from a vegan diet!

    I also am a regular blood donor, and although I got turned away at times for low iron before I went vegan, since I’ve gone vegan my iron levels have increased!
    2 of my best vegan friends are DR’s as well.
    bottom line vegan=awesome, its your choice

  12. Interesting about your daughter’s skin Lisa, I’ve noticed the same with my eldest boy. I wasn’t sure if it was down to diet or just that he was outgrowing the condition. Very interesting…
    @Josh, thanks for the comment! Vitamin B12 is the only troublemaker in a vegan diet and of course my children are given appropriate supplements.

  13. My ‘children’ are now aged 25 and 22. My son was vegetarian until his wee sister was born and then we all went vegan, so my daughter has been vegan since birth. ‘Animal protein for brain development’? Both my offspring have university degrees and my son is nearly finished a post-grad Masters degree!

    When we decided to go vegan, I explained to my son, who was three at the time, that I was going to breast-feed the new baby, just as I had done with him. I asked him how he would feel if other people came and stole my breast milk and said that the baby couldn’t have it. He did not like this idea! ‘Well, that’s what they do to mummy cows,’ I explained. He was horrified and became a staunch vegan from that moment. And he and his sister, well past the age when they can choose for themselves, have never wavered in their vegan beliefs.

    Sorry if this is a bit lengthy. I just thought I’d share my own experience. People who talk about ‘forcing your ideas on children’ when they’re forcing much worse ideas on theirs, for example, that it’s OK to abuse living, sentient creatures, make me so angry that I can’t express my feelings politely!

    By the way, I’m sorry the people who give your son cheese aren’t respecting your choices…

    • Fantastic comment Penny, really reassuring – especially the fact that your kids are clearly so intelligent as well as healthy! Dietary studies and associations are great for supporting vegan parents but there’s nothing like someone who can offer living proof that veganism IS suitable for children of all ages.
      Thanks!

  14. Sara if your ridiculous views are purely based on one horror story in a newspaper then it sounds like you need to do a lot more research before you start scaremongering on an open forum like this. Uninformed posts like yours are the kind of unsubstantiated nonsense that results in more uninformed rants like the one you’ve written above.

    We are not “designed” to eat animal products. Could a human kill an animal with it’s teeth and bare hand and then eat it’s raw flesh. No. Human beings experience a huge range of health problems that could be avoided by adopting a vegan diet so how can we be designed to eat animal products. It’s also true that high fiber foods are difficult for small children to digest. In prehistoric times mothers would chew grains before putting it in their children’s mouths to begin the digestive process for them. So I suggest you look back a little further than the last couple of centuries before you make claims about how our bodies are designed.

    I was unfortunate enough to encounter a few prejudiced and uninformed individuals like Sara while I was a vegan and pregnant and they came out with the same uninformed views. Why is it that everyone thinks they have the right to make new mothers feel scared and guilty for every single choice they make!?!? When I was born to a meat eating mother I weighed a below average 6lb. I have had 2 children from vegan pregnancies. One weighed in at 9lb 6oz and the other 8lb 14oz. Hardly the deformed skeletons that people like you like to scaremonger about. They have continued to grow well and be full of energy. Like many vegan parents I have educated myself about nutrition and make sure that we all get everything we need in our diets.

    The “wait until the can make their own decision” argument is also ridiculous. Why would I give my children a meat/dairy diet when I know a vegan diet is healthier. Every parent makes choices for their children which are based on their own beliefs about what is best for them. I know that I am giving my children the best possible start in life by feeding them a varied and nutritious vegan diet. I hope that Sara and any other skeptics will do their research and give veganism a try so that they can see how great it can be.

  15. Lisa I agree with you completely. I would just note that when you refer to Diabetes you mean type II diabetes, Type 1 starts early in life and because the pancreatic cells that produce insulin are destroyed can never be reversed. I don’t mean to be a stickler, I just wanted to point that out.
    -Josh

  16. Well done! Forcing children to eat meat from early age exposes them on risk of allergies of many types, collics, and later risks of hear disease, obesity, diabetes… and much more. The problem is that there is not so much informations out there and people take many old theories about diet for only truth. Truth is that there are many vegan children, healthy and well developed in the world. For those who want to wide their spectrum of knowledge before making an offensive comment some good scientific facts on feeding children vegan http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/factsheets/h4kfactsheet.html

  17. I find it worrying that some people are so misinformed and unable to think for themselves. There are of course scare stories every so often but if we were to just listen to one story on the news and base our whole opinions around it, would just be ridiculous! I would hope that we are more intelligent than that. Sara – you sound like you are uncomfortable with your choices so therefore have to attack other people’s views and lifestyles. I advise you to do some intellectual reading of your own and then please feel free to comment when you are more informed.

    p.s. I live in a three generational vegan family – mother in law 63 (vegan for around 43 years), husband 31 (vegan for 31 years) and two delightful children (3 and 2 – both life vegans like their dad). All very healthy!

  18. I’m so glad I found this! This is awesome, thank you! And here I thought I was the only mum embarking on a vegan journey. We,my kids, husband and myself are all vegetarians and for the past 3 month been taking steps towards veganism. Obviously with two toddlers involved this took allot of research and learning so far. My kids 1&2 years old next month have been vegetarian from birth and really the only dairy they got regularly was their infant formula as breast feeding was not possible due to both having severe cases of acid reflux disease. Depspite this my kids are thriving and the reflux luckily lasted in both until they were 8 month old. My son started walking at 9 month old, really, I have video footage otherwise no one believes me and my daughter started walking recently at 10 1/2 month. My son hardly has any dairy at all except for quorn products but my daughter still has follow on milk. So it’s really a case of baby steps. It’s great to be reassured by this page that there’re other young vegan families.

    • Hi Steph,
      I’m glad you like the blog! It can certainly be challenging raising children in a way that society doesn’t deem to be ‘normal’ but it’s also very rewarding too. My boys have barely had more than a sniffle all winter (touch wood!) which is a huge change from every other year when the eldest seemed to be permanently ill from about October to March! But yes, you’re not alone, not at all. There are lots of vegan families out there and I’m privileged to know one family whose two children were vegan from birth and are now perfectly normal, functioning (and still vegan!) adults.

  19. Vegan is definitely not for everyone, and should not be touted as the overall healthiest choice. Myself, my ancestors (for 4 generations documented) and my children cannot process grains, soy, or most other beans. My nutrition is not in the least harmed by these restrictions, as all the foods we eat are the most nutrient dense. In fact there is nothing in grains that isn’t more available in the leafy veggies. We need no supplements for our diet at all to be nutritionally complete. All of our foods are pure (homegrown or local farmers.) My children are healthier than their peers, and ahead on the developemental charts physically and cognitively. I’m a bit touchy today because of a “morality” lecture from a vegan parent… Being ethical, and a good parent isn’t a one size solution.

  20. Naturally, a vegan diet does not guarantee good health. Neither does eating animals and their products necessarily mean that you will fall ill to cancer, diabetes etc. There are good and bad examples of both diets. However, I do believe that a (well planned) vegan diet is the healthiest choice for my children. If I didn’t then we wouldn’t be eating this way. If you don’t agree, then fair enough but given that my eldest child started life as an omnivore I am at least in the position to make the comparison between his health before and his health now so I’m confident in saying that it’s the best choice for us. As for morality, well, no one will persuade me that there is any justifiable reason for murdering animals for food and that is the view I am passing on to my children. Not everyone likes this stance or agrees with it, but hey, you can’t please everyone!

  21. Further to my last comment after reading other comments on thread:

    Many seem to equate a proper omnivorous diet with the chumps who eat fast food, and factory farmed, hormone injected meats and dairy. A responsible diet has none of those.

    Chimps and gorillas, some of our closest animal relativesn,are not vegan. They eat insects, rob birds nests, and will even eat meat. Chimps have even been documented in cannibalistic behaviours with competing chimp groups. “Vegan” societies in the past STILL had animal proteins in the form of insects and larvae on the produce and in the grain.

    It is great that so many are paying attention to what is put into their bodies. I prefer to avoid all chemicals. I can’t remember the last time I shopped in a supermarket.

    Pesticides cannot all be washed from foods, and are as harmful as the crap put into factory farmed meats. Sprayed crops will have pesticides inside the food itself, brought in from the root system. Berries and all grains are especially bad this way. Google is your friend to verify this.

    I can, and often have, caught and killed with my bare hands, and have eaten without cooking, a few varieties of animals. Namely fish and insects. I have also run down and killed a very healthy, adult deer with just a knife, so the argument of catching and eating raw is an irrelevant point. Those of us with the wit and physical prowess actually can do such.

    We have evolved to eat cooked foods. There is evidence that the ancestor we evolved from cooked their meals (of animals) 2 500 000 years ago (see recent article in Science America) verified by testing what the genetic makeup in the teeth. They ate meat the same as todays chimps do. Occasionally.

    As for dairy, people with the athsma issues find that the switch to whole goats milk works too 😉 dairy has been in our diet 10 000 or so years. Compared to most grains, chiefly wheat, which has only been about 6 000 or so years. My ancestors are northerners for as far back as genetic testing can tell. Vitamin D is readily available in the winter months if you eat whale blubber and arctic mammal livers (again I’ve eaten these raw.) No need for fortified or synthetic foods.

    The group with highest rates of diabetes are aboriginal north americans who are denied their traditional diet by the native reserve system. Instead they are fed grains and sugary fruits (and processed crap) that they never had before. When put on a diet like mine, all health issues disappear.

    Everything I’ve written here (except my own anecdotal experiences with hunting, although there are tribes in mexican mountains who still RUN down their prey) is easily verified with a google search of trusted scientific sources. I agree the north american diet is horrible. I disagree that veganism is the fit for all.

    Monoculture of any crop or herd hurts and depletes the environment. Mixed farming is best, which includes multiple vegetables at once AND animal farming as well. Research fertilisers. Research how badly soy destroys the environment it is planted in. Know how your food is created from clearing forests (for meat or veggie farming) to soil depletion, to water table depletion before calling yourself ethical. I’m not saying I am, just that there is false science on both sides of the equation.

  22. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

    I don’t think any vegan (at least no intelligent vegan) will claim to be 100% ethical. And I am yet to come across an established vegan who is not aware of the information you posted above.

    I’m not sure about your comment on cooked food. If you read my blog, you will see that most of my recipes involved cooked food. I love salads, but I don’t want to live on them.

    Soy production is indeed a horrific drain on the earth’s resources. However, two points to consider. By far, the majority of soy grown, is grown specifically for animal feed, not for vegans! The second point is that soy is not essential in the vegan diet – in fact I would advocate limiting the amount of soy anyone consumes, especially heavily processed soy products.

    Goat’s milk may well be better tolerated by humans than cow’s milk. However, goat’s milk is created for baby goats (don’t let the term ‘kid’ confuse you here 😉 ) and after weaning, a human has no need of milk of any kind. The fact remains, that if you drink the milk of an animal, you deprive a baby of his mother’s milk.

  23. I’m breastfeeding as I type this lol. My cats are given the breastmilk I’d otherwise be discarding from my over production 😉 I grew up on a responsible small (goat) farm. Your assertion here about dairy is incorrect. The babies feed first, then mamas are milked so they produce MORE. Kinda like how I pumped after feeding my boys to increase milk production in myself. I now produce TOO MUCH milk for their consumption. Just like how a responsible small farmer creates more milk in a nursing mama for own use. In responsible farming, no baby is deprived. Do not confuse this with mass dairy farming, where the practice you assert to be true, actually is in play. I currently donate my own breastmilk to mothers who have trouble producing, and the odd time that I pump without sterilising the pump first, goes to the cats. Who, funny enough, digest it just fine, although commercial cows-dairy irritates them. They also have the most glossy coats…I digress. Goat dairy is better than cow dairy because the diet is closer to our own, and their size is similar. Most “lactose intolerance” issues have more to do with curd size than a problem with the lactose sugar. Cows curd is larger (see cheese curds) than our own (see tiny curds in baby spit ups.)

    In your opinion what is the “proper” weaning age? WHO states 2 for children in developed countries (though not many do such) and 4-5 in countries without adequate nutrition. Other respected reseachers say “as long as the child nurses, up to and including puberty” (paraphrased) Myself, I aim for the 2 years… So what is the age humans no longer consume milk? In some cultures adults consumed breastmilk of their wives, (heck I’d suggest many/most men have tried their wives’ breastmilk through the ages, based on all the fathers I know) and ailing adults in some cultures were, and sometimes still are, fed from a nursing mother, as a proven way to help heal many illnesses. Mother’s Milk: The Ultimate Superfood 😛

    Fact of the matter is, some people cannot become vegan due to dietary issues. I cannot eat grain. I cannot eat beans. (I, therefore, can only get complete amino acids from eating animal protein) I will not eat synthetic supplements. My grain issues are as prominent in the human condition as are other people’s dairy issues. I’m just pointing out that grain and dairy both are “new” to human consumption, with grain being newer. Both have reseach from affected groups showing how “bad” they are. Truth: different people have different physiological makeups. You’re ancestors may be from where grains are cultivated, mine most definitely, are not. Differing evolutions. Differing biological needs. Neither diet is the “best” for everyone. (Although I do believe, even if I don’t regularly practice it, that humans, ALL humans, should be eating insects)

    Any mono culture (not just soy and feeds for animals, but mono culture of, say, carrots, or onions, or potatoes etc etc) is very bad for the environment. Mass animal farming is of course the worst. Any mass farming is bad. I’m a locovore (to give myself a tag) and there isn’t a single thing I eat that I don’t know precisely how or where it was grown. To me it is more “ethical” (gods I hate that word) to eat the partridge or deer or fish or domestic animal I killed myself than it is to eat anything flown 1000’s of miles, then trucked some more, and sprayed with chemicals at every stop. Sometimes in countries where people are killed so that I could have a banana.

    In cultivating crops with combines, and spraying with poisons MORE animals are killed than in traditional mixed farming. Difference is people are ok with mice, rats, rabbits, gophers, snakes, ground nesting birds, toads and all insects dying than a “cute” sheep. Or cow, or chicken…all animals we’ve developed to eat. That wouldn’t survive without us. Mass farming of any sort kills, or to use your shock term, “murders” thousands of “innocent animals” that don’t even get the respect of being eaten. Their meat gets poisoned. They aren’t even eaten by carrion eating animals, or if they are, those animals are then poisoned. I argue that a mouse is as feeling, as sentient, as a cow (and perhaps more so than a chicken.) Though not as tasty (I’ve eaten all.)

    That is the ugly truth. Countless animals die to produce vegetable crops, too. So it is a blinkered argument to claim no animals die for a vegan to eat, unless you grow all your own, and even then, most people will try to kill off insects and other pests.

    I’m not hating on vegans, just the feel good arguments about environmentalism and animal rights. Eating well for your health is a valid point 🙂 and one I applaud. Saying “eating dairy deprives babies of milk” is shock docterine, and dishonest at best. Mass dairy is horrible, mass meat is horrible. Mass vegetable is horrible. All three hurt, and kill animals, either directly, or by proxy. Responsible farming of all is not horrible, whatever your feeling on eating your friends. Less # of animals are killed. Less wild habitat is destroyed in mixed farm culture. All fertilisers are natural, and not made from petroleum, or strip mined paudash. I’ve had long term friendships with many of my meals 😀 including the vegetables.

    Even insects farm and breed other insects for food 🙂 so that isn’t “unnatural” either. (Specifically ants farming aphids) Its what dominant species do to make life simpler for themselves. To make time for leisure. Ethics is as subjective as each person and circumstance 🙂

  24. The fact is that humans do not need to consume animal products of any description in order to live long and happy lives. This is easily verifiable. The only species that do are obligate carnivores, which humans are not. What the human race is doing is killing billions of sentient creatures (trillions if you include fish) solely to satisfy a taste for flesh and animal secretions, not to mention other purposes such as clothing, medical research and entertainment. Veganism is about recognising the immorality of these actions and diet is only a part of that position.

    While we are doing this, we are allowing animal agriculture to contribute massively to the environmental and ecological destruction of the Earth in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation, excessive water use, destruction of natural habitats and obliteration of wild species, all of which is once again easily verifiable. Of course, this has largely been ignored by governments purporting to be taking measures to ‘save the planet’. The socio-economic ramifications are far too politically sensitive!

    It has been mentioned previously that the vast majority of soya beans grown are used for animal feed. The same is true of most cereal crops (and, incidentally, a large proportion of the fish landed). Vegans do not claim that no animals are killed during till agriculture, but in a vegan world we would at least try to minimise such harm in both farming methods and ‘pest’ control, not a consideration of the average farmer at present I suggest. And, of course, there are options other than till agriculture for growing plants such as hydroponics. Billions of people are starving in the world today, a situation which could easily be remedied by utilising the crops currently grown to produce meat for the minority. At the current world population growth rate, animal agriculture will simply become unsustainable to satisfy overall food requirements.

    Finally, take into consideration the number of human diseases and other health issues known to be associated with the consumption of animal products and there is really only one sensible course of action. Go vegan! Make no mistake, if you consume animal products, you are not making a dietary choice. You are choosing to contribute to the annual enslavement, cruel treatment and murder of billions of sentient beings who have just as much interest in living as we do.

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