Raising A Vegetarian Child
By: Jenny McGrath
Posted Originally at:http://thealternativeparentire.blogspot.ie/2013/08/raising-vegetarian.html Used with permission.
The vegetarian diet. Sometimes the mere mention of it turns some people into grade A nutritionists. Giving lectures on what nutrients you’re missing out on, its the circle of life etc… we have all heard those words at some stage.
But tell someone you are raising your child vegetarian and get ready for a real lecture of facts! Knowledge is everything with eating the right foods, even if you are a carnivore… are you healthier because you arent vegetarian and eat meat? Yeah, maybe, if you compare yourself to someone who eats cheese toasties and fake meat products everyday. And even at that, a fussy vegetarian child cant do any worse than a child who is fed frozen chicken nuggets and frozen chips a few times a week… am I wrong? Its easier now then ever to give your child good food, with all these cheap supermarkets & 5 a day offers you see, there isn’t an excuse. Your child’s health should always be a priority, as should your own.
This isnt a tirade against eating meat , I dont care who does, cos why should I? Its to say do not criticise something that, with knowledge (like with all food) speaks volumes for itself. When I was pregnant with my baby son, I had horrendous nausea… the whole 9 months! Even when I could not even go into my kitchen from the thought of food, I still made myself spinach smoothies so my baba would keep getting everything he needed from me. I ate seeds in soya yogurts at breakfast and lots of fruits. Made the foods I knew would give my baby and me everything we needed to help him develop a priority to eat every single day. At my 6 month scan I was told I had an exceptional level of iron, more so as I was not even taking supplements. As a teenager (non veggie) I was anemic, so this was a really great thing to hear. But, vegetarian living, without knowledge, is not free of fault, in a world where we no longer have the time or interest to create good meals. For example the fake meat industry although convinient, it can cause people to not go for more nutritious and natural substitues (beans & pulses)
Had I been pregnant with my original diet from when I first became vegetarian some years ago, my iron count undeniably would not of been so high. Quorn products, pizza, no knowledge of better sources.
On 7th march 2013 my son was born, and he was perfectly healthy. At two weeks we were told he had the neck strength not expected in a 6 week old. He is so alert and a fine boy already at just over 4 months! I never ate meat when I was pregnant so the theory that vegetarians miss out… nonsense. There are many attributes to raising my boy vegetarian…. but this isn’t a debate piece on the aspects of why i don’t want him to eat meat… it is to say how we can not be criticized for raising him vegetarian… he was vegetarian in utero, and he was born healthy. Currently we are weaning him on organic baby rice and organic pureed vegetables and fruits such as spinach, pumpkin, squash, blueberries, strawberries and more.
I can remember being at an anti natal class and they were really focusing on telling me what I should be eating as I don’t eat meat. Yet as I looked around me at the other expectant mums to be, and without intending to sound mean, I couldn’t help notice how over half were overweight and lacked the glow of pregnancy but looked pasty. I felt I wasn’t the one who needed a nutrition guide at all.
I’m excited to bring my son up living a vegetarian lifestyle. So here’s to being a vegetarian mama….and to the misinformed critics, we know what we’re doing; and we’re doing it just fine.
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