Raising A Vegan Baby

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Actual question I was asked, “Are you going to raise BB to be vegan?”

(INSERT EYE ROLL)

(INSERT SARCASM FONT). No we’re going to feed him raw meat.

Of course we would raise our kids to have the same values as we do. Isn’t that what all parents do?

I also get the hypothetical “what happens if he’s at McDonald’s for a friend’s birthday party?” or “what if he eats pizza at a friend’s house?”

Life is filled with what ifs, people.

At some point in every parent’s life, way sooner than we want, our kids have to start making decisions in their own life.

My response to those what ifs is always the same…well then I hope we’ve installed good values in him so he will make good decisions. Again, isn’t that the same as every parent feels when their kid leaves the house to be with friends, or drive, or move out? You always hope you’ve instilled good morals in your child.

Our plans for BB are the same that all parents have. I want him to be healthy and happy and well-rounded.

Yes, that includes food. Yes it’s going to be more difficult for him; we’ve been through it too. However, if things progress the way it seems like it’s going then maybe it wont be as difficult as we think. Veganism has grown in the last 10 years and it’s my belief that it’s only going to grow more.

Yes, of course I don’t want things to be difficult for BB. But is that a reason for me to change all my morals? Start feeding my kid meat, cheese, milk, and eggs just because it would be easier for him? Well then why don’t people change their religion? Or their skin color? Or their sexual orientation? Ok, maybe that’s not the same thing, but not harming animals for the sake of my ‘nutrition’ is a very deeply rooted value I hold and hope BB will hold it too.

Vegan Baby Shower

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I listened to a podcast the other day, Food for Thought. She was giving advice about how to have a vegan wedding when no one else in your family is vegan. To paraphrase what she said, vegans seem to apologize for ‘pushing’ their beliefs on others.  But when your family is saying “just at least serve chicken” or “don’t you think it’s rude to not cater to how other people eat?”, they are pushing their beliefs on you.  You need to do what is most important for you. People aren’t coming to your wedding for the food.  They’re coming so they can see you start your life with the person you love most.

I wasn’t vegan when I got married but I was pescetarian.  Everyone attending our wedding ate the Standard American Diet so I picked a menu that reflected that. I catered to other people’s wishes at my own wedding, at least when it came to the food.

It was four months later that I became full-on vegan. It was a hard transition for both of our families but the now accept that we are vegan and it’s not going to change. However, we have not always had support.  Even after five years we have people that never make food that we can/will eat when we’re having a family dinner.

So when I was planning our baby shower I went back and forth about what kinds of food I wanted to have. I talked it over with my husband and my mom and finally came to the conclusion that it was a party for me and my baby, plus I’m the pregnant one, so I should be able to eat everything there.

My mom and I made all of the food (picture above and menu below). I even took apart a dish that someone brought that was not vegan (veggie tray with ranch cups) and made it vegan with hummus instead. No one knew the food was vegan until we told them. We got a lot of “this is so good!”, “these are made of black beans?!”, etc.  No one was grossed out when the found out there were no animal secretions in it because you know why? VEGAN FOOD IS FOOD!!! Vegan food is like base zero. Everyone can eat it.

I am so proud that I stuck to my guns and served food that followed what I believe. After all, I’m going to raise my baby that way so I’d say it’s a pretty big part of my life.

MENU (all vegan):

Spicy and mild chili
Veggie tray with hummus
Fruit salad
Cashew cheeses: smoked, garlic herb, sun-dried tomato
Chips
Crackers
Pretzels
Salsa
Chocolate peanut butter balls
Pumpkin oat chocolate chip bars
Rosemary chocolate chip cookies
Black bean brownies
Lemonade
Iced tea

Nature Benefits for Babies

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Special double post week!!

I helped with a photo shoot for a six month old a few years ago and something the mom said stuck with me.

We took the kid outside and was going to have him sit in the grass and asked his mom, “does he like the grass?”
“I don’t know. He’s never been in it,” she replied to me.

Now this was June.  It’s been nice out for at least a month.  BB (Baby Boy) was born in January so it’s not the nicest weather-wise then, however he’s been outside even on the coldest of days, just for a minute.  Now that it’s started to get nicer we’ve taken him out just about every day.  He LOVES being outside and laying in the grass.

I came across this article about the health benefits of nature on young kids. Not that I needed reassurance, but it was nice to see an article like that. I think that being out in nature is so healing.

Every weekend that it’s nice out, I watch our neighbors come outside for an hour to mow their lawn and then immediately go back inside. I used to be like that. But I do remember when I was younger, going out every morning during the summer and reading at least a chapter of Harry Potter. Now I love going for walks with my little family and playing outside with BB. He loves curling his toes in the grass and pulling it out of the ground. I love just watching him watch everything, making connections and growing his little brain.

We get so few nice days when you really think about it, we should spend more time outside.  We would probably be healthier as a society and it gives our kids good habits they can carry with them through their lives.

Pregnant While Vegan

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Everyone has a preconceived notion of pregnancy, be it from family and friends, movies/TV, articles, or blog posts like this one.

I thought I knew what to expect-nausea, mood swings, cravings, weight gain, gestational diabetes, swelling, lack of sleep, pain-all those wonderful things.

Sidebar: Why don’t we hear the wonderful and amazing things about pregnancy?  Why are we so quick to talk about the negative?

Well I’m here to offer up another side.  One you may not have heard.

Without bragging, I had a wonderful pregnancy. It was easy and quite painless.

My second month of pregnancy I had the morning sickness.  Though instead of constantly running to the bathroom, I felt a little nauseous in the morning until around lunch and then was fine the rest of the day.  I had one really bad morning where I actually stayed home from work because I couldn’t stop throwing up.  I found that if I had a big meal for dinner then I felt sicker in the morning. I don’t like to eat if I’m not feeling well so I had smaller meals throughout the day which kept the morning sickness away. I’ve found that this is the complete opposite of what most pregnant women do. Many women told me they constantly ‘had’ to eat to keep their nausea at bay.

I constantly had people asking me what I was craving or if I’d had any weird cravings. I had none. No pickles and ice cream, no slutty brownies, nothing.

I had no mood swings, and I’m not just saying that. Ask my husband!

When I was in my 8th month of pregnancy I bought myself a new pair of tennis shoes. The first day I wore them someone in my family said, ‘new shoes because your feet are swollen?’ I thought (and still think) that was pretty presumptuous. No, I bought new shoes because I needed new shoes and have been looking for multiple years that were non-obnoxious  colored.

I did have the weight gain and some pain because, hello, I’m growing a baby!

I owe this easy pregnancy to my vegan lifestyle, which yes, I  continued throughout pregnancy.

To answer any questions: No, it wasn’t unhealthy. No, my baby was not malnourished. No, I was not missing out on vitamins that are crucial for a healthy baby.  All vitamins and minerals that are needed for a healthy baby, or a healthy person, can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.

I feel that eating closer to nature rids a person of the issues that most people on a standard American diet face.

So when people say, ‘oh you’re so lucky’…it’s not luck; it’s a way of life.

 

Is Breast Milk Vegan?

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Whose homework is this?!

One of the amazing things that happened during these past two years on hiatus is that my husband and I decided to grow our family. Our honeymoon a few years later was our last hurrah before we had kids and in January we welcomed our beautiful baby boy (BB from now on).  I plan on having a series of Baby Love posts about my pregnancy, birth, and raising BB-all while vegan.

So for our first Baby Love post:  Is Breast Milk Vegan?

Someone at work, knowing I’m vegan, asked me, in all seriousness, if breast milk was ‘technically vegan’.  It totally caught me off guard and I almost laughed right in his face. (I didn’t though; I’m not a terrible person).

What does ‘vegan’ mean?  A person “who consumes no food (as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals; also :  one who abstains from using animal products (as leather)”.

Technically, people are animals…

The issue (and the question) comes from the societal norm that humans are the only mammals that drink the milk of another mammal.  Elephants don’t drink lion milk. Cats don’t drink dog milk.  Species don’t intermix.  So why do humans drink cow milk? And why do we (humans) not question it? (But you of course have already questioned it and that’s why you’re here.)

So if we ignore society, elephants drink elephant milk, lions drink lion milk, cats drink cat milk, dogs drink dog milk, and humans drink human milk.  So if it’s a human child that is drinking breast milk then that makes breast milk vegan.

So yes, my baby is still vegan.

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