Vegan parents under pressure
Why did a wonderful enthusiastic vegan family return to being veggie? Why was there so much media interest when a pair of cruelly ignorant parents killed their baby with a poor diet that happens to be plant based?
As soon as you are pregnant everyone tells you to handle it their way. Unsolicited advice escalates when the baby is born. You will be luck if you have health visitor who knows much about diet. It's a tough time to be different and you and your kids will find your veganism scrutinized like never before. Parenting is never straightforward and there are as many ways to handle it as there are babies.
Being well informed increases confidence in finding your own way through parenthood. Knowing vegan kids, seeing them thrive and chatting to their parents is a great asset. There are some invaluable books on the subject of vegan parenting. Start reading up on nutrition before you reach the sleep-deprived world of being a new parent if you want to remember much of it! Beyond that, Liz Cook's nutrition wall-chart is a wonderful reference which kids love too.
All of us can help parents by being reassuring and supportive, sharing food, researching anything they are worried about, and most importantly, not judging them. Although vegan parenting can be exceptionally healthy and rewarding, the stress of being different along with learning all the basics of parenting can take its toll. If cast aside by other vegans, those families who slip out of being vegan will feel alienated and defeated. By being understood and supported they have a great chance of coming back when they're ready.
Visit activeg.org/parenting for support and information, and see the Network Contacts listings for family contacts.
By Sophie Fenwick-Paul, as published in the Vegan magazine Summer 2007. You can subscribe to this excellent magazine through the Vegan Society, and by becoming a member (you don't need to be vegan) you support their great positive veganising work too.
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Story posted by on 2007-06-14 14:55:46.
Veganism is often heralded as a very healthy way to eat. It certainly can be, and has more chance of being so than standard western eating habits. It avoids many of the dangers of omnivorous diets, as well as containing much better quantities of most essential nutrients. However, there are still some key nutrients we need to search out and help other vegans be aware of, to keep us in tip top condition and avoid risks. Then it can be a healthy diet for life for us all.
That's why we developed this key vegan nutrition page for everyone.
Most medicines are tested on animals and many contain animal ingredients. We vegans and vegetarians all have to make our own minds up about the medicines we use, by being well informed and listening to all views.
Widely varying opinions exist on the pros and cons of different medications, particularly vaccinations. These lead to different conclusions from different people, with strong views even amongst professionals on each side, even before you get to the animal welfare issues. We will not pretend to know the efficacy and potential side-effects of drugs here.
Being vegan or vegetarian does not mean you automatically doubt the value of any vaccination and western medicine per se, any more than it means you will believe in every alternative that comes along. This is a separate consideration.
We have a growing set of articles on common vegan issues for parents. Do contact us if you have anything to add to the articles we already have or any feedback - we'd love to hear from you!
There are some enterprising vegans out there wanting to make and sell lovely products. ActiVeg claims no great knowledge about setting up businesses, so always get professional advice and talk to others who have done similar. However, here are a few ideas to consider to get you going. Feel free to add your experiences and comments below.
This document highlights the changes made to LVW when it matured into ActiVeg Network
There are many animal products in food production and cooking used for their particular structural or chemical characteristics, which often have good animal-free alternatives.
This article will help manufacturers consider alternatives to animal products so as to increase their market share, by improving food choice for religious and food intollerance groups, without exiting the food's main market, as well as raising awareness of both the animal-based products and equivalents from plants, minerals and synthetic compounds.
What works for me to solve every day maladies, or at least lighten them. Check with a doctor and all that jazz.