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10 reasons why it’s not “cruel” to raise your child vegan

July 30, 2014

*I hereby acknowledge that this post is applicable only to fairly well-off people living in developed countries.

1) We systematically lie to children throughout their entire lives, sometimes explicitly, sometimes passively. We do not inform children that they are eating dead animals – we let them acclimatise to the normality of it before finding out for themselves. Thus, we train them not to question their food or read labels. They don’t understand or care about nutrition because food is food, you eat what you’re told to eat, you eat what you’re sold. Then we wonder why we’re so unhealthy and find it hard to break unhealthy habits.

2) We assume children don’t want to be vegan before we know them as people, because we assume that everyone nwely born will naturally be just like those already living (forgetting that what we are is socially constructed). Then if they express a different preference, we wave it away and punish their deviance as some inconsiderate rebellion. Children and teenagers often choose to be vegetarians at least. They are punished for it by their impatient, less sensitive and less informed parents with nagging, yelling, mocking and pointed comments. This gives us an aversion to opposing what we see as wrong and makes us conform to less reasoned points of view. (A society of sheep probably shouldn’t eat lamb.)

3) Animal products are all high in fat. Unlike regular foods, vegan snacks and junk foods are not available on every corner. Yet, not so healthy vegan snacks are not as bad as non-vegan ones, containing no saturated or trans fats. As obesity becomes an epidemic, if there is cruelty in diets, it comes from the complacency that sees parents fatten their children with bad foods as soon as they grow teeth.

4) Most animal products we routinely feed children are unnecessary. Cultures without a history of pasture animals do not routinely drink glasses of milk every day. These people do not suffer growth problems or calcium deficiency. They are merely shorter. And yes, typically slimmer. Our bodies are adaptable to many diets. We’re not giant pandas – we started drinking milk because it helped us once, but now it does not, we can stop. There is a certain xenophobia and cultural ignorance to aversions to different foods than our specific cultural norm. We do not have the “best” nutrition in the world – it is our individual choices that largely determine this, and we make bad choices based on the choices gone before.

5) Everyone deserves treats now and then. Easy vegan treats exist, if you care to look for them. You can’t keep me away from the coconut ice cream. The fact that you imagine it to be inferior when you have never tried it proves only that you have a food prejudice. Children do not. They become acclimatised to what they are used to and have no perception that their lives would be improved If Only they Could Eat Meat. Such thoughts are usually formed in hindsight by sheep.

6) Every parent makes a decision to raise their children a certain way; private school vs public school, karate class vs haberdashery, drive the kids vs make them take the bus, laid back parenting vs strict patenting. No one can hope to get everything right and kids come to little harm as a result of their parents’ quirks. It is a parent’s job only to keep their child healthy until he”s old enough to make his own decisions. I think we can all agree that in the grand scheme of things, he won’t be terribly damaged by not living off cheese sandwiches. Parents with reasoned beliefs who stick to them are happier, better influences who, without necessarily making any concentrated effort to do so, encourage their children to think for themselves, particularly if the beliefs create practical difficulties in every day life that must be overcome with a bit of initiative. Not having the privilege of being catered for everywhere you go serves to make you a more worldly, resilient adult compared to people who face no adversity, or fold the instant they do.

7) Veganism is compassion for all things, one of the most valuable lessons you can teach someone at an impressionable age. Compare this to routine slaughter presented as the correct norm. This does not improve empathy or respect for nature.

8) Being vegan forces you to cook, to plan meals, to understand flavours and manage nutrition by yourself. An intelligent and determined vegan parent will be making better meals than Mrs Meatloaf down the street. Their kids may also develop a greater respect and understanding of culinary techniques, which will serve them well in later life (university, home of the useless cooks). They will know how to make a majority vegetable meal taste good, which will improve their health tenfold.

9) Veganism is not a strange and isolated form of existence. In practice it is much like any food choice – say, organic. It may restrict your purchases but it does not run your life. The more you understand about it, the easier it is. It”s not as if we’re raising our children in separatist cult rife with malnutrition.

10) Most of the difficulty of being vegan comes from society, both its bullheaded closed-mindedness and its inability / unwillingness to cater for people who only eat grains and vegetables. Everyone has eaten vegan food at some point (pb & j sandwiches) and if more people could do so with greater ease, more people would. This would make things would be easier for vegans and healthier for non-vegans.

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From → Animal Rights

8 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on iliketowritewhatithink and commented:
    From my wonderful, youngest son.

  2. paul permalink

    We need fat! It is good for us! Time to catch up (see link below).

    And plant proteins are NOT the same as animal proteins. Our bodies don’t process plant proteins as easily as plant proteins. I’m sorry, but a vegan diet is not healthy for a child.

    http://www.popsci.com/article/science/how-sketchy-research-got-us-all-eating-low-fat

  3. paul permalink

    That should have read “as easily as animal proteins.”

  4. To Paul. Many healthy vegan children disprove this. But if we are really saying that compassion is a poor second to human health, then we are saying something truly unpleasant about our nature, in my view. ‘Kill everything because human health is all that matters?’ Modern humans have so many ways to get all they need without killing other animals. Teaching children compassion is very important for a peaceful, just world. Animal agriculture is destroying this world. Creating deserts, polluting the water table, depleting resources, wasting land, and keeping over half the world in poverty. 40.000 children a day die of hunger in this world. Everyone eating plant based would create enough food for everyone on this planet – if distributed fairly. With our present heavy reliance on animals as food products, we can only ever feed 39% of all living humans. That is totally wrong and unsustainable.

  5. Robin permalink

    Hearby? What did you hear? By what, or by where?

    Spell check can be your friend. Try it.

    Eliminating grains and white carbs (potatoes, rice, etc) has helped me drop 50 excess pounds in 9 months, while eating as much meat, veggies, cheese, fruit, and anything else as I wanted. No counting, weighing, or measuring, just elimination of grains and white carbs.

    Grains are not our friends.

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