5/25/09

Veggie Tales

i was blogger stalking the other night and came across a blog about a mother who is raising her children vegan. you can link to her blog here.

whenever i think of vegan parenting i think of the baby who died because his vegan parents only feed him soy milk and apple juice. according to this news article they were recently convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. i'll be honest, i approached vegan mom's blog with some (ok enough to feed a small country) cynicism about how she feeds her family.


after reading a few of her posts i guess you could say i was eating (vegan) humble pie. this seems like a smart and competent woman. her kids look healthy (i.e. not ready for leading roles in a world vision commercial). i liked her blog a lot and found myself slightly (ok massively) jealous of her glowing skin and shinny hair. it seems like this lifestyle really works for vegan blog mom and her kids.

but....

as a way of life for MOST people, i think it is problematic. to feed your children (not to mention yourself) competently, it seems like you'd have to spend all your time either preparing food or reading about preparing food. now i don't know about you, but spending all of my time doing either of these two things would land me in a mental institution faster that you can say roast beef dinner. i have better stuff do to like watch little dorrit, play axis and allies, and stalk the blogs of people i don't even know!

even for people who like cooking, want to be vegan, and spend a lot of their time reading about it---raising healthy kids on a vegan diet seems like an uphill battle. at least that is the conclusion that i reached after reading a study about the effect of a vegan diet on infants. according to the study all of the infants who participated in the study showed evidence of protein-calorie malnutrition, iron, zinc and vitamin B deficiency anemia, rickets, and experienced multiple recurrent infections. doctors also noted developmenal delays in all of the children.

(let me know if you want they study--i have it downloaded for my school library as a pdf).

so i have decided that in mercedes land the kids are going to eat frozen pizza and microwaveable hamburgers....but reading vegan mom's blog did make me think that we could stand to have a few more vegetables and legumes in our diet. i could never be full on vegan. i am from alberta for heaven's sake. telling people you don't eat meat will get you kicked out of the province. don't believe me....ask K.D. Lang. so to ease my troubled mind i threw an extra can of garbanzo beans into the white chili we had for dinner.

and after eating it....i feel so healthy. in fact i think i am glowing.

honestly though this is kind of something i am interested in. is anyone aware of studies, in peer reviewed journals, that talk about the positive effect sof a vegan diet for children and/or adults? i'd be interested to learn more. I read the McDougal Way years ago and thought it was pretty interesting....

6 comments:

Abbie said...

Very interesting post M. I actually am eating a vegan diet (I wouldn't call myself vegan necessarily because I still have leather shoes... ha ha) as is Ella. I prefer that she not have any animal products though I don't freak out if she does. I've done my research and know of the important things that I need to supplement in her diet (namely fats which I get in the form of nut butters like pb, almond butter, tahini, etc. and Vit. B12 which she gets from the milks she drinks which are fortified).

I don't think feeding Ella or myself for that matter is an uphill battle at all. Here is a version of what we eat during the day:
Breakfast
Fruit smoothie with soy milk, strawberries, bananas and apple juice and sometimes spinach.
Steel cut oats with soy, almond or rice milk
Whole wheat english muffin with PB

Lunch
Beans and brown rice with vegan ranch and vegan sour cream
Avacado
Apple slices
Wheat pita

Dinner
Really depends... tonight we'll have enchiladas with spinach, beans, corn, and tomatoes.

In my opinion, I don't understand why people worry about the diet above but dismiss the four year old down the street who eats nothing but scrambled eggs, cereal, toast, hamburgers, fries and chicken and is already on his way to obesity. I really think the problem is that we've been told that we get our protein, b12 and iron from meat and our calcium from dairy. What person who eats meat sits around wondering whether their child is getting enough fiber in their diet?

I would like to have you send me your article. I have read many articles against veganism which follow children in Africa (which I think is extremely unfair and inaccurate to even make similarities between the two diets) or others which are partially sponsored by some Dairy Farmers or Meat Farmers group... can we say bias?

If you are really interested and have the time, try reading the China Study.

I hope this doesn't sound attacking because it isn't meant to be. I think it's great that you've even thought about it. But I do disagree with your thought that eating this way and feeding your children this way could in anyway be harmful, make them delayed or be difficult. If anything, I have a newfound appreciation for food, vegetables in particular and I don't feel that I am doing anything bad for Ella in keeping her away from animal products. I would love to talk with you more about this though. I'm emailing you an abstract from the Journal of American Diet Association.

Sarah said...

Great post Mercedes.
My kids are vegetarian- otherwise known as picky eaters; but I cannot imagine what their diets or THEY would look like without their whole milk, cheese and 2 yogurt a day habit.
What is taken away from this post & reading websites like the one you did, is the need for me & my family to keep eating more vegetables. It isn't impossible in these days of V8 Fusion (who knew sweet potato juice was so good), green smoothies, and the deceptively delicious cookbook. Chickpea Chocolate Chip cookies anyone?!
Love ya, and you know you are more than welcome to stay with us anytime!

Sarah said...

oh, while reading this I also was reminded of my SIL's niece Emma at a family BBQ. Their family had been living in Cali where she insisted on becoming vegetarian like all her friends. We asked her about it and she replied very matter of factly that she does not eat anything with faces. To which her mom handed her ketchup to put on her hamburger...
i don't like eyes on my hamburger patties either!

Mercedes said...

Abbie,

no offense taken at all. i'm interested in your opinions! i was just sharing what i'd read--i have no real world experience with this stuff so i think that your experience is interesting and very relevant.

i also totally agree that it is pretty ironic that people make a big fuss about vegan diets but think nothing of the person who eats mcdonalds for breakfast lunch and dinner.

our attitudes about nutrition are a function of the culture we are raised in. so points about the nutritional merits or drawbacks of vegan diets aside, how would you suggest someone (me) who doesn't like to cook or fuss about in the kitchen implement principles of vegan eating? also do you think it is an all or nothing thing? can you be vegan some of the time and still enjoy the benefits of this type of eating?

also when i was doing my research on vegan diets i noticed that several of the studies that came out strongly against this type of diet were sponsored by the american cattle ranchers association. coincidence? i doubt it.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you about this!

Mercedes said...

sarah!

so i just got back from texas. i was visiting rax. we kept talking about how good your cookies are and how much we missed hanging out with you and alho (remember when rax gave everyone slut names? i will refrain from using yours!).

if all that time you were feeding us chickpea chocolate chip cookies--i am totally impressed. my mom's efforts to get us to eat tofu were always detected. you are pretty sneaky woman!

hey what is the name of the cookbook you mentioned? i like buying cookbooks to look at. when it actually comes to cooking---i'm a lost cause. i'm a costco heat and serve kinda gal (with a desire to eat better but a will power made of fudge sauce).

Sarah said...

The cookbook is actually titled "Deceptively Delicious" by Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld. She may or may not have cribbed the recipes from someone else, but I wonder when it comes to authoring recipes. I mean, chances are someone has made it before!!!
I love cookbooks too.
My favourite at the moment is Williams Sonoma Family Meals. Perfect mix of recipes/background on types of food/and Try this at home pages that totally go into detail with pictures on how to make marshmallows or chicken stock or pasta.
Food Blogs are good too...
I'm making this tonight for a girls night tomorrow:
http://www.picky-palate.com/2009/04/double-chocolate-chesecake-layered-cake.html
and
bakerella.blogspot.com is fun too, despite the fact I spent 3 hours neglecting my children to make the 14 layer cake which promptly fell over.

I bake too much, but I love it. We haven't bought bread from the store in months. I need to start giving more of it away though. Here is a good book for you to read. "Such a Pretty Fat" It makes me laugh so hard because it is so me.

Are you & Mike coming up for our reunion? July 18th? We always said we'd go together!
I miss you today!