What Vegan Kids Eat

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

Fun for Kids: Quickie Quesadillas: On this week’s Food for Life TV episode, Emily Richard prepares Quickie Quesadillas – a favorite recipe from PCRM’s new Food for Life Kids Nutrition and Cooking Classes. These quesadillas are loaded with nutrients, and they’re delicious as a meal or a snack. And the name doesn’t lie – they only take a few minutes to make!
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There’s Vegan Dad and (Your) Vegan Mom – not to mention Red Hot Vegan Momma, Mom’s Vegan Kitchen, Busy Vegan Mama, et al. – but what about vegan kids? Have you ever wondered where all the pint-sized vegan foodies are at?

Granted, most kids – even “kids these days” – are too busy with school and sports and friends and other assorted forms of child’s play to worry about boring adult stuff like baking and blogging and blogging about one’s baking. Nope, that’s what the ‘rents are for. (Cue: childhood nostalgia.) Still, there are a few intrepid activists-in-the-making on the interwebs – and they’re the subject of today’s veganmofo post.

  • Vegan Kid: http://vegankid.blogspot.com

    Vegan Kid is Shae, who was inspired to start blogging nearly five years ago by a certain vegan lunchbox:

    This Vegan Kid is fascinated by another vegan kid (or his lunchbox…ha) and decided he needed his own little space on the web to share his various adventures… stay tuned.

    Shae is joined by his mom Kelly and younger brother Silas; the trio have participated in several Vegan MoFos in the past. In one of the most recent entries, Kelly shares an article she penned for a vegetarian magazine when Shae was just 4; it’s totally adorable, to wit:

    He’s been known to ask people, especially his many grandparents, “Why are you eating that animal?” and follows up with “Don’t you want that little cow to live with its mommy and daddy instead of getting dead and going into your tummy?” This has led to many a meal abruptly turning at least vegetarian to please him.

    Check it: Veganism for the Four Year Old.

  • Vegan Kids: http://www.vegankids.org/blog/

    Vegan Kids is a family-run website/blog of mostly-vegans. There’s veganmama, vegangirl (age 12), veganfrog (age 9), veganpanda (age 6), and little guy (age 3). Dad is the only non-vegan in the household, but reportedly consumes a vegan diet while at home, and is otherwise supportive of his wife’s and children’s veganism.

    On the site’s about page, veganmama writes,

    Besides these family members, though, the kids feel alone in their choice to be vegan. And often friends and acquaintances misunderstand what being vegan is all about. We are hopeful these pages will help encourage other vegan kids and inform those who are not vegan or vegetarian what it means to be vegan and why it is a healthy and humane choice for children and their families.

    Go show ’em some mofo love, okay?

    (More below the fold…)

  • Colleen Patrick-Goudreau on human/animal exploitation.

    Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

    In this video series, author, activist and vegan cooking instructor Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (of Compassionate Cooks) discusses the impact of animal exploitation in the “meat” and “dairy” industries on animals, human and nonhuman alike. In particular, intersectionality is a thread that binds each brief video in the series to the others.

    Take, for example, the segment titled “Female Exploitation,” in which Patrick-Goudreau explains the gendered nature of animal exploitation on farms – including smaller, “traditional,” “family” farms as well as large-scale, industrialized factory farms. While all farmed animals suffer under this system, the females of the exploited species – pigs, cows, chickens, etc. – experience especially torturous and prolonged abuse. To their owners, sows, heifers, laying hens and the like are nothing but walking wombs, baby machines, good only for perpetuating the farmers’ product line. Their reproductive systems are hijacked and turned against them; what should be a natural, joyful process for these mothers is instead perverted into a never-ending cycle of rape, forced pregnancy, birth, and kidnapping – until the mothers, spent, suffer the same fate as their offspring: slaughter, dismemberment, consumption. Precious few females find sanctuary, mother their children, grow old and predecease the generations that follow them; the generations they gave life to.

    This is the female’s fate.

    In “Maternal Instincts,” Patrick-Goudreau identifies the maternal instinct as a primal urge, one shared by all living beings; an instinct that cannot be stifled or bred away. She also touches upon the similar ways in which human and nonhuman animals have been – continue to be – devalued, possessed, mechanized. Treated as property. Units of production.

    First comes dehumanization, then objectification. Only by doing away with each – by taking a hammer to every last rung on the hierarchy – can we foster respect and compassion for all beings. No one is free while others are oppressed.

    (More below the fold…)

    Ruby Roth brings the cuteness.

    Sunday, May 17th, 2009

    Update, 5/19/09:

    Stephanie (of the Animal Rights blog at Change.org) also wrote about That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals, and the importance of children’s books in fostering compassion in the next generation. Check it out – as a former nanny, her thoughts on this are quite relevant. (Me, I don’t even have so much as a niece or nephew, and haven’t really been around a young’un for twenty years or so!)

    —————-

    A few days ago – possibly while browsing Vegan Dad’s archives in search of yummy vegan recipes – I stumbled upon a link to That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Site About Vegans, Vegetarians, and all Living Things. Populated by whimsical drawings of chickens, pigs, cows, dolphins and bugs, and aimed at the naturally animal-loving training wheels set, TWWDEA, is so ridiculously cute that it kind of makes me want to be a kid again.

    Better yet, the website’s actually a supplement to an upcoming children’s book by author/artist/teacher Ruby Roth (who herself is a bundle of vegan cuteness) called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Site About Vegans, Vegetarians, and all Living Things.

    That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals takes a candid, compassionate look at the plight of animals on factory farms, using gorgeous artwork and lively text to introduce vegetarianism and veganism to early readers.

    An endearing cast of animals is shown both in their natural state—rooting around, bonding, nuzzling, cuddling, grooming one another, and charming each other with their family instincts and rituals—and in the sad conditions of the factory farm. The book also addresses the effect eating animals has on our environment, rainforests, and endangered species. At the end, a section entitled “What Else Can We Do?” suggests ways children can learn more about the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.

    The boldest step yet in children’s literature, this heartfelt, informative book offers a key resource to inspire parents and children to talk about a timely, increasingly important subject.

    Ms. Roth explains the genesis and gist of the book in this video, also available on the site:

    The book is geared towards kids aged 4 to 10, and has received endorsements from an impressive and lengthy list of advocates and activists, including Jane Goodall (herself quite the children’s writer/educator), Alicia Silverstone, John Robbins, Ed Begley, Jr., Ingrid Newkirk and Rory Freedman.

    You can view more of Ms. Roth’s artwork on her Flickr stream, where she shares some super-sweet bumper sticker style drawings. They’re all adorable, but I especially love this one:

    Probably due in no small part to my recent thoughts on animal agriculture and its effects on the parent/child bond, which is as strong (if not more so) in many non-human animal species as it is in homo sapiens.

    (More below the fold…)

    Are Fast-Food Companies Marketing to Your Child at School?

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

    Photo via equality – and is part of an excellent set on Flickr demonstrating how children are socialized into speciesism: Speciesist infancy / Infancia especista .

    Are Fast-Food Companies Marketing to Your Child at School?

    The Cancer Project wants to know:

    Are fast-food companies using your child’s time in school as another opportunity to market unhealthy foods? If so, we want to hear about it.

    A 2005 review by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies concluded that food marketing influences children’s food preferences, consumption, and health. In 2006, they concluded that food marketing was a contributor to childhood obesity in the United States. One in three children is currently overweight, one in seven is obese. These rates have doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the last 20 years. An overweight 4-year-old is 20 percent more likely to become an obese adult—an overweight teen, 80 percent—increasing chances of obesity-related diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and some forms of cancer.

    The food and beverage industry in the United States views children as a major market force. Some companies even use in-school marketing to reach this vulnerable “target market.” The Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, for example, rewards student readers with a free Personal Pan Pizza. Several years ago, community outrage ended a program in which McDonald’s gave students in one Florida school district Happy Meals in exchange for good grades or good attendance.

    If you are aware of this type of marketing program in your child’s school, please send details to me at info [at] cancerproject.org. Thank you for your help!

    Best regards,

    Krista L. Haynes, R.D., L.D.
    Staff Dietitian

    P.S. If possible, please send samples to:

    Krista L. Haynes, R.D., L.D.
    Staff Dietitian
    The Cancer Project
    5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Ste. 400
    Washington, DC 20016

    This is yet another example of intersections; in this case, the megatheocorporatocracy selectively targets a captive, vulnerable audience – i.e., schoolchildren – in order to brainwash them into consuming – nay, craving – cheap, unhealthy and addictive foods. “Foods” which, not-so-coincidentally, usually incorporate the dismembered body parts and/or secretions of previously living animals. Oftentimes, underfunded schools are forced to submit and allow these death paddlers on campus – against their better judgment – with a bribe of some sort. Because simply donating the funds to a school in need would just be…charitable. Blecht.

    Consequently, children suffer, animals suffer, society suffers – and the megatheocorporatocracy profits, hand over fist.

    Thus, while the Cancer Project probably isn’t acting with the well-being of non-human animals in mind, this is still a cause we should get behind. So parents (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, concerned friends, etc.), keep an eye out for fast food marketing geared towards your yung’uns, and send your examples to the Cancer Project.

    (More below the fold…)

    Liberation BC & PCRM: Vegan Diet Doesn’t Cause Birth Defects

    Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

    Sigh. Almost two years after “vegan” parents Lamont Thomas and Jade Sanders were convicted of involuntary manslaughter for starving their son, Crown Shakur, to death (hence Nina Planck’s oh-so-clever – and, not to mention, compassionate – “Death by Veganism” column title), non-vegans *still* refer to this case as proof that vegan diets are inherently unhealthy and unsuitable for infants and children. (And, in more extreme cases, that vegan diets constitute child abuse and warrant state intervention.) Even though, as I explain at over at Bitch, these “death by veganism” cases could be more accurately described as “death by starvation.” With proper knowledge and planning, vegan diets are actually healthier than diets which involve animals and animal by-products. For infants, breast milk and soy formula – rather than the soy milk and apple juice Crown Shakur received – are part of a healthy vegan diet.

    Anyhow, cue the latest bit of anti-vegan scare-mongering: “Vegan diet tied to birth defects,” which PCRM and Liberation BC critique below. Please consider contacting the newspapers that ran the story, and politely correct their shoddy science “reporting.”

    Mary Martin at Animal Person also offers an interesting deconstruction of PCRM’s press release from a radical vegan perspective. I’m embarassed to say that I didn’t pick up on PCRM’s odd choice of wording at first!

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Liberation BC
    Date: Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 4:10 PM
    Subject: Vegan Diet Doesn’t Cause Birth Defects

    Liberation BC has had a few people write to us asking about an article in several newspapers, “Vegan diet tied to birth defects”, so we thought we’d send out an Action Alert with a little more information.

    The article claims that a study shows that “…vegans and women who eat little or no meat, fish, eggs, milk or cheese are at the highest risk, as well as women with stomach or intestinal problems…that keep them from absorbing enough B12.”

    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has issued a press release in response, stating that what the article doesn’t mention is that “…the study is based on analysis of stored blood samples originally collected during pregnancy from three groups of Irish women between 1983 and 1990. It’s not clear if any of the women were vegan, but the study clearly states that this population was deliberately chosen because vitamin supplementation and food fortification were rare at that time. The women lived in a region of traditionally high neural tube defects prevalence, suggesting a moderately high genetic predisposition.” (Doctors endorse vegan and vegetarian diets for healthy pregnancies, 2 Mar 2009)

    Of course, it is absolutely true that everyone needs to get B12. It is the only vitamin or mineral that one cannot get on a totally vegan diet. An incredibly small amount of it is necessary–less than 10 micrograms a day–and yet it is so important that without it, we can become very ill indeed. Fortunately, however, it is also a very easy vitamin to get.

    It is also worth noting that the experts wholly endorse a vegan diet. The Dieticians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association have stated that:

    “Well-planned vegan diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation. Appropriately planned vegan diets satisfy nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents and promote normal growth.”

    (More below the fold…)

    DawnWatch: Great veggie kid article in Philadelphia Inquirer 6/28/07

    Friday, June 29th, 2007

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
    Date: Jun 28, 2007 2:04 PM
    Subject: DawnWatch: Great veggie kid article in Philadelphia Inquirer 6/28/07

    The Thursday, June 28, Philadelphia Inquirer includes a superb article by Rita Giordano, headed, “The veggie kid; A young family member who says no to meat can be served without making meals a tall order.” It is on the cover of the Food section — page F1

    Giordano discusses her fearful reaction to her eleven-year-old daughter’s sudden pronouncement that she was a vegetarian. She writes, “Were we now talking multiple entrees? What did I look like? A caterer?”

    Then she writes,

    “Nearly a year has passed. Aislinn is indeed a vegetarian, and I have not been reduced to kitchen slave. Having a vegetarian kid in an otherwise meat-eating household has proved to be quite doable. In fact, we’ve discovered great dishes we probably wouldn’t have if not for this veggie thing.

    “My kid is not unique. According to a 2005 poll conducted for the Vegetarian Resource Group, an estimated 3 percent, or 1.4 million, American 8- to 18- year-olds are vegetarian.

    (More below the fold…)

    DawnWatch: Responses to "Death by Veganism" — 5/21-5/23/07

    Thursday, May 24th, 2007

    If you’re interested in reading more veg*n responses to the insipid “Death by Veganism” missive, do check out…

    May 23, 2007 Vegan Outreach e-Newsletter:: An Irresponsible Attack

    The Veg Blog» Blog Archive » Standing on a Shaky Planck

    isachandra: Meat Eating Parents Starve Baby!

    FYI, you can always keep up to date with my reading list via delicious: http://del.icio.us/easyvegan. You know, just in case I don’t already pass along enough reading material.

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
    Date: May 24, 2007 3:39 PM
    Subject: DawnWatch: Responses to “Death by Veganism” — 5/21-5/23/07

    Most of us have heard about the sad case of Crown Shakur, a baby born three months premature, whose parents starved him to death on a diet of only soy milk and apple juice. Unfortunately, we have also heard that his parents are vegan, as that has been announced in every headline about the case. If the boy had starved on cows’ milk and apple juice (as a premature baby might, if not given human breast milk or formula) I doubt the headlines would have announced “Omnivores convicted of Manslaughter.”

    The worst headline, garnering the most attention and thereby heading up the most emailed story of the day, was the “Death by Veganism.” That phrase headlined food author Nina Planck’s rant on the Monday, May 21, New York Times editorial page. The page editors, not the author, are responsible for op-ed headlines, and Planck’s article, while including some misleading statements against the vegan diet, did not quite match the headline. The article wasn’t 100% bad (only 95%) — it did include some important points about B12 and Omega 3s. But contrary to Planck’s claims, some of the world’s most renowned doctors (including the late Dr Benjamin Spock in the last edition of his book before his death) recommend vegan diets for children as far superior to standard diets.

    I did not rush to send Planck’s article out on DawnWatch as I knew it was being responded to widely and competently from within the vegetarian community. Today, along with the article, I can share six letters that appeared yesterday in response to it, four of them commenting positively on vegan diets. Below them I will share a particularly strong column from a non-vegan food writer who was appalled by Planck’s piece.

    First, a brief overview and link to Monday’s “Death by Veganism” New York Times op-ed:

    (More below the fold…)

    DawnWatch: Washington Post on joys of teen vegetarianism — 10/31/06

    Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: DawnWatch – news [at] dawnwatch.com
    Date: Oct 31, 2006 2:28 PM
    Subject: DawnWatch: Washington Post on joys of teen vegetarianism — 10/31/06

    The Tuesday, October 31, Washington Post has a story, by Jennifer Nelson, on the cover of the Health Section (Pg HE01) headed, “Don’t Have a Cow, Mom. Your Kid Has Gone Vegetarian? That Can Be Good.”

    It lets us know that the number of vegetarian and vegan kids is on the rise.

    It described a “typical” way in which the choice to go veg is reached:

    “A student at Wilson High School in the District, Ben took a class with former Post columnist Colman McCarthy in which students discussed alternatives to eating meat. ‘We also saw a video that showed slaughterhouses and how people eat different animals around the world, like household pets,’ Ben says. Disturbed by those images, Ben made an ethical commitment to leave everything from sirloin steak to Chicken McNuggets off his plate.”

    We read:

    “Dietitians suggest that, although many families initially find the news tough to swallow (it sure put the kibosh on many a favorite meat meal in our house), a child’s choice to be vegetarian may ultimately make eating well a family affair. The ADA says that a well-planned all-veggie diet for children and adolescents can be nutritionally sound. And Jennifer Tender, a pediatric attending physician at Children’s National Medical Center whose three children are all vegetarian, says that families with vegetarian kids often seem more conscientious about fixing balanced meals.”

    (More below the fold…)

    A taste for flesh, in the flesh

    Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

    An interesting study, conducted by Cancer Research UK, suggests that children “inherit” (at least in part) a taste for meat and fish from their parents. In contrast, a preference for fruit and veggies wasn’t linked to nature, but to nurture: the more a child’s parents encouraged herbivorous eating, the more kids expressed enthusiasm for nature’s candies.

    From the BBC:

    Children largely inherit their taste for high-protein food like meat and fish, research suggests.

    However, Cancer Research UK found a liking for vegetables and puddings was less likely to be fixed, and more the result of the menu provided by parents. […]

    Lead researcher Professor Jane Wardle, of Cancer Research UK’s health behaviour unit, said it was not clear why environmental factors were more influential in determining preferences for fruit, vegetables and puddings.

    She said it might be down to the greater variety of choice available in these categories – unlike in meat or fish.

    “It might be that children who witness their parents show enthusiasm or distaste for certain types of vegetables or puddings are likely to follow suit.

    “Or it might be that if a particular food is always available children learn to like it.

    “For instance if a fruit bowl is always full of bananas children might think of them as being a favourite food.”

    Professor Wardle said the findings suggested that parents could have a profound impact on their children’s dietary preferences – and steering them towards healthy options could set a blueprint for life.

    “Finding out more about why children like and dislike foods is important in helping us understand the problems of obesity.”

    Additionally, the researchers examined gender differences in food preferences:

    The Journal of Physiology and Behaviour study also found girls were more likely to enjoy vegetables than boys.

    Might this have a little sumthin-sumthin to do with the stereotype that “real men” eat meat, while the womenfolk are expected to suffice on tiny sparrow’s portions of lettuce and broccoli?

    (Crossposted at Hell Food.)