I have never really given much thought to veganism until recently.
Obviously I’ve heard about it and know what it is, but I’ve never really considered it more than in passing. As people are becoming more health conscious, there seems to be a growing trend of people choosing a vegan diet. Admittedly, there’s a lot of health benefits as well as numerous animal welfare benefits too, which can only be a good thing.
I’ve also read claims that a vegan diet can increase energy, keep skin looking younger, and may even help protect against certain cancers. It is also thought that a well-planned plant-based diet can be rich in protein, iron, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Interestingly, I read that plant-based sources of these nutrients tend to be low in saturated fat, high in fibre and packed with antioxidants, which help ward off growing health issues like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
So in theory the vegan diet sounds like a great one. I know for most vegans it goes beyond being just a diet and is a way of life that attempts to exclude all animal exploitation and cruelty, be it for food, clothing, and that should be applauded.
Recently, veganism came on to my radar via my boys. Their Dad has become vegan, and when they stay with him they want to eat a vegan diet too.
While I fully respect them for that, I have my reservations about them continuing their vegan diet at home with me. My reason is simple, while I do believe the vegan diet is a healthful one, when you’re dealing with three boys (two teenagers and a growing boy) who can all be fussy eaters at the best of time, I would be extremely concerned that knocking out whole food groups from their diet could be very dangerous and lead to malnutrition.
I know when they’re at their dads they enjoy the plant based meals, but at home with me I know they don’t eat many vegetables or grains. So what would they be swapping non-vegan foods for, if they’re not eating grains or most veg 7 days a week.
I obviously think its really important that if you are stripping foods away from a child’s diet that it can be replaced with the appropriate nutrients, vitamins & minerals elsewhere. I know they don’t want to eat certain meats and that’s fine, and I’m happy to swap that instead for fish. I just don’t want them to start eating lots of pasta or other carb dense foods as I believe a diet should be balanced and that’s the best way to get all the nutrients.
I would love to hear more about veganism or healthy meal ideas for the boys. If there’s a way I can introduce them to well balanced, vegan meal plans, then I would be more than happy for them to continue at home too… but in the mean time I would prefer for them to maintain a vegan diet when they’re with their dad, and eat a normal diet with meat while they’re with me.
At least, this way they get the best of both worlds, they know what its like to eat a vegan diet and should they decide to commit fully to the vegan diet further down the line, they are fully equipped and their bodies will be prepared too.