- Calling all Vegans…
My 12 yr old Daughter has turned vegan. While I understand the reasons behind her decision (to do with her hamster blogger) as a family of meat eaters we’re struggling to adapt to providing two meals and fully understanding options to keep her healthy. But I’m sure we’ll adapt and isn’t the main issue.
The main worry is she’s been vegan for nearly 3 weeks and for the last 2 of those she has been ill, progressively getting worse to the point where she has been off school ill for the past 2 days with the worst cold I’ve see her ever have (We’re normally a very healthy household). We’re worried that the shock of the change in diet is a shock to her body and having an impact.
After some thoughts on this. Can anyone offer some advice?Posted 2 years ago
Thought this thread was a call to arms to all my fellow immigrants from the planet Vega.
We have secretly infiltrated all levels of your earthling society and await the call to rise up and overthrow the humans so that we may strip your world of it’s resources and save our own, dying, planet.
As you were…… 😉Posted 2 years ago
Oh and if you want to go out for a meal there are loads of choices.
Every Chinese, Indian and Thai*
Most Tapas places
Pizza places can all just leave off the cheese on the veggie one.
Pubs can be a bit hit and miss – so we tend to avoid those unless we know it.
Most cities have lots of veggie-specific places too that will all have vegan options.
Just try not to get too flustered and good luck!
(*beware that Some Thai dishes labelled vegetarian may actually have fish stock – most Thai Green and Red curries do)Posted 2 years agochvckSubscriber
Didn’t expect useful responses using a word like vegan did you?
I’d be amazed if the change in diet had ‘shocked’ anything.
+1, if she’s still eating healthily and getting all the nutrients that her body needs then I doubt it cares what source it’s coming from. I went vegan + seafood (plus added restrictions, and I didn’t each fish prior to then either) 2-3 months ago for health reasons and I’ve been fine but I was veggie for ~6 months prior to that. Biggest shock to my body is the lack of cake. The internet has loads of veggie recipes and if you run out of ideas/effort sometimes you can always just use tempeh/tofu/quorn in place of meat in what you’re eating (assuming it isn’t also full of butter and milk or whatever). Tofu fried so it’s crispy on the outside is really nice in a lot of dishes.
Most cities have lots of veggie-specific places too that will all have vegan options.
Even Aberystwyth has a veggie-specific place!Posted 2 years ago
That’s good to hear on the shock to her system as it’s been stressing us out as she looks really ill.
We don’t eat out much but can build some of the recipes from Thai, Indian etc into the cycle. It’s been quite a shock adapting to it as it’s come out of know where and we know nothing.
She loves her hamsters…
Posted 2 years agopolyMember
If she is old enough and mature enough to make these sort of decisions, is she not mature enough for you to have this conversation with? (in which case expect her to explain that causation and correlation are different and the cold is most likely a coincidence).
That said at 12 the leap from full on omnivore to vegan is quite extreme, and I’d have a few concerns that someone is manipulating her to make that jump. Personally if it were mine I’d have encouraged a transition to ethically sourced meat, veggie then vegan over a longer period. Although it depends if you want her to succeed or not! My mother would have said, “I’m not cooking different meals, so if you don’t like what I make, make your own” I’d be tempted to do the same. It’s easy to be vegan if it’s not really causing you any effort!
That said if she has really clear, well constructed arguments for it I would support her convictions, and you’d be surprised how nice veggie and vegan food can be if you went that way 1/2 the week for the whole family so you don’t have two meals being cooked every night.
If she is the sort of veggie/vegan who doesn’t eat fruit and veg anyway then this goes out the window.Posted 2 years ago
Poly, We’ve had loads of mature discussions around it and we’ve agreed that if she comes up with a “menu” of options we will work around it, but she hasn’t so my wife is pulling her hair out trying to find out what to cook (I’m away a lot for work otherwise I’d be more involved). My daughter says she will cook herself but there is a lot of pasta, rice cakes and crumpets and a little fruit and veg.
The meals we usually cook are quite balanced but have meat or fish at the heart of it and contain a lot of veg. We’ve considered not putting the meat in but it’s not always as easy as that – sausage and mash just becomes mash. But this thread has helped give me some inspiration – I cook a mean Thai Green curry – we can make it heavy on the veg and add the fish sauce at the end. 🙂Posted 2 years agorsmytheMember
I was initially worried when going vegan (from 1 year as a vegetarian) that I wouldn’t get all my required nutrients. However, many years down the line and all is well and the initial concerns were unfounded. If she was brought up like me, meat and 2 veg at meal time, you do have to rethink what kind of meals you prepare. Cooking the same stuff, sans meat, won’t cut it. Though, provided she’s getting a wide range of fruit and veg, and plenty of carbs, she’ll be fine. Not having meat in a meal, which is very dense, will probably mean that she will want big meal portions, so be prepared! Lots of nutritionally complete vegan recipes online. I really respect your daughter’s conviction at such a young age and your commitment to support her (something my parents didn’t offer me initially).Posted 2 years agorsmytheMember
Also, although I’ve not had problems vit D or vit B12, apparently these can be difficult for vegans to find. I’d suggest a multivitamin but most soya/ plant based milks are fortified with these things anyway. Curries, stews, stir frys, lasagnes, lentil cottage pie etc are all good shouts.Posted 2 years ago
sausage and mash just becomes mash.
Just to make it easier at the start, there are lots of vegan meat substitutes available. Some taste pretty good. Every supermarket stock some and then places like Holland and Barrett do a few different ones. Independent health food shops often even more. Don’t worry if you don’t like the first lot you try – they are quite varied.Posted 2 years ago
We make an effort not to have them, but they are pretty convenient when time is short and stress is high.
rsmythe – Cheers for the support, we’re keen to support her. If I’m honest having to adapt to being vegan is really tough on us. We have enough going on in our lives and having to do this is like a Mike Tyson blow to the head. The initial daze will pass but at the moment it’s tough to change.
We could do with a guide on how to adapt as parents to a newly vegan child.Posted 2 years agoIHNMember
This may sound a massively obvious thing to say, but have you bought a vegan recipe book?
we’ve agreed that if she comes up with a “menu” of options we will work around it, but she hasn’t
So tell her she has to keep up her end of the bargain.
My daughter says she will cook herself
Call her bluff (perhaps with the aid of the aforementioned recipe book)Posted 2 years ago
Yep – preparing food for a family is already tough without extra challenges.
A quick google for “coping with vegan children” came back with a few ‘guides’. They may help.
I must admit it’s unusual for 12yo who are at a normal school to be thinking about vegan as opposed to just not eating meat. It takes quite a bit of effort to find out about the other aspects of animal food production. If she has a vegan friend at school, it might be worth having them around (to keep it social) and sending them around (to give you a break) for meals.Posted 2 years ago
It’s amazing how reliant people have become on it. A quick glance down the veggie ready meal isle at the supermarket is pretty disheartening to a vegan.
Clearly a lot of emotion going around. My wife remembers similar with her mum. Tails of having a Cornish Pasty thrown at her 🙂Posted 2 years agohuckleberryfattMember
Don’t panic. Stock up on Goodlife picador parsnip and carrot nut burgers and LM sausages – if you’re cooking veg, something starchy and meat for the rest of the family you can swap out the meat and use these instead for a vegan option. Batch cook and freeze portions of veggie chilli – serve on a baked potato with a salad or with rice and veg for a quick dinner. Make a choc chip and walnut banana loaf and freeze in slices to take with a packed lunch. Beans on wholemeal toast is a great easy snack. Make a vegan meal (like risotto, stir fry, pasta) for everyone and just add meat/cheese for the meateaters.Posted 2 years agohuckleberryfattMember
Even the meateaters in the family might like these
Posted 2 years agosuburbanreubenMember
Don’t panic. Stock up on Goodlife picador parsnip and carrot nut burgers and LM sausages – if you’re cooking veg, something starchy and meat for the rest of the family you can swap out the meat and use these instead for a vegan option.
The Goodlife stuff is tasty but the Linda McCartney stuff was full of crap last time I looked. Hydrogenated trans-fatty palm oil yumminess!Posted 2 years agobob_summersMember
Vegan household here. I’d say pulses make up the bulk of what we eat – stews, curries, casseroles etc with veg/chickpeas/beans/lentils plus salads etc (my 3yo will not touch salad but loves a good tarka dhall with chapathis) – monday to friday with some stuff like sausages in the freezer for emergencies, and then more elaborate stuff at the weekend. None of this is “vegan” food – despite being a heavily meat eating culture (in the Basque Country where school children eat on average three times the daily protein requirement) it’s what most people eat here for lunch, what they serve in the school canteen etc – and after soaking the pulses it’s quick and easy to make. Leave the processed food for emergencies.
Make sure she is taking a quality* B12 supp. My 3yo also takes a spoonful of linseed oil but that’s all.
*check what’s recommended for a child – I take cyanocobalamin 1000ug a couple of times a week – iirc the methylcobalamin ones are cheaper but less readily absorbed or something, been a long time since I read up on it.Posted 2 years agolittlegirlbunnyMember
Lots of options to get in essential nutrients
There are so many good protein rich meat alternatives out there now – Morrisons is the best supermarket for vegan meat substitutes and stocks Frys, Vegan Quorn, a lot of the linda Mc Vegan range as well as their own brand. It helps with the transition. New quorn vegan fishless fingers are nice.
Think about creating complete vegan meals and if the rest of you can’t go without meat, add the meat after. So make the cottage pie with tinned lentils/frozen veggie mince and then fry up the animal stuff seperately and add. Mashed potato really doesn’t taste any different if made with a little salt, vegan marg (vitalite or Pure etc) and a splash of soya milk.
Pasta dishes – make the sauce the same, but add vegan quorn chunks to hers and meat to yours.
Homemade soup – make with a vegetable base – add chickpeas to hers, chicken to yours after
Sausage casserole – fry the onions and veggies up and prepared everything ready. Last minute seperate into two dishes – put linda mccartney sausages in hers, meat ones in yours
Gravy – Tesco/Morrisons etc etc all do instant veggie gravy granules – so on roast day – cook veggies in oil etc, the only two things you need to think about is her cup of gravy and main course (chinese supermarkets do great vegan chicken ‘legs’. Nut roasts can be made up with just water out a packet and eaten for lunch cold the next day as well as adding to dinner)
Violife now do a pizza vegan cheese which melts well and is good in toasties.
Look at snacks – crisps are easy but not that nutrient dense. Nuts are always good as long as the child isn’t allergic.
I’ve been using a nutribullet lately cos I’m lazy and time pressed and don’t digest veggies that well. With a bit of practice I’ve found it great. Banana, some melon, pak choi/spinach for greens, blended with hemp/almond or soy milk a few walnuts and teaspoon of chia seeds. The inclusion of non-dairy milk makes the difference. Even if you leave out the greens you can get good calories in. Easy, protein and omega 3 rich. Some things work well, darker greens etc are more ‘adult’ tasting and may be too much for a child. You can throw in spatone iron water if you are concerned about iron levels when menstruation starts.
I’d get her having a Veg1 multi vitamin a day – they are pretty tasty and it’s an easy way to cover vitamin bases for a time pressed family. Takes the worry out of it https://www.vegansociety.com/shop/supplements
Remind her that if she doesn’t eat well, including eating her greens, and her diet leads to ill health, she wont be helping any animals at all. I went vegan as a 16 year old but I didn’t improve my eating until I realised that any signs of ill health were immediately blamed on ‘the phase I was going through’. It does make a difference to eat well and she really needs to pay attention to that. As an intelligent 12 year old she will be able to grasp concepts of personal responsibility.Posted 2 years ago
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