Vegan Kids Health: what I learned.
Updated: Jan 8, 2019
Well, you could say that what I learned the most is how hypocritical children's nutrition is for the most part. My whole life I was taught to listen to doctors, they are always right and no Yanina, lemons can't cure cancer. Those are silly inventions by people in denial of their condition. But wait…wait a minute, what if it isn´t?
Obviously I’m not saying you can cure cancer with lemons, but what if there is a little truth behind that statement? What if food really is the medicine and the key is prevention and information?
Since I transitioned my children to veganism, I’ve been called anything from a bad parent to a child abuser. You heard it, apparently I am restricting my kids and enforcing my beliefs in them (the irony in that statement, right?). Yet in the last year, my kids have grown more and more compassionate, aware and healthy! I do not only notice physical changes, but also changes in character. My oldest seems much more secure; he used to be nervous and anxious, biting his nails and never wanting to stand up from the rest. Well, let me tell you, he don't care about that nonsense no more. I think is about confidence, about knowing that you have a purpose and that you live accordingly to your principles, you are grounded and people's perception of you becomes irrelevant, as long as you are doing what needs to be done. Children are very perceptive of this; they absorb your gratitude and values and make it their purpose too. This translate into happiness, which also translates into full smiles, good predisposition towards food, diverse eating habits, healthy intestinal flora that viruses and bacteria cannot penetrate, a much stronger immune system and a better overall health.
My oldest has always been the easiest one, he eats absolutely everything, he loves cooking and getting up early on his own. He experienced great changes. He used to suffer from horrible coughs and colds. Last year he would´ve had perfect attendance if it wasn’t because I gave him the last days of school off to chill and enjoy. His grades went up at first, and then a little down, but because we decided at home that numbers do not define us and critical thinking and independent learning is the key for mental and emotional development. He has grown his beautiful red hair and became a person he loves to see in the mirror.
My youngest in the other hand, has been a challenge. He was a picky eater, he never ate meat, but dairy and eggs were his life. The transition was hard and for a while I relied on process food just to feed him something. I tried letting him cook, letting him shop with me, pick vegetables, but nothing. Peanut butter sandwiches and pasta or rice with soy sauce and all fruits (he loves fruit). But then one day he decided to eat broccoli, and the next lentils, and then asparagus and tofu, and so on.
But even before, when he was on a not so healthy vegan diet, I could tell he was way healthier than on the omnivorous diet. With his classmates missing school due the colds, he does catch the viruses however he is always good as new the morning after. If I let him miss school, I´d always regret it as he is energetic and causing trouble! He hasn't take any medicine since. He is cheeky; he is learning to love animals as I am and becoming a bit of a preachy vegan to be honest.
They both eat all the time, I like to feed on demand; schedules are for other type of people. They spend that energy, their activeness lasts until they pass out on the bed. There is never a day when I don't think it was the absolute best decision I have ever made and regret not doing it sooner. Knowing my kids are not likely to have heart problems, cancer or diabetes is a relief and it makes me angry that most parents have been tricked into believing something that has a list of numbers for ingredients could ever be healthy. In fact, for the most part, vegan parents are so apprehensive for raising outside the norm, they are completely on top of their kids' nutrition, making sure they don't miss anything and going to much further ends to teach them about nutritious habits.
But mind that we are not vegans for our healthiness; we do not care about that argument because even if it was proven meat is necessary for a healthy living, the effects of the pollution created by cattle raising is definitely going to take a toll on all of our health. Animal agriculture is the first cause of deforestation and is accounting for fifty percent of all emissions, if it doesn’t give you cancer, it will give you respiratory issues. Or it will pollute the water your drink, the water you shower with or the land you plant your vegetables. There is not escape and the most vulnerable to this are our children.
I really just don't have enough words to express how our lives have change and how much happier and healthy my kids are since. With a positive attitude towards vegan food and information they can comprehend, it's not impossible to help them love vegetables. And even if they don´t, there are so much choice I don´t believe that they say vegan junk food is just has badly as animal junk food. I will never believe that. Animal products contain antibiotics, hormones, body secretions, viruses, and lots, lots of chemical. Process animal products are on the top list of carcinogens. Now every time I see a child eating a hot dog or a ham sandwich I can´t help to crouch. When are we going to admit it, as a species, we fucked up? That in the next couple of decade the likeliness is that more children will die around the world due obesity and related conditions than from starvation? That for the first time in history life expectancy is going down?
I will keep telling everyone that wants to listen, do not be afraid to transition your kids due what other people think. They do not hold a town hall meeting every month to decide their children's menu collectively. Everyone decides for their kids. And many people, like those saying that is abuse or bad parenting, are usually the ones feeling insecure and running it through their heads, trying to think when was the last time their kids ate something that didn't come in a tin, in a box or a bag. They are trying to bring you down as a response to their own choices when the truth is you could feed your kids McDonalds everyday and no one would raise an eyebrow yet give them vegetables and grain every day and you are a child abuser? People, we need to start using our heads. Or your child's life expectancy would not go higher than forty. Remember we didn't have so much convenient crap at our disposal when we were kids. Our kids live in a misleading, "everything is the opposite" world. We must guide them through a better path and help them become as resilient and healthy as they can be.
Go vegan and sleep well knowing you are doing the right thing.