3 Myths about Raising Vegan

Common Myth #1

Vegan children will have stunted growth.  False!  According to a 1991 study, performed in Southern California assessing over 1700 children, vegetarian children were actually on average taller (by roughly 1 inch) than those raised on meat and dairy.  These children were also leaner.  The meat consuming children had an increased risk of obesity.

Source: “Attained height of lacto-ovo vegetarian children and adolescents.”  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010 May; 91(5):1525S-1529S.

Common Myth #2

Vegans are protein deficient.  False.  The protein requirements are not different based on the type of diet a child consumes.  Complete proteins are found in plants.  In a single cup of almonds you will find 20 grams of protein!  That’s the same amount as a T-bone steak, but without the high cholesterol, fat, sodium, and so on.  The reality is people don’t suffer from protein deficiencies.  FIBER deficiency?  Yes!  So instead of worrying about the type or amount of protein, people should focus on their fiber intake.  The same goes for our children.

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Raising Vegan Tip- Think about this- Gorillas, Elephants, and Rhinos all eat plant-based diets and they are some of the strongest in the Animal Kingdom.  PROTEINS COME FROM PLANTS! 

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Common Myth #3

Vegan children are overall malnourished or unhealthy.  False.  The health consequences of a child eating a Standard American Diet (SAD), which contains meat, eggs, and dairy is scary. 

Obesity.  Sadly, childhood obesity has increased by 100% in the US, as stated in Dr. Greger’s book How Not To Die.  He also mentions that research shows that 75-80% of obese children will continue to be obese as adults.  Childhood obesity also correlates with an increase risk of diseases (gout, colorectal cancer, arthritis) and death.  

A study in 1989 showed that over 50% of children at the young age of 14 had early stages of atherosclerosis (plaque within arteries or blood vessels).  1989! We had this information 30 years ago.  

“Evolution and progression of atherosclerotic lesions in coronary arteries in children and young adults.” Korean Circulation Journal. 1989.

Diabetes and Prediabetes.  20 years ago Diabetes was categorized as “Adult-onset” and “Juvenile”.  It was assumed that children had Type I Diabetes, but since the SAD continues and obesity in children has been on the rise, Type II Diabetes has been diagnosed among are children and can no longer be termed “Adult-onset”.  The harsh reality of children diagnosed with Type II Diabetes is the increased chance of these children suffering from secondary complications, such as blindness, kidney failure, limb amputation (neuropathy), and ultimately death.  

You may be wondering how veganism relates to Diabetes since Diabetes Mellitus is a condition of eating too much sugar, right?  Wrong!  Science shows that it is NOT the sugar intake that causes Diabetes, but rather the FAT.  The fat, also known as lipids, deposits into muscle and liver tissues.  This results in insulin resistance.  (I’ve skipped a few boring biochemical pathways here…but if you care to dive deeper into the biochemistry feel free to listen to the lectures by Drs. Neal Barnard, Michael Greger, Michelle McMaken, or Garth Davis.  These EXPERTS all do a fantastic job of summarizing Diabetes and fat intake.)  When you eat animal products such as meat, eggs, or dairy you are consuming a large amount of saturated fat with each bite.  Therefore, the best way to prevent Diabetes is to limit FAT intake by eating a plant-based diet.

Ready to start Raising Vegan!?!  Fantastic!  Vegan meal plan options are available online, but be cautious of your source.  I will be posting meal plans and nutritional goals soon.  In the meantime, check out one website I trust- Physicians Committee to get your meal planning going!  


Beach Day with Littles!

Going to the beach is a fun day for the whole family.  The Littles have a great time exploring new textures, hearing new sounds, and seeing new sights.  It will certainly wear them out for their next nap!

If you are going to the beach with a baby (not walking yet) the goal of the day is to keep them entertained in the shade.  For the toddlers, you have the same goal, but add in water-safety.  Toddlers can make their way to the ocean in a blink of an eye, so always be on alert!

Eating vegan at the beach may seem hard at first, but it is actually extremely easy- especially when eating healthfully.  Be sure to keep yourself and the Littles well hydrated.  For babies older than 9 months, water is a great supplement to formula or breast milk.  Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water- so load up!  Avoiding salty snacks or caffeinated drinks will help slow dehydration. Below you will find a list of our favorite beach day snacks.  


Snack List:

pouches

Found on Thrive Market

  1. Organic Vegan food pouches- We especially like unsweetened applesauce for the Littles.  Once they enjoy combination flavors- there are so many options for delicious organic vegan food pouches.  You can also make your own!
  2. Fruit!  Oranges, bananas, grapes (not for the four-legged family members), apples, pears, mango, the list goes on.  For convenience sake- we prefer bananas and oranges- easier fruits that don’t require a knife.
  3. Hummus and Veggies– celery, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, etc.  Depending on how the age of your Little, the veggies may need to be steamed in advance.
  4. WATER!  Depending on the beach, you may have access to clean, fresh, drinking water, but if not- bring a lot of water!  We prefer to bring a gallon of drinking water to refill bottles and a gallon of tap water to wash hands prior to eating.
  5. Coconut water.  If your family is prone to dehydration, coconut water is your answer.  I’ll spare you the boring details, but its electrolyte balance makes it ideal for quick hydration.
  6. Nuts.  Almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.  All are great sources of protein and omega-3.  I recommend finding the unsalted variety.  Nuts are a choking hazard for kids under the age of 2 years.  As long as your Little doesn’t have a nut allergy, almond butter or other nut butter packets are great snacks.  However, the consistency of the butters can be very hard for babies to swallow.  For the babies, nut butters should be diluted to a sauce consistency for easier swallowing.
  7. Dried Fruits.  For the adults or older Littles, I am a huge fan of dried mango, dried apricots, etc.  While eating a whole fruit is ideal, the convenience of dried fruit is great for the beach!


Thrive Market


IMG_4974Sun protection!  Sunscreen, rash guards, UV protective hats, umbrellas, beach tents- these items are musts for a beach trip.  No matter how long the sun exposure, everyone should be wearing sunscreen.  Be sure to ask your doctor at what age they recommend babies start wearing sunscreen.  In regards to UV protective hats- always read the labels.  Surprisingly, not all are intended for UV protection.  The label should clearly state UV protection or SPF 50+.  Consider buying brightly colored rash guards, bathing suits, or UV protective hats for the Littles.  This way you can easily spot them on the beach or in the water.

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Raising Vegan Tip– My favorite sunscreens are zinc oxide based.  Zinc oxide is a mineral and sits on the surface of your skin.  It acts as a barrier reflecting and absorbing the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.  It is also used to treat skin abrasions, diaper rash, and chapped skin.  Bonus!

Sometimes the amount of gear needed to go to the beach can seem overwhelming.  Keeping the essentials (shade, water, snacks, diapers) in mind- try to pack light.  Below is a list of a few of our favorites. Click on the affiliate-linked pictures for quick purchasing.  

Beach Gear:

Our favorite sunscreen for Littles:

Best Beach Tent- Fits 2 adults and 2 Littles and is very easy to set up and break down.  I especially love the built-in sand bags so it doesn’t fly away!

Great Beach Mat that allows sand to fall through it when packing.  We also like beach mats since the surface of this mat can be rough for crawlers.

UV protective hats are a must!

Great toys to keep Littles occupied.

A tub at the beach?  Yes!  Fill it up with ocean water and let the Littles splash and play.  Also keeps the Littles cool.  Always supervise!

Beach wagon!  Any variety with all-terrain wheels will work great for hauling gear or Littles!

Women’s rash guard- Don’t forget to protect yourself!