Raising Vegan with Brittany
Brittany Theresa, @themindfulmamanola, is a vegan mama to a precious vegan baby girl. Wanting to empower other mamas, her segment “Raising Vegan”will cover everything from struggles to nutrition and even some vegan recipes for babies and kids.
Her first segment sheds some light on dealing with little to no support on your decision to raise a vegan child, how to handle it and what to do in the situation.🦋
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How to Teach Your Child About Veganism
As vegans, we all know the cruelty behind animal exploitation, not just for food, but entertainment as well. As parents, we know that all children have a natural instinct to love animals, but in our society, we don’t think twice about feeding them animal flesh or taking them to the zoo while loving the family pet.
It’s our job to mold our children to be better than us & to do better for others & the planet, but how to we do that in the least traumatizing way possible while still being effective?
My personal vegan journey started at 22 after watching a video. Even as an adult that video effected me in more ways than one. This method, while it might be effective on teenagers, it is not ideal for children. I am a mother of a now 18 month old & I lead by example. I feed her a a balanced plant based diet, I have her interact with animals to teach her how to be gentle & loving & we partake in “vegan” activities like playgrounds, museums & pool time. As she gets older, she will become more inquisitive & then I plan to start dialogs with her keeping it simple, yet direct, like explaining how all animals are our friends or exposing her to vegan friendly books & movies appropriate for her age.
It’s a process & learning experience for both the child & the parent. It’s something that cannot be rushed or forced. I have seriously debated with myself about the fact that my child might want to try meat & possibly not want to be vegan. I realize that my only job as her mother is to guide her, but ultimately she is her own person & that’s something most vegan parents do not understand. Yes, we are the adults, but the biggest mistake a parent can make is obligating children to be something they don’t want to be.
While in a perfect world, vegan parents raise vegan children & live a happy vegan life, but ultimately that will only work if an entire family is vegan & the majority of the family’s friends are vegan as well. The reality for most of us is different - we are most likely one of few vegans in our families or circle of friend, if not the only ones & our children will see others eating non vegan food.
It takes some extra effort, but it’s possible to make it work, so here are some tips:
- Always have meals prepped, not just snacks
- Make sure you communicate with family & friends about your child’s diet
- Don’t get angry or fight if someone feeds your child something you wouldn’t give them
- Don’t scold your child for wanting to be part of the group, that will only make veganism a negative experience for them
- Never say never & remember kids are kids
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Quick Vegan Recipe
In a world where companies don’t disclose what’s really in our food or where it’s coming from, we quickly turn to over priced “healthy” food that is also heavily processed & loaded with additives. So, why not make something yourself with ingredients that cost you only cents by the pound/ounce & you know exactly what’s in it.
Sweet potatoes are a must have in any vegan kitchen, especially mine - they’re filling & loaded with nutrients, so these muffins are made quite often.
They’re the perfect snack & my daughter loves them!
She eats them for breakfast, in between meals or on the go & I don’t feel guilty giving her 2 or 3 at a time because they’re actually good for her.
You can make them any size, but I make them small because tiny muffins fit better in tiny hands.
This recipe is so easy, you could even get your kids involved in the process. Cooking & baking is an act of love, so doing it together makes it even more special.
3 small sweet baked potatoes
1 and a 1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 and a 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 flax seed eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 thumb of ground ginger, equivalent to a 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
bake the sweet potatoes at 375° for about 45 minutes
peel them, add them to a large bowl, mash them & set them aside
make you flax “eggs” - take 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds, add 6 tablespoons of water & set aside
add your dry ingredients to a separate bowl - flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, & ginger, if not using fresh
add your wet ingredients to the bowl with the mashed sweet potato - flax “eggs”, vanilla, milk, oil, maple syrup
once everything is combined well, slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients & mix until smooth
add your mix to your greased muffin pans & put them in your preheated oven at 350° for about 15-20 minutes (if using regular sized muffin pans the time will be more about 25-30 minutes) or until a toothpick comes out clean after sticking it in the center
let muffins cool completely before removing them from the pans
Nutritional facts based on the recipe as a whole, not individual servings
PROTEIN: 52.8g CARBOHYDRATES: 96.3g OMEGA 3: 3.3g
OMEGA 6: 23.1g VITAMINS- A: 34623.5UI
B1: 1.1mg B2: 1.8mg B3: 10mg
B5: 3.3mg, B6: 0.9mg C: 35.8mg,
E: 42.4mg K: 8.9mg CALCIUM: 639.7mg
COPPER: 2.5mg IRON: 12.7mg MAGNESIUM: 666.2mg
MANGANESE: 9mg PHOSPHORUS: 1320mg POTASSIUM: 2551mg
SELENIUM: 33.6mg SODIUM: 105.8mg ZINC: 9.3mg
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“How to Deal With Negativity”
As a mom, the main goal in life is to do right by your kids; guiding and molding them to be happy, healthy, good human beings, but having little to no support for your vegan lifestyle can be hard. Leaving you feeling isolated, there’s a lot of room for self doubt. Is this the right thing to do? Will my child get all the proper nutrients? Am I “forcing” my beliefs onto my child? These questions race through my brain constantly and most likely yours too. Well, I’m here to put your mind at ease, or at least make that attempt.
We are all born innocent, the “vegan gene” is in us from the very beginning. Even as adults, vegan or not, we cringe when we see an animal mistreated, but children are pure, they don’t know cruelty, they don’t understand it, so why teach it to them? Teaching kindness is always the right thing to do, it’s not forceful at all. What is forceful is the opinions thrown at us from non vegans. If others wish to feed animals to their children while loving the family pet, that’s their decision. Vegans have chose a completely route in raising their children, and not only should it be respected, it should be praised and admired, not ridiculed and frown upon. We are raising the next generation to be kind and loving in a world of cruelty and that’s something to be proud of.
When it comes to nutrition, everyone thinks they’re a doctor, even some vegans, but when it comes to children, people will always throw in their two cents. How every, all that’s needed is a little bit of research and education and it’s all easy to find.
For example: my one year old daughter needs around 16 grams of protein a day and about 900 calories. Now, how do I track it? I downloaded the Chronometer app on my phone and started logging in my baby’s meals. The app breaks down all the nutrients, so I can track her intake.
This can easily be shown to those who express their concern or just simply to boost your confidence in your decision to raise your child vegan and to increase your knowledge because knowledge is indeed the greatest power.