A carefully planned vegan diet which includes whole foods can meet all of your children’s nutritional requirements and is the healthiest diet you could give them. By setting an example and teaching children to make healthy food choices, they will inherit a lifetime of good eating habits and good health. Children brought up on a vegan diet are also less likely to suffer from colds, coughs or infections.
Meet some healthy vegan kids:
Sneha is 9 years old, and is vegan for more than a year now. Born in a vegetarian family, gradually all her family members (i.e. both parents, grandpa, grandma, uncle, cousin-sister) turned vegan for health and ethical reasons. Quitting dairy habit was not difficult for her after she came to know the suffering that dairy animals go through. In fact it was much easier with so much dairy alternatives/options available.
Sneha likes to have soy milk (mainly chocolate flavoured), coconut milk kheer, tofu sandwiches, kadhi made of peanut-rice/soy curd, masala chaas, pizzas with watermelon cheese, pasta with cashew cheese/cream, soyakhand, cakes, burgers, mock-meat biryani, dairy free dark chocolates, soups, fruits and the list is literally endless …!
Her energy levels are wonderful. She likes to play for hours together. She practices yoga and on weekends she works out with her father that includes a 2-to-3 kms run. Academically she is a bright student too. Although she practices veganism at home and with family, however, when in school, if she wants to have something and cannot have because of dairy based ingredients, then she asks her mother or grandmother to make a vegan version of the same. Her parents often take her to vegan cafes during weekends so that she can indulge in some snacking.
Trishoola is 8 years old, and even though she is very new to veganism she is very clear about her decision. Though her family used to include meat and animal products as part of their diet, the change was drastic and without hesitation. She is a vegan on compassionate grounds and she understands the effect that a meat-based diet has on animals. She refuses any non-vegan food that is offered to her. At her school in Delhi, where all the children sit and have lunch together, she makes sure to get to the bottom of the dish! “Does it have any butter, ghee or paneer?” Her favourite foods are rajma, chickpeas, mangoes, bananas, potatoes and green grapes.
Abhigya is the reason for his family becoming vegan. He stood silently one night while his mom was watching a video of tortured animals and cows in slaughterhouses, and though he was only 3 years old, it was enough for him to understand what was going on. He vouched never to touch milk again. His parents thought that it was a trick for not drinking milk and started tempting him with chocolates. “Does chocolate have cow’s milk in it?” he would ask. To which his mom and dad replied, “Yes, most of them”. “Then I won’t have chocolates either!” His firm decision was clear and his parents had no choice but to follow his steps. Shy but very confident in his beliefs, Abhigya has been attending school in Bangalore for the past 2 months. He confronted a teacher in a test paper, where he explained: “I don’t like the zoo because animals are tortured and live in cages, I like forests where animals are free.” His answer was enough to get zero marks on the question and many more scoldings from teachers due to his no-nonsense answers. He’s a very smart and happy child. At 5 and a half years, he reads at the level of a child in 4th grade.
Abhidheya is a chubby, adorable vegan baby. Her mom Annu Anand enjoyed a very normal and healthy vegan pregnancy and Abhidheya has been vegan since birth. She has barely been sick and at 1 and a half years old, besides enjoying breast milk she loves beetroot, papad, watermelon, oranges and ladies fingers. Abhidheya lives in Bangalore with her parents Annu and Anand and brother Abhigya.
Nikita Gabrielle D’Souza is a happy, energetic 2-year-old vegan. Her mother was a vegetarian during her pregnancy and hence Nikita was born a vegetarian baby. Not long ago the family decided to take the step to becoming vegan. The challenge wasn’t easy since they live in a joint family in Bangalore, but they stand firmly by their decision to be vegans. One year later they do still encounter some obstacles on the way, but they never regret their decision. Nikita has always been a thin girl but that doesn’t stop her from running, laughing her heart out, riding her cycle and enjoying life like any other child. Her blood tests reveal that her calcium and protein levels are excellent, and there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with her growth, despite the worries of family and friends. Her diet is much healthier compared to other kids. She loves sprouts, chick peas, quinoa, dates, cashews, raisins, broccoli, spinach, bhindi, fruits… the list can go on and on. There’s nothing she’s missing out on, on the contrary, she’s as healthy as healthy can get!
Anora is a lovely 8-year-old child. She moved with her family to Auroville a month ago and at such a tender age she was able to understand the effects of her diet. 3 months ago she was exposed to some videos and facts regarding the meat-based diet and along with her family decided to change for good. Her reason for turning vegan was mainly for animal rights and health reasons, besides knowing that the environment also benefits. Her favourite foods are sizzlers, pasta, mushrooms and fruit popsicles. She says she’s very proud that her grandma, grandpa and uncle are also vegan, so she doesn’t have any issues with her family regarding her diet. She’s yet to start at her new school but she feels that it shouldn’t be a problem and will try to tell her new friends about veganism and animal exploitation.
Aanya is a very active, playful and happy 4-year-old. Along with her sister Anora she turned vegan 3 months ago. Previously she used to have some constipation problems and would be fussy with her food. After adopting a vegan diet, her problems have vanished and her food intake is much better! Her favourite foods are parathas and she loves almond milk with cereal.
Manan and Manasvini are 5-year old vegan twins living in Delhi. They were vegetarian from birth and have been on a vegan diet for the past three years. Their pathological tests usually give good results. They do not have any illnesses. They love dry fruits, especially walnuts and dates. They eat green vegetables twice daily. They also love pulses, brown rice and red rice.
They don’t wear leather belts, jackets, fur trimming on coats and avoid woollen sweaters and silk dresses. Manan had been noticing Dettol products at his friends’ houses. Once while at the local supermarket, he insisted on buying some. His mother told him it was tested on animals. He put the Dettol back on the shelf. After a few days he noticed a really old bottle of Dettol lying in the house. He drained away the contents in the sink!
Claire Abrams an American girl who has lived in Udaipur, Rajasthan since she was a kid, became a vegan when she was 15-years-old. Now 20, Claire and her parents run a shelter in Udaipur for injured and ill stray animals. Born a vegetarian, Claire was brought up in an environment of love for animals, but it wasn’t until she listened to PETA’s “Vegetarianism in a Nutshell” that it finally clicked: that drinking milk and eating eggs is really no different than eating meat, it is outright animal abuse. Immediately after listening to the CD she went to her father and told him that she’d decided to go vegan. That was it, no more dairy or eggs. Five years later, she and her parents couldn’t be happier to have made the life-changing switch. After Claire became vegan she started to encourage her parents to do the same. When her mom, Erika, first attempted to quit eating dairy and eggs, she used to get a craving for milk in her coffee, or for ice cream, but Claire asked her to just imagine the sad dairy cow, a mother who has lost all of her babies, and remember that that milk was meant for them, not for us. That convinced Erika and she has since completely avoided all animal products, as has her husband, James.
“Going vegan taught me how to actually live my ideals, and that has been very empowering,” says Claire. When asked whether she feels awkward socially to be a vegan, she said, “No, not at all. Whenever I’m going somewhere where they are serving food, I always make sure to politely inform that I don’t take animal products, to avoid any awkwardness later. It’s never been a problem and people are always understanding if I explain why I don’t take milk, etc. As long as you’re being polite, I don’t think there is any reason to be apologetic about declining a meat, dairy or egg dish… in fact it should be the other way around: meat eaters should feel shy about accepting meat/dairy/egg.
The health benefits of a vegan diet alone should be enough to convince anyone to make the switch. Once you step away from animal products it quickly becomes clear how toxic they really are to consume.” – Claire Abrams