vegan foster mom - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-05-2004, 09:05 PM
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ok heres my story, im a vegan and my husband is a vegetarian that doesnt eat cheese, milk, or eggs (he eats milk chocolate, pastries that may contain eggs and milk- he just doesnt outright eat the actual animal ingredient because he hopes to go vegan eventually. our birth children will definately be vegan but what should i do about the older children that we are planning to foster then adopt? theyve been raised on meat and i cant just not feed it to them because the state would take them away before i got to adopt them. im thinking that after adoption is final i will let them understand the issues and then let them decide. veganism is a very personal decision and i would just be happy if they were vegetarians at the least. im thinking that toddler age would be okay for me to feed veg food and have it stick. toddlers arent going to tell that mommy makes them be a vegetarian but im really concerned about a 7 year old. their eating habits are set. im grossed out just thinking about the smell of cooking flesh in my home. what would you do in this situation.
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#2 Old 01-05-2004, 09:23 PM
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I became vegetarian two years ago (or just more than that). I have a six year old daughter who was raised to age 4 on meat and rice and a few veggies here and there...oh and fruit. So basically your all american 'balanced' diet. At least this is what my X felt was balanced.



In any case, when I became vegetarian, I made a concious choice to do so. But my daughter, raised until age four on meat, was not all that interested in the vegetarian diet.



She's still not vegetarian. But we have an understanding. She eats veggie at home. I don't buy or cook meat or dairy (well, very rarely I'll get cheese or yogurt for her...organic). I have let her decide which meat substitutes she enjoys the most, and whenever we eat out she can choose meat. Or if we eat at someone's house meat is an option for her. Also she's back to getting school lunch, so she can choose it at school.



I believe in setting an example for someone and showing them a good and healthy diet/way of life...but I also believe that whenever an adult decides to make a huge change in his/her life, there is something kind of wrong about expecting/forcing a child to just do what you want because you say so. My parents did this to me growing up because my Mom was just a religious fanatic and my Dad decided to move every two years. They never gave a crap how we felt about it, and we never got to choose....it took me years to go back to church at all...and I'm still annoyed with my Dad sometimes.



So, I think kids (esp since these were raised as omni) should get to be their own little unique selves and figure out over time how they want to live and what they want to eat. My daughter now always tells people that I'm a vegetarian, what I eat, why I eat what I eat, etc. So the message is sinking in and I think if I do a good job, she'll learn to make good choices for herself.



Hope this makes sense.



B
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#3 Old 01-05-2004, 09:24 PM
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My opinion? They are going through enough changes and trauma right now. Make sure they are comfortable and that they trust you before making any major changes to their diet such as removing animal products. I know it goes against your beliefs and whatnot, but I feel that far greater resistance would be met if you forced this on them rather than them be introduced to the idea slowly and gradually; coming into it on their own (with guidance from you of course). It will be by no means an easy task and maybe the older children will still want to eat a cheeseburger. That's cool...fix them a veggie burger. Fry it up in a little veggie oil so that it resembles closely to what they are used to. But try to make it about them more and less about you so that they know you truly are concerned with how they feel.



Good luck.
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#4 Old 01-05-2004, 09:24 PM
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Would a 7 year old really notice that much? I mean, if he/she isn't being told "you aren't allowed to eat meat" and may pick whatever when dining outside the home (school, restaraunts). Kids normally eat veggie stuff (ie PB&J sandwiches, pastas, pizza, veggies (hopefully)) and you can always make/buy fake sandwich meats, dogs, burgers, soy yogurt, etc. It probably wouldn't be necessary to cook meat in your home, you may or may not want to have real dairy. Soy milk may be pushing it at first.



I'd probably give this a try first and see how the child reacts.
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#5 Old 01-05-2004, 10:18 PM
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i would never say that they arent allowed some type of food because i think thats just wrong and creates a whole other set of issues. i dont think anything is wrong switching the toddlers diet to veg since most toddlers arent the meat and potatoe type. like i said i would just educate them on the issues and let them(older kids) decide, if they still want meat then thats their decision and im not going to say anything negative. my MAJOR concern that just freaks me out completely is cooking raw meat and having to touch it. would i be a bad mother if i just bought frozen stuff with meat like hot pockets and stuffed chicken breast, frozen meat pizzas, meat ravioli, or is it bad to feed all frozen stuff? but i agree with everything you guys have said so far, im scared to death to touch meat.
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#6 Old 01-06-2004, 01:53 AM
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Hmm, I never really thought about that. I do plan on adopting kids some day, but nowhere in my immediate future. ... I can't think of any meat products that I'd have to buy. If the kid wants corn dogs I say okay cool, and I go buy smart dogs and corn dog mix and make some (using this as example because it's what I just ate). If s/he wants to eat real corn dogs at school or somewhere else that's their choice to make. While they're in my house I feel a responsibility to feed them healthy food. Like vegnfrog said, there's enough kid-friendly variety that you should be able to keep most kids happy without the meat. ... I'd just have to give a feel for the individual kids and see how things went.
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#7 Old 01-06-2004, 02:19 AM
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I can see the points about the kids having to get used to a new diet at a stressful time, but why on earth would you not be allowed to adopt them if you fed them vegan food? Veganism isn't illegal. If the state is forcing you to go against your religious/ethical beliefs by forcing you to feed your foster kids meat under the threat of taking them off you, you have every right to take that department to the Anti-Discrimination board. If and when you do decide to go the veggie route, I'd go with doing is slowly, and like the others have said, make substitiutions with familiar foods.

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#8 Old 01-08-2004, 12:48 PM
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Everyone's advice is good and balanced. I'd probably go with a combination of things: letting them choose meat outside the home, allowing vegetarian (not just vegan) food in the home, trying to come up with not-too-"weird" substitutes that they would like (Morningstar Farms corndogs taste exactly like the real thing, though they're not vegan; ditto with Boca's sausages).



I might possibly (as lizzybean mentioned) purchase some processed meat products for the home. The last point would be the hardest one for me to decide ... but if it seemed to be in the best interests of the child at that moment, I might do it on a temporary basis.
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#9 Old 01-08-2004, 01:02 PM
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I agree that Vegetarian replacements are an awesome way to start. (Most of Morningstar's products are very excellent in duplicating the right taste, with the minus of frequently containing egg.)



I am quite sure that the state WILL have trouble with the vegan thing. Many americans think eating meat is necessary for survival and even think that vegetarian children are deprived of their right to eat meat. I would try to use substitutes at home and make lots of familiar foods for them (tacos, corn dogs, chik nuggets with BBQ sauce, etc.) If they eat out, I would try to steer them to the veggie options, but definitely not force. After all, even if you raise your own genetic child, by the time they are 7, they are able to swap their PB&J for a baloney sandwich at school if they want (i know some schools are getting more strict about swapping due to food allergies) You can present them with your beliefs, but I think it might be a little traumatic for them to learn "the truth" about meat all at once while they are still searching for their place in a new family. Teaching by example works much better than indoctrination in my opinion.
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