Originally Posted by SL1031
I really envy all of you. I am a veg and very happy being one. I want to raise both of my kids veg (2 1/2 and 13 months) but I get a lot of crap from my family. My husband is a GIVE ME RED MEAT omni (carni) and my family -- who I feed on a daily basis -- which includes my hubby, mom and dad -- are all omnis. They told me "you better not be making these babies vegetarian or we will take them away from you" and they use scare tactics all the time. I don't really care however, because during the day when they are all at work, they eat with me. My son barely eats any meat...he doesn't like it...and my daughter (13 mos) HATES meat. In fact, they both eat organic, whole foods. I cringe when they (my family) start throwing filet and other dead animal in front of them. My son chews it and spits it out.
What a happy existence it would be if we could all be veg..you know? Those of you who are in a family/relationship with a fellow vegetarian or vegan...count your lucky stars.
As for me...I will continue doing what I am doing...at least that helps them MOST of the time. My son has an attraction to tofu...and he loves soymilk (so does my daughter...when she is not breastfeeding, she drinks soy...we have absolutely no cows milk in my house)
Okay, stopping my rant now...
I feel for you. I am in a similar situation with my 2 year old.
I have strong spiritual beliefs resulting in my vegetarianism, as well as health and world economy ones. My in-laws do not seem to understand just how strongly I feel about causing violence or death to another creature in a non-selfdefense act, and I have not really been at ease delving deeply into controversial issues with them. However, as they keep slipping comments like, "Well, I guess we'll see if you were right when he gets older. If he's messed up we'll know why." or "Just some fish. It's just fish." or "You really do need to let him eat this. And you should too. It's so healthy for him." In response I have found myself biting back with comments about eating dead, rotting carcasses, and retorts are not the response I want. Instead I am beginning to tell them about how this is spiritual for me, not optional.
I feel for you that you are getting threats. I really think you need to calmly but firmly tell them that you are the parent and as such have both the privilege and responsibility of deciding what is best for your child. Tell them that the vegetarian diet is perfectly safe and healthy for children, and if you can - find the facts to back it up so they can feel at ease. Does anyone have info on cultural vegetarianism, i.e. India before the English brought meat into the mainstream? And tell them that threats do not improve the situation but make it uncomfortable for you as they are both disrespecting you and showing your children that your authority is weak to threats. That's not something you want them to grow up learning to do.
The hardest thing I've found raising my son vegetarian has been the fat content. Toddlers only need 16 grams of protein, which is easily obtainable through the usual diet. But they need 44 grams of fat a day. Wow! And with most foods being low fat or no fat in today's obese world, and veggies and such not being terribly fattening, this has been more difficult as my son would not take formula once he stopped nursing. We make smoothies and add flax oil to boost the fat content, balance the fat necessary alpha omega 3 fatty acids, and add calories. Plus I think I remember that stuff is good for brain development.
Anyway, I definitely agree with Mushroom. Either way that a person chooses, you are making that decision for your child. It is up to you to decide when you think your child is mature enough to make a conscientious choice like that on her own. Personally, I am shooting for 7. That is a full life cycle, and kids have been well directed by that point. If he chooses to try meat, it will have to be out of the house. The belief that I hold, which I hope to impart to him, is that animals are not food.
I do not agree with the concept that it's the food chain, and we're at the top of it. This view sees us as merely animals, a scientific view which considers only physical attributes, not mental, emotional or spiritual aspects. And these aspects are the very ones that the food chain theory indicate the reason for our "superiority". I believe we are evolved beyond mere animals by such, and if we were not, then why settle to be only animals? Why not strive to evolve further?