Raising A Vegetarian Child

by pew

Raising A Vegetarian Child

Should you raise your child as a vegetarian? There is no reason why you shouldn’t, in fact there are many reasons why you actually should.  

Most peoples concerns about being vegetarian relate to getting the right nutrients without meat. That is because we are told meat gives us so many good things. But is this true? Or does it give us things which are in fact detrimental to our health and the health of our children?

First of all most meat eaters will tell you that it is natural for humans to eat meat and that we are built for it. However, if you compare humans to meat eating animals you will find that meat eating animals;

  • Have sharp front teeth for tearing and no flat molars for grinding, completely the opposite to a human
  • Have an intestinal tract only 3 times the length of their body, ours is 10-12 times. Thus, meat can stay in your intestine for up to 4 days. Put your meat in the sun for 4 days and see what happens to it! Your intestine is nice and warm…
  • Have strong hydrochloric acid in the stomach to break up meat. The human beings is 20 times weaker
  • Have acid saliva, we have alkaline. Alkaline saliva does not act properly on meat as meat is an acid substance.

Finally, wild animals eat their meat raw! That’s how they get all the nutrients out of it. No wild animal will ever eat cooked meat. We of course find this idea disgusting and cook it and cover it with sauces and seasonings.

In fact human beings have ingestive and digestive traits that are completely the same as animals who are herbivores.

Most of mankind for most of human history has lived on a Vegetarian or Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. It’s only since the invention of the refrigerator that the obsession with eating meat has begun.

The prominent Swedish scientist Karl von Linne states, “Man’s structure, external and internal, compared with that of the other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food.”

Nutrients

There is always the question of how can you ever get your protein and calcium without meat. This concerns most people, who believe that it is impossible without meat. This is especially important for parents when they consider their children. And probably the main reason parents start to give children meat so early on.

Protein

You should be aware that the protein in meat is actually of poor quality, incomplete and can hardly be utilized by the human body. It doesn’t have the correct combination of amino acids.

More usable protein is found in one tablespoon of tofu or soybeans than the average serving of meat!

Eating varieties of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes will give you all the protein you need. In fact Soy and Quinoa are complete proteins; they have the right amino acids, in the right proportions.

Plus, when you eat meat you also get the goodies associated with it; growth hormones and the chemicals given to the animals!

Calcium

Many vegetables, especially green leafy ones are a great source of calcium. You get enough of your calcium requirement from these. It is well known that vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis.

Cows, goats, gorillas, elephants, rhinoceroses are all vegetarians; they manage to get everything they need and are very strong and well built.

On the Plate

As a vegetarian you need to research and balance your diet, even if you eat meat you should do this. A diet based on Coca-Cola, pizza, and French fries is technically vegetarian, but not healthy.

The healthiest vegetarian diet will have a lot of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes.

At meals, half of one’s plate should be devoted to nonstarchy, colorful vegetables. Whole grains also are important, but confine those to a quarter of your plate. The other quarter should contain lean, plant-based sources of protein, like tofu or beans.

Iron absorption is actually influenced by other components of the diet—coffee and tea inhibit absorption, while vitamin C enhances it. Good sources of iron: fortified cereal, oatmeal, lentils, beans, tofu, and spinach.

Vegetarians and Vegans are the healthiest people on the planet. It has now been scientifically proven that a balanced vegetarian diet is better than a diet that is taken with meat.

Meat, even in small doses, increases the incidence of certain diseases including diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, heart disease and many others.

Conclusion

Eating a vegetarian diet is definitely good for you. And you need not worry about getting enough protein, calcium etc. if you do it correctly. Eating meat does not give you all the goodness that you are told it does. In fact it is more likely to cause illness later than give you any benefits.

Both our children eat what we eat and we are vegetarian. They are both very healthy and hardly ever sick. They lack nothing in their diet.

One interesting fact; it has been shown that aggression levels are much higher in meat eaters than non-meat eaters!

This cookbook has great recipe ideas for vegetarian children.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Blum October 15, 2009 at 9:49 pm

But what about B12? How does one get an adequate supply of usable B12?

pew October 16, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hi Scott. meat is only one of the three main suppliers of B12, dairy products and eggs being the other two. So, excluding meat is not a problem. But if you’re vegan then I guess you have to think about it. Although there are plenty of foods these days that are fortified with B12. There is great debate about whether B12 can be obtained from plant foods. Although the research done on it in the first place is not so great.

The other most important factor is that B12 deficiency is not only about intake of usable B12 but the individuals’ ability to absorb, digest and use vitamins. So, even if you eat meat doesn’t mean you get enough. You can be a very unhealthy meat eater and be deficient in lots of vitamins, which is often the case. So, I personally think that vegetarians, vegans and raw fooders who have a balanced, proper diet including fortified foods have no issue as their bodies are very efficient at absorbing the goodness from the foods they do eat. Our bodies also produce B12 from bacteria. If you want to be sure you can always supplement B12.

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