If you are a vegetarian or a vegan would you allow/deny your child meat and meat products?
I have a friend who is a vegetarian and is adamant that her children won't eat meat (they are 2 and 5). I haven't expressed an opinion even though this is a regular conversation topic that she brings up, but it got me wondering hence the question. And I guess I'm looking for some opinions. They are healthy kids. Another thing, if we meet for lunch she always asks me not to choose a meat dish which is fine with me but I'm thinking it's not a realistic thing to ask. Am I wrong?
I try never deny my child (who is 14 now) his own choices unless his choices were to harm him or others in some real way. So far he has done well. I am answering as a past vegetarian or a lapsed one if you will. It is perfectly possible for a child to be a vegetarian and very healthy. Not that every vegetarian diet is a healthy one though. Variety is the key. It is also possible for meat products to harm us- mad cow disease is a prime example. Then again people can die eating just about anything if it is contaminated or improperly prepared.
I know a lot of vegetarians and vegans just sickened by the smell of meat. They are more sensitive because they don't smell it all the time. She may not have the same aversion to fish or shrimp. Ask her. Then again perhaps the idea of eating any animals is too offensive. Cannibals would wonder why they couldn't partake of human flesh at our table. After all it is not us chomping on the human finger.
My personal opinion is that I wouldn't provide the meat for them. I would purchase and prepare vegetarian meals, and teach them about why we are vegetarians, but I wouldn't get mad if their friend's parents served them meat. Nor would I be able to stop them if they are old enough to go out and buy their own meat products.
For me, it's very similar to smoking or drinking (in terms of negative health side effects). Very few people WANT their child to start smoking or drinking, it's not good for them and you want to protect your child. But at the same time, you can only do so much.
If your friend is a vegetarian, she has the choice to educate her kids about being vegetarian or meat eater. Most kids started off as meat eaters but as they grow up, their taste buds changes
There is A LOT of evidence proving that not eating meat and dairy is healthier so I commend your friend for sticking to her "guns" and teaching her kids to eat RIGHT. I studied holistic nutrition so I totally recommend a vegan diet for anyone, kids included. My almost 3 year old son has never eaten meat and until he makes his own decisions on what he wants to eat, I will continue to influence him on the matter.
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