Defending My Kids’ Right to Not Eat Meat

So here it is, we don’t eat meat.  There, I said it.  It’s not a big deal right?  I mean, that’s what I thought at least.  Over the last 4 years I have encountered so many people.  People who are curious about what different recipes I use, others are shocked that I can go a day without meat, and others are furious (FOR NO REASON) that I choose not to eat meat because that’s what it was put on the planet for.   However, the most uncomfortable and confusing situation I’ve been in is when it comes to my children.

I have had people over the years ask me what do my kids eat if they don’t eat meat.  Food.  They eat other foods.   Some people have been concerned about their health and have questioned why I don’t just let them eat meat while I go meatless.  After all, I don’t want to hinder their growth.  Listen, the truth is that some people just don’t know as much about plant based eating as they think they do.  Because of this, some people are really concerned about the health of my children.  They are fine.  Better than fine.  My son hasn’t had meat for 4 ½ years of his life.  He’s 5.  Think about that.  He has grown and developed like he should.  Nothing is out of place.  He has high energy as all children do.  That’s all.  My daughter hasn’t had meat for over 5 years of her life and she is 7.

I guess the part that bugs me the most is where people say, “a little meat won’t hurt them” or “you can just give it to them on the holidays.  I bet they miss it.”  False.  Let me break it down to you.   I could give it to them on the holidays, but why would I do that if we have agreed as a family that this is what we believe is best?  They don’t miss meat because as I’ve explained, my children went meatless before they even really got to eat it.  Also, the whole notion of meat not hurting them…well, not so fast. Leiah hasn’t had meat since she was 2. Last year, while visiting family over the summer, she was given a small portion of meat. What happened? She had a tummy ache and her digestion was thrown off for a couple of days. In her defense, I’m sure she thought it was a veggie dog. Something similar happened to me as well. I made the mistake of eating something with bone broth and was sick the entire day. I didn’t even know and the people who prepared the meal didn’t know because they assumed as long as there was no actual meat in there it would be fine.  I didn’t blame them and I don’t know if all veggie eaters can say this is true for them, but it did happen to me.  I don’t want this for my children.

I said all of that to say this.  It is okay if your family has chosen to eat meat.  I have so many friends that eat meat and I could honestly care less as long as they are happy.  It is also okay that my family has chosen not to eat meat.  I have taught my children that our friends don’t always eat the same things we eat and that’s okay because we are all different.  My children have learned to accept that their friends might not like veggie burgers.  It doesn’t bother them.  So… don’t bother them or quiz them about it.   They enjoy the meals we prepare and are always excited to try new ones.   Thank you for reading my small frustrating moment about our vegan/vegetarian lifestyle.

*also a friendly reminder from my daughter, “Don’t YUCK someone else’s YUM.”