Any Vegan Mothers Out There:?

Updated on September 15, 2009
M.R. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
14 answers

I was a vegan for close to two years. After dating my husband for two years he finally convinced me to become a carnivore. It was really hard for me at first because of how toxic I knew the meat was, it even made me sick for almost a month. Now HE wants us to be vegan. I'm okay with it but, I'm a little concerned about our two year old who has been drinking cow's milk (after I swore that she would never drink milk!!). I've tried giving her soy milk in the past but she would choose to starve.
~My question is what would be the best milk substitute for milk. I just recently read an article saying that soy was not recommended for kids because of all the pesticides they put on them and also there was something about kids not getting enough vitamin D when they drink soy.
so I was wondering if rice milk would be best???? Does anyone have more info on this??

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all the help. My baby finally adjusted to a non dairy "milk" that she really likes, she doesn't care much about meat anymore and she eat all her fruits and veggies!

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H.C.

answers from Denver on

My daughter can't have milk or soy. We give her hemp seed milk (to drink) and use coconut milk in recipes. We also make ice cream with coconut milk.

You don't necessarily have to give her vitamin D from milk. You can supplement, there's actually a great Vitamin D supplement for kids.

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C.T.

answers from Denver on

Hi Megan - I dont want to sound too negative but I think you've bought into some of the hype regarding eating any kind of meats or milk. Consider buying an organic milk from a dairy that does not provide its cows with any hormones and separates any cows that might need to be on an antibiotic ie: Horizon or a local organic dairy. The same goes for meats like chicken, beef etc. It's alright if you choose to not feed your child these things but just consider the nutrient content of the plant foods you feed her to make sure her diet is balanced.

Also, you probably didnt get sick from eating meat for the first month because of toxins. When we stop eating meat, our bodies also stop producing the enzymes needed to digest it. It can take a little while for those enzymes to build to a point that eating meat doesnt cause stomach upset.

If you are choosing to not give your daughter milk, why does she need a milk look-a-like? Rice milk and soy milk are not milk. They are just products that look like milk so we dont miss the real thing. Soy products have a high estrogen content that can mess with little one's hormone balance. Also consider avoiding soy if you have any kind of family history of estrogen-related breast cancer. Rice milk has a very high sugar content combined with low protein so feeding her that product is setting her up for a glycemic overload.

You would probably be better off feeding her foods rich in calcium, protein and healthy fats rather than giving her fake milk and lots of soy. A kids multi-vitamin would also probably be in order if you change her diet to avoid Vit. D deficiency or anemia - talk to your doc about that one.

Hope that helps you!

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K.C.

answers from Denver on

Hi, M. -
I'm a vegan mama and have looked into all of the options. Beyond rice milk, also check oatmeal milk (a bit thick), almond milk (I like this best - unsweetened).
Organic soy milk would lack the pesticide factor, but still should be limited, as so many of the other food choices you'll face will contain soy (high amounts can be linked to breast cancer). When eating soy, aim for whole or fermented (edamame and tempeh, for example).
Grains and cereals can be fortified with Vitamin D. Many omnivores are lacking this, too (my father had surgery and when they ran his panels found that he had none in his system). We take Vitamin D supplements (which is great because probiotics mixed with Vitamin D lowers the risk of flu by up to 50% and reduced symptoms if contracted: NPR).
A study (can't remember where it was) followed a hundred vegan and omnivore children and found that the vegan children were lacking in two vitamins and nutrients; omnivore children lacked in nine.
Also, as food choices - just suggestions, as you've been out of the loop: seitan (wheat meat) is GREAT on the grill, as are portabellos (remember - no salt at all in the marinades). Just put them in some oil, fresh crushed garlic, onion, liquid smoke - amazing stuff.
Good luck and congratulations! Such a great choice for your family (if you ask me)!
Take care,
K.

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A.B.

answers from Provo on

Soy is also bad because of the estrogen involved. The Asian communities use soy as a help through menopause. It can cause kids to menstruate early.
I like almond milk the best. There is nothing that is going to be a really good substitute for cows milk. nothing tastes the same and so you have to find something that you like not because it is a substitute but because it is something that you like on it's own.
Rice milk is good and sometimes it is easier to get them to drink the chocolate or the carob kind.
look into almond milk though...you can even make it yourself.

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J.M.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi M..
My little family is vegan as well. I've been vegan for almost 10 years, and was vegetarian for 6 years before that. My husband is vegan also, and both of our 2 small children have been since birth. I remember getting a lot of criticism from coworkers and such just for staying vegan while I was pregnant. Our kids are 1 and 3 and both above average for height and weight, they're very healthy active kids. We don't drink soy milk very often, because we use soy in other areas of our diet, already (like tempeh, and plain soy yogurt). We use enriched rice milk with our cereals, and unsweetened almond milk for a snack time drink. The regular almond milk is tasty, but very sweet and I don't want my children to have a lot of sugar. I just weaned our 13 month old off of breast milk, and replaced it with almond milk. After about a day, he got used to the switch and loves it. My older sister makes her own almond milk with a Vitamix blender, but we don't have one of them. I've heard a lot of good things about hemp milk, lately, because of it's omega fatty acids. There are so many good, guilt-free alternatives out there these days! I like reading vegan food blogs and recipe sites for meal ideas. If you (or anyone else reading this) want me to send you a list of my favorites, or have any questions for me, you can send me an email... [email protected]____.com's so good to hear that there are more of us out there, thanks for your post!

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H.G.

answers from Denver on

I like to make my own almond milk- it is super easy!
I start with Raw almonds (living food is so rich in enzymes- always try to go with raw!) and soak them overnight to deactivate the enzyme inhibitors. Then I blend 1 cup almonds to 3 cups water, strain through a nut-milk bag (or cheesecloth, or whatever you have around) into a jar. I usually add a little bit of agave nectar to it as well. Best when used within about 3 days. It's a little more work than buying a box of milk, but so much better for you and your growing kiddo! Plus, it tastes so much better than the stuff in the box thats been sitting on the shelf for weeks!

H.
www.naturalchoicesforliving.com

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A.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Vitamin D is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Kids and adults should be out in the sun at least 15 min a day without sun screen in order to get their vitamin D. Kids are glued to tv's and games that's why they're adding it to milks. just go outside for your vitamin D.

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M.B.

answers from Provo on

Check out this site: www.greensmoothiegirl.com

She shows you how to make almond milk, which is delicious, but pricey.

Actually, I have no problem with cow's milk if it's organic, raw and from grass-fed cows (with no pesticides, hormones, anitbiotics, etc.). Clean raw, cow's milk at that point is very beneficial.

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D.J.

answers from Fort Collins on

I am not vegan but I totally support that lifestyle and wish I could convince my husband to adopt it. However we do eat organic meat. Because of what is added cow's milk is very unhealthy so I switched to organic rice milk, my sister buy's organic wheat milk which is kind of sweet and great on granola and dried fruit. If you are concerned about vit.D I found a great supplement at Vitamin Cottage that my kids love. Rainbow Light sunny gummies, for adults they have lemon 1,000 IU and for kids they have orange 450 IU. Whole Foods and other stores like it are a great place to explore and learn, associates are knowledgable and helpful. They usually have samples and testers and if you don't like what you bought you can always take it back.

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G.L.

answers from Denver on

I have been vegetarian on & off for years. And a total of 10 mo+ without ANY dairy due to my littlest who was BF being SEVERE milk allergic. Although it's very difficult to transition to vegetarian & even more so to a complete vegan i'm sure it can be done. Organic Meat is doable though. The toxic antibiotics & hormones do not exist in organic meat & as with anything "in Moderation" is the key...

I recommend Almond milk. Cold it is the closest substitute for milk. For calcium all dark green veges, especially ones like brocolli, kale, mustard greens & such not only contain iron but calcium also. And a GOOD multivitamin. I give my kids Arbonne's Nutritional hybrids with "super foods". High in antioxidants, vitamins & minerals they need. www.naturallylovely.myarbonne.com Soy milk is ok occasionally but what worries me most about so is it's high in ESTROGENS. It can cause major problems for girls & boys! Vitamin a & D comes from the sun also. 15 min. of "unprotected" (meaning no sunscreen) sun exposure is what we need daily. It is possible. I recommend a book called the STONE AGE DIET. And Gary Nulls- the Food Mood connection for some helpful information. Take care, G

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V.M.

answers from Salt Lake City on

First of all, I am not a vegan or a vegetarian, but I have been trying to adopt a more healthy lifestyle. I understand how bad red meat can be if one eats too much. However, meat and many non-vegan products contain very essential vitamins and minerals for growing children. I am not trying to discourage your decision. In fact, I applaud it.

My advice is to speak to your pediatrician and a licensed nutritionist. Combined, they can give you all the details on how you can transition your two-year-old into a vegan lifestyle. Your child's health comes first. I can tell you love her so much. Therefore, you must make sure she gets the nutrients and calories she needs so she can thrive and live a healthy and happy life.

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L.K.

answers from Fort Collins on

There is cows milk that is non toxic and where the animals are treated humanly. However we also drink almond milk. My son doesn't like soy, but the almond milk is close in consistency to cows milk and not as sweet tasting as soy.

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J.G.

answers from Salt Lake City on

While I don't have a whole lot of idea's for you- I recently heard that soy isn't recomended for growing girls as the plant estrogens (remember soy is used to treat symptoms of menopause) are now thought to lead to an increased risk of reproductive cancers!
My daugter is lactose intollerant, so I had asked a vegan friend of mine about dairy alternatives. She told me that she fed her children milk and eggs from trusted sources while they were kids, and let them make their own informed decisions as they got older. She, too, is vegan on health (of her and the animals) grounds more than an anti-meat thing.

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