Special diet Berries

I’m a vegetarian, but also happy to hear from berries with other dietary requirements. I’d love to hear about your pregnancy experience and raising the child. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you crave something that you don’t usually eat? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you have any challenges when feeding your little ones? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you ever plan to introduce your own diet to them one day?

I’ve got no kids yet, just thinking about what should I do one day. Thanks, Berries! :slight_smile:

So, I was raised vegetarian from birth and remained vegetarian my whole life up until recently (35 years). During my two pregnancies I had horrible morning sickness the first 18 werks or so, and then once eating more again I really found myself craving seaweed salad especially!

But also… I can’t remember if it started during my first pregnancy, or before, or after, but I started always getting the feeling of craving something. Of never feeling properly sated. I tried eating lots more protein, corn, beans, nuts, soy alternatives, but it didn’t donthe trick. Particularly after the birth of my second baby, where I’d lost 1 1/2 litres of blood and was trying to recover from the c-section and breastfeed etc, I felt something had to change.

I now try to eat mince once a week, as a spag bol or nachoes or shepherd’s pie. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner cooks it so I don’t have to deal with that side of things, and he started off by hiding it amongst loads of veg. It’s the only meat I’ve been able to bring myself to eat so far but honestly I feel so much better. It’s been 6 months now, maybe more. I strongly defended vegetarian/vegan diets my whole life, but now I’m just not so sure they really ARE healthy, not for everybody, anyway, or not without listening to what your body is asking for.

[name_f]My[/name_f] sister, raised vegetarian, has also introduced meat into her own diet, and my Mum who was raised eating meat but then went vege for 20 years or so and stood by it enough to raise all her children that way, started eating fish again many years ago. [name_f]My[/name_f] Mum needed B12 injections at one point as a vegetarian, and another (still vegetarian) friend of mine has needed an iron infusion. We aren’t/weren’t “cut out the meat and just wat the potatoes” vegetarians, either, but educated vegetarians eating a wide range of veges and lentils etc. I really don’t mean this as a dig at your dietary choices by the way, just an honest account of my experience.

[name_f]My[/name_f] partner has always been an omnivore, the children are being raised that way, but with eating lots of veg too. And most importantly they’re hopefully also being raised with an understanding of where their food comes from and respect for the environment.

Besides that I didn’t really have any cravings, just aversions - off coffee, off dark chocolate, and for the first 15-18 weeks pretty much off food altogether!

1 Like

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was in my late teens. [name_f]My[/name_f] husband used to be vegan, than became “just” a vegetarian for a while. At this point we mostly eat vegan, but we’re not very strict on it, especially with the children.
We’ve decided that we like the vegan lifestyle best for us, but that we don’t want it to restrict our social life. So we don’t expect people we visit to prepare vegan food for us etc. We draw the line at vegetarian food though, neither of us will eat meat or fish.

During my pregnancy with V. and while I breastfeed I take extra B12. I did find myself craving meat sometimes while I was pregnant, but I solved it by eating something with a meaty taste or something salty.

Basically, we don’t have any meat in our house, so the children don’t get meat at home. If they do eat meat when we’re visiting friends or family, it’s not a big deal to us. Our oldest, who’s almost 8, decided a little while ago that he “doesn’t want to eat animals” anymore, so he’s vegetarian too. All of our family and friends are aware of us being vegetarian/vegan, so they usually don’t offer our children any meat either. We strongly believe that our children should make their own choices once they’re old enough to do so, but we won’t prepare meat for them. If they want to eat it somewhere else, or want to order a pizza with meat on it, that’s fine.

As for our younger children (B. is 3, the twins are two and V. is 3 weeks old), we try to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. They get eggs, for example, and B. will only drink cow milk, so we buy that for him. We make sure the other ones get soy milk with extra vitamin D, and occasionally we give them fish to eat.

The hardest part about raising our children vegetarian to me is social pressure and other people’s comments. We’ve been accused of abuse and neglect because we’ve chosen to raise our children this way. And when we eat out, sometimes there aren’t many vegetarian options, especially for children. You get weird looks if you ask for them.

1 Like

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was very young. I didn’t carry my children so I cannot speak to what it’s like being pregnant and following a special diet. But when it comes to feeding your children I think it depends on what your partner’s diet is like. While I’m a vegetarian my partners are not, so my son eats meat but also eats plant based foods as well. It can be a struggle when we’re ordering him foods that I don’t eat because you can’t show them that you don’t like it or they won’t want to try it. Overall it hasn’t been a big deal yet. And when he gets older we plan to just allow him to eat what he wants to eat. If that means he chooses a vegetarian diet then that would be fine. I just would want him to understand what that entails and be able to explain his reason for choosing it.

1 Like

It’s ok, I understand. Thank you for your reply really. I wasn’t raised vegetarian, I made this choice myself at 14-15. I never had any health problems because of my diet, but back in college, I had a roommate who tried to follow a vegetarian diet and after some time got hospitalized for lacking something (I forgot the detail). So I knew not everyone could do that, at least when we talk about long-term.

It’s just every baby/toddler I know consumes animal products (including myself back then) I wonder what parents feed their children when they raise them vegetarian since birth. Were you ever against this diet and protested as a child?

My partner has always been an omnivore too. Our current plan is to let the kids choose for themselves when they are old enough to understand. But in the meantime, I’m pretty confused about what to give them. I used to be a picky eater myself so I just consider possible tough times feeding mine one day. As I started out pretty young, I actually never learned to cook meat at all my whole life, and am unsure if I’ll ever want to try. :smiley:

Thanks for your reply. How do you explain vegetarianism/veganism to your kids? [name_f]Do[/name_f] any of your younger children like meat products (when they eat out) and ever request them at home?

As a child, I actually dislike vegetables that it surprised everyone I started a vegetarian diet at 14 and somehow stick with it, lol. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner isn’t vegetarian so my future kids will likely have mixed diets until they are old enough to choose for themselves, but I’m a bit worried they’d say mommy’s cooking sucks and only want to eat chicken nuggets and meatballs.

I understand the social pressure and lacking vegetarian options when going out. I often have my orders customized when eating out (“can I have this but without the chicken?”, etc), but it sure would be a bit weirder for kids.

1 Like

I cant speak from any personal experience but I have a few friends who are vegan/vegetarian and have raised their children on their diets. (I didnt know them during pregnancy so I cant speak to that) One of them have had no issues their kids are healthy and still vegetarian, the other has really struggled getting her daughter to eat enough protein specifically ended up raising her daughter as an omnivore just to get her the protein she needed. I dont think this is an issue with the vegetarian diet in particular, from what she has said it was more a problem of having a picky eater on an already restricted diet and it was really limiting the options on what she would eat.

So my take away from that is if your kids a healthy there should be no problem. You just have to make sure your childs getting all the nutrients and vitamins etc they need!

1 Like

[name_f]Do[/name_f] you also cook the meat for your son or just let your partner handle that part? Overall we’re in a pretty similar situation. I’m a vegetarian but my partner is not. I’m mainly worried about the craving part and what to feed my future kids if they request I give them meat, lol. I also plan to explain and just let them choose for themselves when older. :slight_smile:

Nope, never against it or protested as a child. I just grew up with it being part of my identity, and honestly I was grossed out by the idea and smell of meat etc. and had no interest in trying it. I also did pretty well on a vege diet - was a reasonably fit dancer/hiker and got good grades at uni, only taking iron tablets a few times throughout life. As an adult though… I do now wish my parents had brought me up eating some meat, just because my body is telling me I need it but it is SO HARD to overcome a lifetime of vegetarianism, psychologically and texturally and taste-wise I’m finding it tough to force myself to have some.

I grew up in the 80s in a farming town/city though, so having somewhat hippy, older, vegetarian parents did kind of make it a bit harder to fit in with my peers at times I think? But I never resented my parents because of this, and, at least where I live, these days it would be super easy to be vegetarian even in eating out in restaurants.

I don’t know if our diet as kids was particularly amazing… but we ate stuff like dahls, vegetarian lasagne, fettuccine with a vege sauce. Raising my own children omni I do find hard. I can’t bring myself to cook meat for them though can handle cooking meat sausages now, I’m grossed out touching ham and wash my hands afterward :sweat_smile: and also honestly I just don’t know so much about food safety with meat or how to cook it. They’re toddlers and love ham and mince. But also love avocado, broccoli, eggs, cheese, grapes, bananas, peas, raisins. [name_m]Can[/name_m] hide HEAPS of veges in nachoes, spag bol sauce, vegetable soup, curries. They actually love vegetable soups, both minestrone and a spinach/carrot/lentil one we make often but probably would love heaps of others too.

1 Like

DH and I have only recently (in the last 12 months) become fully vegetarian, and we are aiming towards veganism eventually (might be a while yet though!).

I was not raised vegetarian, although my sister chose to be veggie from the age of 13-20. She then had a variety of health issues whilst living in abroad and re-introduced meat to make sure she could eat enough. DH was raised 90% vegetarian, his mum was veggie from before he was born and both he and his sister only ate meat on Sundays (the day his dad cooked a family lunch). I assume she was vegetarian for the duration of her pregnancies, but I’ve never asked.

I intend to be vegetarian for my (hopeful, future) pregnancies and I’m not massively worried about getting the right nutrients - lots of people who eat omnivorous diets still don’t get enough of basic vitamins! I take a daily multivitamin anyway and have since before going vegetarian, but I think I eat pretty healthily ‘even without’ meat. If I had a super intense meat craving I probably would give into it, it’s more important to stick with vegetarianism long term than sweat one or two times of eating meat - the impact is still there.

Our kids will eat what we eat, because that’s what we’ll give them. We probably won’t police what they eat outside of the house, but we’d expect friends and family to respect our vegetarianism (we’d be less fussed re: vegan food if we got to that stage, but no meat). If they decided they wanted to eat meat when they were older we wouldn’t ban it or anything, but I don’t think we would ever buy or cook it for them.

We’d probably talk to them about why we don’t eat meat or give it to them, there are definitely kids books about it we could read with them. We’ll just add it into all our other planned ‘woke’ books (to quote one of my aunts who already disagrees with and comments on our parenting style despite us not yet having children!).

We like the youtuber Unnatural Vegan who makes videos about what she’s feeding her kids and a healthy vegan diet at all ages - it’s giving us ideas (especially bearing in mind that we don’t have the same level of restrictions).

1 Like

I understand. Some smells disturb me, but mostly not. It’s just after years on this diet I got a bit nauseous when I accidentally ate meat (happened a couple of times, as I don’t live in the most veggie-friendly place). If only my partner is also a vegetarian/vegan I’d very likely raise my kids on this diet too unless they get sick and the doctor said they need to eat meat. But he isn’t and while I defend my vegetarian diet, I strongly believe it’s something that should be chosen and not forced.

Thank you for sharing what you ate growing up. They all sound good! I’m actually grossed out by the thought of touching some meat too (especially raw). Something like sausage seems okay, but I definitely draw the line on things that still look like the animals/whole. Like there’s no way I’d ever want to buy or touch a whole chicken, but chopped small or shredded still seems acceptable. I’m sure feeding future kids will be challenging too. [name_f]Glad[/name_f] to hear yours enjoy a bunch of veggies and fruits too though! :slight_smile:

Thank you for sharing! Feeding a picky eater is surely a challenge, especially on an already restricted diet like this.

What you plan to do is basically what I once planned to do myself, but somehow I never even end up with a fellow vegetarian, lol. I’d definitely intend to stay vegetarian during pregnancies too and introduce vegetarian food to my future kids (I assume my husband will cook most of the meat). I’d also explain why I chose this diet to them once they’re old enough to understand.

I’m only a bit worried about meat cravings during pregnancy and lacking nutrients because I read about those before. I went full-time vegetarian at 18 years old (on and off for years before) and that has been a long time. I never learned to cook meat and they can even make me nauseous instead.

Not sure which impact you refer to by eating meat one or two times?

I’ll check out some of the videos, thanks!

[name_f]My[/name_f] partner has always done most of the real cooking in our house. He just likes to cook and I don’t really so it just works out that way. I will “cook” meat for my son in the sense of heating up chicken nuggets and things like that lol but when it comes to actually cooking raw meat I don’t really ever do that. But that’s just how it’s always been in our house, having a child now hasn’t changed that.

1 Like

[name_m]Ah[/name_m], just that I chose to go vegetarian for animal rights and climate change reasons. And I think should I massively crave and then eat meat during any pregnancies, the environmental and animal rights impact of those few times of me eating meat won’t outweigh the general net positive of not eating meat most of the time. So I try not to sweat the small moments.

Haha that’s a nice arrangement! [name_f]My[/name_f] husband likes cooking more than I do too. I don’t mind some cooking, but at least the meat part will be on him. :upside_down_face:

1 Like

I understand. I switched to vegetarianism for the exact same reasons. I’m not sure yet how I’d feel about “just 1-2 times” when actually craving it. I’m not as… extreme as I was in my late teens (back then I really refused to kill or get any animals killed), but of course, it’s a matter of commitment. Not to mention my body isn’t used to getting meat anymore.

It depends on the child, really. My oldest has always been mature for his age, so I explained to him at a pretty young age that I don’t eat animals, because I liked animals a lot and didn’t want to eat them. His father, my ex-husband, isn’t a vegetarian, so he had a mixed diet until he decided what he wanted. My son always understood my reasons for not eating animals, but until he was bit older he couldn’t make the connection between the piece of ham someone offered him, for example, and an animal. I never pushed it, because I didn’t want to make him scared of accepting certain foods. When he got older he started asking more questions and understood things better.
Our second son, the oldest with my husband, is three and has autism. He’s a very picky eater, and he doesn’t really like most types of meat. He does love sausages though, so when we eat out we sometimes order those for him. At home he’s fine with vegetarian sausages. He’s heard us talk about not eating meat, but at this point he’s not very interested in this kind of thing.
The twins and Vienna are too young to really understand. One of the twins loves salami though. My brother, who lives with us, usually had some in his fridge. He’s now a vegetarian too, but Endymion still goes looking for salami :sweat_smile:

1 Like

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] have been veg since I was about 10, I chose to be and stuck with it. No one else in my family is. I was vegan for about a year in college but did not do it well and got pretty sick. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner is Latin American and most definitely not vegetarian (lol). In the past year or so I have started eating soup with meat stock (usually when visiting his family, when I lived in Latin [name_u]America[/name_u] I tended to eat around the meat when I was offered food anyway). I have also added in collagen for joint support and extra protein. We eat lots of dairy and eggs but I make a point of only buying from our local farm to offset the environmental impact. I have grown to really respect the eating local lens, and my husband buys his meat locally. It is interesting to see how his growing up in a rural indigenous community has affected his meat consumption (they raise it and eat every part of an animal when it is slaughtered). It remains to be seen what happens when we have kids but I love having these conversations!

2 Likes

Thanks for sharing. I don’t have many vegetarians around me (some distant relatives, but no friends), so it’s nice to hear about your experience with your kids. Your second son is quite unique, lo, most picky eaters I know don’t like most veggies instead and prefer meat and snacks.

1 Like