Advantages of Being Vegetarian What to Feed
Advantages of Being Vegetarian What to Feed Your Vegetarian Baby it is understood that the earliest food for any baby, including a vegan baby, is breast milk. “It benefits your baby’s immune system, offers protection against infection, and reduces the risk of allergies.” (“What to Feed your Vegetarian Baby – WELLNISITY”)
Be especially careful that you are getting enough vitamin B-12 when breastfeeding. Also, ensure your infant receives at least 30 minutes of sunlight exposure per week to stimulate the body to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D, since human milk contains extremely low levels. (“Food Tips and Recipes”)
The iron content of breast milk is also generally low, no matter how good the mother’s diet is. The iron which is in breast milk is readily absorbed by the infant, however. The iron in breast milk is adequate for the first 4 to 6 months or longer. “After the age of six months, iron supplements are introduced.” (“VEGETARIAN HEALTHY WAY”)
Soy milk, rice milk, and homemade formulas should not be used to replace breast milk or commercial infant formula during the first year. “These foods do not contain the proper ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, nor do they have enough vitamins and minerals to be used as a significant part of the diet in the first year.” (“Feeding Vegan Kids — The Vegetarian Resource Group”)
“Many people use iron-fortified infant rice cereal as the first food.” (“How to Feed an Infant a Vegan Diet – One Green Planet”) Cereal can be mixed with expressed breast milk or soy formula, so the consistency is thin. Formula or breast milk feedings should continue as usual. Start with one cereal feeding daily and work up to two meals daily or 1/3 to 1/2 cup. Oats, barley, corn, and other grains can be ground in a blender and then cooked until incredibly soft and smooth. These cereals can be introduced one at a time. However, they do not contain much iron, so iron supplements should be continued. (“What to Feed your Vegetarian Baby – WELLNISITY”)
When a baby becomes used to cereals, fruit, fruit juice, and vegetables can be introduced. Fruits and vegetables should be well mashed or puréed. Mashed banana or avocado, applesauce, and puréed canned peaches or pears are all good choices. Mild vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, and green beans should be cooked well and mashed. (“VEGETARIAN HEALTHY WAY”) Grain foods such as soft, cooked pasta or rice, soft breads, dry cereals, and crackers can be added when baby becomes better at chewing.
“How did our family traditions become centered around eating meat?” (“Veggies Life – How did our family traditions become …”) Think about it. When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of turkey. If we eat pork, then New Year’s celebrations often revolve around pork and sauerkraut. (“Keto Trends”) At Christian Easter, the traditional meal is ham. “And in the summer, we wait for that first hamburger or steak on the grill.” (“Healthy Diet – Home”)
How did that happen to a species that was designed to eat vegetables and fruits, nuts, berries, and legumes?
We can imagine that eating meat was initially an opportunistic event, born of the need to survive. The taste of cooked meat, plus the sustained energy that came from eating high-fat meat products made primitive sense even to earliest man. (“How Did We Become Meat Eaters?”)
Initially, finding cooked animal meat, from a forest fire, would have been cause for celebration. It is something everyone in a clan would have participated in eating together. “When man learned to hunt and moved to a hunting orientation, rather than a hunter-gatherer orientation, he would have done this in groups.” (“How Did We Become Meat Eaters? – wideworldoffood.com”) They would have had to hunt in teams and killing an animal for food would have been a group effort. Hunting and killing an animal meant food not just for the individual, but for the clan, and would have been cause for celebration when the hunters brought the food home.
If they brought the animal back to the clan, it would have taken a group effort to skin the animal and tear or cut the meat from the carcass. “Everyone would have participated in this, and subsequently, shared in the rewards of their work.” (“FINE BOX”)
It is easy to see how, once we did not have to hunt for meat, but could buy it, the need for gathering and celebration was deeply ingrained in our nature. We celebrate the seasons and life’s events with family and friends, and because those early celebrations involved eating meat, that tradition has continued to modern times. (“FINE BOX”)
Variety Is the Spice of Your Vegetarian Child’s Diet
Eating habits are set in early childhood. Choosing a vegetarian diet can give your child—and your whole family—the opportunity to gain experience to enjoy a variety of wonderful, nutritious foods. (“Lose 30 Pounds In 30 Days… HCG Body for Life! October 2012”) Offer your child a wide variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and soy products, keep it simple and make it fun, and they will learn good eating habits that will last them a lifetime.
Children raised on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes grow up to be slimmer, healthier, and even live longer than their meat-eating friends. It is much easier to build a nutritious diet from plant foods than from animal products, which contain saturated fat, cholesterol, and other substances that growing children can do without. As for essential nutrients, plant foods are the preferred source because they provide sufficient energy and protein packaged with other health-promoting nutrients such as fiber, antioxidant vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. (“Choosing A Vegetarian Diet for Your Child – Streetdirectory”)
The complex carbohydrates found in whole grains, beans, and vegetables provide the ideal energy to fuel a child’s busy life. Encouraging the consumption of brown rice, whole wheat breads and pastas, rolled oats, and corn, as well as the less common grains barley, quinoa, millet, and others, will boost the fiber and nutrient content of a child’s diet. In addition, it will help steer children away from desiring sugary sweet drinks and treats. (“Choosing A Vegetarian Diet for Your Child – Streetdirectory”)
And though children need protein to grow, they do not need high-protein, animal-based foods. “Different varieties of grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits supplies plenty of protein, making protein deficiency very unlikely.” (“VEGETARIAN HEALTHY WAY”)
Incredibly young children need a bit healthier fat in their diets than their parents. Healthier fat sources include soybean products, avocados, and nut butter. Parents will want to make sure their child’s diet includes a regular source of vitamin B-12, which is needed for healthy nerve function and blood. Vitamin B-12 is abundant in many commercial cereals, fortified soy and rice milks, and nutritional yeast. Growing children also need iron found in a variety of beans and green, leafy vegetables and when coupled with the vitamin C in fruits and vegetables, iron absorption is enhanced.
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist
See Tomorrow: “Putting Your Vegetarian Toddler on The Fast Track to Health”
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