So often I am asked by readers, “I want to raise our kids Vegan but my husband won’t allow it”. Obviously this issue could also concern men who want to go Vegan as a family. But so far, I have only been contacted by women with this problem.
First I want to make clear that I do not judge a parent for being weary of feeding their children a plant based diet. We are a meat & dairy obsessed society. Most of us grew up on milk, cheese, hamburgers & chicken tenders. Our mothers & grandmothers made delicious home cooked meals like meatloaf and mac & cheese that will always be close to our hearts. Our fathers cooked ribs & hot dogs on the grill every summer. Food means more to most people than just nourishment. Food represents our childhoods, our family, our heritage, our most cherished memories. How can you blame people people for not wanting to give all of this up?
The good thing is, veganism does not require that we erase our childhood memories of special meals. Even I smile when I think of my mom’s tuna casserole. And I’m not ashamed to say it. What your spouse needs to understand is, plant based foods are not only extremely healthy, but they can be delicious & satisfying as well.
Spaghetti dinners & pizza night are here to stay, and veggie burgers are amazing cooked on the grill. Childhood is still fun & memorable without animal products in our children’s diets. The food we feed them may be different than the food our parent’s fed us, but their childhood memories will be just as special. I imagine my children will think back fondly on my tempeh piccata with mashed potatoes and my fettucini with kale walnut pesto.
Dad may also worry that having a Vegan child will ensure that his son will be the scrawny kid, chosen last for dodgeball. Of course this is ridiculous, but many people still associate protein with meat. The great thing is, that plant based diets offer us loads of protein. Truthfully, many people are getting too much protein from their Standard American Diet (SAD diet) and this can lead to major health consequences.
I recommend compiling as much current information about the benefits of vegan diets and sharing this information with your spouse. Encourage him to read books by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Watch Forks Over Knives or Vegucated together. Attend a veg conference, lecture or workshop. Explain about the cruelty of animal farming. If you are lucky maybe there is a vegan friendly nutritionist or dietitian in your area. The Vegan RD has loads of great information on her website.
Even if your spouse does not approve of a completely vegan diet for your children, I’m assuming that he does allow them to eat vegetables. So feed them as many plant based foods as possible!! Enjoy “Meatless Mondays” and try excluding meat, dairy and eggs from your child’s bagged lunch. Your children will benefit from this.
There is no magic answer to the question “how do I deal with my anti Vegan spouse”? Every relationship is different. If the kids are old enough, ask them what they want to do. Of course, you should never put them in the middle of the argument. At the very least, your Vegan lifestyle will be a great influence on your children, and they may follow in your footsteps when they are old enough to make their own decisions. ;)