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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:55 am 
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Should I allow her to become a vegetarian or insist she fall in with the family's eating plans? she is 12 years old btw. She seems quite committed and has watched too many youtube vids detailing outrages against animals and the like. She is even telling me she will eat 'just the vegetables' on Christmas Day! :o

It seems more than just a whim; she has been talking about it for a long time. In theory I am not opposed to the idea but I suppose I am looking at it from a selfish POV, having to cook separate meals and so on.

WWYD ?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:53 am 
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I would be concerned that apart from having to plan and cook separate meals (which is a massive pain) that as a non vegetarian yourself you need to get to grips with what she needs to eat to to replace the nutritional value of the missing meat. No mean feat from what I gather...
What about suggesting that you all as a family eat vegetarian two or three days a week, which would be in total more meat free meals eaten in the house than just her becoming vegetarian - would that work?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:53 am 
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Ooh this is a complicated one. Loads of children of her age decide they want to be vegetarian. As someone who was vegetarian myself for a while in my teens and twenties, and has a child (much older than your daughter and not living at home) who would be vegetarian but can't for medical reasons right now, I can understand this. And as a parent who has to cook family meals, I can see it from the other side too.

Firstly, I wouldn't let a 12 year old be deciding unilaterally what she would and would not eat. Unless she is prepared to take over the family budget and meal preparation, she needs to see that any decision she takes is going to have bigger implications for you than for her. Cooking balanced vegetarian meals is really rather hard - does she enjoy beans and pulses, tofu, etc? - because it can't be done just by dropping the meat from 'normal' meals.

Secondly, she is 12. She is going to need a whole lot of protein, iron and calcium over the next 4-5 years. Iron and protein, obviously; calcium because she needs to lay down bone mass in the 2 years before and the 2 years after starting her periods to try and offset osteoporosis later. The nutritional implications of becoming veggie at this age are probably greater for a girl than at any other she could choose! That is a really big deal for whoever is cooking for her.

So here is what we do here. We have always eaten a lot of vegetarian food and didn't want to stop that when we had children. So we often cook a hardcore vegetarian dish and when the children were little we would serve maybe some chicken pieces, cheese or even sausages with it, to make sure they got their iron and also because some very beany/pulsy dishes are very filling so they wouldn't really eat enough to get the nutrients they needed. Gradually as they got older they didn't need the additional protein any more so we phased it out. Now we probably eat two or three totally vegetarian meals a week and the rest are generally very veg heavy.

If you can spare the time, what I would suggest is trying to do one or two 'proper' vegetarian meals a week and see how you get on. I think it is essential that your daughter herself gets involved in the planning and preparation of these so she can see what is involved. It can be much harder work - I buy dried pulses as we don't like the taste of the tinned ones, and they need soaking and boiling, for example. Some of the delicious aubergine dishes need a lot of prep. But if she is going to be healthy, she needs to be able to embrace some of the more challenging ingredients and cooking techniques. She needs to learn about complete proteins and the difficulties of making sure she gets a complete range of the nutrients she would lose by dropping animal products. If you start slowly, and say OK look, we will meet you halfway but you have to help, and on the other days I expect you to eat what I cook, then maybe this will evolve naturally one way or the other.

The other thing I would say is that I too have massive issues with the standards of animal welfare and will only buy humanely farmed meat and eggs. We have a good butcher and a farm shop and while the costs can be marginally higher, if you use less of it and more veg, it goes a long way. Perhaps you can address some of her conscience concerns without consigning your entire family to a life of lentils and rice!

PS - had a wicked vegan chickpea curry last night, one of our favourites, so if you need any recipes... :)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:14 am 
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piggys wrote:
Should I allow her to become a vegetarian or insist she fall in with the family's eating plans? she is 12 years old btw. She seems quite committed and has watched too many youtube vids detailing outrages against animals and the like. She is even telling me she will eat 'just the vegetables' on Christmas Day! :o

It seems more than just a whim; she has been talking about it for a long time. In theory I am not opposed to the idea but I suppose I am looking at it from a selfish POV, having to cook separate meals and so on.

WWYD ?


Its second nature to us with many in the family and extended family being vegetarians.All have been non vegetarians at some point in their lives.In respect of my youngest who is now 13 its been driven by her love for animals of all sorts.She even hates to see their relics in museums.I suppose in Asian families we may have a greater choice of vegetarian cuisine.There are many days when we have purely vegetarian meals.It doesn't bother me as non vegetarian.I suppose this is because I was a vegetarian until I was 14 traumatised by seeing a headless hen running around in a farmyard.

With our youngest daughter as she develops into a young woman my wife is careful in ensuring she gets various food supplements.These include vitamins,iron,zinc and omega 3 tablets.On the latter there may be a compromise on her veganism temporarily.I think you will have to be careful that your daughter is developing a healthy attitude to food and vegetarianism is a completely rational attitude as some girls start limiting the amount they eat to extremes.

At the age of 12 your dd is entitled to her views on what she eats.We celebrate Xmas and there are plenty of vegetarian options available to go with the vegetables.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:22 am 
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Location: Reading
My take would be similar to Amber’s in that I’d expect her to make an effort to make her own meals etc (but Amber says this sort of stuff better than me).

A note on Quasi’s post though about supplements. Please take care with them. Certainly please do not take iron supplements unless you have had your iron levels tested.
Haemochromatosis (iron overload) is on of the most common genetic disorders in the UK and can present with similar symptons as anaemia. However it can cause serious damage liver, heart and other organs.
If you think you are anaemic, get yourself tested first. Don’t just assume you might be and take iron ‘just in case’.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:38 am 
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Tinkers wrote:
My take would be similar to Amber’s in that I’d expect her to make an effort to make her own meals etc (but Amber says this sort of stuff better than me).

A note on Quasi’s post though about supplements. Please take care with them. Certainly please do not take iron supplements unless you have had your iron levels tested.
Haemochromatosis (iron overload) is on of the most common genetic disorders in the UK and can present with similar symptons as anaemia. However it can cause serious damage liver, heart and other organs.
If you think you are anaemic, get yourself tested first. Don’t just assume you might be and take iron ‘just in case’.


That is very sensible advice.The need to take your GP's/Consultants advice is essential.

This is an area I know a lot about as someone who has had both blood transfusions and iron infusions on more than one occasion.

_________________
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:08 am 
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I am trying to increase our proportion of vegetarian meals per week and am struggling though using quorn mince etc does make it a lot easier. We eat a lot of pulses - chickpeas etc but one of my children is a lot less keen than the other on those.
I see a lot of vegetarian teenagers with poor nutrition but when I ask them their favourite vegetables they usually say they don't like any. They seem to survive on chips and beans. I point out that there's a clue in the name!
I have plenty of Indian friends who are vegetarian for religious reasons and seem to have no problems planning/cooking meals and staying healthy. (Rice has good iron content). So I guess it can be done but I agree with Amber, just removing the meat from the plate is not balanced enough.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:29 am 
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loobylou wrote:
(Rice has good iron content)
I hate to argue with you as you are a doctor and I am not, but are you sure about this? As I understand it white rice, which most people eat, has virtually no bioavailable iron and brown rice only a tiny bit. I think some of the wild rices do better.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 2X05000416 though you can't get to the main article without academic access, which you probably have.

I have never used any kind of meat substitute like quorn. We found the best way to get them eating vegetarian food was to serve it as I said above, as a kind of side dish for them and a main for us. They got used to the tastes then but also picked up the message that for us it was a complete meal. (Joanna Blythman, in 'The Food our Children eat' says that a child needs to try a food 7 times to know if they like it or not, and 'trying' does not mean one little mouthful. Most parents give up long before that). We cook lots of Asian food tbh.

One of our vegetarian friends eats only jacket potatoes, cheese, bought pizza and bought pasta sauces. Always unwell, very pale, no surprise.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:36 am 
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Amber wrote:
loobylou wrote:
(Rice has good iron content)
I hate to argue with you as you are a doctor and I am not, but are you sure about this? As I understand it white rice, which most people eat, has virtually no bioavailable iron and brown rice only a tiny bit. I think some of the wild rices do better.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 2X05000416 though you can't get to the main article without academic access, which you probably have.

I have never used any kind of meat substitute like quorn. We found the best way to get them eating vegetarian food was to serve it as I said above, as a kind of side dish for them and a main for us. They got used to the tastes then. (Joanna Blythman, in 'The Food our Children eat' says that a child needs to try a food 7 times to know if they like it or not, and 'trying' does not mean one little mouthful. Most parents give up long before that). We cook lots of Asian food tbh.

One of our vegetarian friends eats only jacket potatoes, cheese, bought pizza and bought pasta sauces. Always unwell, very pale, no surprise.

You might be right. I remember learning that "fact" long ago but admit I've not verified it :oops:
One of my children would be delighted if all meals were meat, potatoes and vegetables (with the odd curry now and then). The other could be vegetarian tomorrow (except for bacon!) and loves all stews/sauces etc; her favourite meal would be a vegetarian chilli.
Obviously there needs to be compromise but I've realised lately we tend to cater far more to the carnivore child and maybe he needs to start compromising more!


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:45 am 
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I have been vegetarian for 25 years and eldest DD has been veggie since she was 13 (she’s now nearly 18). It’s perfectly possible to have a balanced, varied diet as a vegetarian just as it’s possible to be deficient in minerals and vitamins as a non-vegetarian. DD recently had to have blood tests and had no diet-related deficiencies at all. It’s easy to adapt most recipes to be veggie once you get used to it (which I guess I am after 25 years!)

Just to add, DD was influenced by her friends rather than me to become vegetarian. The family diet is balanced out by DS who seems to be allergic to anything resembling a vegetable other than peas and sweet corn :?


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