Raising vegan kids…as if raising kids isn’t a challenge enough.


Ugh. Life would be easier if you didn’t care about the morality of eating animals and the health hazards of the standard American diet, or if you are like me your kids are seriously allergic to dairy. Chances are, it’s at least two of the three.

Across every culture, kids love animals. They really love and care about animals on an instinctive level. That’s why we hide where meat and dairy actually comes from as well as the abuse they go through before they’re killed. As your kids start asking questions, you can couch your answers about why you eat what you eat by using their natural love of animals.

Having vegan kids, it’s astounding how many people can’t wrap their heads around not abusing animals in order to raise kids.

The most common crap you’ll have to deal with is people that instantly become PhD nutritionists the second they find out your child is vegan. It’s simply astounding how freaked out people are when you raise your children without the rape and murder of animals. Astounding.

Mind you, people get crazy judgemental when you raise children. You don’t realize how much shade is thrown ever, until you have kids. My God, it’s insane how snarky and evil people are to each other when it comes to parenting decisions. I’ve seen ugly fights break out over something as simple as hairstyles. Insane.

However, add the insane irrationality behind carnists and add it to parenting, you have a truly perfect storm of craziness.

For the most part, my goal as a parent of vegans is to avoid the stupidity whenever possible. I don’t talk about food with friends and family for the most part. This is especially true if I’m in a restaurant. Luckily, I can avoid a lot of the hassle and hurly burly since my kids are very allergic to dairy products and that cuts a LOT of the carnist junk on restaurant menus.

Yet, still, we hear a lot of crap like “a man’s gotta eat meat” “only girls eat salads” “you need meat to grow”. Blah blah blah.

However, I have come up with some tools for dealing with ignorant people in your life that give you crap about raising vegan kids.

To Be Forewarned, Is To Be Forearmed

You need to know that you’ll hear crap from people 10x about the diet your kids are eating compared to what you hear as an adult that mentions you’re vegan. At 10x, I honestly may be understating what you’ll hear.

People are going to quite seriously question your ability to raise your own children. It’s going to happen. A lot. Mostly because people don’t have a really good grasp of the scientifically proven benefits of a vegan diet. Part of it is also that they think you’re smug and self righteous since you aren’t killing things in order to let your children thrive. Worst of all, you may find your pediatrician is incredibly set against your lifestyle. So, you need to make sure you know about the common questions ares of the vegan diet
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates & Fat
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • etc

And, never forget that people are very sensitive about food decisions and about their personal methods of parenting. When you combine these two into raising vegan children and vegan parenting, you could create an explosive atmosphere. In most situations, I think it’s best to keep discussions with non-vegan parents neutral and as far away from the food topic as possible. If you make very little fuss, they are much more likely to be accepting and go out of their way to make you (and more importantly, your children) feel comfortable in social situations.

Training The Next Generation

Your kids are going to have to make their own choices at some point. Yes, we don’t necessarily like seeing our kids grow up and make mistakes on their own but it will happen. Make sure your kids understand why you are vegan since they’ll hear the same crap from kids that you hear as an adult. Just like with your religious or political belief system, make sure they know right from wrong and why right is right etc so that when they are confronted, they can explain themselves. You don’t want robots spouting out the stuff you say, you want them to have a deep and real understanding of why they live cruelty free.

Easy Is As Easy Does

Make eating cruelty free as easy as possible on your kids. Send them to school with food that looks like the food the other kids are eating. Sure, they can eat healthy sandwiches and pizza, even hamburgers. Having been a teacher, I can confirm that kids are cruel. The more your kids sticks out, the harder they will have it. In grade school, it’s really tough as you usually have cakes brought by parents on birthdays or for classroom parties. You’ll have to make some cake for them to take on those days or offer to cater the classroom parties. Either that or you’ll need to deal with them eating non-vegan food. You don’t want to become “that parent” that makes a ton of demands on the other parents. Yes, make your voice heard but don’t become a jerk.

Doing the right thing will take some extra work.

Make Like A Rhino

The more you deal with other parents the more you’ll deal with crap. You need to develop the skin of your fellow vegan the rhino. Learn to either know when to say something or learn to laugh the stupid back biting and criticism from ignorant people off. There will be plenty of it no matter how you raise your kid.

Make Like An Elephant

Another vegan animal you should model yourself after is the elephant. Unless you are Nimia Delgado and reading this (hi Nimia!), chances are you ate meat or dairy one point in your life. Almost every vegan at some point of their life thought that you couldn’t live without meat or dairy. Sure, you eventually figured the right thing out but other people aren’t there yet. So, keep that in mind always and try to treat people with dignity and respect, two things you are probably not receiving in return.

Make Like A Gorilla

Rounding out the list of vegan animals you should learn from is the gorilla. Gorillas are incredibly social animals and have tight knit communities. Unless you are incredibly lucky, you’re probably going to have to work hard to create your own community. You are not alone, though it sure may feel like it.

You need to get to know other vegan parents. Facebook has some good vegan parenting communities. I won’t mention specifics but I am a member of a few and I’ve found that some are more drama free than others. So, take some time. I do STRONGLY recommend that you choose a group that is private. That way your business and discussions are private. Remember, we talked earlier about how judgmental people get when discussing children and veganism.

MeetUp.com can actually be a source of vegan parenting groups. Check them out and it may surprise you how many small towns have groups of vegan parents or vegan groups in general.

Um, you mentioned “great”, I don’t see great

Actually, even with all the hurly burly and consternation that living an ethical life adds, having vegan kids is pretty darn great. Why? For one, they’ll be much healthier than your average kids that grow up on the SAD diet. Your kid will marvel adults when they choose something reasonable when the other kids are wanting serving #1,000,000 of chicken strips and french fries. You also can feel great knowing that you’ve helped equip them not make the same (ok, being honest we’re only equipping them to make fewer) mistakes about animals that you made.

Healthy, happy, and ethical kids. How can that not be great?!

What sort of things do you find make it easier raising your children vegan? Let me know below!