Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Raising Vegetarian

I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about when I’m going to blog again.  My answer is usually something to the effect of “When I have time to start cooking something original again.”  This summer has not been the idyllic slow-paced, relax in the sun kind of summer.  Instead it was full of busy days at work, three nights of sports most weeks, and rushed dinners.  I felt lucky to get a menu plan for the week, as opposed to the ugly reality of grocery shopping every other day.  My humble apologies, dear readers.

Now that school is back in session, I feel like we can finally get back to a routine of planning ahead and taking a little more time to enjoy kitchen experiments.  We’ll see how long that lasts 🙂  In the meantime, I’d like to share some good news about raising a vegetarian child.

So often when people hear that Will is a vegetarian, their first response is “How does he get enough iron? Won’t he be anemic if he doesn’t eat meat?”  Many times people are also concerned that he just won’t grow.  (Obviously those people have never met his father.  With 6’6″ genes, Will has no choice but to grow tall.)

I admit, some of these fears got to me.  I started to worry that he maybe also inherited my susceptibility to iron deficiency.  I sometimes worry that he’s not going to gain enough weight.  I’ve never worried about his height; the kid recently grew two inches in two months, and I can always count on him growing out of his clothes before the weather changes.  Needless to say, when his recent well-child visit came due, there was a little bit of anxiety on my part.

Happily, he had an excellent check-up, as usual.  He is super tall and skinny, just like both his parents at that age.  He had an appropriate weight gain and off-the-charts growth in height (surprise!).  When the doctor learned that Will is vegetarian, he quizzed him about what foods he eats.  Apparently this got a pass as well, from the smile on the doc’s face.  Just to be safe, a blood draw was done to check for anemia.  I patiently fretted, I mean waited, for the results to come back.  And guess what?  His iron levels are perfect.  He is one amazingly healthy boy!

That is all the proof that I need that a vegetarian diet is not only acceptable, but even healthy for children.  It’s comforting to know that he is developing great eating habits that will last him a lifetime.  Even more than that, he’s reducing his chances of hereditary heart disease by more-or-less eliminating the problem foods and substituting extra servings of the healthy stuff.  Whose 8-year-old begs for more broccoli?  Mine does!

Now tell me that isn’t the image of health!


August 31, 2011 - Posted by | Food for thought, Recipes

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