Pin It
Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Should We Raise Our Child Vegetarian?

By
raising-our-daughter-vegetarian/ © lunamarina

One of the first things you do when your child is born is feed them—put them to your breast—nature’s own perfect formula. Good nutrition is the most basic element, along with love, that your child needs in order to flourish.

 
When my daughter Amrita was an infant, I had to be very careful with what I ate or her stomach would get upset.  At first it was hard because she was sensitive to almost everything, but I began to enjoy the process of being very aware of every little thing I put in my body. I felt very healthy.  It brought to mind the saying, “Your body is a temple,” but now my body was not just my temple, but a vessel through which the well-being of my daughter was channeled.  It is such a powerful connection when mother and child are linked energetically as well as nutritionally.

 
It is said that a mother and child at first share the same energetic aura, as if they are one person.  A child receives their security and protection through the mother.  I would often awaken right before Amrita would when she was little, and I always feel my heart pulled in her direction, no matter where she is.  Little by little as a child grows, he or she becomes more independent energetically.  The same transition occurs with food, as a child begins to eat more and nurse less.

 
My mother was always very health conscious about what she fed my brother and I—hardly any sugar when we were little, lots of fruits and veggies and to our chagrin, only whole wheat bread.  As a parent myself I have largely followed in her footsteps, although I am slightly less strict about sugar.  One question that came up for my husband and I was whether we should raise Amrita as a vegetarian.  My father ate meat and my mother was a vegetarian, so I always had the option to explore both paths.  For many years I found that eating fish best fit my body.  When I was pregnant, I ate meat because of very strong cravings for it.  I still on occasion eat a little meat because the cravings have not subsided, but it is something I feel very duplicitous about.  On one side, I feel that I should listen to my body, but I also feel slightly sickened about eating another being.  I am also very careful to eat only free-range.

 
My husband was raised vegetarian.  In many Yogic traditions, one does not eat meat, drink alcohol or ingest any other stimulating substance, because the goal is for the body to be as pure as possible for meditation.  Some people believe that when you eat meat, you absorb the karma of the animal in question.  Other schools of thought assert that if an animal experienced fear when it died, you are eating the chemicals that its body released when it was afraid.

 
We decided that we would start out raising Amrita as a vegetarian, and when she was old enough to understand the origin of meat, she could decide if she wanted to eat it.  One day when she was around a year and a half old, she grabbed a piece of salmon off my plate and plopped it in her mouth.  I waited to see how she would react.  Her mouth broke into an enormous grin of satisfaction and she proceeded to eat every last morsel off my plate.  She asked me what it was.  I told her it was fish and tried to explain a little about it.  I still wasn’t sure what I should do because her understanding of what she was eating was obviously not very clear, but she began asking me for fish almost every day.  I felt that it agreed with her physically and it was healthy for her, so I have continued to feed her fish on a regular basis.

 
As Amrita grows, we help her to understand where her food comes from; not just meat and fish, but everything she eats.  She loves to learn about how orange juice doesn’t just come from a container at Trader Joe’s, but how an orange grows on a tree and needs sunlight and water to survive.   As her understanding expands, so will her knowledge of the resources needed to bring that orange juice to the table and its effect on the health and energy of her body—her temple, her altar.

© 2011 – 2013, Alessandra Dobrin Khalsa. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


The African Guide to Co-sleeping

10 must-read tips on co-sleeping from Africa

All I Want for Christmas is Perfectly Bilingual Children

Why OPOL has been harder than we thought.

How Bilingualism Can Fail in Multilingual Families

It’s easy to raise bilingual kids when you speak a second language, right? Wrong.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Alessandra Dobrin Khalsa was raised in New York and Amsterdam. She is a filmmaker and writer, and a co-founder of SeeThrough Films and Prana Projects. Alessandra lives in Santa Fe, NM, with her daughter Amrita, stepson Siri and her husband Ditta. Their approach to parenting draws on their backgrounds of Sikh tradition and yogic technology.

Leave us a comment!

2 Comments
  1. CommentsAruna   |  Thursday, 28 July 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Here is a great book for kids on the topic: Vegetarian Book for Kids

  2. Commentsclaire niala   |  Saturday, 30 July 2011 at 12:13 pm

    it sounds like you have the right balance given that you are not vegetarian yourself.









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon

More The Religious Life of Children