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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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    What about infants and children?
    How do I ensure that my 10 month old gets enough B12?
    Can a vegetarian and a meat-eater successfully raise vegetarian children without making the meat-eater appear 'evil'?
    How do give a brief explanation to my toddler on why we don't eat the same things as "other people"?
    Can a baby be weaned on a diet with no meat nor fish?
    Is breastfeeding vegan?
    Is it possible to give a child too much tofu?
    What vegetarian fast foods are available for teenagers?
What about infants and children?
According to the American Dietetic Association, vegetarian diets can meet all nitrogen needs and amino acid requirements for growth. A vegan diet, to be on the safe side, should be well planned, and probably include fortified soy milk. If you live in a cold climate and you don't intend to get your child out in the sun a lot after you finish breastfeeding then a vegan source of vitamin D should be added to their diet.

Children need more of the essential fatty acids than adults so a bit more fat in their diet is a good idea. Also keep the fiber content down, their under-developed digestive systems can't handle it. Generally the energy content of their meals should be higher than for adults. You should also ensure that they get a regular supply of B12.

How do I ensure that my 10 month old gets enough B12?
from a member of ivu-sci The authors of Becoming Vegetarian recommend that breast-fed vegan infants should receive a supplement of at least 0.5 micrograms (mcg) a day for the first year of life and 0.7 mcg per day for the second year. If the baby is formula-fed and/or the mother is lacto-ovo-vegetarian supplements should not be necessary.

For an excellent discussion of vegetarian nutrition in the growing years see Becoming Vegetarian by Melina, Davis & Harrison, Book Publishing Company, 1995.

Can a vegetarian and a meat-eater successfully raise vegetarian children without making the meat-eater appear 'evil'?
from a reader in Portugal: I believe so. I, for instance, do not see my non-veg friends (the majority of my friends, actually) and my entire family (not-veg at all) as 'evil'. The issue lies on the fact that it is not really 'normal' to have an alternative lifestyle. Regarding children, I believe they can learn from the interaction that occurs between his/her's educators and non-veg people. One could show a small children that grandpa and grandma are nice to them (the rest of the family) and that the fact that they eat animals doesn't make them evil - it just shows them as people that do not (yet) see that animals suffer and that they don't need to eat them. I haven't tested this kind of aproach (or any kind, actually).

How do give a brief explanation to my toddler on why we don't eat the same things as "other people"?

Can a baby be weaned on a diet with no meat nor fish?


Is breastfeeding vegan?
Don't be silly! Of course it is. It harms no creature (don't tell my wife I said that) and provides vital sustenance for another. Vegan mothers commonly breast feed for longer periods of time than other mothers, as they are unwilling to use dairy based infant supplements. Vegan infant formulas are available now.

Is it possible to give a child too much tofu?
from a member of ivu-sci Yes, just as it is possible to give a child too much candy, etc etc. General advice would be to give a child a variety of nutritious foods, avoiding too much bulk in the diet as little stomachs cannot cope with large quantities of dietary fibre as well as adults can.

What vegetarian fast foods are available for teenagers?
- from a reader in the USA: We found SUBWAY to have several veggie alternatives - the veggie sub and a garden burger type sandwich. WENDY's has the pita salad sandwiches, ask for no cheese if vegan. TACO BELL - the plain ol' bean burrito will do in a pinch. Ask for no sour cream if vegan.
- but another US reader disagrees: Under vegetarian fast foods you have Wendy's veggie pitas listed . . . unfortunately, this is incorrect; the Wendy's dressing that is on the veggie pita contains gelatin, so it is not actually vegetarian. Also, you mentioned that at Taco Bell vegans should order without sour cream--the sour cream/guacamole at Taco Bell ALSO contains gelatin, and so should be avoided by both vegans and vegetarians alike.
- and another US reader says: For strict vegans, fast food restaurants can be difficult -- but not impossible. McDonald's should receive the award for worst vegan (and vegetarian) selection, as their french fries are pre-coated with beef fat (deemed "natural flavoring") and even some of their salad dressings contain anchovies in them. For vegan fast-food, the best bets would be the Vegetarian Whopper (no cheese, substitute mustard for mayo) at Burger King (NOTE: this item is usually not listed on the menu, but it always available), the Veggie Delight cold sub at Subway on white bread (wheat bread contains honey, deli rolls contain egg) without cheese and without mayo, and also a bean burrito (no cheese, no sour cream, add lettuce, add tomato) or a taco salad (no meat, no sour cream, no cheese) at Taco Bell. Be advised that fried foods at many fast-food restaurants are fried in the same vats with meats (so technically most are not vegan). Also, many vegans are unaware that Wendy's Veggie Pita Pocket! is NOT vegan as the pita bread contains dairy and so does the sauce. Since Wendy's sandwich buns all contain whey (a dairy product), many vegans just stick to the Wendy's salad bar (NOTE: premade salads all contain cheese), which contains a notable vegan selection.
- all the above comments only relate to the USA, the same businesses often work in different ways in other countries....