Tuesday, September 3, 2013

raising a black vegan baby???

black vegan?  black vegan baby?

i don't usually like to preface things with the word "black".  but sometimes to make my point, i want to mention it because it sheds some light on the feelings and support or lack thereof I get when i have certain ideas or practices that are atypical to my "blackness".  For example, on holidays, special occasions, or at least once a week, traditional African-American families eat "soul food" which is high in fatty meats, cheeses, oils, butters, and overcooked vegetables soaked in animal fat, salt, butter, etc.  Don't get me wrong, the stuff is good, and many other people from part take in these indulgences, but considering the obesity epidemic, heart disease, and other problems associated with this type of diet, we decided to avoid it all together.

hence our black vegan baby...

my mother and other family members sometimes worry about me and my "ideas".  i usually have to preface things I mention to her by saying "now i know what you're going to say, but here me out..."

me and hubby had an informal checklist for raising our first born:

breastfeed for at least a year. check.
cloth diaper and hand-wash and line dry. check.
make homemade organic baby food. check.
stay away from vaccines. check.
decide on a diet for our little lady???

we're still trying to work that out.  as of now she's a vegan. i'm not even a vegan (i'm trying to get there), but the baby is quite content with her diet of veggies, fruits, nuts, nut milks, and beans.  She self-weaned after 16 months of breastfeeding during which I also pumped milk. I had hoped to breastfeed or
least have a supply until she was 2 but she wasn't interested in nursing especially after she discovered walking and running around and my pumped supply didn't last very long. While I wanted to avoid formula all together, I did break down when we went on vacation and found organic formula for her to have something in lieu of my breast milk. I started with Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula and then switched to Baby’s Only Organic Formula which I found to be a little more agreeable. My husband was against formula and spending money on it especially since we had gone over a year on FREE breast milk and thought her nutritional needs could now be met with food since she had grown some teeth and was very interested
in eating. So after a couple months on the organic formulas, we did some research and came up with a menu where she could get all the amounts of vitamins she needed. She now gets more than enough whole, grains, protein, calcium, Omega 3, Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C through all the different fruits, veggies, nut milks, whole grain breads and cereals she eats. And boy, does she love to eat!  Here’s a sample menu I left for my mother to use when me and hubby went away for a week trip.

Leena-Deen Vegan Food Menu

I think its a great menu to start off with and as she gets older, we can add new dishes. Is she missing out on yogurts and cheeses, ice creams and other "treats" kids enjoy.  not really, since she's never had it and we occassionally give her the dairy free ice creams and treats.  Of course we don't want her to be that weird kid in school that can't eat anything, but my hope is that healthy and conscious eating will become more mainstream so she won't be the odd girl out. Our main objective is for her to be healthy and avoid the toxic GMOs, hormones, and other gross chemicals found in meat, dairy, and other processed and packaged foods and beverages.  Additionally, I don't want her to develop bad allergies, mucous buildup, ear infections, and other bodily function problems which I suffered from as a kid due to my un-diagnosed sensitivity to diary and wheat.  I know there is organic and free range milk, eggs, and meat products, but her diet is complete.  Take a look at this vegan food pyramid.

We are considering introducing organic eggs or wild fish into her diet.  This will likely be after my husband gets his dream farm and we can raise our own chickens and go fishing. But for now, she’s very content with her vegan meals.  I'll be posting some of her favorite dishes so stay tuned.

What do you feed your little ones?

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