Militant 7-year-old vegetarians

Accommodating new food preferences is manageable, but the fanaticism can be trying

PHOTOGRAPH BY ANDREW TOLSON

Photograph by Andrew Tolson

In the film Mommie Dearest, Hollywood legend Joan Crawford tries to force her adopted daughter to eat a piece of meat. “She negotiates everything like a goddamn Hollywood agent,” Crawford complains to her housekeeper. “Christina, eat your lunch. You are not getting up from this table until you have finished that meat.”

Two years ago in Vancouver, Carolye Kuchta’s six-year-old daughter Celia declared that she would no longer eat meat; her son had once made the same adamant pronouncement. Kuchta, a meat-eater, would never force her kids to eat meat but admits she had misgivings about the potential health risks of a meatless diet, and that switching to accommodate her kids’ food preferences was “pretty inconvenient at first.”

“Of course, as parents, we think it’s just a fad—like when Maxwell wanted to sleep on the floor in a tent forever, and that lasted a week.” Maxwell’s vegetarianism lasted six months. Celia was a different story. “She announced at the table one day that she was vegetarian, and that was it, there’s been no going back.” Celia turns nine in March. “She feels it’s her mission in life to help the planet and protect nature.”

Kuchta says her daughter’s righteousness was the greatest challenge at first. Celia is vigilant about keeping her vegetarian food far from the contamination of her mom’s meat dishes. “She would say, ‘I don’t want those beans because they were too close on that plate to where meat was.’ Or, ‘If that knife has touched meat you can’t put it on my plate.’ She won’t have anything that has a trace of chicken bouillon in it, not even organic chicken bouillon. Even if the spoon has gone into the pot that has organic chicken bouillon and then it’s gone into her pot, that’s not okay.”

For the first six months of Celia’s conversion, “she could not tolerate us saying the meat word,” says Kuchta. “We literally would have to say the m-word. ‘Maxwell, do you want m-word on your plate?’ ” When Celia was six, “We did have to have a small conversation about defining what the word fanatical means,” says Kuchta. “Now we can say the m-word. I try to support her ethics while not supporting her fanaticism.”

To help make meal preparation easier, Kuchta has educated her daughter on the difference between a protein and a carbohydrate. “I can say to her, ‘Maxwell and I are going to eat this. I would like you to look in the fridge or the cupboard and find a protein for yourself.’ So she’ll look around and say, ‘Actually, I feel like having an egg.’ I’ll say, ‘Okay,’ and cook her up an egg. ” Celia “really understands it quite well,” says Kuchta. “Occasionally, she’ll make a mistake. She’ll say, ‘I’ll have this as my protein,’ and I’ll have to point out it’s a carb.”

Jennifer McCann is a mother and the author of Vegan Lunch Box and Vegan Lunch Box Around the World. McCann tells parents, “If your child doesn’t want to eat meat, I think you should respect it and educate yourself a bit.” McCann says protein (found in nuts, beans, tofu) is essential to children’s diets. She suggests sitting down with the child and saying, “Tell me what vegetables you like and we’ll make a list.” The parent should then make a list of protein options, and ask the child, “Do you like this, do you like that?” “That’s the list you go shopping with,” she says.

Daisy Sharrock’s daughter Kyna became a vegetarian at age five. “It happened suddenly,” she says. “Once she cognitively knew what a bird was and realized this was chicken, she didn’t want to eat it.” Sharrock, a UBC grad now teaching math and chemistry in southern California, notes the irony of having a vegetarian daughter. She was raised on a farm on B.C.’s Denman Island, where her back-to-the-land father castrated his own pigs on the grounds that castration improves the taste of pork. For Sharrock, knowing where meat comes from is an enticement to eat it, not a reason to reject it.

At dinner, Sharrock “breaks out the beans and tofu” for Kyna, who, at lunch, is a “pretty solid peanut butter sandwich person. So far, she seems exceedingly healthy.” Like Kuchta, Sharrock has spoken to her seven-year-old daughter about her meatless zealotry. When Kyna pressures her parents to stop eating meat, “we push back,” says Sharrock. “We say, ‘This is a choice.’ ” Sharrock tells of the time at a restaurant when a friend ordered meat. “Well! I just lost my appetite,” Kyna said. “We told her, ‘No, you can’t take that tack. It’s not right to be saying such a thing at the table.’ ”




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Militant 7-year-old vegetarians

  1. My five year old wants to climb on the roof and pretend he's Spiderman. Do I dare bruise his blooming personhood and deny his wishes?

    • Do you have a deck on the roof with safe walls? If not No! But you might find a different safe way to encourage his creativity.
      (Don't be an a$$ vegitarian diet can lead to a healthier and longer life these kids are smart with great parent!)

    • Depends, is you r 5 year old annoyingly morally superior about his right to be Spiderman?

    • If going vegetarian were as dangerous as climbing on the roof and playing Spiderman, maybe you'd have a point.
      But vegetarianism tends to improve people's health, so your analogy is absolutely ridiculous.

      • I think the point behind the analogy was that parents are in charge, not the kids! Makes sense to me.

    • you're an idiot.

  2. Ya, this is stupid. Your kid is 6. Tell them to shut up and do what they're told.

  3. I think it is fantastic that these children are going vegetarian. You can't compare a child wanting to be spiderman to a child wanting to be vegetarian. Why do people have such a hostility toward vegetarians? Some people just don't want to eat animals and that is fine. I don't see why anyone has to get so upset about it as long as they aren't forcing you to change. The Omnivore parents are also educating their children to not condemn people on their food choices which is a positive thing.

    • The 'on the roof' part was a poor comparison, I agree. I wasn't intending to say vegetarianism is dangerous, so much as lampoon the tendency to hyper-coddle children. We seem to be increasingly allowing them to make adult-style decisions, while at the same time relieving them of consequences and responsibilities.

      • How is this relieving them of consequences and responsibilities? I think if you're going to deny your child of something, there should be a reason. If all it takes is a little research on the subject and your child is willing to follow whatever necessary guidelines you are putting on it, what's the problem? To say no simply because it may be a slight inconvenience to you or you're just overly closed-minded would be pretty crappy parenting.

  4. Go choke on some tofu.

  5. I think it's great that this kid is willing to make lifestyle changes based on principle. That's a stellar quality that can make for true greatness later in life.

    I happen to think the principle is off-base, but that's easily fixed. Just ask her if she's ever heard/read (can she read yet?) arguments from the other side. It would be foolish to make a decision after only hearing the prosecution's case, and I bet she's bright enough to appreciate that.

  6. Bravo! I think this article is fantastic. Vegetarianism will thrust these children away from obesity, heart disease, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Cancer, Toxins, GI Diseases and they will find themselves more commonly with an overall more healthy life.

    - Strong Hospital Staff

  7. Could she at least close the door on the fridge….

    • Nope. She's decided that 'closed in' food is no longer her favourite.

      • Now you're confusing vegans with folks who prefer free range over factory farm sources….;-)

        • Free range children? :)

          • Word association….free range children>>>>>Bountiful BC.

          • The Queens of the Stone Age sing about them.

          • Seems the Queens of the Stone Age are disliked by a few folks – I'd better reacquaint myself.

  8. well at least the spoiled kids in canada can choose what they eat, i other countries they would eat whatever they could get their hands on, give me a break

    • That's the difference. If you we have to eat animals, than why should we? There are places and situations where eating animals is a way of life. In a place as rich as North America, it's cruel.

      Seriously, that's why vegetarian/veganisim is an issue. We don't have to act in this barbaric way anymore.

    • Meant to say "If we don't have to eat animals, that why should we?"

  9. No discussion about vegetarianism is complete without a tip of the hat to The Simpson

  10. The point of this article isn't about Vegetarianism. It is about how far parents should respect their children's ethical choices. I'm all for individuality and diversity, however if your 7 year old is forbidding you from saying the word "meat", frankly you're failing beyond belief as parents.

    By promoting this horrendous sense of entitlement, the harm that you do to your child outweighs the benefit (promoting individuality, critical thought) immensely. If all these kids are growing up like this, we're going to be in a world of hurt in a few decades…

    • I also find it astounding that parents will allow their children to dictate whether it is acceptable the word "meat". Such children will have a hard time with the harsh reality of the "real world" …

    • I agree. My daughter is three and she already tries to dictate certain things, and is quickly shut down. Were she to have tried to forbid the word "meat" from being used, or done anything similar, she would have been shut down pretty fast.

      I would have supported the personal choice of being a vegetarian but certainly not supported the imposition of her viewpoint on the rest of the family.

    • "The point of this article isn't about Vegetarianism. It is about how far parents should respect their children's ethical choices."

      Exactly right.

      My sister has eight year old daughter (and husband/son) who decided she was vegetarian and phase lasted for about two weeks. Sister told my niece that she could be vegetarian but she would have to help in food prep since it was special meal that rest of family was not having. My sister is big on teaching consequences to actions.

  11. This was terrific to read. If you're interested in veganism, here is a good video: http://meat.org

  12. Militant vegetarianism is a threat to us all! Humans are bilogically designed to eat vegetable AND meat. We our omnivores

    • Does meat impair spelling abilities?

      • I love meat, spelled correctly , yes

    • You're threatened?

    • it doesnt threaten you and there is proof out there that vegetarians are healthier than most other north americans.

  13. The human body needs animal protein to grow properly. I'll fight to the death my right to have meat in my diet. hitler was a vegetarian btw

    • John Baird's body seems to be growing fine with a vegetarian diet

    • Actually Hitler wasn't vegetarian, he had a delicate stomach and was advised to give up his favourites like duck. And if we are playing what dictators eat, should we create the list of evil people who eat meat?

      • Didn't *they* accuse Idi Amin of eating people?
        People are made of meat.

    • this has to be some sarcasm/joking. It's too cliche. I think the veggies have heard this ignorance more than anyone can count. Nice one :)

    • GOODWIN'S LAW!!

    • I hope you're joking, or you can cite some sources other than meatheads who know nothing about nutrition.

  14. and animal get thair protein from… air…no, fotoluminescence… no not that, plants ooohh its the same shit. only vegetarians have the protein that makes them less usedup bu being a pigs ass fp a coiple of years. twat

  15. Funny how people think a seven year old is too young to make this sort of choice, but apparently not too young to make your Nikes for you.

    Hitler was not a vegetarian, he had a bad stomach. You compare me to Hilter cause I WONT kill animals? Out on a limb much?

    Also, I wish people would not give nutritional advice on things they know nothing about.

    Meat, it's what's for dinner…
    It's what's rotting in your colon…
    blocking your arteries…
    feeding your cancer…
    aggravating your diabetes…
    stripping the calcium from your bones…

    and I could go on, but I'm bored now.

    • Non-animal based proteins are missing essential amino acids – these children need meat, or at the very least dairy and egg products in order to get their proper nutritional intake. You body needs the full complement of amino acids to synthesize proteins such as digestive enzymes and hormones.

      Aggravating your diabetes? That's stupid, a high carbohydrate diet like that eaten by vegans and vegetarians aggravates diabetes. Stripping calcium? Again, vegan diets are pathetically low in protein and calcium.

      • finally a voice of reason in the dense fog or ignorance and stupidity. humans have been eating meat for well over 2 million years. it is biologically impossible for meat to be bad for us or we would have gradually died out long ago.

      • Some plant-based proteins are missing EAAs, not all. If you eat complementary proteins this isn't a problem at all. I find your ignorance amusing, there is absolutely no "need" for meat. And I keep seeing crap about plant protein not allowing you to build muscle… gah, it takes 5 seconds to google "vegan bodybuilders". And I'm not even a vegan… as a vegetarian it's even easier.

    • Furthermore, a vegetarian diet will be damaging to the boy's development. All those phytoestrogens from the soybeans will do a number on his hormonal system as he grows up. The lack of meat protein and animal fat means his system will have problems synthesizing cholesterol-based hormones like testosterone, or others like human growth hormone. This poor kid is going to grow up to be a short, skinny, effeminate wuss.

      And honestly, five and six year olds should NOT be allowed to tell their parents what to do. When I was six years old my parents were a force to be reckoned with, which is as it should be. They sure as hell wouldn't take it when some activist loser grade school teacher pushes their agenda onto their children. These children came up with nothing on their own, someone else is behind it.

      • Wrong wrong wrong and… wrong.
        Again, do your research before you give advice or argue.

        • Get the carrot stick our of your butt and talk some common sense Preachy!

          • I speak common sense to people who would understand it. That obviously rules you out.

            And what I do with my carrots is my own business. lol

        • so he's not just wrong, he's wrong wrong wrong AND wrong? any reason or are you just pretending you didnt hear him?

          • He makes several statements that are 'wrong'. They are all easy to google so I told him to go do his homework.

            Seriously, your Ad Hominem arguments are boring me.

    • I detest these cheap stock phrases. Seven is certainly too young to make running shes in Canada, which is where the sovereignty of a Canadian has direct meaning.

      Are there any other decisions that you think someone else's 7 year old sahould make? Are they limited to those categorecally supportive of your world view? THOSE are the questions anyone reading this should ask.

      • Stock phase? Should I have paid a royalty?

        I think that children should be taught how to live their lives. Do you have any examples of things you think I WOULD object to?

        I'm vegan, I don't force my children to eat vegan.

        • Sounds like you do Preachy. I doubt very much you're cooking steak for the kids while you're mixing up a salad for yourself.

          • I detest salads.

            No I am not cooking them steak. A big reason is that, unlike the majority of people dishing out 'nutritional' advice in these comments, I have done my research. I have consulted nutritionists and doctors. I have read every pamphlet regarding veganism distributed by WHO, the USDA, etc., that I could get my hands on before I decided to feed my children. I believe that anyone with an average IQ and the same information would make the same decision. I do not feed my children steak dinners because it is not the healthiest choice for my children.

            Unlike the mother in the article, I do not find doing the proper research necessary to make informed actions on my children's behalf to be 'pretty inconvenient.'

    • "Funny how people think a seven year old is too young to make this sort of choice, but apparently not too young to make your Nikes for you."

      We only let them ASSEMBLE the Nikes, though. No sane person wants the 7 year old to DESIGN them.

      "Also, I wish people would not give nutritional advice on things they know nothing about.

      Meat, it's what's for dinner…
      It's what's rotting in your colon…"

      Wow, speaking on the subject of know-nothings… you do know that no matter what you ate for dinner it ends up rotting in your colon, right? That's sort of what food does in your digestive tract before being shat out of your anus as waste.

      Or in the case of vegetarians, it comes out of their mouths on occasion as well…

      • Sort of, but not actually, As far as I am aware rot is not a synonym for digest.

  16. You're plain wrong that animal protein is needed to develop properly.
    See http://www.euroveg.eu/evu/english/news/news972/ch… for an example of just a few scientific studies to the contrary.

    If anything, vegetarianism is probably a more healthy choice for children and undeniably a more healthy choice for adults. Not to mention that animal agriculture has one of the biggest and most negative impacts on the environment (this from UN studies) of anything that humans participate in. And frankly, most people couldn't eat the meat they defend so enthusiastically if they had to confront the conditions in which it is now produced under.

    All I'm trying to say – especially to the jerk who claims vegetarianism is a threat! – is that if some people want to live healthier lives, cause less pollution, and not have to take part in a heck of a lot of suffering, then let them be. If anyone's rights are currently being infringed on, it's theirs; they're still forced to pay to subsidize your meat through massive government subsidies whether they like it or not.

    • "Not to mention that animal agriculture has one of the biggest and most negative impacts on the environment (this from UN studies) of anything that humans participate in. And frankly, most people couldn't eat the meat they defend so enthusiastically if they had to confront the conditions in which it is now produced under."

      Murdering ugly animals and pissing off enviro-weenies? Stop talking up meat, you're making me crave bacon-wrapped turducken.

    • European vegetarian union? what an unbiased information source.

    • We do not have to look at a study to confirm this. It is plain common sense that eating vegetarian does not cause nutritional deficiencies, if a balanced diet is chosen. 31% of the Indian population is estimated to be vegetarian. Most of this 31% belong to the middle or upper classes. Aren't they healthy? If you look at the cream – top scientists, industrialists, and even some sportspersons from India, many are vegetarian (from birth).

      Those who eat meat claiming it is more nutritious are plain ignorant.

  17. If people don't want to eat meat, even at age 6 or 7, that's fine. Of course it is important that a child have an ample replacement for the proteins, iron and amino acids they woudl get from meat.

    I also think its hilarious when people say they don't want to eat meat for humanitarian/compassionate reasons, yet they eat milk and eggs. Factory-farmed dairy cattle and chickens have a much more miserable life than the average factory-farmed beef cow.

    I love meat, but I also love animals. That is why I buy free-range eggs and meat from my local farmer's market, where the poultry, cattle and hogs are raised and slaughtered humanely. The way I look at it is like this. If you don't think we have a right to raise and kill animals for meat, then how can you logically argue that we can own pets? Both conditions rest on the basis that animals are private property. If you take away the right to kill, you also must take away the right to own.

    • Quickly reading through all of the comments I found this one the most ridiculous.
      You love meat and you love animals! Are you serious? What a joke! Whoever wrote that needs to give their head a shake and rethink just how much they love animals and how much they love THEMSELVES. How could you, in good conscience enjoy your meal knowing that the animal that you “so called” love lived the life of a slave and prisioner only be killed against its will FOR YOU. And then you happily chew on its bones. GROSS!

      • my main problem with you self righteous vegetarian types is that you clearly grew up watching too much Disney. time for a long overdue reality check. animals are not four legged people being held against their will. cows are literally little more then walking slabs of meat. they have little or no sense of self awareness, and they dont think. cows that live in the wonderful free conditions in india you seem to idealize are amazingly sick and unhealthy. if we were to let them run free, they would be quickly exterminated by coyotes and wolfs.

        • Good God, who's self righteous here? Let he who is without sin throw the first stone (especially if it is the same exact sin) Sheesh.

          • self righteous? you've got too much glass in your house to go around chucking rocks. what would you have us do with cows instead of eating them? or sheep? or chickens? do you really think for one second that any one of those animals would survive in the wild? the only purpose they would serve is to rapidly expand the wolf and coyote populations before going extinct.

          • "What would you have us do with cows instead of eating them?" Maybe use their milk and feed a heck of a lot more people?

            And really? Who's saying set them free in the wild?

          • umm we already do use their milk and we do feed alot of people. and yet most vegetarians and vegans seem to reject even that.

          • 10 year plan: Stop breeding them.

      • I'm involved in animal agriculture and have first hand experience in the way the majority of animals are treated including "factory animals'. In every production system there are advantages and disadvantages, comforts and discomforts. In "almost all" cases the animals live reasonably comfortably and are cared for in a conscientious way. True there are times where discomforts exist, but so it is in every other form of life whether it is animals in the jumgle, in the arctic or animals in the transport trucks. To assume that all animals should live in comfortable bliss at all times of their life is not reasonable. As humans we ourselves do not even expect that of ourselves. ie rush hour traffic.

    • You must be joking – my pet has a better life than I do. There is no comparison to the life of a vegetarian's pet and an animal "farmed" for food. My pet was rescued by the way, and is not considered private property. He has his own bed in addition to my own, his own schedule, and his own choice of food. He even decides when he wants to be touched. He comes and goes as he pleases, unless I have to put him outside on my way to work. He has more rights and health care than the average American. Get a stronger argument if you want to talk about vegetarianism as a "compassionate" meat eater.

  18. This isn't about whether vegetarianism is healthier or not. The issueis this kid is ruling the roost. Parents, get back to parenting, this is ridiculous.

    • Agreed. Seven years old and you're allowed to throw temper tantrums around the house because your parents are giving you meatloaf to eat? The parents have to call it the "m-word"?

      Children this young cannot possibly come up with these ideas on their own. Some enviro-hippie goober at school is feeding them this crap.

      • actually most of the enviro hippie goobers have moved on to the school board and are now dictating everything kids learn from the age of 5 to the age of 17. the next generation is already brainwashed and ignorant.

    • So if a kid has a good idea we should ignore or actively oppose it so that they are not able to 'rule-the-roost' ? I think the parents are doing a good job. They are trying to teach her to be tolerant. She is no longer throwing a fit every time they say the m-word or because there is meat to close to her beans. If vegetarianism isn't the problem then what ARE you complaining about?

    • Sorry- maybe my parents raised me wrong… Should they not have encouraged me to think critically and make my own choices about the world in which I live? I wasn't aware that "good parenting" was defined as "maintaining the status quo."

  19. Agriculture is the most ecologically devastating practice humans have ever inflicted on the earth. Allowing a 7 year-old to dictate such a choose is the height of ignorance.

    • You would prefer a life without agriculture? A nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyle with a life expectancy of 35, skyhigh infant mortality rate, no technology to speak of, having to kill animals with rocks, sticks or your bare hands to get enough food to survive? Fancy surviving a Canadian winter in a cave? Agriculture is a prerequisite for virtually every facet of civilization. Ecologically devasting? Well, maybe. But the alternative is losing the last 12000 years of human history and advancement.

    • Which sort of agriculture would you be referring to? I agree that animal agriculture is the most ecologically devastating practice humans have ever inflicted on the earth. So I'm confused when then refer to the girls choice as ignorance…

      If you are referring to agriculture in relation to the growth of plants for food, are you aware that most plant food grown now is used to feed animals not humans.It takes many many pounds of plant food to produce 1 pound of animal 'meat'. It is estimated that if the world reverted to a vegan diet only a third of the current amount of land used for food would be needed to comfortably feed the worlds population.

      I need to reboot my computer but I will try to return with sources.

    • Try to make sense so others can respond.

      • HA! *like*

    • No, clearly this is the height of ignorance. Do you not realize that animals raised for meat need to consume a lot of plants before they end up on your plate? What do you think is more efficient?

  20. A 7 yo is not capable of making these types of decisions. Any parent "struggling" with this type of behaviour from their child are themselves the reason why the stupid shouldn't procreate.

    I didn't walk barefoot uphill both ways to school when I was 7yo, however if I didn't like what mom served for dinner I didn't eat. Now that I am an adult I can choose to not eat what is prepared for dinner and instead microwave myself a pizza pop–and of course suffer the consequences of sleeping on the couch! I am an adult, I understand these decisions and am capable of making informed ones. A 7 yo is not.

    Preachy Vegan: the 7yo manufacturing Nikes isn't required to make decisions during the course of their work day…it is simple repetative work that "even a child could do."

  21. It is this kind of parenting style that has made teaching in elementary and high school extremely difficult in the past two decades. "I have been there, done that" along with raising four of my own. Neither of the 2 extremes: the authoritarian style, nor the permissive style work well. I must say it is far easier grandparenting than parenting. There are such huge challenges facing today's parents…a very difficult job indeed!

  22. Do you think this might inform their position on abortion some day?

    • we can hope…:) We need a few more people around who connect those dots.

  23. Another girl with food issues…just what we don't need.

    • There's a BIG difference between "food issues" and "body image issues."

  24. So, just glancing at the comments, it looks like someone went through and gave a thumb down to every pro-vegetarian remark. Do we have a 7 year old militant anti-vegetarian around here somewhere? Maybe a little older?

    I swear, the comments section is getting to be more interesting and entertaining than the actual articles on a lot of these…

    • im 15. is that too old?

    • im 15. is that too old?

    • Seriously. How ignorant…

  25. I admire the young girl for her ethical stand! Too bad she doesn't know the horrible cruelty in "eggs"… Grinding up day old chicks – What a horror!

    In any case, I'm very certain if more kids knew the truth about "eating their animal friends" less and less would agree to such… And the ones that did? Well… I'd be very suspect as to where their sense of justice was.

    We don't "need" to eat animal products — We can thrive on a plant based diet: Want to make a better world? Eat like you mean it…
    Go Vegan

    http://www.nonviolenceunited.org/veganvideo.html

    • oh my god you are soo ridiculous, an animal is an animal very tasty and nutritious, you need to get a life.

    • Bea,

      I worked at an industrial chicken farm/hatchery for a few years in my late teens. I'm certainly glad to be out of there, but I can guarantee you that the chicks going into the grinder did not suffer any pain. Gruesome, maybe, but its less cruel than keeping your dog in a crate overnight. Killing an animal swiftly, when it doesn't know what's coming, is not cruelty.

    • But…Eggs aren't made of ground up chickens…

  26. I eat meat because I like the taste and I like to hunt. If I don't eat it I don't kill it. My daughter is a Vegan and I encourage her to be her own person. That's her choice. I draw the line when anyone tries to tell me I can't eat meat. It's my choice. Doesn't matter what you believe about evolution or creationism, either way I'm a predator….eyes in front, sharp teeth, and trigger finger….chew on that..

    • What's your day job? Accountant?

    • Bravo to you. I am a vegetarian and I am often faced with criticism from meat eaters. I personally do not have a problem with other people eating meat or even hunting (as long as you eat what you kill) and I would never preach to other people that eating meat is wrong. It's a life choice and I wish others would see it that way. For some reason people seem to take great offense to my vegetarianism and insist that I can't be healthy without meat even though I don't ever comment on their meat diet. I applaude you for respecting your daughter's beliefs. We need more of this tolerant attitude in the world.

  27. A quick wikipedia search for "essential amino acids" indicates that it is feasible to get all essential amino acids from plants, but a wide variety of different plants are required or you will be deficient / and be malnourished. You can eventually get sick.
    Veganism is a roll of the nutrition dice. My kids are required to eat a little meat each day, even if its just a bite. Otherwise you can't be sure they are getting everything they need. When they are finished growing then they can choose.

  28. I went vegetarian when I was six-years-old. It was one of the best things I've ever done!
    (Oh and by the way, my mom went veg with me and thereby fixed some of her diet related health problems!)

  29. Personally I would respect my child's decision if they gave up meat. I like vegetarian dishes and would gladly serve these healthy (cheaper) meals at home when the kids are around and save the steak for when their out.
    I can't however understand why any parent would prepare a separate meal just because their kids don't like it. You serve a meal, the kids eat it or they go without and wait for the next one. End of story. If I was a big meat eater then my vegetarian child would be out of luck. I'm in charge, I prepared the meal and I paid for everything.

  30. And a little child shall lead them. Seems these kids are much brighter, more aware, make more ethical choices and better decisions for their health and the health of the planet than their canivorous parents.
    There is hope for us all yet.

    -Bill

    • Im afraid that is a common misuse of scripture Bill. The original is
      "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
      It refers to the future time known as the millenium, where a child will be able to "lead" a wild animal.
      A verse more appropriate to the article might be this one….
      "As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. …"
      (Isaiah 3:12)

  31. Every kid has their picky food stage so people complaining about the kid ruling the roost and all that nonsense, stop being ridiculous. I think it's great that kids are thinking about where their food is coming from and not accepting the status quo (what they understand of it anyway). I also think it's great that the parents are supporting her decision and making her get involved in meal planning and prep. It's important to encourage kids to make informed decisions not just tell them what to do. They should feel some kind of control over their own lives. That's why the planet is full of sheeple, no one knows how to think for themselves.

    • I once knew a kid who only ate hot dogs for breakfast for three years.

      At least this kid's thinking about her choices! Lol!

  32. A balanced diet is still the best humans evolved to where we are because we were able to eat meat, at least that is what science has stated. Meat is an important part of a balanced diet , sure we can get the desired nutrition from other sources but that is not the way we evolved. in the last 50 years we have changed our diets so much that we face troubles with obesity, diabetes ect. and this is only the beginning. My grandparents all lived into thier 90's and they ate fatty foods butter fresh baking (from scratch) All the things we are told not to eat but they did not do the fast food route. My early childhood diet was the same we ate what was on the table period there was no in between meal snacks if you did not eat what was on the table that was what was on your plate at the next meal. I realize times have changed but i still use those examples to my kids and the results are working. We have a garden we freeze our veggies, make our own preserves we buy meat from the local Huterite colony or raise it ourselves with the help of a rural friend. These things are not easy but we all feel better for being more self reliant and i believe we are better for it.

  33. Militant?!

    The dictionary definition of the word has to do with being 'warring' and 'combative'…are we talking about a child here, or the MEAT INDUSTRY?

    Kudos to these parents for NOT forcing their child to do something against her conscience. There is plenty of information available about raising perfectly healthy children without ANY animal products in their diet, so if this child suddenly figures out that eggs may not be the kind of food she's comfortable eating either, smart parents really have nothing to worry about.

    It's too bad, though, that the 'grownups' have deliberately distanced themselves from their daughter's compassionate food choices by continuing to model meat eating as 'the norm'. Is it really the child who is stubborn?

    The provocative photo at the top of this story could just as easily be replaced with a portrait of the parents.. grimacing at the readers with furled brows, and crossed arms…"We won't, we won't, we won't eat only fruits and vegetables!", the caption might say!

    Too few parents question where the food they feed themselves comes from, let along what they feed their youngsters. What a different world we'd live in if the desire to abstain from causing unnecessary harm was applauded in children, instead of being ignored or dumbed down at the dinner table as it so often is. They have more to teach US sometimes than they are given credit for.

    • Kudos to her parents for encouraging her individuality. Shame on them for handling her dictatorial behaviour with kid gloves.

  34. Have these kids considered the fact that they're violating vegetable rights?

    • Well, I'll say this: I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I'm a vegetarian because I HATE plants.

      :p

  35. for every animal you dont eat, ill eat three!!

  36. This kid is one smart cookie! Many adults could learn from her. Including many posting comments here.

  37. Wow how stupid David is, especially David.

  38. I personally am a vegetarian, but morals aside, I think the point of this article is about decisiveness in children. I don't see how you can argue that it is BAD for a child to want to do something compassionate, and I think the important thing here is the way her parents respond to it. They are letting her make her choice, but they are making sure she is still healthy, that she knows what she is doing, and that she knows how to act around other people about it.

  39. a child of 6 was invited to a Thanksgiving meal with local friends from a farm where her friends described having raised and slaughtered the thanksgiving delicacy before them. The child listened closely to her peers and asked some questions. She had strongly stood by her choice to avoid all meat ,however,much to her Mom's surprise, on that particular day,she participated and joyously ate with her friends. We"elders" looking and listening to this story discussed that the 'source' of our foods-any and all that we eat -is the issue we have too long overlooked. The sources of our water, our meats, our vegetables are far away from our attention. Our grandchildren and children are now speaking for future generations.Helping them by paying attention to their urgency and resolve around "where does this 'food' we are eating come from?"may lead to education and experience to bring enjoyment and life giving practices back to the table. Maybe it is about a simple inspiration such as"Let's find out!"

  40. I think it is fine for this child to choose not to eat meat. Why is it that the vegans don't think it is alright for someone to try and get another to eat meat but think it is fine for a vegan to pick on a meat eater. We all make choices in life many make the eat meat choice. I agee that people should know where there meat comes from and not all meat or dairy comes from huge commerical farm many dairy farm are small.

  41. I agree on choice within reason. In many of these cases it is very apparent that it wasn't just a child being fussy. Many of our ancestors really felt they were right in their choices of forcing children to eat what was before them. I personally disagree with that. There are many documentaries on how much of this meat is made in terrible conditions. Chickens are being injected with hormones to grow faster and well as the cows etc. It's a wonder why indeed we have so much obesity, cancer etc. If people took the time to really research things they would be appalled. In some countries there is no policies on the manufacturing/growing of meat. Unfortunately, for so many people it's about survival and money not about health until the day when their health becomes in jeopardy, then the questions will start. For many people it's simple ignorance (not aware of what they are really consuming).

  42. OMG!!! VEGETARIANS ARE EATING THE FOOD THAT OUR FOOD EATS!!!! WE MUST PUT AN END TO THIS PRACTICE!!!!!!!

  43. As one involved in animal agriculture, I want you to know that I do not love my animals. I do however take as good a care for them as I possibly can and accept that they must live reasonably comfortable throughout most of their lives. This concept of humane treatment applies to them all the way from birth to harvest. That being done, I can eat a well cooked roast in good conscience.
    ps. Those of you that claim that animal agriculture is bad for the environment have not done your homework but have done a superficial assessment based on other's opinions. For the world to derive it's food supply, we need animal agriculture as one of the components to harvest a resource that otherwise would be very fragile if changed into a plant based resource ie. crops.

  44. what a bunch of ignorant people !!!
    do some real research… btw wikipedia is not always reliable
    animal protein is killing us !!!
    friggin cave men -

  45. Celia is amazing! Her mom should be so proud that she has a child that without any guidance from her parents knew innately the importance of respecting the lives of all living beings. Go Celia Go! When will parents ever learn that their children are also here to teach them about life, as well not just the other way around. Sometimes, the children born to us are wiser then the parents!

  46. I did the same thing starting about the age of six but it took me another two or three years to be completely vegetarian. My (meat eating) parents followed on to become vegetarian and are now well into their 80's and very healthy. Now completely vegan, I am nearly 50, a professional dancer and looking a good 10 years younger than most people my age.

  47. Great Article Julia. But I really love if my kids would be vegetarian. It's more healthier really.

  48. Yet every person who has said that to me (in real life, at least) *aren't* buying from those sources…And even "kind" dairy causes suffering and death, they still have to forcibly impregnate the cows over and over to make milk, which shortens their lives and get rid of male calves, sold to be veal, or studs that eventually end up on a dinner plate.

  49. Next kids will be saying that they don't want to help daddy gas the Jews. When will these kids learn to be ruthless and condone murder?

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