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Vegan For Life
by Jack Norris, RD &
Ginny Messina, MPH, RD
Updates: |   JackNorrisRD.com

Real Vegan Children

Some women stop being vegan when they become pregnant, because either they or their doctors think a vegan cannot have a healthy pregnancy. On the contrary, as long as pregnant women, infants, and children are getting a reliable source of vitamin B12, they typically thrive on a vegan diet.

Mothers of the children below were vegan during pregnancy, and the kids have been vegan since birth.

For more information on healthy eating during pregnancy, see Pregnancy, Infants, & Children.

Contents


Jay and Zobiana - Austin, TX

Jay at 16 months

Jay at 16 months

Jay at 2 years

Jay at 2.5 years

Jay at 5 years

Jay at 3 years

Zobiana at 2 months

Zobiana at 1 year

Zobiana at 6 months

Updated February 2014:

At five and a half Jay is still rockin’ and rollin’ on the vegan diet. His favorite foods are seitan, green beans, tofu, olives, potato chips, sweet potato fries, dinosaur kale salad, seaweed snacks and anything chocolate! He was very proud of his idea to have his first cookie sale and the neighbors were impressed and requested the recipe!

Zobiana is 14 months and has been vegan since conception. She has been ill only a few times and is the happiest baby I’ve ever met. She enjoys saying “hi” to everyone she passes and is currently mastering the formal “hello.” Zobiana is in the 90th percentile for height and weight. Although she’s a little picky in the food department thus far and would prefer to nurse most of the day, her favorite foods seem to be toast, bananas, apricots, black beans, collard greens and carrots. She has a natural affection towards animals and expresses that affection with great enthusiasm towards our two dogs.

Like most parents we’re encouraging animal appreciation and respect by reading children’s storybooks. Looking at pictures of all the different animals makes her very happy – she loves elephants! We will continue to support that awesome innate love she has for all animals throughout her childhood and won’t betray it by what we provide for her in sustenance.

Updated September 2011:

Jay is now three and still thriving on the vegan diet. He’s been ill only twice (and he’s frequently exposed to sick kids!). He’s also becoming quite the voice for animals, he protested the animal circus in Austin, Tx when he was two and when out and about at birthday parties or events asks if desserts, treats, etc. have, cows milk in them and then turns up his nose when I say yes. After we explained to him (when it became appropriate and as early as we thought he could comprehend), he is utterly confused as to why people would ever want to ingest the bodily fluids of cows. He understands that taking the baby away from his/her mother, shortly after birth is how milk is obtained and he’s all too proud of himself for loving all the other milks he gets to choose from: soy, rice, and all the different nut milks available in most grocery stores today. We try and always bring vegan treats to non-vegan events so Jay doesn’t feel left out and most people are amazed at how delicious vegan food is. The times are a changin’ and I like to think this young vegan is helping to lead the way by example for his generation

Original Post March 2010:

Jay was born 16 months ago at home and weighed in at 7 lbs 8 oz and was 20" long. He’s been vegan since conception. I attribute my speedy, relatively easy labor (5 hours; first pregnancy, first birth!) in part to my healthy vegan diet during pregnancy. Jay hasn’t been sick yet (not even the sniffles!) and that seems to be quite rare, I’m learning. His favorite foods are: steamed kale with sesame seeds, soymilk, whole grain toast with earth balance butter/almond or peanut butter, bananas, cornbread, avocados, and he goes crazy over coconut milk! He has been on track in his growth and development (normal) and his pediatrician has no concerns regarding his vegan diet (and is actually quite stumped that he hasn’t been ill yet). Jay has already proven to be quite the animal lover and made fast friends with our two dogs who treat him like he’s their baby ;) I am confident that this diet is not only the healthier alternative (especially in regards to the epidemics we’ve been seeing in kids for quite some time) but I witness a deeper connection; an “in-tune-ness” in Jay and when he interacts with others that I think in part has to do with what he’s consuming.…And what he’s not.


Ellen - Tucson, AZ

Ellen at 5 months

Ellen at 10 years and Sunny at about 2 years

Ellen at 7 years

Ellen at 14 years (4th from left)

Ellen at 17 years
Ellen is currently finishing up her first year at Pomona College, majoring in molecular biology with an emphasis on public policy. She received one of Pomona’s handful of National Merit Scholarships; after her first term, she was named a Pomona College Scholar for her 4.0 GPA. She also earned her varsity letter in cross country, and is currently running track. Ellen’s IQ is over 140 (higher than either parent). Taking honors and AP classes, she earned straight-As at Tucson’s top high school, winning a state championship at the 2011 Science Olympiad. Her combined SAT score was 2320 (1550 on the 1600 scale), and she scored perfect 5s on all her AP exams. Senior year, she was captain of the state’s third-place cross-country team; she earned eight varsity letters in high school, and competed in state championship 4x800, 3200, and cross country races. From an article written by family friend Frank French in 2001 for his local paper:
Ellen is a healthy, very bright 7-year-old, who holds a Red belt in Tae Kwan Do, and describes herself as “happy, cheerful, funny, and I love animals.”

But Ellen has never had a Big Mac, a chocolate milk shake, a Dairy Queen, a breakfast of bacon and eggs, a dinner of Lake Michigan perch, a Milky Way bar, or even a bowl of Jell-O. Because since her birth, along with her parents Matt Ball and Anne Green, she has lived as a vegan.

I asked if Ellen questions them about why she doesn’t eat the kinds of food her friends eat. [Ellen’s mom] Anne said no, but later asked Ellen if she did have any questions about those foods:

Ellen: No.

Anne: Do you want to eat those things?

Ellen: NO WAY!

Anne: Why?

Ellen: Because animals have to suffer.

Anne: What if you don’t know those animals?

Ellen: Doesn’t matter.

Read Ellen’s seventh-grade thoughts on being a vegan kid here.

Updated April 2013


Sasha - Fairfax Station, VA

Age 16
Co-president of SoCo-Eco at South County Secondary School

Sasha at 4 years
Sasha at 24 years

Sasha at 16

Having been raised vegan since birth, I admit, was not easy. Although I couldn’t complain about the food, because mom was (and still is) a fabulous cook, it was clear to me that I was different from the other kids. Whenever a kid in my class had a birthday, my mom would provide the teacher with a goodie bag just for me so I could enjoy a healthy lollipop or a homemade vegan brownie while the other students noshed on their chocolate chip cupcakes that were dripping with hydrogenated oil. School pizza parties were another hassle, but mom would patiently call the teacher and ask, “Will the pizza be cut into squares or triangles?” and she would cut mine the same way.

There were always the same old questions: “Why can’t you eat meat?” “No dairy or eggs, either? WHAT DO YOU EAT?!” As I was growing up, I found that I could no longer answer with the kindergarten response mom taught me as a little girl: “Animals are my friends and I don’t want to eat my friends.” That’s all very cutesy and good enough to shut up other 5-year-olds, but it doesn’t cut it when you’re in sixth grade!

At 17, I now embraced being different and loved the vegan lifestyle. It is so amazing to see the progress that vegetarianism and veganism has made throughout the years, and I want to be a part of it. When I was in 9th and 10th grades, I organized The Great American Meatout, so that other students could learn about the vegetarian and vegan cultures. I’m proud to be able to say that I’ve never eaten meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, or honey in my life, and I don’t feel deprived at all!

At 24, Sasha wrote that she had gone through a brief period of eating dairy while in college. Asked if it was due to health reasons, she replied: “The truth is, health issues did not come into the picture at all! I was very healthy while maintaining a vegan lifestyle. However, when I got to college, there were not a lot of vegan options at my school, so I convinced myself that it wasn’t a big deal if I had a slice of cheese pizza every now and then. This lasted for a little over a month or so, but then I got sick. It wasn’t anything too dramatic, just really bad colds. However, that was enough for me. Eating dairy made me so congested and sluggish because my body was not used to ingesting those types of products. So, I stopped. I feel that the real challenge of being vegan, as silly as it sounds, is not being lazy. There have been times when I’ve known that a particular food has dairy in it, such as a croissant, and I’ve eaten it anyway because I didn’t think it was a big deal. I just want to let readers know: it’s okay! No one is perfect. The Vegan Gods will not strike you down with lightening if you intentionally eat something that contains eggs or dairy. What counts is awareness. As long as we can be educated and aware of what we’re putting in our mouths, then it’s up to us to make a choice.”

Feel free to e-mail me at sashac918@gmail.com.

Updated December 2013


Gia - Sacramento

Gia at 2 months

Gia at 3.5 months

Gia at 7 months

Gia at 1 year


Gia at 3 years

Updated May 2014:

Three-year-old Gia made her Adopt a College leafleting debut at the Whole Earth Festival in Davis!

Updated August 2011:

Gia is a very happy, healthy baby girl as you can see from her picture. She is thriving on breast milk made from her vegan momma! Her father and I have been vegetarian for over 20 years and vegan for the last 10 of those years. I eat, and ate during pregnancy, all kinds of organic veggies and fruits, beans, rice, tofu, nuts and seeds in very yummy dishes like teriyaki cashew stir fry, BBQ sauce tofu and potatoes, garbanzo cacciatore, spinach lasagna, and many more. I found Clif Builder Bars and rice protein powder shakes helpful at times for a little extra protein. Though I had to have a c-section because of a breech position, I did not have to take pain meds after, was up walking just hours after surgery and the nurses and doctors were all amazed at how fast I recovered – not too shabby for a forty-year-old. I attribute this fast recovery to my healthy diet and lifestyle. As for Gia, she is right on track in her development and is already a little animal rights advocate who often wears her Not a Meat Eater shirt!


Eden - Fayetteville, AR

Eden

Eden at 12 months

Eden was born on Friday, June 20th, at 7:03 a.m. Full head of dark brown hair, beautiful little elfling, very sweet voice, 8 lb, 14 oz and the chest of a 10-pounder (like her Papa).

At 12 months, Eden was 22 pounds and a very active, inquisitive baby. She loves animals, like any baby does, and we feel good when we reflect that we have always honored that love by feeding her a vegan diet of vegan-mama breast milk and, as she has gotten older, healthy vegan foods for her to explore.

Every time we go out, we get approving comments about Eden’s very happy disposition and her cute, chunky baby body. We love telling people that she’s vegan and spreading awareness that a well-planned vegan diet is the healthiest choice for everyone, especially the youngest among us!

I’ve been using Vegan Lunchbox recipes a LOT in the last six months or so. I hate to admit it, but I was silly enough, when I first got it, to think, oh, awesome, I can use this when Eden starts school. So I lovingly placed it up on this shelf of cookbooks for when the time would come. (Head meets desk.) Well, I flipped through it for a friend whose son was headed for kindergarten and realized that these recipes are for anybody, anytime. It’s such a great book! And Eden loves it, too, of course. Today we snacked on the “cheesey” fondue + dippables.

Eden will be three in June (2011), but she’s talking like a four-year old, is healthy and glowing (she’s been sick three or four times in her life, and has breezed through each bout; other than that, she has zero health issues). She loves reading and the library; stickers; chasing, and being chased by Mom and Dad around the house; picking up our cat and carrying her around the house!; playgrounds; airplanes arriving at and taking off from the local airport; and finding worms while helping me in the garden (we sell to a local health food store and have started a community garden in the front yard, promoting both as fully vegan – we use none of the usual “organic” fertilizer components like feathermeal, bonemeal, etc.). And she is an adventuresome eater! This kid has been known to eat raw kale leaves right off the plants in the back garden and say, “MmmmmMMMMMmmmmm!!!”

Updated April 2011


Tyler, Will, and Maya - Lutherville, MD

Will at 9, Tyler at 10, and Maya at 4

Will at 5, Maya at 15 months, and Tyler at 7


Maya at 2, Tyler at 8, and Will at 7

Maya at 6, Tyler at 12, and Will at 11

Maya at 6

According to their mother:

Since the kids have entered the school system, the teachers, students, and parents there are that much more aware of veganism. Through school snacks, birthday parties, play dates, lunch, and talking with our family, the kids demonstrate what it means to be vegan every day. I’ve been sneaking a bit of humane education into the classrooms when I can and have shown Tribe of Heart’s Peaceable Kingdom to a couple of teachers who have gone vegan since viewing it!
Although I know the kids would like it if there were other children who lived a vegan lifestyle at their school, the thought of eating animals is the last thing they want to do. As you can see, they are happy, healthy, and growing up caring about animals, their health, and the planet!

Updated July 2014


Kjonaas - Austin, TX

Kjonaas at 17 months

Kjonaas at 19 months

Kjonaas is one happy, healthy vegan boy! His parents have both been vegan for nearly a decade. When Kjonaas’ mom, Sarah, found out she was pregnant, the first thing that nearly everyone asked her was “are you going to stay vegan?” What a silly question – of course the answer was yes! Sarah had a complication-free pregnancy, and Kjonaas was born on June 14, 2008 at 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 22" long! He began walking at around 10-months old and speaking at 12 months. His favorite things in the world are watching Finding Nemo and Charlotte’s Web, playing guitar, and bath time. Kjonaas is a big eater and enjoys all sorts of food, especially vegan cookies, corn dogs, and homemade broccoli “cheese” soup.

Kjonaas is named after political prisoner Kevin Kjonaas of the SHAC 7, someone his parents greatly admire. Every time someone asks about his name, his parents have an opportunity to talk about animals.

Updated January 2010


Ciera - Indiana

Ciera at one year with Gracie

Ciera at 2 years

Ciera is a happy, active and spunky little red-head who LOVES animals. She is pictured with her sister Gracie who she follows around constantly like the pesky little sister that she is...but Gracie doesn’t mind. All of her four-legged brothers and sisters can always bring a smile to her face. Ciera’s favorite foods include homemade vegan soups, various pureed fruits and refried beans. She continues to grow and thrive on her vegan diet and can’t wait to start spreading her message of compassion to others!

When I first found out I was pregnant I thought I would get a lot of flack from family and my doctor for being vegan. I also thought that I would have to pay extra close attention to every little thing I ate. This really didn’t happen. Some people asked questions, and when I answered them, I found myself answering my own questions about vegan nutrition as well. My doctor was absolutely fine with my decision, and every visit showed the baby growing bigger and stronger with no complications. All my tests came back normal. I found myself eating lots of fortified foods, which are very easy to find these days, such as cereals and fortified juices and soy milks, etc. I also took my daily vegan prenatal vitamin. Besides the fortified foods, I ate a lot of whole grains, fruits, veggies, soy protein, beans, and lentils. I also made sure to get my omega-3’s through either flaxseed or fortified foods. I know there are many problems related to pregnancy in general but mine went pretty smoothly. Ciera weighed 6 lbs 10oz and was 19 1/2 inches long.

Letter To Ciera from her mother, Heather:

You’ll never watch an elephant standing on her head
You will see amazing acrobats and painted clowns instead.

You’ll never color Easter eggs or eat a “Happy” Meal
Instead you’ll give pigs belly rubs – You’ll know chickens dream and feel.

The clamor from the ice cream truck won’t be music to your ears
You will know your Soy Delicious caused no suffering or tears.

You may hear a gentle gobble as you softly stroke a turkey
And give thanks that she’s alive as you’re eating your Tofurky.

While other kids buy leather shoes and eat at Chuck E. Cheese
You’ll be kissing cows and feeding goats and saying “soy please!”

Being different can be hard I know - This world is often cruel
Maybe you’ll be laughed at by the other kids at school.

But compassion is a vital gift that too few share with others
And your heart will not be filled with guilt the way it plagues your mother’s.

So don’t ever be embarrassed or ashamed because you care
You’ll be uniquely beautiful with an empathy that’s rare.

And when you see a rescued lamb and touch his thick warm fleece
You’ll feel no sadness or remorse - You can look at him in peace.

What took so long for me to learn, I’ll start teaching you from birth
And your footprint will be much tinier on this fragile earth.

Updated January 2010


Jonah - Bangor, Maine


Jonah is just over 8 months old and has been vegan since conception. He was born weighing 7lbs 10oz, and measured around 20 inches long. His mom and dad have been vegetarian for 15 years and vegan for the past 6 of those. The pregnancy was excellent, with his mom having no sickness and gaining only 25 lbs, which she easily shed soon afterward. Jonah’s mom and her doctor never discussed her vegan lifestyle, the only way he knew was by his nurse noting it on her chart. Immediately after the c-section, while stitching Jonah’s mom back up, the doctor loudly commented in front of all the hospital staff about how fantastic her inner abdominal area looked, with no signs of any fat build up. He claimed that, at 43 years old, her condition was on par with that of women in their 20’s. He then stated that it must be due in large part to her healthy vegan diet. This was coming from a very traditional meat and potatoes doctor, who had delivered countless babies.

Upon our 2-week checkup, he once again mentioned how great her condition was for her age, how wonderful the baby looked and that there was obviously plenty of protein getting to the placenta and such. He said that he had been talking about her to a number of people (we’re assuming he meant other local doctors), and that though he’s still a meat eater, it is definitely causing him to think about it. Hearing this was just incredible.

Jonah’s mom enjoyed a nicely varied diet during her pregnancy, including plenty of the following foods: nutritional yeast, flax oil, blackstrap molasses, iodized sea salt, almonds, cashews, macadamias, brazil nuts, almond butter, cashew butter, almond, rice, hemp and soy milks (particularly the “Silk Plus Omega3 DHA” variety soymilk), black, pinto, white, lima, and garbanzo beans, hummus, avocado dips, tofu, tempeh, seitan, tvp, green peas, broccoli, quinoa, rices, whole grain pastas and breads, raisins, prunes, mango, figs, bananas and other fruits and juices, kale, collards, bok choy, spinach and other greens, a wide variety of other vegetables, everything organic as much as possible, as well as a vegan prenatal vitamin daily.

Jonah is now 24 lbs and almost 30 inches long, is very strong and enjoys his “Baby’s Only” organic soy formula very much, along with a nice variety of organic jar baby foods. He especially loves the bananas, sweet potatoes, and plum-banana-brown rice flavors.

Updated January 2009


Dagny - St. Louis


Dagny Nausicaa was born 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long with a full head of dark hair and at eleven weeks weighs almost 15 pounds and is 26 inches long. She is a big “talker” and already loves petting our two smaller dogs when they sit next to her.

Other than terrible morning sickness in the beginning, my pregnancy was incredible. I performed prenatal yoga and light cardio right up until the last week of pregnancy. Many people commented that I wasn’t gaining enough weight and that a vegan diet was not adequate for pregnancy but my OBGYN was completely supportive of my vegan pregnancy and her pediatrician is a vegan. After Dagny was born healthy, none of the naysayers could find anything negative to say about my diet.

Updated January 2009


Jonah - San Francisco

Jonah at 17 months

Jonah at 19 months

Jonah’s mother writes:

Jonah is a vibrant, happy, healthy little chatterbox. He’s 19 months now and talking up a storm. He’s been growing beautifully since day one and meeting or exceeding all of his milestones. My favorite word that he says is “helicopter.” He started on solid foods at 6 months and loves to eat. His favorite foods currently are bagels with hummus and avocado, organic flaxseed vegan waffles, strawberries, almond butter and banana sandwiches, fruit smoothies, soy yogurt and pasta with meatless meatballs. He gets plenty of calcium from soy yogurt, hemp milk and soymilk. Iron is also very important to a growing toddler and he gets tons of it from iron fortified oatmeal, spinach, kidney and black beans, and lentils. He also loves brewer’s yeast that I mix in his oatmeal. Jonah loves animals and it makes me so happy to be able to teach him that we don’t hurt those animals that he loves. I see in him the most basic instincts that children have, to love all beings, especially animals. I’m so glad I never have to explain to him why we eat the animals we talk and sing and read about all the time! He is bigger than most of his friends and doing great! We couldn’t be more proud of him!

Updated January 2009


Amélie - Sacramento, CA

Amélie at 8 months

Amélie at 2 yrs

Amélie is a healthy, happy, vegan baby. Her parents have been vegetarian for over 10 years and vegan for 7 of those 10 years. Heather’s vegan pregnancy was a breeze, and Amélie was born a full-term; healthy; 6 lb., 8.4 oz. baby. Amélie’s organic, vegan diet includes breast milk, apples, apricots, sweet peas, carrots, and brown rice. Carrots and Joe’s O’s are a big hit! Amélie lives with her “fuzzy siblings” – 2 dogs and 2 cats.

Updated March 2008


William - Los Angeles, CA


William is 9 years old and has been vegan since conception. William lives with his mother, Susan Weingartner, who has been a vegan for approximately 17 years. The pregnancy went very well, and William was born in an all natural water birth. He has only been sick a few times.

Susan has been active in the Environmental, Health, and Animal Rights movements, heading EarthSave Los Angeles twice (starting a vegan family support group within the organization), is on the screening committee of The Genesis Awards, and has worked with many other animal and earth friendly organizations.

William has always been very sensitive to the feelings of all creatures; at two years old, he scolded his mother for not being nicer to the fleas she was removing from the family cats… William recently offered to donate half of his monthly allowance to adopt a turkey named Nibble at Animal Acres Sanctuary outside Los Angeles. He was given a special award at the Animal Acres gala last September for being such a great example of a compassionate kid. William likes to play video games, loves reviewing movies, collects Pokemon cards, hangs out with his many friends from school who really respect his veganism, and is currently interested in playing the electric guitar. William loves his three cats, Krishna, Wallenda and JoJo (pictured). His favorite foods are pasta, tofu dogs, soy ice cream, and just about any kind of fruit.

Updated June 2007



Ruby at 2 years
Ruby - Portland, OR

Ruby was born in January, 2005. Her dad and I have been vegan for 7 and 5 years, respectively, and we didn’t ever consider not raising Ruby vegan. I had a fantastic pregnancy – craving things like broccoli with peanut sauce and toast with avocado and tomatoes. Though Ruby had a difficult time breast feeding at first, (which is quite common, don’t give up trying!) she is now over 2 years old and is finally weaning. Now she loves avocado, toast, and pretty much everything in between, and enjoys a varied diet that is adventurous in it’s own toddler way. Ruby has had only an occasional cold, and is growing healthfully and proportionately. We think her pediatrician, also vegan, loves our visits as much as we do.

Ruby’s favorite activities are gardening, being outside, playing with bikes, going on walks, and using our chocolate lab as a body pillow. She is happy, loving, interested in books, people, and cooking in the kitchen. She loves to help, whatever we’re doing.

Updated June 2007


Eliza - Fairfield, PA


Eliza at 10 years

Eliza, born in 1995, has been vegan her whole life and is very happy about it! Caroline and Brett, her parents, have been vegetarian since sometime in the mid-80’s and vegan for almost that long. Eliza has had an exceptionally healthy childhood, occasionally catching a cold here and there but almost all doctor visits have been for check-ups only. She loves broccoli, tofu, almost all fruits (but especially mangos) and has a terrific sweet tooth! Soy ice cream, vegan chocolate and homemade cake are some of her favorite indulgences. Growing up on a farm has been a great experience for Eliza and her animal friends include chickens, ducks, goats, a pig and a pony. (Most of these are adoptions or rescues.)

Currently Eliza is homeschooled and is very interested in art, computer games and graphics, reading and animal rights activism. This fall she participated in the World Farm Animals Day “Die-in” in Washington, DC. Eliza said, “I really enjoyed it. Being still on the ground for at least half an hour was kind of dull after awhile but they had delicious vegan food. Of course, it was worth it if it helps the animals. The only really bad bit was that my attempts at leafleting didn’t go too well.”

Updated December 2006


Solomon - Big Island, HI

Solomon at 5 days

Solomon at 10 months

Solomon was born one week early to vegan parents, Laura and Glenn. He was 8 pounds, 9 1/2 ounces, and 21 inches at birth. His mother Laura has been vegetarian since 1993 and vegan since 1997. His father Glenn has been vegan since 1997. Glenn and Laura have both been active in animal protection and environmentalism non profit groups, and for example, founded EarthSave Austin while living in Texas.

We decided to have a vegan pregnancy as not to expose our child to harmful levels of antibiotics, growth hormones and toxins found in animal products. It was also important for us to raise our son with the highest awareness of compassion for all living beings and love for mother earth. Laura ate a well-balanced vegan diet, which included whole grains, tofu, beans (black, kidney, garbanzo, pinto, and soy), peas, lentils, potatoes, brown rice, taro root, nuts, lots of fresh raw vegetables and fruit, fake-meat products such as seitan / wheat gluten / soy deli slices, Luna bars, soy milk, and pancakes and smoothies with rice protein powder. She also enjoyed kale and seaweed from the Japanese restaurants here in Hawaii. Laura sporadically took vegan prenatal and iron supplements throughout her pregnancy, as well as B12 and folic acid supplements early in her pregnancy.

Laura felt so great in her vegan pregnancy that she continued to stay active, even into her 9th month. Laura enjoyed walking and hiking with her dog and husband, swimming, and her favorite activity, snorkeling with the sea turtles. Laura was even out walking down by the ocean the day she went into labor.

Solomon now thrives on his vegan mother’s breast milk, supplemented with soy formula as we wait for Laura’s milk to fully come in. Our son has a very healthy appetite! We are very confident in our son’s health and we will raise all of our kids vegan and be much more confident in Laura’s next pregnancy. Laura’s advice to anyone wanting to have a vegetarian or vegan pregnancy is to follow your intuition and keep lots of supportive people around you, and don’t discuss your diet with people who are not supportive.

Solomon lives with five rescued cats, Angel, Nikita, Reznor, Moby, and Shiloh; two rescued turtles, Arwen and Aragorn; and one adopted shelter dog, Kali.

Updated September 2007


Saige - Birmingham, AL

Saige at 2 days

Saige at 10 months

Saige’s parents have been vegetarian for 10 years and vegan for 7, so Saige has been veggie since conception! I thought that pregnancy would be difficult on a vegan diet since I would have to consume so much protein and extra food to meet my calorie needs. However, I listened to my body and found that I didn’t have to eat that much to satisfy my hunger and concentrated on consuming lots of beans, peas, lentils, nuts, tofu, tempeh and seitan to meet my protein needs. I gained an adequate amount of weight and did not have issues with high blood pressure or gestational diabetes that has become so common. Saige was born a healthy 9 lbs 5 oz, the 95th percentile and has remained at the 95th and up percentile all of her 10 months. She is a veggie baby who is breastfed but she has a shown us she has a real love for eating! We keep her away from processed sugar, flours, salt, and oil but she gets lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and her favorite, beans! To make sure that Saige receives an adequate supply of omega-3s and vitamin B12 in my breastmilk, I take a multivitamin and a microalgae oil every day (and did throughout pregnancy too). Saige is definitely on her way to becoming the poster child for vegan health with her healthy little body and smiling face!

Updated September 2006


Vincent - Takoma Park, MD

Vincent at 8 months

Vincent at 21 months

Vincent has always been between the 50–95 percentiles for his height and weight and is a robust and active toddler. When he was four months old, we figured out that he had food allergies and sensitivities to many foods including wheat, corn and nuts. Despite that, he is able to eat a wide range of foods and eats a balanced vegan diet including beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, tempeh and tofu. One of his first words was “chi, chi, chi” for nutrional yeast which he can’t get enough of. His favorite foods right now are blueberry soy yogurt, rice pasta, black beans, avocado, sunflower seed butter and mango smoothies.

I had a pretty easy pregnancy, was vegan throughout and I always felt like being vegan really helped me feel good right until the day Vincent was born. During my pregnancy, I was never anemic; my iron levels were always way above normal. I found a wide variety of vegan prenatal vitamins at natural food stores and online, as well as articles written on vegan nutritional requirements during pregnancy. His grandparents were skeptical of raising a child vegan before he was born. They haven’t mentioned since then, though, and are always impressed with the wide variety of foods Vincent eats.

I’ve been vegan for 6 years and vegetarian for 10 and my husband has been vegan for 5 years and vegetarian for 6. We live in a very male dominated household with our 6 boy cats.

Updated September 2006


Rayyan - Rockville, MD

Rayyan at 6 months

Rayyan at 14 months

We have been vegans for 5 years and our son is thriving. He was born 2 weeks early at 7 lbs 5 oz. Since birth, he has been in the 50–90th percentile for weight and 70th percentile for height. He eats lots of veggies, fruits, pasta, hummus, and different types of beans every day. I add nutritional yeast to 2 of his meals every day for the B12 vitamin and he also takes a vitamin supplement. He is very smart for his age, says lots of words like banana, finished, cookie, and bread. He even says “hello” when he hears the phone ringing, and knows a few colors. He will eat anything that comes his way, but his favorites are soy yogurt and soy and gluten meats. He is very active and is enroled in gym and swim lessons and loves to play in his grandad’s work van and pretend that he is driving. My family and friends were worried about my being vegan and having a vegan baby but now they are spechless about his development.

Updated September 2006


Max, Miranda, and Callum - Freeland, WA

Max, Miranda, and Callum

Max at 7 years

Miranda at 6 years

Callum at 3 years

Max is almost 8 years old and has been vegan his whole life, even during my pregnancy! It has never been difficult for me or my kids to live a vegan lifestyle; with so many options and alternatives out there, they simply don’t miss out. When Halloween or birthdays come around that offer non-vegan treats, there has been an occasional non-vegan candy or cookie offered them. They turn them down when they discover the treats aren’t vegan. With tons of clothing and shoe options available that don’t use leather or other animal products, the kids can still have plenty of choices that fit their “style.” My goal has always been to raise children who are focused on what’s best for the animals, the planet and themselves; I strive to prevent any focus on “missing out” or feeling deprived. My children’s vegan lifestyle has definitely made a positive impact on their friends. One of Max’s best friends, whose family recently opened a new coffee house/bakery, insisted to his parents that there be vegan options for Max and other children who don’t eat animal products.

Max is captain on his jumprope team, an avid soccer player, and a member of both the Black Belt Club and STORM team in our local martial arts program. He has always been a gentle and compassionate child who consistently helps out in the classroom, with his friends and at home. He’s awesome.

Miranda is 6 1/2, swims like a fish, also attends martial arts classes, and generally approaches life like every day is a gift. She is incredibly observant and has a deep love for all animals, from spiders and ants to eagles and bears.

Callum is 3 1/2 and also asks if this or that food is vegan. Except he calls it “thegan” because he still has his lovely wee lisp. He’s a lively little guy, who loves to rough and tumble, and can be a bit rough, but he’s the first to hug you if you’re sad or hurt and thinks eating animals is “icky” and doesn’t associate milk, yogurt or cheese with dairy at all – it’s all soy here.

All of our children have excellent diets, don’t think they’re deprived of anything at all – in fact, don’t really spend that much time thinking about their food. They just eat it and get on with living. I’ve always thought that’s what food should be. It’s fuel. It makes your body do what you want it to do. If it tastes good on top of it all – well, that’s a great bonus. My kids get popsicles, ice cream treats, cakes, cookies and all manner of decadent goodies – they just don’t hurt animals or the environment to get them. And that makes those goodies much more enjoyable to them, and to me.

Updated August 2006


Emily - Kensington, MD

Emily at 8 months

Emily at 2 years

Emily is a healthy, energetic, intelligent and very happy toddler. She has been vegan her whole life and is thriving on it. Her mother has been vegan for 8 years (vegetarian for 17 years) and continued to eat a vegan diet throughout her pregnancy. She did not encounter any resistance over her diet from her prenatal healthcare providers. Emily’s pediatrician has no concerns with her diet and considers her to be in perfect health.

Making sure Emily eats right is easy. She loves eating fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as nut butters and seeds, a variety of whole grain foods, beans, soy milk and, for extra nutrition, flax and nutritional yeast. To be doubly sure she is getting enough vitamins and minerals, she takes a chewable vitamin each day.

Updated August 2006


Journey - Birmingham, AL

Journey at 1 year

Stella and Journey at 5 years

Hubie and Journey at 3 years

Journey at 5 years

Kit, Journey’s mother, says:

I had some trouble with doctors and some family while I was pregnant. They literally thought I was crazy for being vegan. It wasn’t until I went to a midwife that anyone stopped to actually look at the foods I was eating instead of just getting hung up on the word “vegan.” The midwives were not critical at all. They had all of their patients write up a weekly diet diary so they could get an idea of how we all ate and they were very impressed with mine. It was great to have someone admit that the vegan diet, when practiced with some extra attention, was perfectly acceptable for pregnancy. Everyone gives you advice when you are pregnant, most of it is unsolicited. So many people “fear for you and the baby” when you are a pregnant vegan and it can really eat away at your confidence. I think the nutritional information available on the VO website is invaluable and will really help a lot of people, not only vegan parents, but also those who question them!

Journey has been vegan her whole life. Everyone who knows her, including her doctor, is impressed by her vibrant health and well being. As a baby and toddler she thrived on breast milk. Now 5 years old, Journey eats a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Her favorite foods are lentils, mangos, edamame and chocolate cake!

Journey’s mom, who has been vegan for 7 years, had a very healthy vegan pregnancy. At the time, there weren’t too many resources for pregnant vegans. So, Kit read up on the increased nutritional demands of pregnancy and found vegan foods that could help her meet these requirements. With a little extra effort, she was able to stay healthy and strong throughout her whole pregnancy. Her advice to other vegan parents is to not be discouraged by naysaying doctors and friends. Read up on vegan nutrition, choose healthy foods, and have faith in yourself. Having a healthy vegan kid can sway even the most skeptical critic of the vegan diet!

Updated August 2006


Zander Earl - Orange County, CA
Zander at 9 mos
Zander at 9 months
Zander at 18 mos
Zander at 18 months
Zander at 2 yrs
Zander at 2 years
Zander at 3 yrs
Zander at 3 years
Zander at 4 yrs
Zander at 4 yrs
Zander at 4 years

When I learned that I was pregnant, there was never any question about whether I would continue to live a vegan lifestyle. Aside from ethical reasons, I knew that a vegan diet was the healthiest gift that I could possibly give to my growing baby. I did not experience any cravings for animal products and enjoyed a healthy pregnancy without any complications. It never crossed my mind to give Zander anything other than my own breast milk when he was born, or to feed him any other animal products as he grew.

As a result, Zander has thrived since birth and is now an extremely energetic, strong, bright, inquisitive, interactive, and compassionate 4-year-old boy. My husband and I became vegan in 2003, and Zander has been vegan since conception. Zander weighed just over 9 pounds at birth. He now weighs more than 40 pounds.

From the time Zander was old enough to speak, I have not needed to “police” what he eats. When offered a food, Zander always politely states that he is vegan and asks if there are any animal products in the food before accepting it. If he is not sure, he comes and asks me. Last Halloween, he willingly gave his entire hard-earned stash of candy to his grandpa – he genuinely didn’t want it. Zander’s veganism started out as my choice for him, but now it is his own choice.

We nurture Zander’s decision to be vegan by including books with compassionate themes – such as those by Ruby Roth – in our bedtime reading. We visit farm sanctuaries, chimpanzee sanctuaries, and marine mammal rescue centers instead of petting zoos, aquariums, or zoos – and we always talk about why we make these choices. We spend as much time as possible outside. We provide Zander with a safe and supportive environment in which to grow as an activist by including him in beach cleanups, animal rescues/releases, circus protests, etc. and teaching him to use compassionate, nonjudgmental language when talking with others. But most of all, we talk openly with Zander; we answer his questions without sugarcoating or trying to overly protect him from an often harsh reality. He seems to really appreciate this level of respectful, honest communication.

In terms of food, Zander’s diet consists of predominantly organic whole foods. I will absolutely make delicious, full-sugar, zero-nutritional-value vegan cupcakes for him to take to friends’ birthday parties so that he doesn’t feel left out when others are eating non-vegan birthday cake. I also keep a stash of organic, natural lollipops in my purse to substitute as needed for those that are made with disgusting fake food coloring and chemicals. But in general, Zander eats a diet rich in foods that are minimally processed, nutrient-dense, and made from scratch whenever possible.

When Zander was a baby, I made all of his organic “baby foods” from scratch, while working an extremely demanding full-time job in global marine wildlife conservation. It was actually surprisingly easy to do this, and I loved knowing exactly what I was putting into his mouth from day one.

For as long as Zander can remember, he and I have cooked together in the kitchen. In the beginning, I wore him wrapped on my back and he peered curiously over my shoulders while I cooked. Now, he stands beside me on his “Learning Tower” and feeds fruits and vegetables into the juicer, measures and stirs ingredients to make his own granola bars and zucchini spelt muffins, and chatters away while I make fresh homemade almond milk.

Some of Zander’s typical daily meals/snacks include:

  • steel-cut oats with hemp seeds, flax meal, walnuts, maple syrup, and fresh or dried fruits;
  • green smoothies packed with fresh organic greens, frozen fruits, coconut and/or flax oil, almond milk, chia and/or hemp seeds, etc.;
  • homemade hummus with sliced cucumbers, celery, and carrot sticks (his two favorites are zucchini hummus and chickpea hummus);
  • homemade chickpea or lentil stews with a variety of chopped veggies, such as carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, etc.;
  • quinoa salads (his favorites are Mediterranean and bruschetta quinoa);
  • spaghetti squash “pasta” with garlicky marinara sauce, fresh basil, and nutritional yeast;
  • Thai yellow curry with tofu (this is an all-time favorite);
  • vegan sushi rolls (another all-time favorite);
  • steamed broccoli drizzled with flax oil and a spritz of Braggs amino acids;
  • raw almond or cashew butter sandwiches on whole grain bread;
  • homemade trail mix, including a variety of sprouted nuts and seeds with cranberries, raisins, and/or dried cherries and blueberries;
  • and always a rainbow of fresh, ripe, juicy fruits.

As the mother of a vegan child, I believe it is so important that we support each other and our children in any way we can, in order to give them every possible advantage in life and to create a strong sense of community. I would be absolutely thrilled to exchange tips, suggestions, and ideas with other parents. I share many of Zander’s and my favorite recipes (for food and other things) online. I am not a nutritionist, but I would welcome the chance to help mentor anyone who may have questions about how to ensure that everyone thrives during a vegan pregnancy and/or childhood.

July 2014