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10 year old SD wants to be a vegetarian, but I think this is BS.

Posted by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM
  • 67 Replies

My SD lives with us during the school year and spends the summers with her BM in another state. When she was much younger we had a lot of trouble getting her to eat healthy foods. She wanted nothing but pasta and sweets. She's naturally very thin. She's also been battling anemia for the last 3 years, she's very prone to becoming anemic. When we first learned she was anemic we changed our entire diets, she had to eat more iron rich foods like broccoli, spinach, and yes, red meat. So in the past three years she has not been hospitalized for her anemia, but we do have to have her blood drawn every 3 months to check her levels and she's always borderline. She's in the "safe" zone, but only by a point or two. She's on a daily supplement with iron in it.

She loves my cooking now, and frequently asks for seconds on the meat we're having. She has never once mentioned to me that she'd like to be a vegetarian, but out of the blue called her father yesterday and said "I've been thinking about it for a while and I want to be a vegetarian. She's at her mom's and her mom supports her daughter's choice. I think this is just ridiculous. We eat a healthy, balanced diet here and she gets plenty of vegetables, fruits, and non-meat foods, but the main source of her iron is still meat.

I'm also not going to make her entirely separate meals from what the rest of the family eats just because my 10 year old SD thinks it'll be cool to be a vegetarian. It's not a good trend to set for my younger children, who are 4, 3, 18 months, and 6 weeks. I think that she is too young to make this dietary choice. She has no idea what all being a vegetarian means, and for me I'm just seeing so many red flags as to her wanting to avoid eating certain things that she doesn't like--like when we have fish for dinner, or hamburger, which she's not a big fan of either, but she loves my steaks (which we can't afford to eat steak every night), she loves my pork chops and my chicken dishes. I'm confused as to where this is coming from. When she's with her mom she eats a lot of pastas and junk food and fruit. They make her a seperate meal from what they eat if she doesn't like what they're having.

Am I in the wrong here? I'm not opposed to the vegetarian life style, for others it's perfectly fine, and I do make some meals that are meatless, but it is not the life style we choose to live. My husband tends to let SD have too much say in things that children should not have a say in and he told her that we would definitely talk about it when she got back from her mom's at the end of the summer.

by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:05 PM
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Replies (1-10):
packermomof2
by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM

My daughter went through that.  I let her.  It isn't hard not to serve a kid meat.  Just give them protein in other ways... beans, cheese, nuts, etc... you don't have to choose to live it, but it isn't going to hurt a kid to be one even if her SM doesn't want her to be one.  She can very easily make her own foods if taught.

momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:43 PM
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I think kids get ideas from others and they think its cool. I went through the vegetarian phase and I was about 16. My mom did not give in to me. I just had to make my own meals. And that lasted about a week lol

I think your sd has a health issue that would keep her from being a successful vegetarian. Maybe a visit to her dr when she returns so that her dr can explain to her the reasons why she cannot be a vegetarian. Or maybe her dr will show you a healthy way to give her the results she wants.
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momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:46 PM
I agree with you but this child struggles with anemia and every thing I've read, vegetarians struggle with their iron levels. She is seeing a dr regularly to regulate her iron levels as well as taking supplements. I don't think protein is really her issue. I struggle with iron deficiency and my dr tells me I need red meat every single day on top of this huge ass pill she prescribes. I think it's just a fad and she will change her mind after a while and want to do something else.


Quoting packermomof2:

My daughter went through that.  I let her.  It isn't hard not to serve a kid meat.  Just give them protein in other ways... beans, cheese, nuts, etc... you don't have to choose to live it, but it isn't going to hurt a kid to be one even if her SM doesn't want her to be one.  She can very easily make her own foods if taught.


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rebeccasmly
by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:47 PM

It wouldn't bother me personally. Back with my 3rd son was just a toddler, he refused any type of meat. Now he'll eat it but it has never been a favorite. I have never pushed the issue.

She can get plenty of iron from other sources. In fact, there are reports out there that show there are some vegetables that provide more iron than meat will.

I was born anemic and have struggled with it all my life. I don't mind meat but there are days I can go without it. In fact, the last time I ate meat was Sunday or Monday, not sure which day, lol. I eat enough of the right vegetables to get what I need though and do not take supplements unless I am having a lot of problems.

If you're worried about preparing a separate meal, SD is old enough to help in the kitchen. Allow her to prepare her own meal when you're serving a dish with meat. You both can work side by side, great time for conversation. :-)

whatIknownow
by Ruby Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 1:52 PM
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My DD made the choice around that age. She is 22 now, and still a vegetarian.

Im' not a vegetarian myself (LOVE meat too much), but I respect the choice - even when that choice is made by a child. My DD didn't want to eat animals anymore because she is an animal lover. I was not going to force her to participate in the killing of animals. I respected her decision - and the fact that she is still a vegetarian to this day, proves she was serious, and old enough to make that choice.

My SD also made that choice and was back to eating meat in less than a week.. LOL. But still - I respected her choice and let her give it a shot.

DDDaysh
by on Jul. 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Well, honestly, I don't know how you're going to force meat down her throat if she doesn't want to eat it.  

The anemia is worrying, but you're not going to be able to force her to swallow it if she doesn't want to.  I think, if she's seriously convinced this is what she wants to do, you should make an appointment for her to talk to her doctor about it.  Maybe the doctor can convince her otherwise?  

ldee78
by Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM
I was 11 when I decided to become vegetarian. My mother supported me and taught me how to eat healthy. I have been a vegetarian for 24 years now and have no health problems.

In my opinion it can be a good life style choice with the proper education and diet.
Tillymommie
by Silver Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM

One of my best friends became a vegetarian at 10. She is 26 now. You don't necessarily have to make completely different meals.

As for iron, cut out tea and there are other iron rich foods. LOL believe it or not chocolate is one. (I am NOT suggesting replacing meat with it). But its #9 on the top ten foods rich with Iron. (Maybe thats why woman crave it during PMS)

Also on that list is tofu. Great meat substitude if you learn to cook with it. We aren't vegetarians but since I know so many I decided to learn to cook with tofu for dinner parties. Its really good once you know how.

Tillymommie
by Silver Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM
Quoting momof2ex1:

I agree with you but this child struggles with anemia and every thing I've read, vegetarians struggle with their iron levels. She is seeing a dr regularly to regulate her iron levels as well as taking supplements. I don't think protein is really her issue. I struggle with iron deficiency and my dr tells me I need red meat every single day on top of this huge ass pill she prescribes. I think it's just a fad and she will change her mind after a while and want to do something else. This is true but it is possible. I did it for a year. Whats funny is the year before I became a vegetarian, my iron level was a 6. I almost had to have a transfusion. I couldn't do supplements because they would make me sick as hell. So I got it to a level 10. Still low but ok enough. Then I decide to cut red meat from my diet (well all meat but fish, so I was technically a pescetarian). It was a tough year. LOL I had to give up tea as well due to it depleting iron levels. Lots of tofu. Thankful my friend helped teach me how to cook it. Lots and lots of spinach,squash, humus.
I think the problem would be, would the 10 yo want to eat some of the iron rich foods needed to replace the read meat?


Quoting packermomof2:

My daughter went through that.  I let her.  It isn't hard not to serve a kid meat.  Just give them protein in other ways... beans, cheese, nuts, etc... you don't have to choose to live it, but it isn't going to hurt a kid to be one even if her SM doesn't want her to be one.  She can very easily make her own foods if taught.



Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children. Do you understand? ~The Crow

momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Jul. 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM
What is the connection to tea and iron? I struggle with my iron count - could it be that I am a big tea drinker? I drink a lot of coffee also. Just curious.


Quoting Tillymommie:

One of my best friends became a vegetarian at 10. She is 26 now. You don't necessarily have to make completely different meals.

As for iron, cut out tea and there are other iron rich foods. LOL believe it or not chocolate is one. (I am NOT suggesting replacing meat with it). But its #9 on the top ten foods rich with Iron. (Maybe thats why woman crave it during PMS)

Also on that list is tofu. Great meat substitude if you learn to cook with it. We aren't vegetarians but since I know so many I decided to learn to cook with tofu for dinner parties. Its really good once you know how.


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