A social post went viral recently in which a lady rants at Wellington vegan café owners about their customers not getting the right nutrients from a vegan diet. Well, we’re all perfectly capable of making the right decisions on good nutrition for ourselves, thank you. But when it comes to parents raising children on a plant-based diet, the questions are a little more complex.
‘Is it safe for a child to be vegan?’ ‘Will they get all the nutrients they need?’ ‘Can they live?’ In response to these questions and more, neuroscientist, author, and star of the hit TV series The Big Bang Theory, Mayim Bialik has taken to the internet to address concerns.
First of all, she affirms that you can thrive as a vegan at any age, and her two sons are living proof. In the YouTube video How To Raise Vegan Kids, she says, “Yes, you can raise vegan children who are healthy children. My children are rosy-cheeked and alert. They have good endurance for sports. They are hearty. They are hardly ever sick.”
The PhD graduate states that, her sons’ veganism has the full support of their family paediatrician. Furthermore, Bialik points out that dietary restriction is commonplace, and people routinely avoid certain foods for a variety of reasons, including cultural reasons, religious reasons, and/or food allergies.
In response to nutritional concerns, Bialik goes through all of the common questions, from vitamin B12 to where to get protein. Beans, bread, pasta, and quinoa are all listed as great sources of protein. “How do I get my kids to eat quinoa? One word – ketchup,” she quips.
Science, acting, writing, cooking – this smart cookie has a lot of interests – and the environment is certainly one of them. For Bialik, it’s not just about raising healthy children, but also about the environmental impact parenting can have. In her 2012 parenting book Beyond the Sling, Bialik explains that she chose a “green” parenting style which “seeks to create a generation of children who love and respect people and the earth because they have been loved and respected by their parents”.
Bialik shows no signs of slowing down on her quest to inspire people to lead healthier, environmentally-friendly and more compassionate lives. She has released a vegan family cookbook promising more than 100 great recipes to keep your family thriving. Not only that, if you happen to be in LA, you can check out her vegan restaurant Bodhi Bowl which is 100 per cent vegan owned and operated.