Hi to all, I'm Kaitlyn and I currently live in Vero Beach, Florida.  I haven't been eating meat for a while now mostly because no matter how I would prepare it, it just grossed me out.  I have always been interested in how food affects the body, so little by little I have been learning about healthy foods and spices.  Lately, I have been watching all the documentaries that I can find and reading up on a vegan lifestyle.  I find it overwhelming as I am trying to learn all that I can as quickly as I can.  The reason being that I have a 16 month old daughter who is a VERY picky eater to begin with.  Therefore, she isn't getting the nutrients she needs and hasn't been putting on weight like she should.  I am trying to find foods that she will eat, mostly healthy fats like avocados and nut butters, but she refuses.  Her pediatrician (and my family) try to push whole cow's milk, ice cream, cheese, meat, etc saying it is what she needs for her development, so that adds to the stress.  I try to inform them that those are saturated fats, but anyway.. I am really passionate about the lifestyle decision I have made and hope to learn more along the way from everyone here.  Its nice to have this as an option as I am surrounded by people who want to remain ignorant and think I am being extreme.   

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Hello. Congratulations on your journey. I have a picky eater too and it's tough. Mine likes Spaghetti with tomato sauce, PB&J, baked french fries or sweet potato fries with ketchup, edememe, whole wheat bread or toast (3-4 slices each day)mashed potatoes, oatmeal with apples and cinnamon or other berries, pancakes with real maple syrup, Waffles and fruit, vegetable barley soup, salads, raw veggies dipped in agave mustard dipping sauce, Rice and beans, Vegetable stew, tomato soup, Spinach lasagna, juiced fruits and veggies, Calcium-fortified soy and almond milkz (3 cups each day), Iron-fortified veg cereals, and supplements like a vegan multivitamin to provide Vitamin B12 and zinc, and extra iron and calcium. For snacks, Fruits, nuts, Raisins, trail mix, natural or homemade applesauce, berries, sorbet, italian ice, fruit smoothies, and air popped popcorn. Hope that helps with some ideas.

 

Thank you for all the suggestions!  I will have to look into the vegan multivitamin.  Her pediatrician gave me a multivitamin but it had fluoride in it and I'm not in favor of that. 

Hello, Kaitlyn :) and welcome! Congrats on going veg <3 I would suggest trying to find a veg*n-friendly dietitian, who can help your daughter meet her nutritional needs. Sadly a lot of people are still very biased, despite the overwhelming research now showing that a vegetable diet is optimal. Too much fear-mongering, doesn't help the FDA (aka Monsanto) has their fingers in what we're teaching our young professionals today. What product I really like your daughter might like also is chocolate almond milk. It's so nommy! Has twice the calcium as regular dairy milk and it has a lot of converts behind it :) There's also a parenting group I believe for veg*n parents, you might wanna check it out I bet they have some great advice.

Thank you! Sometimes she drinks my regular almond milk but we've never had the chocolate kind, she would probably enjoy that.  I am very disappointed about the strengthening of Monsanto..ughh!! And thanks for mentioning the vegan parenting group, that will probably help tons.

No problem :) Oh she's already a fan of almond milk, that's great news! I agree completely, Obama in his short stint in office has pretty much handed us all over to them. The Monsanto Protection Act still has me fuming. You're welcome, I hope that it gives you all the advice you need :)!!

The money is a major difficulty for me too, and I really want to start growing my own food and see how it goes.  I have much to learn in the department of growing my own food but it is something I really need to do.  I would be growing everything on my own too so that may be a little difficult but I live in Florida so at least the weather is on my side.  I try to buy all organic fruits and veg's and the family members that I currently live with go crazy that I am spending money that I certainly don't have.  I hope EBT will help a little, as I applied a few weeks ago, so I'll see.  Wish it wasn't so damn hard to just live and be free!!

I understand the struggle of being vegan, but lacking resources to afford food.  Much of this has to do with our country subsidizing the meat and dairy industry.  The USDA is currently running a pilot program called "The Healthy Foods Purchase Pilot", which gives financial incentives for SNAP participants to purchase healthy foods.  So far, things look very promising.  That, however, does not help you now.  I understand that.

In addition to EBT/SNAP have you utilized any food banks in your area?  You may also want to consider preserving/canning/dehydrating.

Ps -  You may not know this, but seeds and plants like tomatoes are covered by SNAP.

I have had trouble gaining and maintaining weight, even when I ate meat for 25 years.  People will always insist on milk and other horrible foods to gain the weight.  They are not needed.  It is very rare that a pediatrician is trained in nutrition (or breastfeeding or CAM therapy).

My wife is very picky.  She's a bacon burger type of girl.  I started making black bean burgers for her, and she loves them.  She only eats the "real thing" when we go out.

Does your daughter like peanut butter?  I make smoothies with peanut butter and banana.  Bananas are 80-100 calories each.  Also, when I make pasta, I add in Olive Oil to the sauce.  I do not even taste it, and some Olive Oil adds over 200 calories a tablespoon!  I also found some dark chocolate covered snacks are great for getting in a quick 200 calories.  Try not to overdo it from those though.  I just eat one or two dark chocolate covered graham crackers.

Has your daughter seen any other doctors for this weight issue?  It took many years for me to discover that my weight is likely due to low muscle tone.  The only way I found this out is because my daughter has similar symptoms, and her neurologist finally pin-pointed the issue.

I am very happy to say that since I stopped following the suggestions of my daughter's pediatrician and my family about what foods she should be eating, and went ahead with a vegan diet she has actually gained two pounds within the last month!! She is still really picky but I have been spending so much time experimenting with her food preferences. She won't eat pasta or avocado, and hardly any peanut butter, which I really wish she would but if I keep letting her try it maybe she will develop a taste for those things.  I actually made a peanut butter and banana smoothie for her today and she took one sip and spit it out -_-.  Luckily, I make a smoothie with collard greens, kale, mixed fruit, chia or flax seed, and cinnamon in the morning and she LOVES it. Drinks that throughout the day so I know she is getting some nutrients.  I'll keep working on it, thank you for the suggestions!

It's such a shame that pediatricians do not have some basic training in nutrition and how so many health care professionals push meat and diary.  Thank you also for mentioning the "Healthy Foods Purchase Pilot" even though that isn't helping me right now, I am interested to find out more about it.  I am working on growing my own vegetables, but starting out small.  In the meantime, I will definitely find out more about food banks around here. 

You should be the best expert in your child's health.  You do observe them much more than any doctor does.  My daughter was going to a GI doctor, and everything she told us made my daughter worse.  She put her on a heavy duty laxative, which hurt her a lot.  Prune juice, as her ped/my grandma recommended, continues to work very well.  This GI doctor also said to start her on solids.  Had we done so, my daughter could have choked because we discovered she did not have the muscle tone yet to swallow!  (She is doing better now, and muscles are doing well).

I also gained weight from smoothies.  I love them!

Just know in advance some places may give you an attitude about not taking meat/dairy products from the food bank.  Ignore them.  Social workers believe clients have the right of self-determination, and you are entitled to make decisions about the health of yourself and your family!

^ Peanut butter! Wonderful solution. Any kind of nut butter will help you gain some healthy weight :)!!

I second that!  Peanut butter and banana smoothies have helped me gain 5 pounds after going vegan.  I normally fluctuate 5 pounds, but never gained it so fast!

I hear nuts like almonds and walnuts are good, too.  I have a tree nut allergy, but I would totally nom nom on some almonds if I could!

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