With growing concerns over antibiotics and GMO-fed meats, not to mention unethically sourced animal leathers and fibers, it isn't a surprise that veganism is gaining ground -- quickly.
Veganism has been shown in studies to offer a healthy lifestyle: It can improve the chances of avoiding heart disease; encourage a clearer, brighter complexion; help stave off certain types of cancer; and, ultimately, be much kinder to the planet. As an adult, it's easy to make the decision to become vegan. But what about when you want your kids to reap the same benefits?
You may not be able to control every single bite of food your child takes. or what they choose to wear, however, you can educate them and help them to make healthier choices when it comes to the clothing they wear, the skincare products they use, and the food they consume. Lead by example and they're more likely to follow. Here are some practical tips.
Vegan Food for Thought
When it comes to introducing your children to a veg-based diet, avoid jumping right into it. Instead, gradually begin phasing out animal-based foods. It's easiest to start with meats, as many of the meat substitutes on the market today taste remarkably close to their fleshy counterparts. You can even mix them with regular meat to get your kids used to the taste. For instance, make tacos with half meat and half meat substitute.
Younger children are tactile-they love to feel and "interact" with their food. Use this to your advantage to make mealtime a source of learning and enjoyment. You may be amazed at what your kids will willingly eat if they have some part in its creation! Bring them into the kitchen when cooking meals. Incorporate fun ingredients like homegrown sprouts and lettuce. You can make your meals delicious, healthy and "mainstream," ensuring that your kids don't feel left out.
The conundrum here comes in trying not to preach to your kids about their dietary choices. You must make sure to remain calm and supportive if they deviate from the path. If not, they'll start wondering what all the fuss is about, which will likely create some anxiety around food, leading to an undesired outcome.
Wear the Vegan lifestyle with Pride
Luckily, there are many incredible plant and synthetic fibers on the market today, making it easier than ever to find comfortable, durable clothing and shoes that feel much like their animal counterparts. Birkenstock, Keep, Good Guys and Tom's are all examples of companies that offer ethically-sourced footwear made from vegan-friendly materials.
Herbivore Clothing focuses on offering earth-friendly, vegan-themed tees and accessories, while Grape Cat and Avesu have a wide range of clothing for every lifestyle. Consider hosting a vegan-friendly kids clothing exchange in your community to help save money and further support our wonderful planet.
Skin Deep: Why Vegan Skincare products matter
One area that will probably be easy to change without a fight: beauty and skincare products.
There is no good reason that any product should ever be tested on animals or contain animal by-products, such as lanolin. At AHAVA, we follow strict vegan guidelines in research and development; we refuse to test on animals and never, ever, include animal-derived ingredients.
We believe there is no beauty to be had from harming another creature for personal gain. Always look for products that carry the "cruelty-free" seal. Common animal-based ingredients in non-vegan beauty products include Keratin and Beeswax, and carmine – a red coloring found in many lipsticks. Lanolin and Glycerine should also be ruled out of a vegan-friendly lifestyle.
If you make the important decision to adhere to a vegan lifestyle, stick to it and don't give up. There's a reason you've chosen this lifestyle for you and your family. It may take some trial and error, but when you've gotten everyone on board, you'll all begin to reap the benefits of a clean, healthy way of life!
Does vegan-friendly matter to you in choosing your skincare products? We'd love to hear from you.