My husband and I are both strict vegetarians. He has been for almost ten years, me for about seven. When I told people I was pregnant the first questions always turned out to be about whether or not I would start eating meat, and if we were going to let our baby eat meat. Um, of course not?
I know a lot of people don’t understand vegetarianism, and it doesn’t really bother me when people ask, but when the try to make me feel like I’m nutritionally depriving my son is where I draw the line. Every now and then I get someone who asks “Why would you do that to him?” or “don’t you want him to have the best nutrition?”. And the worst one (from my mother!) “You know he will be sick all the time if he doesn’t eat meat.” I don’t know where these people are getting their information, but they are wrong. There have been countless studies about the value of the vegetarian diet, and not a single one of them found it to be inferior.
Every nutrient the human body could need can be grown from the earth. There are tofu, seitan, and tempeh, that can be cooked and seasoned just like a steak and also provides protein and iron. There are so many types of vegetables, each with a number of key vitamins and minerals. The key is to keep it balanced.
Check out Vegetarian Baby, it is an amazing book for youngsters. There is also This can’t be tofu! and Vegetarian Bible.
I don’t have anything against the carnivorous crowd, but it’s just not for me. Or my family. Once my son is old enough and informed enough to choose, he can definitely eat meat if he wants. But for now he is a happy, healthy veggie baby.