Dear Amy: My daughter is in her 30s. Her boyfriend has decided to be totally vegan. She has decided to be vegan, too, which is fine. They’re adults and they will do what they believe is best.
My question concerns these new dietary restrictions.
At some point they may have children. I would like advice about whether being vegan is good for children in utero, and as they develop.
Is it healthy and advisable?
These kids will be in situations over their lives when traveling, at social situations, or during holidays where they may have to make eating choices that are not compatible with plant-based diets.
I understand the benefits of a plant-based diet and the impact on saving the planet, but still I worry about an entire diet and lifestyle approach that the kids must follow (with no choice) because their parents believe in it.
My approach will probably be that if you would like me to feed the kids something, let me know in advance so I can figure out how to provide it.
I’m curious if there’s research about how plant-based diets influence the development of young children.
— Concerned Mom
Dear Concerned: You really are putting the cart before the carrot, here (in fact, the cart is in the barn, and the carrot hasn’t even been planted yet). As a relationship adviser, my first bit of feedback is that, even though you assert that these people are adults and have the right to feed their own bodies, you don’t seem to really believe in their ability to use discernment to make good choices down the road.
(Also note: They are dating, no one is pregnant, and no one has asked you for your opinion.)
I shared your question with Kathleen Rasmussen, professor of maternal and child nutrition at Cornell University, who responded: “It is possible to create a vegan diet that is nutritionally adequate for a pregnant woman and a growing child, but it requires thoughtfulness.
“For children, the concerns are having an adequate caloric intake as well as sufficient high-quality protein and key several micronutrients. These can be provided with a careful selection of appropriate foods.
“Children learn to love what their parents eat and, if shown by their parents, how to navigate social situations related to eating.”
I will add that I have two very young vegan family members who have shown an amazing ability to identify and discern their food choices, starting when they were toddlers. With guidance from their parents, if they are unsure if they can/should eat something, they just ask!
Following that guideline, if you are unsure about how to feed vegan family members — you can do the same.
Dear Amy: Family photos from my childhood had been in my sister’s possession when our father died 14 years ago (our mom had died years before).
My sister (my only sibling, in her 70s, as I am) had given the albums to her son. I asked him 10 months ago if I could have them for a while, and he said he’d let me know.
He eventually sent scans of my parents’ honeymoon, which are irrelevant to my own childhood photo history.
After many emails back and forth, he still won’t let me have them, even for a week or two to show my kids, and he continues to stonewall me on the scans.
Part of the backstory is that neither he nor my sister think I handled my dad’s death properly (I was working in another town). Neither of them like my current wife. And he thinks only he can take care of these old photos.
What to do? I’d like to see these photos again before I die.
Dear Upset: You should offer to pay your nephew to scan these photos and send the files to you. Scanning can be very time-consuming, and he might respond differently if you: a) express your interest in and gratitude for the photos you’ve already received, and b) offer to pay him a fee/photo.
Dear Amy: “Reluctant Mom” was worried about the risks of traveling and attending her daughter’s wedding during this pandemic.
Our granddaughter is having her bat mitzvah next month, in North Carolina.
The Boston grandparents and family will be Zooming in.
Is it what we envisioned? No. We will wish we could have been there, but we will at least be able to see her.
This is a simple solution in a pandemic time.
Dear Nana: Mazel tov to your entire family!
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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