Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday November 7th, 2009 - Vegan Kids

Oh man. I am in pain. I rode a virtual trail called "Oh Mama" twice. The first time was serous enough, but I thought I could push another couple miles of 30% inclines and then I thought I could give it another 15 minutes and then I was too close to stop. Overall 1 1/2 hours of torture. It felt good until I got off to walk. The back of my thighs felt like they were going to cramp at any second. I guess I overworked the gracilis and semimembranosus muscles (hamstrings). The rest of my thighs and calves feel fine. I'm trying to stretch between sentences. I'm supposed to go bowling tonight. Not only is my right wrist sore as a mad dog, now I don't think I can walk. I hope they give me a 200 handicap LOL. This week I rode the virtual bike 5 times for 360 minutes. Not bad. I can't wait until I can resume my normal exercise routine. On beautiful warm days like today, I would like nothing more than a nice 40 mile ride to and from Denver. Not to mention my upper body. I lust for free weights.

My friend, Lisa (same friend as last night), has asked about vegan kids. My kids eat meat and dairy, so I haven't really thought about it. Kids can be vegans, but they are growing and it becomes imperative that their diets and supplements are measured continuously. They absolutely need tons of protein and calcium. And, as a parent, you have to overcome the normal resistance to anything green. You can almost substitute soy products for dairy, so that's easy to slide by, but garden burgers are not even close to a cheese burger hot off the grill.

The hardest part for vegan kids has to be psychological. Kids don't like to be different. Pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, anything with dairy in it. It would be difficult to attend the typical birthday party. It's possible if the kids are into the political side of vegan. If they are militant about the treatment of animals, they can handle being vegan. Maybe that's where I would start. Educate the kids on the beef, poultry, and fish industries. If they're not completely grossed out, then they must never get grossed out by anything. Once you have their attention, I would introduce vegan.

Another strong argument for vegan is "climate change." The kids get hit with this reality everyday. Being vegan is being "green." In 2006, the UN reported that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Kids can't buy electric cars, but they can make an individual contribution by going vegan.

The actual vegan diet can be kid friendly. Just work around the meat and dairy issue by feeding them things that every kid likes. Here's a sneaky way to get the vegetable and fruit servings in. Have them drink smoothies like Jamba Juice or Naked Juices, or Odwalla. One of my biggest problems around the house is that my health food tastes great and my carnivore teenagers eat all of it. Juice, protein bars, granola, nuts, fruit, and even soy milk disappears. If they like V-8 you're all good. They will need to take vitamins and supplements. At least for me, the best way to get enough protein is through soy protein powder. I get a double hit by mixing my powder with Odwalla "Superfood" smoothy. It's nutritionally superior to anything you eat and it tastes great. My boys like the juices and smoothies, but they think the addition of my powder looks gross. Good, I don't want to share my soy mix anyway.

There is a wealth of vegan education on the net. Try it for a week; try it for a month. It's so easy to remember what you can and can't eat. If it has a face, don't eat it. Kids usually don't like oysters and other faceless sea creatures, so you're probably safe. If you can make it a month, you can make it permanent. If they get cravings, just take a bite and savor it. No one is going to revoke your vegan membership card. I may have been apprehensive about vegan kids when I started thinking about this, but the more I think about it, it makes sense. Maybe it's not about being different. Maybe it's about being really cool.

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