Thanks to hyperbolic media outlets and widespread misinformation, figuring out how to raise vegan kids can be a tough (and lonely) experience.
But thanks to a rapidly expanding Facebook group — Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting — plant-based moms and dads now have somewhere to turn.
Janet Kearney came across the group a few years ago when she was pregnant with her son and couldn’t find any relevant info. It was small and not being managed regularly, so she took over. Since then, the numbers have grown exponentially and it now includes over 20,000 vegan parents.
All kinds of questions are asked and answered in the group. Particularly: “how to navigate well meaning or worried family members and friends,” explains Kearney. “From how to politely ask them to stop with animal products, or to have tactful conversations about boundaries. It’s difficult, because the majority of the time, people are just genuinely worried, that the kids aren’t getting enough calcium or the dreaded ‘p’ word [PROTEIN]. The community is there to arm them with facts, like, a cup of oatmeal has the same calcium as a cup of yogurt. So that the next time, they can have calm conversations.”
The aim of the group is to bring awareness and information to vegan parents around the world ” through nutrition, articles, and general questions and answers,” says Kearney. And it’s not just a Facebook group. Kearney is working on an official website, which will hopefully be live at the end of August.
“I have a great team of people so far contributing towards it: a doctor, a midwife, a scientist, chefs, all plant-based,” she says. “So members don’t have to scroll through the thousands of questions in the group to find something out, and it’s more organized. I’m also trying to create a mini series on ‘Why I went Vegan‘ for the website. A collection of short stories from members, on why they went vegan and how their life has changed.”
All in all, the group is a support system. And — hopefully — a means of combating myths and misinformation about vegan families. Because what’s more wholesome than not causing harm?
“There is a misconception that vegans are hippies who sustain on fruits and nuts — not your typical suburban family,” says Kearney. “So it would nice to show that, ‘Nope, we’re exactly the same as you, we just don’t eat animals’.”