Are Children Natural Vegans? {Video}

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The decision to go vegan came in my 20s—I committed myself to making drastic dietary changes because my health was failing.

Today, I see PETA propaganda, animal rights pioneers and all these people with adorable adopted pets and I think, I wish I had done it for the animals.

In actuality, it was a selfish move. My shiny vegan label came in the wake of desperation to cure an ailing body. Prior to my health issues I enjoyed steak (the rarer, the better), burgers, chicken and bacon in moderation. I was never meat-obsessed—I flirted with vegetarianism several times—but I had little issue with the idea of a society that consumed meat. In fact, I had so little issue with it, I never thought about it at all.

Once my vegan diet was firmly in place, the lifestyle changes became a gradual, but inevitable, extension.

You’ll be hard-pressed to open a book on veganism that does not address the horrific deaths that animals are forced to endure with factory farming. You’ll have difficulties blocking the practices of the fur trade, industrialized dairy farms or the egg industry from your mind. You’ll find yourself contemplating where those sexy leather shoes came from and wondering if you can ever go back to that blissful state of ignorance.

You can’t.

Something about the vegan diet connects you to these animals and their stories. We tap into a child-like understanding of what it means to respect life.

Children see animals for what they are: living, breathing extensions of themselves.

If we’d just listen, we can learn a lot:

 Like elephant vegetarian & vegan on Facebook.

Ed: Brianna Bemel


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Sara Crolick

Sara Crolick is whiskey in a teacup. She loves elephants, vegetables, vintage typewriters, Audrey Hepburn and the written word, but not necessarily in that order. She raises two inspiring boys with her mister, who is a bona fide music-maker; this works out nicely, as she happens to also love music. You can connect with her via her site, Conversations with a Human Heart, her author page on Facebook and on Twitter, too.

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anonymous Jun 3, 2013 2:08am

I agree that all animals should be treated ethically. However any animal that exists which humans have used for whatever reasons exists only because we have some use for it and for no other reason. We only have to look at the world and see that animals that humans don't see a use for suffer in the greater scheme of things. So all those animals that we stop eating, what happens to them? Animals that we don't eat, get milk or eggs from, what happens to them? DO we keep them as pets? or do they become extinct? If we keep them as pets? what then? I mean lets look at the horrors people create when they start breeding animals for how they look!
Is life more important than no life?

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 3:42pm

My point was that what a child chooses to do or believe is based upon the fact that it is a child, a child unfamiliar with life feeding on life will see a cow as cute especially is it has been taught, "a cow says" is the idea of a cow talking and more erroneous that calling the belly of a pig bacon??
Conditioning a child to eat meat is not different to conditioning a child to not want to eat meat. The child in the video has been taught that animals are cute, so when it is told it is eating a dead cute thing it doesn't like it. Again my point is that if the child was truly hungry it would not ask such questions, in much the same way that it would not restrain itself from eating sweets until it was sick or accepting the truth of santa claus or the tooth fairy. His response to where his dinner comes from is not natural, it is conditioned. If we had a video of a starving child in Africa, who then refused to eat an animal we would see the a "truth".
I am talking from the point of view of child that grew up in the country, on a farm eating animals we had shot, while at the same time in my youthful way planning to start an army to hunt down people who clubbed seal cubs or mistreated animals.
Personally I have no problem with you choosing to eat or not eat whatever you like, neither do I have a problem whether you approve of what I eat or do not eat.
What I do question is the use of questionable situations to claim one point of view over another and to suggest that the choices of child are free from influence or hold real value to some inner truth!

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 1:14am

Posting a clip of a child that doesn't understand or experienced the fact that life feeds on life doesn't really make a compelling argument for not eating meat. if it did, I could post some videos of why we should believe in the tooth fairy, father Christmas or the monster under the bed.
It does however make a cute "justification" of our adult decisions to take a certain path.
Does this child child understand where any food comes from, the eggs the milk the vegetables? Would the child be as "naturally vegan" when it is very hungry?
|What about the other choices of what to eat or not to eat that children make? I think I am going to go on a sweets only diet as I have observed that a majority of children will eat sweets to the exclusion of anything else!

    anonymous Jun 2, 2013 8:05am

    Amen. This doesn't prove anything, and just because vegan propaganda books will make you think twice about the food you eat does not mean there are no ethical farmers. If we choose to eat local, organic foods, free-run eggs, etc. it says a lot more about us than just giving up meat 'for the animals' – you SHOULD do it for yourself, because you want to, not because you are pressured into it. Humans are omnivores by nature, the vegan lifestyle is not easy. Newborns drink.require breast-milk?

    My sister was a vegatarian for a couple years and got so sick she could not leave her room, and her doctors actually told her she had to start eating meat again because humans require the nutrients. I do know why people think being vegan is healthier, it is not. There are evils to both sides. EVERYTHING in moderation.

      anonymous Jun 2, 2013 8:58am

      I'm sorry to hear your sister had so many issues, Jo. That's terrible.

      While I agree with you that things in moderation are best, I will tell you that I'm thriving as a vegan because I have put my nutritional needs as the highest priority. (I'm not, for the record, accusing your sister of being lax with her nutrition.)

      There are many people, just like me, who are doing remarkably well with a vegan diet—these are the same people that would probably disagree with your comment that humans are omnivores by nature, but that's a debate for another time. And you're right, the vegan lifestyle (at times) is not easy. We live in a society that reallllllllly loves animal products (edible and otherwise), so it can be a challenge—mentally and spiritually—to keep moving forward sometimes. There is a lot of misinformation about vegans and their diets, which can often lead to unfair judgements and assumptions.

      I'm curious about your comment that newborns "drink.require" breast milk, though.. is this a case against veganism?

      Thank you for reading, as with Jonathan's comment, I totally respect your decision to eat meat and am not attempting to shame anyone into anything—in turn, I appreciate you respecting my choices too.

      Whether you eat meat or not, I hope you enjoyed Luiz! I just couldn't get over how poignantly his compassion came through.

        anonymous Jun 3, 2013 12:52am

        Hello SAra! I am one of those who became really sick on a vegetarian and dairy free diet (after 2 years also!) i was very mindful of what i ate. Mostly organic, whole foods etc…
        BUt yeah everyone is different and live in different climate too (i think it would be easier to be vegan in hot countries than in a harsh and cold alpine environment where i live).
        I just want to point out one thing about vegan (not vegetarian) diets. MOst people who are vegans were not raised vegans. Does any body knows 2 or 3 generations of healthy vegans? I think that's where the problems come. Pregnant women, growing children etc.. Although some humans feel good on a vegan diet for some time in their lives Does it mean that humans are designed to be vegans on the long run?
        WHen you say that our society loves animal product, it is true! But i would add that very society everywhere in the world loves animal products! NOt only our society! I mean even in India, their vegetarian diet relies heavily on dairy products (ghee, paneer, raita, lassi etc..). and there must be a reason for this!
        I respect peoples decisions to be vegans, and i know that it comes with all the most beautiful intentions. (i have been there too). But i think that being a vegan long term is an experiment.
        I trust the wisdom of nutritional traditions around the world more than the fads.
        But its only me!
        LOve and Respect!

        anonymous Jun 4, 2013 7:02am

        Very well said SaraCrolick. Exactly how I feel too.

    anonymous Jun 2, 2013 8:35am

    Hi Jonathan (and Jo!),

    By no means did I intend to submit this as scientific evidence arguing that children are meant to be vegan, though I appreciate your belief in my dedication! I'm not sure what "cute 'justification'" you're referring to—adults' decisions to go vegan? or our decisions to condition children into fully accepting the idea of eating meat?

    Regardless, I must disagree with your sarcasm a bit. Clearly, with the idea of a sweets-only diet you're being facetious, but I wholeheartedly feel that we are born with a natural aversion to carnage. Children, given the chance, would turn from witnessing an animal suffer and die, only to be served up on their plate. I'm merely pointing out that children are more connected to the source than we are, and in my mind, it's a shame. They haven't been exposed to years and years of conditioning (yet) making them disassociate the animal from the generic food item on their plate.

    Calling a breakfast side "bacon" is different than saying "you're eating flesh from the underside of a pig's ribs" and offering a child a "cheeseburger" masks yet another horrific reality.

    Luiz's earliest lessons probably involved being asked questions like: what does the cow say? and Luiz probably replied in delight that "the cow says 'mooooooo" (though in heartwarmingly perfect Portuguese). He might have even visited a farm where he got to see the beauty and impressive size of a real-life cow. The cow he sees and interacts with or imagines in his mind is a life that he adores and respects… naturally. So Luiz's reaction to the truth about his dinner is natural.

    It's beautiful too.

    If you happen to be interested in this idea of disassociation, Will Tuttle's "The World Peace Diet" is an excellent resource; it was one of the earliest books to touch me in the way that little Luiz did—you might even enjoy it as means of preparation for further debate!

    I'm not telling you that you're a bad person or wrong for not being a vegan, so don't stress! I understand it is a personal choice—and it's one I take seriously. I just thought Luiz's voice was something too pure and honest not to share.

    Thank you for reading! Have a beautiful day.

    anonymous Jun 2, 2013 10:40am

    I agree with both of you, Jonathan and Jo (minus the confusing breast-milk comment), and I am an ex-PETA fanatical -underline fanatical- vegan!

    I was a vegetarian for 12 and vegan for two- I supplemented with b-vitamins, ate fermented soy, avoided processed foods, ate no refined sugar, ate massive amounts of veggies and green smoothies and green juice. I was healthy for a time but soon I became like Jo's sister. Massively sick and weak. I made the hard decision to add back in pastured-eggs and raw, grass-fed dairy products. I felt better, but not entirely. Eventually I added in meat from local farmer's who raised animals on pasture and as 'humanely' as possible (though there is no humane way to butcher an animal, in my opinion)

    I cried the first time I ate meat again, and worried that I wouldn't be able to digest it (you always hear as a vegetarian that you lose the enzymes and your body forgets how to break it down/can't break it down). Well, within about ten minutes of having consumed the red-meat I felt SO energized it was CRAZY. I could not believe how radically different I felt. The next day I went for a hike, my mood was elevated, etc.

    I still struggle with the fact that somehow I have put my life as more important than the lives of the animals that I eat. I still, if I think about it, find meat to be gross (it's dead flesh!) but I'm always growing and changing my views, and I never want to go back to how I felt after my 10th year of being vegetarian. I still often go long stretches without consuming animal products and find myself feeling unwell again- the fix is ALWAYS steak.

    So, I respect that some people seem to do okay as vegans (though it is a fact that it is very hard to meet your b-12 requirements no matter how much nutritional yeast and supplements you take)….and I feel that many can do well on a vegetarian diet if it is set up to be healthy and does not rely on refined carbohydrates and processed soy.

    However, I've learned a lot through the Weston A Price Foundation and Dr. Mercola nutritional typing that makes much more sense to me than the vegan propaganda that I deeply believed and preached ever did.

    It's a tough decision, but hopefully we can all make the one that is right for ourselves and respect the choices that others make.

    And, if you are going to eat meat, I feel strongly that you should be aware of and care about where it is coming from.

anonymous Jun 1, 2013 8:00pm

In the Karmapa's new book The Heart is Noble, he expresses how unnecessary and unhealthy for humans and the planet it is for us to raise and butcher and eat meat.
Also I remember Waylon in a high chair at first kind of liking his daddy's bacon until, when he asked, I told him it was pig, and then that was the end of that until he started kindergarten and the public school food, Sloppy Joes, etc. and peer pressure got him eating meat again.

anonymous Jun 1, 2013 12:18pm

Beautiful. My daughter (now 16) has been a vegetarian her entire life. As a baby, she'd eat all the pureed fruits and veggies but spit out anything meat. I didn't understand at the time (not yet into yoga and raised by omnivores) but honored it. When she could speak she told me she never wanted to eat anything that breathed. 2 years old and already smarter than her mom!!

anonymous Jun 1, 2013 12:01pm

just lovely. <3

anonymous Jun 1, 2013 7:18am


anonymous May 31, 2013 10:48pm

What an amazing boy and mother! Thank you for sharing!