Begin the wringing of hands
Brainwashing, blah, etc
It’s a parent’s job to instil in their kids a moral code that will start them out in life, and then watch as they develop their own and look back at you like you’re an electrified hate crime factory. If parents are already raising their kids as polluters, recyclers, socialists, racists, happy slappers, regular slappers, Satanists, Scientologists and – God help us – influencers, they may as well throw in a principle or two about veggieness.
If it feels like a more deliberate bit of indoctrination it’s because, for most people, eating meat is the default option, depending on how many arms your Gods have and how many Gods your Gods are. It’s a hand-me-down way of life that sees billions of us feeding our kids dead bodies because we’ve not given it much thought. But non-decisions made accidentally by inaction are still decisions, whether we’re wise to them or not. Either you raise your child a meat eater or a veggie. Either you teach them to be part of a system of cruelty and torture and savagery that ends with them eating a load of dead bodies or you don’t. After the blank slate of birth there is a decision to be made, as there is with 400,000 other things because, honestly, parenting looks fucking exhausting. The point it, vegans don’t force their beliefs on their kids any more than meat eaters do.
And if a kid raised as vegan ends up eating meat somewhere down the line we’ll take it as no different to them finding God, losing God, taking up smoking or giving up crack. That’s what parenting is.
Indoctrination aside there’s the more practical issue of nutrition. There’s a fair amount to consider here, with children’s needs changing from pregnancy to infancy, from toddling to telling you they didn’t ask to be born. Luckily, it’s all been sorted for us. The Vegetarian Society and Vegan Society have tons of guidance on what’s required at different ages and stages. You should look to them for the details, essentials and potential pitfalls. Don’t look to me: I’m not a nutritionist. What I am is: Quite stupid.
Still, with my reading ruler lined up I learned if you’re currently pregant, pegnate, gregnant or pregnant, you’ll need to top up on iron, calcium, B12, iodine, folic acid, omega-3 and such and such. Once the beloved offspring’s forced its way out of you, if you’re breastfeeding you’ll need to keep up with all of the above, with a particular eye on extra calcium, protein and zinc. If you’re bottle-feeding you’ll need to watch out for rennet or fish oils in formula milk. When you move them on to solids you’ll want to big up sources of iron, B12 and omega-3 while shunning excess salt and sugar. By the time they hit primary school they’ll be eating the same brown mush as the rest of us.
Of course, you’d expect the hemp-wearing, lentil-worshipping Veggie Societies to big up vegan and vegetarian kids, but there are independent sources that say much the same. The British Nutrition Foundation says “well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets can be nutritious and healthy.” It has its own advice on veggie diets during pregnancy and for children, warning us to keep an eye out for B12 for young children in particular. The Association of UK Dietitians thinks much the same, saying “Carefully planned plant-based diets can support healthy living at every age and life stage.” You’ll notice the key words there are “well-planned” and “carefully planned.” Bitch, that’s our weekly shop.
So it seems it’s entirely possible, practical and ethical to raise veggie younglings but, as with adults, it’s a mild pain in the arse while you’re getting used to it and you’ll need to keep an eye out for nutritional deets. So we’ll raise our kids how we want to raise them, with our values and lifestyles as their primers and watch as they make their way into the world, hoping they smoke/don’t smoke, try drugs/stay clean, wait for marriage/sleep around, stay veggie/think for themselves, and are always healthy and happy and honest and good. And then we’ll turn their bedrooms into studies and fuck like we did 20 years ago.
How a spider spurred my veggie awakening and with it my wider Zero awakening and with it your wider Zero awakening and with it a general saving of animals, humanity and the planet.
Bits of animals are hidden everywhere: in marshmallows, in red food dye, in fake fingernails, even in meat and fish and everything. Swot up on what you need to miss out on.
Because even being ill is an ethical pickle for the self-righteous vegetarian. Between gelatine capsules and mandatory animal testing, you’re best just maintaining perfect health forever.
What should we feed our fellow omnivores? Should we force our morality on other creatures? Will a leopard ever want a bit of tofu? Just three of the questions I’m not all that into but wrote about anyway.
As Veganuary hit and I finished updating the Veggieness section of this here website, I was lightning-bolted by one of my many micro-epiphanies: Ever since Covid demanded I spend less time in the kitchen and more time in bed I’ve become a lousy, lazy vegan.
Veganuary aims to get people trying veganism for a month, drawing them in with time-limited new year faddishness. Last year it had more than half a million sign ups, with about 85% committing to cutting down on meat and dairy thereafter, and a solid 40% aiming to stay vegan for all time. That’s decent, given the most popular new year’s resolution – getting and using an annual gym membership – has a success rate of less than 3% I assume.
As with many hells, the road to veganism is paved with good intentions…
You’ll recall they made a stem cell burger a while back. It was funded by one of the guys from Google taking a break off reading your emails and spying on what you spaff to. He gave a few hundred grand to a couple of mad scientists taking a break off stitching hitchhikers’ mouths to hobos’ bumholes.
As you’ll recall I’ve been terribly ill, mummy’s brave little soldier keeping his chin up through the flu, a chest infection, a spot of whooping cough and very little in the way of blogging. Throughout this charming episode I’ve had a number of very helpful people explain it’s all down to my vegetarianism, there having been no documented cases of illness among meat eaters.
In the days before my epic post-qualifying/pre-job slouchfest, back when I was an overworked and increasingly tetchy student, I bashed out a few new year’s resolutions to fill up a bit of space on what was becoming a seriously neglected blog. However, comeuppances being what they are, I’m now forced to put some effort into doing whatever it was I said I’d do, and all to satisfy an audience of precisely no one. How I hate myself.
As the days count down and 2011 draws to a close I have some unfinished business to attend to, an outstanding resolution yet to be instood. I speak, of course, of Operation Parmesan, the unprecedented assault on the world of cuisine that will make the Hiroshima bombing look like an inappropriate historical event to make reference to.
It’s a hard and trying task, all this Zero business. All this research, all this protesting, all this motivating the troops and doing the groupies. At times I grow weary. People cannot live on self-righteousness alone. It can’t be all hard work and hand wringing and so from time to time I put down my tools, tramp down from the moral high ground to the sewer in which the rest of you live, and have a night off. A couple of nights ago I watched a film. Naturally, I was able to turn it pretty quickly into hard work and handwringing.
You’ll recall how I’ve been writing for my uni’s studentmag. It’s some full on proper do-gooding, converting everyone on campus to my splendid way of life and raising issues usually neglected by right-on students such as Fairtrade, vegetarianism, feminism, environmentalism… Oh. Right.