Where Does Vegan Baby Sky Get Her Protein?
I’m constantly asked about the details of Baby Sky’s life.
Where does she get her protein?
How are her bones going to grow without cow’s milk?
You mean she’s never eaten bacon?
Are you a communist?
At Baby Sky’s 15 month checkup she landed at about the 75th percentile for height and weight. She comes from small stock, so I do see that decreasing a bit. It’s already down from the 90th percentile. She was a gigantic baby!
She has been sick twice, once with a viral infection and once with a bacterial one (strep). We’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided the dreaded first trip to the emergency room, which is a tad surprising because the child is a fearless, avid explorer with a lot of energy. A lot.
Her nutrition came from Earth’s Best organic soy formula for the first year, and since then she’s been eating non-baby food supplemented by a bottle of Baby’s Only organic soy formula (designed for toddlers and can be used until age 3). I use half water and half organic carrot juice and organic apple juice. I made some pureed food for her for a couple of months but she wasn’t really that interested and I was a bit concerned until after her first birthday, when she decided to eat everything.
Her favorite breakfast? A plate of strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries and peaches, followed by banana ice cream. Banana ice cream = frozen bananas + ground flax seeds + raw cashew butter + raw almond butter + almond milk + Vita Mix. Plenty of fat, protein, omega-3s and yumminess. I eat it, too. Saturday morning is pancake morning. Spelt, oat bran, whole wheat, coconut flour. Blueberries and bananas. Or not. Maybe even some 80% dark chocolate (slavery-free, care of Equal Exchange–Panama’s the kind we get). Of course she eats a bunch of batter first, then a couple of pancakes.
Her favorite lunch? Vegetable hummus + avocado on whole wheat pita bread. Dessert? Brown rice pudding (brown rice + a warm mixture of toffuti cream cheese, tofu and coconut butter). Her favorite snack? Roasted zucchini sprinkled with Daiya in a pool of marinara. She’ll eat an entire zucchini. She loves kale chips. Ditto for vanilla soy yogurt. Steel cut oats? Yummy. Snow balls are a huge favorite (ground organic raisins, dates, almond and walnuts rolled in shredded coconut). As far as drinks go, she has one that looks and tastes similar to chocolate milk, made with almond milk and chocolate-flavored Amazing Grass Kidz Superfood. And then there’s “fruit punch,” or, orange juice + water + the wildberry Kidz Superfood. She doesn’t walk around drinking straight wheat grass–Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Dinner? Sweet potatoes with navy beans. Garbanzo bean salad, mashed a bit (her molars are still giant blisters). Any kind of gardein, chopped, with sauteed asparagus, is always a great meal. Smoothies, complete with orange juice, raw fruits, raw nut butters and a handful of kale. Delicious!
On the non-food green front, we used cloth diapers and then practiced Elimination Communication since month 10, and Baby Sky now pees and poops in her potty and doesn’t wear a diaper except at night (and that’s probably about to change). She’s napping right now, diaper free. During the diaper months, rather than wipes, I used receiving blankets cut up into smallish squares and a squirt bottle of water. We still use the cut up blankets as rags/in place of paper towels.
The toy rule is pretty much: Little or no plastic and no batteries. She has a lot of wood toys and I’m queasy about where the wood came from, so that’s not ideal. Otherwise, her room looks very sparse. And yellow. Very yellow (we used a no VOC paint, at least). But that’s another story.
For a short time, Sky slept in a crib (secondhand, from a neighbor) with a (new) coconut coir mattress, but now she sleeps on a full size futon on the floor (formerly of one of the guest rooms upstairs–so no purchase necessary!). It’s a Montessori thing. And let me be the first one to say that bassinetts and cribs are a complete waste of money; all you need is a mattress on the floor and some firm pillows surrounding it (for the early months).
Sky doesn’t have a lot of stuff and I don’t have a lot of gear. She spends most of her time outside, naked (it’s still nearly 90 degrees here), exploring the world. She has very few pieces of clothing (and most are secondhand) and many of her books and toys are secondhand (and we had to weed through them for animal use). There are several girls a bit older than Sky on the block who give us lots of goodies. And there’s one younger. The younger one gets the loot as soon as that’s appropriate, and/or I donate them to the local Foster and Adoptive Parents Association.
So far, no one has been interested in trying cloth diapers, and stores won’t take them, so if anyone has any need for them, speak now before they become rags!
Sky’s days wouldn’t be complete without her constant companion, Emily Fokker (our chunky FIP kitty). They follow each other around all day and rub their faces on each other. It’s adorable! Violet Rays, being nearly 12 and nearly blind, isn’t as keen on the child. Or any other child. Or the cat. Or anyone else, for that matter. I think she likes me but that’s about it. Plus, only the trained eye would be able to determine that she likes me.
I mention this because all too often people surrender their dogs–or even cats–once they have children. I’ll refrain from ranting. But what I will say is that you work at it. I have taught Sky to stay away from Violet. If Violet approaches her Sky may touch her, but only with one finger. Sky gives her a wide berth when she walks around her, and yes, it’s a bummer that Sky is a little afraid of dogs. But that’s far better than Sky not respecting them and then having them feel they must defend themselves. The most Violet will do is bark and show her four teeth, but trust me when I say that her boney, old, alpha self can make a grown man jump in fear when she wants to, all without ever laying a paw on him.
There you have it: a rough sketch of Baby Sky’s life. If you have any questions about anything we do or use, fire away! No matter what your beliefs are, when you’re a parent you educate yourself about parenting style, nutrition (and Ginny Messina‘s fabulous Vegan for Life recently arrived and includes nutrition information as well as sample menus for kids!) and formal education options (if you’re lucky enough to have options). I may be a vegan and an atheist, but I’m really just a parent doing the best I can to give my child the best life possible.