Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Raising your half-Indian child: Veg or Non-Veg?

(Queen of mini idly's!)

A big dilemma amongst us Indo-intercultural couples is the question of whether to raise your multicultural child as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. It is an easy answer if you are strictly from a meat eating family, or a vegetarian family; but if you have both sides it is a bit hard to decide who the child will take after. With vegetarianism, you kind of have to pick one or the other.

Husband-ji, being the purest of pure Brahmin prince, is strictly vegetarian. No egg, or yogurt. Our Indian family is the same, being vegetarian with no egg. And no alcohol either.

On my side, there are a lot of meat eaters. My dad has recently given up meats after he had cancer and refuses to eat it. Since I live with husband-ji, I am not allowed to have non-veg inside the house. I can eat it outside, or at my parents' house. I rarely have non-veg food, maybe only once in a blue moon.

When we had our child, and when we were ready to start feeding her solids, I asked husband-ji whether he would like her to be raised vegetarian or not. I am more flexible, so I let him decide. I thought he was going to want her to be raised vegetarian, but he said "no". I was quite shocked. When I asked him why, he said "It has been really hard for me when we go out to find vegetarian food to eat. I don't want Maya to have the same problems". And then he added, "but no non-veg in the house".

So, one day when we were at the grocery store, I was picking up bottles of baby food. I pointed at a beef one and I said to husband-ji, "Are you sure about this?" And then he completely flipped out. I think seeing the bottle and the color of the beef made it real. "Absolutely NOT! That looks disgusting! She is not eating that, she will not eat a sacred cow, ever!"

Then we had to have another talk, and he said that she was not allowed to eat Cow or Pig, but she could eat other non-veg items like Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Lamb, or Egg. And now 2 years later, Maya refuses to eat all except for Turkey dinner at Thanksgiving. She is predominantly vegetarian, and I am as well, since we don't eat it in the home.

(Maya at 7 months - mealtime)

Many couples also choose to raise their child vegetarian, until a certain age where they can request food. "If they ask to try chicken, I will let him try", say some parents.

A lot of meat eaters don't understand how offensive meats can be to vegetarians. Some vegetarians are so sensitive to it that they regard meat eaters as cannibals. Meats have a very strong smell, and they have a very fibrous texture. For a vegetarian, even the sight of meats may make their skin crawl. It is literally like seeing a carcass.

Problems can occur when well-meaning family members push vegetarians to "try" meats, forgetting that they are vegetarian. Or they can look down on them, thinking they aren't getting enough nutrition or are "missing out". If you intend to raise your child strictly vegetarian, then you need to watch your non-veg relatives like a hawk! My aunt is always trying to sneak and give Maya some pork. Or she will put it on her plate and then when I say no, she will take it off, with the pork already having touched everything. Typical!!

A few years ago, we were in a Chinese restaurant and we asked for vegetarian items. The waiter looked confused. "Cooked in chicken stock okay?" he said, confused. We were just baffled. Um, NO!!!

-------

Dear readers, is your child vegetarian or non-vegetarian? If your family is both, how did you decide?

SHARE:

47 comments

  1. I love reading your posts and I'm so glad that you've been writing more consistently!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting topic Alexandra. Hubby and I were talking about this last weekend. Not about us because we both eat everything but a couple friend of ours, he is from Assam she is from Hawaii. He is a vegetarian and she is not. We had dinner with them recently. Everything was going great until it was time to order.

    He was giving her such a hard time for ordering a pork dish. He would just not let it go; quite frankly it started to make hubby and I a little bit uncomfortable. Finally hubby told him "leave her alone dude you're a vegetarian but she is not and she wasn't when you got together". I swear to God sometimes I wish I could stuff a potato in my husband's mouth. I don't think he should have interfered. Anyway things calmed down, she had her pork dish and he had his veg dish and the rest of the evening was fun.

    You wrote "meat eaters don't understand how offensive meats can be to vegetarians" and you are absolutely right but at the same time there is nothing offensive about been a meat eater and sometimes vegetarians are also a little "extra" when it comes to lecturing meat eaters about eating meat as we painfully witnessed at that dinner.

    My boss is Indian, born and raised in the USA. His wife is Indian born and raised in India but came to the US later in life. He eats everything and she is a vegetarian. They have 3 kids and they let them choose what they want to eat be it non veg or veg. I think that after a certain age kids should be allowed to choose which one they want to follow but should be given an explanation about both so they can make an informed choice. Just my two cents :)

    Millie B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree. Vegetarians can also be extremely dramatic. My husband used to do that when we were out at dinner, until I told him that he has just kissed chicken on my lips so basically STFU, LOL....He has never done it since. Now he "ignores" the meat...hahaha

      Delete
  3. The odour of meat is impossibly bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is. I have become more sensitive to it and it really stinks. My hubby can't stand fish also.

      Delete
  4. Maya is so cute at 7 months with her Daddy feeding her! Love that picture. Have a great day.

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, she was such a lil tubby back then :)

      Delete
  5. Its hard in different situations for people to understand what is not 'normal' to them. My ex was muslim and it was a regular occurance to ask at a pizza place for a pizza with no pork only to have the pizza served with bacon or salami... People dont get that these are also pork... My now husband was purely veg until he came to the west but now predominately eats chicken/poultry, fish and possibly a little lamb or bacon but thats it. I spent many years in my first marriage not eating pork at home and rarely if I went out or to my parents home and now rarely eat beef but we have it in the home as my kids where brought up with beef. It can be a very difficult to change long term habits and I sometimes struggle with what to cook in our house. Add in the fact that if we are blessed with a child we will have a complicated decision to make in the future but beef will defiantely be out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very true. Often I think non-veg Westerners don't really know what is pork. They just think bacon, or salami, they never realise it is actually pig.
      Yes, I totally can relate. It is always a dilemma what to cook. Especially hard when you go to family gatherings and the only thing vegetarian is boiled potatoes...LOL

      Delete
  6. @Alexandra

    Your husband was shocked with beef and pork but I guess beef and pork are omnipresent in the western world. Red meat invariably means beef and pork there. In India we have only two types of meat mutton (goat) and chicken. Hindus don't eat beef and Muslims don't eat pork, so both of them are effectively out of our plate. I guess there is nothing like goat meat in the west.

    Often foreigners come to India and are dazzled by the array of vegetarian food. This concept having a whole meal without meat is perhaps new to them. Vegetarianism as a way of life is perhaps unique to India. In east asia, middle east and europe there is nothing like vegetarian, I guess. They cannot think about food without meat. Our neighboring country Pakistan is so fond of meat, that they put meat even in aloo gobhi dish. Muslims do make fantastic meat dishes, biryanis, kormas, kababs. They understand non veg like anything. Hindus are not that creative with meat.

    In India, we have a love hate relationship with meat. Meat is not made at home, so people eat it outside. It is like the forbidden food. Mostly meat is associated with alcohol, giving it a bad name, notwithstanding the fact that non veg is cooked in many communities in India. Then there are people who eat only egg but not meat, called eagatarians. I remember, being bengali, we teased in our childhood because we eat fish. Fish according to north indians is smelly and dirty. Therefore, chicken and mutton according to them is clean but not fish. Thus, there is discrimination among non vegetarians also. Vegetarianism and non vegetarianism evokes strong reactions in Indian due to religious reasons. While there are ethical and moral questions involved with meat consumption, but I don't think non vegetarians are doing anything unnatural. Man has been eating both plants and animals from time immemorial. Anyway, vegetarianism is a difficult and impractical choice. You should not put restrictions about what you eat, thereby causing problems for yourself. Pure vegetarianism is very difficult to maintain. Often vegetarians find very little to eat. As long as you are India, there are choices, but as soon as you leave India, there is very little, to eat, because the concept is just not there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that is exactly what my hubby said - he said she can have chicken or mutton because it is available in India but not beef or pork because he doesn't want her asking for it when she is there.
      I love the array of vegetarian items in India. When I go there I only eat veg. (Except for my fave chicken biryani spot in Hyderabad).
      In Italy they have some nice vegetarian items but overall, there is not much selection in the West. It is all crappy quinoa crap.

      Delete
    2. go to germany Alexandra... their vegan/veggie food options were sooo refreshing. I had loads of fun and hubby and i did a summer trip around germany and austria. Even traditional food without meat wasnt a rarity. I had a blast :)....

      Delete
  7. Hmm... Interesting topic especially for intercultural couples. I do not have kids but nevertheless here is my view because I have to write ha ha:

    1. As much as meat eating is offensive to vegetarians, many vegetarians do nag meat eaters too in a similar fashion and act hoity toity. have done that too in the distant past and hope I have redeemed myself by now :)

    2. I could not tolerate the smell of meat until I came to Sg and almost cried when I went to the canteen. East asian way of cooking meat is worse and smellier than other ways.I wondered how I would survive in such a place. Now, I am used to the smell. a matter of getting used to though there are some dishes which I still find intolerable.

    3. On a side note, chinese do not understand the concept of vegetarianism. They cannot get it when people say not meat.

    4. I agree with your hubby, when abroad, it maybe quite difficult to manage as a vegetarian.

    5. Having shared a house with people form different countries has made me more tolerant of meat in the house. So, meat in the house does not really bother me now.

    6. Bf eats meat but is mostly veg. I do not cook meat. He is too lazy to cook his own meat. As long as I do not have to cook, I do not mind.

    7. I would not eat meat because well, apart from the mental block would be ethical reasons. Bf tried to convince me to try meat couple of times and that annoys me equally. Also, I am aware that I am a very sensitive person - my body I mean in regards to all animal products. When I was trying different ways to fix my health, I found being vegan mostly is best for me. Anyways, I am too set in being veg to be changed now.

    8. If I had a kid, I would let them choose. Eating is a choice and of course I will explain but I would not have a problem if they ate meat/fish/seafood.

    9. When they are young, I would let them eat fish and meat as long as I do not have to cook.

    10. I will try to ensure that my kids would eat only organic, hormone/antibiotic free meat. I do not want factory fed meat on my table. Especially if it is girl because if she has my genes, her body may be sensitive like mine and will be affected by artificial hormones and I do not want her to suffer coz of that. Of course, I am not that anal (hopefully) about it and occasionally allow farm raised meat but it will not be the majority of times.

    So yes, my kids can eat meat/fish whatever as long as it is organic and grass fed and does not have any chemicals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm all for organic food too, and although we eat meat I try to serve small portions of it and hormone/antiobiotic free. I also agree on letting children chose for themselves. (Padparadscha)

      Delete
    2. Very true and great points @boiling

      Delete
    3. Iam hoping as a supply and demand thing more people shifting to these foods would make the price affordable. Otherwise these bio stuff are so pricey. And sometimes you turn the pack around and there is a very very fine print saying may have been grown on some fertilizers and pesticides but minimal :(....

      Delete
  8. Hubby is vegetarian twice a week and on new moon days, for devotional reasons. I can see he is a bit surprised by the way we feed our babies in France, but mainly because there is no rice and lots of vegetables and fruits. He believes fish and chicken are best when it comes to meat.

    When my No.1 was a teenager she had a vegetarian phase and I was really worried, and started reading a lot on the subject. Finally I understood that for kids, vegan diet is out of the question, ovo-lacto vegetarian diet is OK. Just today I read an article saying that many Indian children are stunted because of their diet whick lacks iron, zinc and other nutriments.... So personally, I would not raise a child to eat no meat at all, especially a girl, who will probably have iron deficiency in her life. But that's a personal choice. I am a little bit of a health freak. (Padparadscha)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Protein. Research shows that lacto-ovo vegetarians generally get the recommended daily amount of protein, which is easily obtained from dairy products and eggs. (Women need about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. Because the protein in vegetables is somewhat different from animal protein, vegans may need 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.) There are many plant sources that can help vegans meet their protein needs, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, seeds, nuts, soy products, and whole grains (for example, wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice). Vegetarians used to be told that they had to combine "complementary" plant proteins (rice with beans, for example) at every meal to get all the amino acids contained in meat protein. Now, health experts say that such rigid planning is unnecessary. According to the American Dietetic Association, eating a wide variety of protein sources every day is sufficient.

      Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products, but those products include dairy foods and eggs, so most vegetarians get all they need. If you avoid animal products altogether, you should eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 (certain soy and rice beverages and breakfast cereals) or take a vitamin B12 supplement to avoid a deficiency, which can cause neurological problems and pernicious anemia.

      Iron. Studies show that in Western countries, vegetarians tend to get the same amount of iron as meat eaters. But the iron in meat (especially red meat) is more readily absorbed than the kind found in plant foods, known as non-heme iron. The absorption of non-heme iron is enhanced by vitamin C and other acids found in fruits and vegetables, but it may be inhibited by the phytic acid in whole grains, beans, lentils, seeds, and nuts.

      Zinc. Phytic acid in whole grains, seeds, beans, and legumes also reduces zinc absorption, but vegetarians in Western countries do not appear to be zinc-deficient.

      Omega-3 fatty acids. Diets that include no fish or eggs are low in EPA and DHA. Our bodies can convert ALA in plant foods to EPA and DHA, but not very efficiently. Vegans can get DHA from algae supplements, which increase blood levels of DHA as well as EPA (by a process called retroversion). DHA-fortified breakfast bars and soy milk are also available. Official dietary guidelines recommend 1.10 grams per day of ALA for women, but vegetarians who consume little or no EPA and DHA should probably get more than that. Good ALA sources include flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy.

      http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2009/October/becoming-a-vegetarian

      Delete
    2. http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/Jul2012/Feature1 Digging a Vegetarian Diet
      Plant-Based Eating Can Reap Rewards

      Delete
    3. @pad - from what I've noticed with friends, people who have been raised vegetarian or vegan seem to have no problems with iron. I think it is people who switch to the diet later on, like me. There is iron in things like poha and protein in dal, but you'd have to eat so much of it - and South Indians are crazy about their dal!

      Delete
    4. @Alexandra. I'm not surprised. But having been brought up as a non veg, I find it difficult to plan balanced vegetarian meals on a long period of time. That was my point really. If I had a vegetarian cook, we would probably eat less meat. (Padparadscha)

      Delete
  9. Like this other comment which made a statement"would not raise a child to eat no meat at all, especially a girl, who will probably have iron deficiency in her life" Its not a valid one as there is no basis to it. I am scientist so I like to read up before making a decision for myself and me being vegetarian indian (yogurt cheese ok but no meat) There is no proof that the meat will prevent you from getting anemia and there are lot of people who believe what you eat as a kid doesnt add up to adulthood either. So not all girls become anemic and eating meat doesnt stop you. And when we are vegetarians we eat the 5 fruits and veggies a day easily which wher ei live in france seems a nightmare for a lot. We dont count . We eat greens rich in folates and lentils that are high protein that make up for egg. And India is sunny and we dont need vitamin D supplments. We let kids roll in the sun(iam not kidding). I started eating egg after i came to france as in conferences i would feel like a cow as i would only have salads and crepes r to die for. So please any diet if followed can be a whole diet there is no diet thats better than other.And Indian children being stunted is a whole misconception in france WE ARE SHORT PEOPLE GET OVER IT. Especially people from south have an average height around 5.2 5.3 that doesnt mean we are stunted. I brain developed fine...And other cases that they project in france are people who are poor who cant afford any food and not because they are vegetarians. So please dont project succh stories.Well for that matter eating meat (other than fish meat )has high cholestrol.We only talk about anemia but not heart disease?And i dont believe the energy chain logic of eat plant the animal eats to Pasparadscha i would like to ask these animal meat you eat are they vegetarians or only carnivores? where do they get their nutrients from? Last time i checked cow or pork are not really carnivores and chicken pecking on worms surely wont be considered healthy diet would you? I cant stop myself can I , I find france too opinionated. Either they have to follow or they have to diss there is not peaceful coexistence. Like I was asked once are there deadbodies everywhere in India how do you walk???:O what , Apparently to some all of India is varanasi with deadppl everywhere. Poverty is everywhere you choose to not address or you do and it is present in every other country and dont bias it to diet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Phew anon vegetarian scientist, relax... The fact is people die whatever they eat or don't eat, and everybody is entitled to have an opinion and a lifestyle that suits his tastes and ideologies.

      As BoilingWok remarked, Chinese people don't know about vegetarian food but they have a very old and efficient health system based on food, as efficient as ayurveda. For instance for certain illnesses you are required to eat duck and for others to eat pork.

      For your information, the article about stunted children in India was published in the Hindu in India. (Padparadscha)

      Delete
  10. references:"Recent studies of vegetarian diets and their effects on morbidity and mortality are reviewed. Vegetarian diets are heterogeneous as are their effects on nutritional status, health, and longevity. Mortality rates are similar or lower for vegetarians than for nonvegetarians. Risks of dietary deficiency disease are increased on vegan but not on all vegetarian diets. Evidence for decreased risks for certain chronic degenerative diseases varies. Both vegetarian dietary and lifestyle practices are involved. Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, and gallstones are lower. Data are only fair to poor that risks of breast cancer, diverticular disease of the colon, colonic cancer, calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, dental erosion, and dental caries are lower among vegetarians. Reduced risks for chronic degenerative diseases can also be achieved by manipulations of omnivorous diets and lifestyles." The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Inc Traditionally, research into vegetarianism focused mainly on potential nutritional deficiencies, but in recent years, the pendulum has swung the other way, and studies are confirming the health benefits of meat-free eating. Nowadays, plant-based eating is recognized as not only nutritionally sufficient but also as a way to reduce the risk for many chronic illnesses. In July 2009, the American Dietetic Association weighed in with a position paper, concluding that "appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases" (Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009). Well may be problem lies that the idea of eating veggies in "west" is dominated by the idea of picking a can of precooked veggies or frozen packets. Which are less common even today in India. There is always the use of pesticides etc but i prefer that to some random preservatives in a tin can. So its what you eat and how you eat not just a diet system. If you eat turkey jerkeys and say i had my share of meat n claim i dont get nutrients whose fault is that...
    PS: I dont advocate vegetarianism, I believe in freedom of choice. Each to their own. If you like to eat something you should and in moderation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. After having colon cancer my dad had an absolute aversion to meats. He will not touch it. I do not think it is a coincidence.

      Delete
    2. first off Iam sorry to hear about your dads cancer. Its not an easy disease. Especially when there is nothing you can do about it. It would be hard even on the people around them as they feel helpless. I think sometimes our mind makes these connections based on experiences. So if you eat certain food and dont feel good afterwards it makes a mental note of it and you become wary. May not be conscious. Similarly may be some discomfort from certain food that made this aversion stronger or may be the medications have an effect too.

      Delete
  11. What about bone health?

    Some women are reluctant to try a vegetarian diet — especially one that doesn't include calcium-rich dairy products — because they're concerned about osteoporosis. Lacto-ovo vegetarians (see "Varieties of vegetarians") consume at least as much calcium as meat-eaters, but vegans typically consume less. In the EPIC-Oxford study, 75% of vegans got less than the recommended daily amount of calcium, and vegans in general had a relatively high rate of fractures. But vegans who consumed at least 525 milligrams of calcium per day were not especially vulnerable to fractures.

    Certain vegetables can supply calcium, including bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards, and kale. (Spinach and Swiss chard, which also contain calcium, are not such good choices, because along with the calcium they have oxalates, which make it harder for the body to absorb calcium.) Moreover, the high potassium and magnesium content of fruits and vegetables reduces blood acidity, lowering the urinary excretion of calcium. Some research suggests that eating too much protein (in particular, animal protein) is bad for bones because it has the opposite effect.

    People who follow a vegetarian and especially a vegan diet may be at risk of getting insufficient vitamin D and vitamin K, both needed for bone health. Although green leafy vegetables contain some vitamin K, vegans may also need to rely on fortified foods, including some types of soy milk, rice milk, organic orange juice, and breakfast cereals. They may also want to consider taking a vitamin D2 supplement (vitamin D3 comes from animals). And this is from harvard so even animal protein in large quantities isnt good and its about nutrients that you get.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @madhmama well if the previous anon comment calling indian children stunted was not offensive im not apologizing for what i ranted about. i think thats a very rude generalization to make. And i did give references to support vegetarianism. i didnt mean to be rude but the stunted comment was too much. i myself have been questioned at work if my parents cudnt find money to feed me which is y if im short. n this being in fance n many a times i think i lost it a bit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have published all of it, I was sleeping...

      Delete
    2. i saw the disclaimer below and i didnt notice it before so was wondering if it was addressed to me :p my bad sorry and about the water ya recent years it been getting worse and worse. I also think it could be the heat. When you are not used to it you may not drink enough water hence be bit dehydrated lose appetite n lose weight :P.Look at those grandmothers who are really like a rock in their 80's. I think we are eating fancier food than healthier ones these days. Did you get to try this cereal called Ragi when you were back in india? Its very nutrient rich and not very expensive but its pretty much non existent these days. ragi porridge or soup is really yummy.

      Delete
    3. @anonymous - No I haven't tried Ragi but I will pick it up there soon :)
      Just boils down to too much population in one space, everybody living in close quarters with an ancient infrastructure. That effects health, water, global warming, etc. In our city in Hyderabad there are power cuts for SIX hours a day! It is crazy!!!

      Delete
  13. http://world.time.com/2013/09/09/poor-sanitation-not-malnutrition-may-be-to-blame-for-indias-notoriously-stunted-children/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I think it is related to water quality, sanitation and maybe even pollution - about the stunted growth. I don't think it is related to veg or non veg.
      Whenever I go to India, I lose at least 10lbs in a matter of weeks...LOL. The water quality is extremely bad.

      Delete
    2. I agree as well. I think not enough hygiene education, sanitation and poor sewage systems contribute greatly to this problem. The water quality and pollution are also big factors. I lost 12 lbs in 20 days and joked around that I can get back to my high school weight if a spend a couple of months in India :)

      Millie B

      Delete
    3. @ Millie - hahaha, totally. I wonder how much weight I will lose this time!

      Delete
  14. Statistics and reports on levels of malnutrition in India being higher than that in Sub-Saharan African countries have sparked criticism from many quarters. Among the critics is Economist Arvind Panagariya, a professor of Economics in Columbia University in the US. Panagariya has stated that genetic differences between Indians and Africans have not been taken into consideration while compiling the data on child growth. He has said that since Indian children are genetically shorter than African children, it is likely that the data will reflect that.

    However, Dr. Uma Chandra Mouli Natchu, an assistant professor in pediatric biology at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) in Gurgaon, said that being genetically short is not the problem. “Nobody dies of short height. But if stunted children in India have a high mortality rate, then there is a problem that needs to be addressed,” he said.

    Professor Panagariya has also argued against the WHO-specified standards saying that if the standards have been derived from a population which is geneticallly taller and heavier than Indian children, then even a healthy Indian child will be considered malnourished. Dr. Natchu dismissed this argument stating that the WHO-specified standards, which were revised in 2006, are based on statistics of more than 8000 children from six countries around the world to create a fairly inclusive standard. These countries include the USA, Brazil, Oman, Ghana, Norway and India. “No one is complaining that Indian children are below the average (standard height-for-age and weight-for-age). The problem is that they are below the lowest value (minimum),” he said.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon, if you come back around here, I have read a lot of stuff on weight-for-age of Indian children, as when my mixed race baby was born she had a low weight for European standards and so they did many tests on her in hospital trying to figure out why. As it happens she had a normal weight from Indian standards. In one study, I think by Unicef, they found out that children under 3 from educated families had a higher weight than other children in India (without having obesity problems).

      In my husband's family everybody is quite tall, taller than me. But in my recent trip to India, I met at least two relatives who were very tiny, just like my aunty who was a baby during second world war.

      I believe many children in India don't eat full balanced meals, veg or non veg. Being stunted doesn't mean being below average, it means not growing to your full potential.

      I was not suggesting Indian people should eat non veg, but that not everything in India is perfect, and as a mother I personally feel better giving some meat/fish/egg to my baby, and letting the child chose later what she wants to eat. I feel it is important for my child to be able to eat the traditional foods of both her families, but again it is my opinion only (Padparadscha).

      Delete
  15. Alexandra, I have 2 questions for you. I read in my baby recipe book that you can give pulse instead of animal protein to babies, yet I understand they can't digest it before 12 months ; how did you give protein to Maya when she was very young, did you give only milk products ? Or did you give her pulse ?

    And also when did you start giving her "normal" Indian dishes ? I always heard that you shouldn't give spices to babies because of allergy risks - but now I see they say you can give dashes of cinnamon and cloves at least with pureed fruit. Onion you can give only starting from 8-9 months. At least this is the new recommendations over here. (Padparadscha)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the first things we started with was idly, and mashed dal and rice. Any curry can be mashed. That is what they usually do before age 1.
      Every kid will also have their own spice preference....Maya naturally loves more spicy dishes. But spices like garam masala, turmeric, basically anything but chilli powder have so many nutritional benefits. I would start with dals.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Alex ! Idly seems a good idea, I will try that. But how old was Maya when you started her on dal ? They are not keen on dals in hubby's family, they seem to give rice with gravy to kids. (Padparadscha)

      Delete
    3. I think I started her on dal around age 1. You can also mash any curry with rice and give it....if it is too spicy then add more rice. Or add yogurt too :)

      Delete
    4. Yogurt rice with jeera is a good starter too. Anything smoothly mashed....

      Delete
    5. Thank you Alexandra ! I already gave her little bits of cheese so I don't know why I feel anxious about giving her Indian food ;) (Padparadscha)

      Delete
    6. @pad - she will do great! South Indian food is extraordinarily healthy too...

      Delete
  16. Interesting post. From your lifestyle and my previous experiences I can relate to this post. In the end it all depends on all how you habituate yourself to eating what you want. Since you are not allowed to have non veg at home most of the time you are eating vegetarian. And you really became accustomed so much that you actually like being a vegetarian. During my high school days I hung out with friends who were mostly brahmins. Telugu and Tamil. Interesting post. From your lifestyle and my previous experiences I can relate to this post. In the end it all depends on all how you habituate yourself to eating what you want. Since you are not allowed to have non veg at home most of the time you are eating vegetarian. And you really became accustomed so much that you actually like being a vegetarian. During my high school days I hung out with friends who were mostly brahmins. Telugu and Tamil brahmins including Iyers and Iyengars. So you can see how i was always eating dal and fried veggies with rice so much that i asked my mom at home to cook vegetarian dishes only. I almost had an aversion to meat though we ate it only once a week. I lost a lot of weight and became a walking stick. Everything changed when I went to college. All my friends were Muslims so they found it weird how i disliked meat so much. But gradually I started eating meat again and wondered how did I not eat it for three years!! One thing I noticed is that meat is bad/offensive for Hindus and all those Asian religions. That is why even the non veg Hindus don't have it during festivals. But now everything has changed. I heard Hamburgers are the rage in metros in India and even the Hindus are eating them and going to all kinds if steak restaurants. But for the followers of Abrahamic religions i.e.. Christians, Muslims and Jews meat is used in all kinds of festivities and celebrations. It is good for them to consume meat in order to celebrate am occasion. And I agree with the people above. Many children are stunted. For some vegetarian works fine but for some it just doesn't. I remember one if my dad's friends who was a pure brahmin just like your hubby had to eat non veg in the end because he got really sick once and to cope meat was required. All those pulses soy beans various supplements were doing no good for his body. So I think you really should not deprive yourself if meat. Try to eat it as much as you can now because my doctor told me you will never know when your body will start So you can see how i was always eating dal and fried veggies with rice so much that i asked my mom at home to cook those dishes only. I almost had an aversion to meat though we ate it only once a week. I lost a lot of weight and became a walking stick. Everything changed when I went to college. All my friends were Muslims so they found it weird how i disliked meat so much. But gradually I started eating meat again and wondered how did I not eat it for three years!! One thing I noticed is that meat is bad/offensive for Hindus and all those Asian religions. That is why even the non veg Hindus don't have it during festivals. But now everything has changed. I heard Hamburgers are the rage in metros in India and even the Hindus are eating them and going to all kinds if steak restaurants. But for the followers of Abrahamic religions i.e.. Christians, Muslims and Jews meat is used in all kinds of festivities and celebrations. It is good for them to consume meat in order to celebrate am occasion. And I agree with the people above. Many children are stunted. For some vegetarian works fine but for some it just doesn't. I remember one if my dad's friends who was a pure brahmin just like your hubby had to eat non veg in the end because he got really sick once and to cope meat was required. All those pulses soy beans various supplements were doing no good for his body. In the end eating meat or not is our own personal choice. But if we do eat it us for our own good.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Alexandra, liked your blog, interesting articles in there ......

    I am a Namboodiri Brahmin guy from South india (Kerala), living in China for the last 5 years and let me tell you I am a total vegetarian.

    I have seen your baby Maya's pics, really cute. I have a baby boy who is 1 year old..

    I post this comment on your blog just to remind and reassure you on one matter, which I believe strongly. Do feed your daughter with what you think is ideal for yourself to eat. If your husband and yourself really feel that there is something offensive about the meats, do not feed her with it. For sure you can give her a choice when she grows up, has the ability to think for herself what is good and what is bad. If she wants to pick up meat eating, she will pick it up herself at an age when she grows up with her friends at school.

    ReplyDelete

Respectful comments only, please! (That means you, anonymous.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
© Madh Mama. All rights reserved.
BLOGGER TEMPLATE DESIGNED BY pipdig