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April 27, 2015
Nurturing our children is equivalent to teaching them holistic well being, and showing them how to live mindfully about their inner life as well as their physical body. Yoga philosophies go hand-in-hand with vegetarianism, mindfulness, and loving connections to our planet and other beings. Teaching young people fun ways to fuel their bodies healthily and in sustainable ways, while being stewards of our environment, is a precious gift from a parent to a child.
Besides that, what kid doesn't get excited about nachos, pasta with faux-meatballs, tacos, and vegan pancakes with real maple syrup and other ridiculously yummy cuisine? Plant-based diets for children will hugely lessen their chances for many diseases later in life such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and obesity. Growing up with this holistic knowledge is the easiest way to become a life-long, self-caring and thankful adult.
Healthy plant-based diets are high in fiber, plant protein, vitamins and minerals, while being low in saturated fats and totally cholesterol-free. Thankfully, many public schools in the United States are now offering at least one vegetarian or vegan selection on their daily lunch menus. It is a fact that plant-based eating habits are becoming more mainstream every day.
You Are What You Eat
Several years ago, The Associated Press wrote an eye-opening article about a high school that started an all-vegetarian lunch option as an experiment. It was particularly important for this school, located in Atlanta, Georgia, due to their state's high risk for strokes suffered by adults who eat diets high in fat content. The vegan lunch line proved to be a big success, with most students opting for it over the lunch line offering meat selections. Veggie burgers and veggie hot-dogs were quite popular among the teens.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM,) who performs clinical research used by the federal government, meatless diets give excellent nutrition to all ages of kids, from newborn to maturity. They also recommend that mother's breast-feed their infants prior to starting solid vegan foods. Currently, the PCRM is working on better guidelines for the food pyramid, which they will present to the government for updating the federal nutrition policy.
Additionally, studies show that kids who are brought up eating a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and beans grow up slimmer and much healthier than their peers who digest meat. Not only are these points important, but vegetarian children have a good chance to live longer, too. Families find it is easy to plan healthy meals from plant foods rather than from meat products that are full of fat, cholesterol, chemicals, diseases, and toxic ingredients.
Parents should know that plant-based foods are a far better source of essential nutrients. They give us all the energy we need, along with protein, fiber, phytochemicals, minerals and all the vitamins including the all-important antioxidants. Through vegan lifestyles, we can all be happier, healthier and live in harmony with our natural environment and our animal friends.
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