Diet Water

I’ve been asked many times about Marlowe’s (and my) diet. A while ago, I addressed my thoughts on raising her vegan: here. I’m still very content with my decision…. but, of course, I am very open about changing her diet to whatever I find to work best, or fill her needs.
I started introducing Marlowe to rice cereal around 5 months old. Then slowly started giving her purees or things in the mesh teether bag (mostly fruits) around 6-7 months old (this number could be off, I have tired mom brain). Slowly (very slowly) after that I would give her a new food to try here and there. Not for fear of allergies or anything, but mostly cause her bum is sensitive and anything the least bit acidic seemed to affect that. I usually made purees or let her “chew” on bigger items of food. I wasn’t giving her as many solids as I wanted to give her at this point… mostly because… well…. it was easier not to. She seemed content on the breast and trying to feed her was near impossible. She was pretty set on not letting anyone feed her, so boob it was. Once she got to the point where she could pick up food and feed herself things really started rolling. Here we are today… and what does Marlowe eat? Pretty much everything I eat… with the exception of soups… cause you know… she can’t feed herself soup and ‘letting someone feed you is for babiesssss’ (well, thats how she acts anyway… but she is all about trying to put food in other peoples mouths). Oh, and she hasn’t had sriracha (or anything else overly spicy), yet. 😉

Anyway, so here are some photos of what Marlowe eats: 
***please forgive the blurriness and awful quality.
(You try keeping food from your hungry baby in order to snap a decent photo, it’s damn near impossible!)

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mama and baby: roasted artichoke, carrots, zucchini, mushroom, onion, and tomatoes over pasta with oil, lemon zest, and fresh herbs.
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mama: coconut milk thai vegetable tofu curry over whole wheat couscous with avocado and sriracha.
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baby: some of the vegetables and tofu from the curry (dried off a bit) with whole wheat couscous and avocado.
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mama and baby: quesadilla with refried beans, salsa, cilantro, and nutritional yeast. (Not my finest meal, but ridiculously easy and quick for the trying days)
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mama: comfort food night. Biscuits baked over a white bean vegetable stew.
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baby: same.
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mama: spring roll FAIL. We love spring rolls, but not so much when they fall apart. Filled with an excessive amount of veg, steamed tofu, and herbs…. with a dipping sauce (ginger, garlic, mint, green onion, chili pepper, agave, soy sauce)
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baby: same as mama (super blurry), no dipping sauce.
side note: M’s FAVORITE thing to eat? plain steamed tofu.
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mama: pancakes, syrup, watermelon, mango
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baby: pancake, watermelon, mango
Pancakes are not a typical breakfast item around here. Marlowe usually gets one or two types of dried cereal with one or two types of seasonal fruit and/or raisins. (I usually just eat leftover’s from dinner… or of course: TOAST). Also not typical around here? Sugar. I really thought I would get a lot of shit for deciding to raise Marlowe vegan, but to my surprise, more times then not: the comments I hear are about my choice to hold back on sugar. Yes, she’s allowed sugar, but am I going to give her a cookie? Eh no, not really, maybe monthly. She has molasses based teething cookies (that she loves), and has had a bit of syrup on her pancakes, or a few muffins on her birthday, but thats about it. I’ve heard SO many comments of disbelief from people about my choice to not stick a frosting covered cake in front of her for her first birthday. Do I think parents who do this to their kids are bad parents? Absolutely not, but I didn’t want to do it for Marlowe. Do I think sugar is bad? Nope, I’d be a hypocrite if I said yes. I believe in a healthy dose of chocolate every once in a while. I also believe: everything in moderation. Will I sit there with three chocolate chip cookies and a glass of chocolate soy milk on a trying day? Or put chocolate almond butter on my toast every once in a while? Or drink a coffee with almond or soy milk with vanilla sugar? Yes, and I’ll love every second of it. But even still, sugar is rare around here. Marlowe doesn’t get those treats… not yet. For now: she gets teething cookies every once in a while… or (for the first time this week) graham crackers, and of course: lots and lots and lots of fruit… but thats about it (for now).
What else? She does get crackers (wheat or flax), like most kids. Or for a not overly healthy treat: Tings! nom nom.
For vegetables? So far: everything, but every once in a while she decides she doesn’t like sweet potatoes. She prefers things cooked, not raw (like mama).
Fruits: EVERYTHING. Especially: mangoes, strawberries and blueberries.
For protein: steamed tofu is the biggest hit around here… otherwise beans, but she will only eat them in patty form. Some nuts too.
Yep, so that is a basic rundown of what Marlowe eats. A lot of veg, some carbs and starch, protein, and you know…. pretty much: whatever I eat. Having a happy, healthy, vegan baby isn’t that hard 😉
Welp, Tonight (friday) I will get my first (two to three hour) break in a very long time. My hot date (Michelle) and I will be heading out to the opening of Alex’s new restaurant. Other than that, I am hoping for some more beautiful weather so M and I can get out of the house for a bit. Happy weekend everyone!

27 Comments

  1. I own a preschool where we serve very little sugar, as gluten free as we can, and everything organic and super healthy. The parents PREFER this. It could be that we live in a very health aware hippy little beach town though. Anyways..I think what you are doing with your daughter is GREAT!

  2. I am such a believer in not giving babies sugar. My little girl (15 months old) has barely tasted it. Babies don't know what sugar is – it has no nutritional value for them. There is no need to introduce it into their diet so early on. Elfie didn't even have her first taste of sugar until a small cake on her birthday. Even now if she has a biscuit it will be sweetened with spelt syrup 😉

    My mum didn't give me chocolate or sugar until I was a toddler, and I can take it or leave it now I'm an adult.

  3. Thanks for this! I will be raising my girl vegan/ vegan at home & it's nice to read someone elses thoughts on it all. So far she's not very interested in solids either- refuses pureed food, so I've been researching baby-led weaning & just not worrying about it- she gets what she needs from me anyway!

  4. Interesting post. I'm nosy so I like seeing what other people eat. Quick question, if you don't mind! I've always wondered how people refuse food that people try to offer their kids? How do you tell someone that Marlowe can't have something? Are people pretty understanding when you say she's a vegan? I get all awkward when I refuse food…. Anyway, just wondering.

  5. OH, can you please post the recipe to this?

    "Biscuits baked over a white bean vegetable stew."

    It looks delicious!

  6. i am seriously so impressed with her diet! i'm a vegetarian with a 4 month old trying to figure out how to start all this with him and your post is so inspiring.

  7. YES! Love this. We're skipping the sugar thing over here, too.

    And now I'm hungry…your food posts always make me hungry!

  8. I think your diets are great. I'm sure you know this, but there are so many reasons not to consume cow's milk (or at least to seriously limit your intake).

    I am allergic to sugar and cook with agave nectar. It's much sweeter & the recommendation is to use 2/3 c agave for every 1 c of sugar in a recipe. I cut that in half and it's still more than sweet enough. Something to try if you'd like to add a little sweetener but don't want to use cane or beet sugar.

  9. There's no reason to give sugar when they're so small. No reason. They don't even know what it is. Do I eat sugar? Sure (but I shouldn't). But babies just don't ask for it or need it.

    Of course, my second and third children's diet was much looser than that of the first child. Older siblings are eating much less healthy due to daycare/school, bday parties, etc., so younger siblings get what older siblings get. Unfortunately. It's much easier to keep a first child's diet perfectly clean.

  10. My little guy prefers to dip his pancakes in yogurt instead of syrup. I don't think that's in your meal plan 🙂 but for us, it's a good alternative to sugary syrup! And it makes such a huge difference in his behavior. Lots of sugar = lots of meltdowns for him. I'm super impressed with your daughter's taste buds!

  11. i love side by side mama and baby food pictures, especially when they're vegan! we aren't vegan but we limit how frequently we incorporate animal products into our diet, maybe once or twice a week. and sugar? i can count 3 times in my kid's life that he's had sugar. each time he's cried afterwards like the world is just so, so cruel to him so i put the kibosh on that.

    keep sharing the pictures please! i'm alway looking for new cooking inspiration and right now i'm thinking i need some spring rolls in my life.

  12. 1st off, all those meals look aaaaaamazing.
    2nd, I think it's great that you are raising Marlowe vegan. I hope to do the same with my children one day and when they get old enough to make the decision let them choose. Also, my mother was VERY limited in letting my brother and I eat sugar growing up (I didn't realize what a real soda was till I was about 10) and I think it's helped me in the long run.
    Keep up the good work!

  13. I think it's wonderful you are raising her to love all types of foods and not give her sugar. When she grows up, she will have a chance to try whatever she wants, but right now you're making sure she is healthy. I didn't give my daughter sugar for the first year because they simply don't need it. She now knows that it's a treat and not something to be eaten every day. I love reading your blog and all the food you share 🙂

  14. @chels: oh good!… just come open one here!!

    @thealice: exactly, it serves no purpose in their diet.

    @Janelle: It hasn't been too big of an issue so far becuase M is so young and not necessarily having playdates out or anything. When she is being babysat by my step mom I pack a huge array of foods and snacs to go with her… and my step mom is very good about being like "welll she didn't want ll of it so I made her some broccoli…. dont worry it was organic!!!!" She's very considerate about that. When others offer or ask to give her food I just politely say "no thank you", sometimes if I want to get more into it I say "no thank you she doesn't eat ________ (insert: sugar, dairy, eggs, whatever). 🙂

    @heather: the recipe came from the book veganonicon. I wouldn't recommend it. It was basically a half ass recipe of biscuits OVER gravy disguised with a nice name. I'm going to attempt my own (better) version of this soon to post 🙂

    @chelsey: good luck!

    @bee: there is a lot of controversy on whether or not agave is actually a healthier alternative for people or not.I've heard it can actually be pretty bad for you…. that being said, I have it my home and will use it sometimes as a sugar replacer anyway. I haven't found very solid facts on either side of the debate– so whatever, everything in moderation. I usually use it in my tea 🙂

    @kimb: ah, yes, birthdays and parties will be hard. Here's a story: my brother had a cook out while I was pregnant and there were two little boys there (think 5 years old or so). One was chugging a gatorade… the other? skipping around saying "gatorade is crap!" I'm hoping M will be a little no food dye, sugar drinks, happy kid. I know we can only do so much, but I'll see what I can accomplish without completely brainwashing 🙂

    @julie: I'm most likely making this a regular feature 🙂

  15. I think what you serve Marlowe is perfectly fine. Much healthier than what I've seen a lot of mothers give their kids. I wont be giving my little one sugary things. No need for it. Same goes for very salty things. To me, a healthy baby = a happy baby. You have my respect for the way you raise Marlowe.

  16. As I said on Twitter, I can't believe people would get upset that you aren't choosing to give your 1-year-old SUGAR. Crazy!

    I was one of those weird kids who refused to eat sweet things/junk food when I was young. I didn't ever try soda until I was 10 years old!

    One more thing: I was so relieved when I saw your spring roll FAIL — I had the same exact thing happen to me 2 nights ago and I was so frustrated! They tasted fine, but that wasn't the point, you know exactly what I'm saying 😉

  17. Great post! It's so nice to see parents really think about how they're nourishing their little ones. I have a 10-month-old I'm raising on a homemade plant-based diet. She's still mostly a boob baby (gets a mix of chunky purées and grains once or twice a day), partly because of her interest and partly because I'm nervous about giving her food-food when she just has two little teeth on the bottom. I know the photos were hard to take, but I loved seeing what Marlowe's eating!

  18. It sounds like Marlowe's enjoying a healthy, balanced diet. I'm not vegn (or vegetarian), but I've found it's amazing that my kids will eat all the good stuff if I simply don't make the bad stuff available. And I think sugar is so overdone for kids.

    I'm curious, does Marlowe's pediatrician have any particular reaction to a vegan diet? You're in a bigger city than I am, but I recently told our pedi that my boys ate no dairy and no gluten and she kind of freaked out on me.

  19. love it! not much sugar in this house. although jess did have a ridiculous carrot cake from a local bakery for her bday.
    oh well, moderation is the key, right 🙂
    i save my sugar for my wine and dark chocolate!

  20. Everything looks great especially the white bean stew!!!! Can you please post a recipe??

  21. I love love love this! We aren't vegan, or even vegetarian, but our Mini Man eats very similar. We don't eat a lot of meat; it doesn't seem to sit well with me. I have trouble understanding how such tiny little bodies can even digest it so Mini eats close to none.

    As for sugar, it's never even really occurred to me that we withhold it from him ha. He had a bit of cake on his birthday but he was more interested in the mashing part. His favorite snacks are naturally fruit.

    Anyway, I'm stealing all of these ideas! We're in Canada and unfortunately the best of our fresh produce days are behind us. It takes a lot of searching but we manage and I'll be working doubly hard to find the things you've used! Thanks!!

  22. I've been contemplating whether or not my future kids should be vegetarian or vegan (I'm vegan). At first I was going with vegetarian for sure, and was going to let them decide when they get older to become vegan. But after reading your posts, I'm leaning towards vegan. I'm not sure if my b/f totally agrees (he's vegetarian), but I do all the grocery shopping. 🙂

  23. @amber and scott: YES. Spring roll fail is alway sad… time and patience is key. Distractions and baby dinosaurs are not.

    @lisa: ave you tried the mesh teether? It was such a great tool for giving Marlowe bigger pieces of food!

    @Erin: I'm not sure if her being vegan ever really came up with the pediatrician. She had a holistic based doctor (the only one in the area) who decided to retire and leave her practice when Marlowe was around 10 or 11 months old. I know many doctors would be very weary on raising vegan kids….. it has to be done right otherwise it is possible to miss out on nutrition.
    I'm actually REALLY surprised that your doctor wouldn't be okay with a gluten free and diary free diet…. well I' not that surprised… but I want to be. Yes dairy has calcium and other nutrients, but it causes more harm than good to human bodies. And gluten… well I love my gluten, but yes, a gluten free diet is really beneficial for your body (as you know since you are doing both these things). I don't see why your pediatrician would ever have a problem with your (very smart) choices unless they learned all their facts back with the got milk? campain.

  24. @yellow finch designs: yes. 100% yes. Dark chocolate and alcohol are the two places my sugar comes from.

    @kelly: I will!

    @mamabear: exactly! Meat is SO incredibly hard for the human body to digest…. how babies are supposed to do it is beyond me! And Canada, ay? What is winter like? Lots of root vegetables? Growing up I had a weakness for sugar pie. My aunt would always bring it down for me 🙂 Oh how things change!

    @melissa: This makes me so happy! <3

  25. I think severely limiting her sugar is AWESOME!!! My friend and I were actually discussing this the other day… Other parents can get as mad as they want and say things like "But they're missing out!!!" (Whatever that means, since a 1 year old is not going to miss something she doesn't have,) but if my parents had made me a fruit and vegetable ninja when I was a kid, I would be SO SO grateful to them now. It's SO much easier to grow up legitimately loving whole foods than to learn to like them as an adult after growing up on Oreos.

    Side note: What is it with kids and juice?? So many parents seem to have this idea that it's healthy. Of course not-from-concentrate and freshly juiced stuff can be okay, but that's not what most kids get, and I still see juice and think sugar.

  26. I am as non-vegan as they come, but that all looks super yummy! Except for the tofu…I've tried it a few times but just can't do it, but I have food/texture issues.

    I kept wondering what the "kernels" on the side of Marlowe's plate were…it wasn't until the last picture that I realized they fee little chickens! So cute! And hopefully that will be my one and only blonde moment for the day!!!