Vegan Parenting Moments: I Took Him To McDonalds

January 8th, 2018 - filed under: The Farm » Family

Vegan Parenting Moments – a collection of my own little experiences, be they “triumphs” or be they “fails”, as I navigate this wild adventure of raising a vegan child in a non-vegan world.

I posted this little saga on my Instagram stories today, and WOW the response was overwhelming. So many people were messaging me with a flood of thoughts and questions, that I decided I had to bring it to the blog. But I’m super busy with work and with momming right now, which means I don’t have time to translate this into an actual fancy-pants long form blog post. So I’m just going to post it as is — my Instagram stories.

Love me or hate me, I’ve never claimed to be anything other than myself. Messy and confused and trying my best. . . but always keeping it real. So this is what I did this morning.

















I don’t think there’s any one right way to parent; I truly believe in parenting to the individual child. So this post isn’t meant to be instructive or prescriptive in any way. I’m just sharing our journey, trying to be honest about all of our ups and downs. And the funny thing is, I think some of you will see this story as an “up”, and others of you will see it as a “down.”

And that’s okay. In fact, I love that. Let’s talk about it!

♥ ♥ ♥

Aaaaaaand it’s come to my attention that after all that, McDonalds hash browns *in America* are not even vegan!! Apparently when I checked I didn’t realize I was looking at the Canadian website. Oh my goodness. Okay well our mistake is already made, whoops, but please don’t go make the same one! Geeze . . .

  • melissahess

    Saw this on IG stories and loved your approach and that you shared it. Thank you for your openness and authenticity. Rock on! #YouDoYou

  • Lindsey

    Love. Love. Love. Nothing else to say :)

  • SJ

    <3 <3 <3
    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this.

  • Jen

    Great story! Are the hash browns really vegan? I thought they had beef flavoring like the fries.

  • Jennifer

    What in god’s name isn’t vegan about hash browns?! I feel like people find ways to un-veganize things. *sigh*

    I think it is great that you brought Waits to McDonalds. It will hopefully kill the allure of it since you don’t bring him there. I know I loved fast food and frozen pizza in high school because it was the thing I couldn’t have (mind you my family wasn’t insanely healthy or anything)

  • Betty Spaghetti

    You did the right thing! In order to tell his buddies that he doesn’t like McDonalds Waits had to try it first – now he knows!! I am sure one day he’ll try meat and he may like it, but abstain from it due to his personal conviction towards animals. My kid had a sip of beer or wine here and there, it satisfied the curiosity, nothing more.

  • CrystalB

    I think this is a really important conversation and approach. I love the idea of supervising his curiosity. It takes the mystery away. I see this all the time in Utah. We have crazy liquor laws where you can’t even *see* a drink being poured. Families don’t acknowledge alcohol as a thing, they don’t even have many conversations. And then a ton of kids end up binge drinking and going off the rails because they are so curious about why it’s so “bad”.

  • Ray

    Good job, mum!

    What a pest about the beef tallow being in everything in the US! The vegetarian burger at Burger King in Australia is vegan with the cheese and mayo removed. None of my kid’s friends eat fast food besides pizza and half the chains are getting vegan cheese in now. My kids have no interest, prefer homemade pizza, too. I used to eat fast food fairly regularly, I’m almost disappointed! Ha. Some folks get custom burgers at McDonald’s, replace the meat patties with multiple hash browns… imagine the grease! Sheesh!

  • jill

    You’ll win some and lose some…when we do stuff like that, my kids sometimes are completely unimpressed (movies, most fast food), in to it on rare occasion and in small amounts (Halloween candy, school lunch) or love it but understand we don’t do it often (store bought ice cream). But they’ll make their own decisions as older kids and adults, so the best we can do is exactly what you’ve done and realize it’s not the end of the world. Hey, I grew up on Capri Sun and Doritos, and I turned out just fine…

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thanks so much Melissa! It was scary to share something like this so thanks for the supportive comment. ♥

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you!!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you SJ, and thanks for being here.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    They’re not — see the bottom of the post.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Oh girl people find ways to unveganize EVERYTHING! It’s ridiculous.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Thank you and I agree, and I’m glad I was able to get myself there. My first impulse is to just keep him away from that stuff, but I know it’s better to let him learn his own lessons. I’m working on that!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    I agree so much! All my friends who were super sheltered went crazy and partied hard and rebelled. I don’t want Waits to do that with veganism!

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Ugh I am so jealous of your Australian options with all their logic and understanding. ;-)

  • Sayward Rebhal

    It’s true, sometimes it will work and sometimes it wont. I think for me the lesson was that it’s always better to let him learn for himself.

  • rebeka yedinak

    I fully support how you gave him this experience, and let him learn on his own. I am also so impressed by your answer to *that* distinct feeling. & Oh so sorry to find out it wasn’t vegan! Did you end up letting him know that, too?

    As I raise my son to be compassionate & aware & intent in our (& others lifestyle choices), you mothers going before me are my trailblazers!

  • Karen

    Your choices and values have more of an impact than you realise, especially when you explain why in a relaxed way. And not just around food either. Open communication is key. Good going!

  • Laura

    You are such a good mama! My instinct is to say “no” or push back with my son but I don’t want him to feel deprived or left out. I had a friend growing up whose parents didn’t allow sugar. So any time she came to my house she’d raid our snack cabinets and pound sweets. This was a good reminder for me to do a better job of finding balance. …The fries aren’t even vegan?! Come on!

  • Sabrina

    Also saw this on your Instagram stories and thought you handled it perfectly. You had the dialogue, you didn’t make it taboo and he drew his own conclusions like a smart little scientist (I suspect his palette is sophisticated enough so the grease & salt would have been an anti-climax)