Nonvegan Homework Assignment

As someone who is childfree, I am not familiar with the unique challenges and struggles associated with raising a vegan child. The other day on Facebook, I came across Danielle, a vegan mother, trying to figure out how to deal with Damien’s, her son’s, nonvegan homework assignment. She posted the following caption and two photos in a vegan group:

“Hello fellow vegans. I am in a pickle. My five year old understands all about being vegan But in his school part of the education is food groups and nutrition. If he doesn’t learn it the way they teach it he will not get a good grade. But I really do not approve of this homework. Should I do it the way I know or follow what they are teaching?”

Photo of a sheet of paper that says "Healthy or unhealthy?" at the top with two columns (healthy on the left, unhealthy on the right).
Photo of a sheet of paper that says “Healthy or unhealthy?” at the top with two columns (healthy on the left, unhealthy on the right).
Photo of a sheet of paper with different "foods" on it including milk, chocolate, pepper, chicken, cereal, cheese, bread, cucumber, apple, pear, cupcake, lollipop, steak, ice cream, carrot, and pizza.
Photo of a sheet of paper with different “foods” on it including milk, chocolate, pepper, chicken, cereal, cheese, bread, cucumber, apple, pear, cupcake, lollipop, steak, ice cream, carrot, and pizza.

I found this situation interesting as here was a mother who takes an ethical position against using animals trying to figure out how to prevent her son from being indoctrinated, as most children are, into seeing animal products as food, not to mention “healthy” food. How would she handle this?

Later, Danielle posted the following caption and photo in the vegan group:

“Here is the outcome! Thank goodness he knows all about the vegan food and brands we get at home. So we did it our way!”

Photo of a sheet of paper that says "Healthy or unhealthy?" at the top with two columns (healthy on the left, unhealthy on the right). In the healthy column, her son put Gardein chicken, cereal, cucumber, vegan cheese, pear, apple, soy milk, Gardein steak, bread, pepper, and carrot. In the unhealthy column, her son put chocolate, ice cream, cupcake, pizza, and lollipop.
Photo of a sheet of paper that says “Healthy or unhealthy?” at the top with two columns (healthy on the left, unhealthy on the right). In the healthy column, her son put Gardein chicken, cereal, cucumber, vegan cheese, pear, apple, soy milk, Gardein steak, bread, pepper, and carrot. In the unhealthy column, her son put chocolate, ice cream, cupcake, pizza, and lollipop.

Damien got creative and veganized the healthy foods! He changed the “chicken” to “Gardein chicken,” the “cheese” to “vegan cheese,” the “milk” to “soy milk,” and the “steak” to “Gardein steak.”

Later, Danielle posted the following caption and photo in the vegan group:

“Received my son’s homework back today. With a smiley face.”

Photo of the completed assignment with a double exclamation point smiley face from his teacher.
Photo of the completed assignment with a double exclamation point smiley face from his teacher.

Yay! I love how Danielle and Damien handled this challenge. To me, it wasn’t just about changing the names of the foods; it was about changing injustice to justice, violence to nonviolence, and the old paradigm of nonveganism to the new paradigm of veganism. Beautiful work, Danielle and Damien!

Thank you to Danielle De Loughy for allowing me to share her story and photos.