Vegan pregnancies, babies and kids appear to be on the rise. Exhibit A: a sleek new title that showed up in my mailbox last month: “Your Complete Vegan Pregnancy,” by Reed Mangels.

The book is an updated, repackaged and reissued version of “The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book,” which was originally released in 2011.

Why reissue it now?

“Your Complete Vegan Pregnancy” was published in April and sells for $15.99. Courtesy of Adams Media

“We noticed a surge in vegan prenatal products,” said Eileen Mullen, acquisitions editor at Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster that published the book, “and upon doing research also noted that many women were choosing to remain vegan throughout their pregnancy.”

Mangels, a nutrition professor at the University of Massachusetts, said in a phone interview that she’s noticed more parents are “getting the idea that this is a healthier way to eat and an environmentally better way to eat.”

She said she updated “The Everything Vegan Pregnancy Book” to incorporate new research into vegan diets, but most of her overall advice to pregnant women is unchanged. An exception? The recommended amount of protein that pregnant women should eat.

“The recommendations used to be to only eat more protein in the second and third trimester,” Mangels said, “but now it’s the whole pregnancy.” The updated book recommends pregnant women eat an additional 25 grams of protein a day.

With chapters on everything from, “Vitamin B, Folic Acid, DHA and Iodine” to “Living Vegan While Pregnant,” the book shows “it is really possible to have a healthy outcome to your pregnancy when following a vegan diet, and this book gives you the tools to do that,” Mangels said.

Another new release provides further clues about the rise of vegan parenting. This spring, the glossy Raise Vegan parenting magazine issued its first print publication. I picked up mine for $6.99 at Whole Foods Market in Portland. The magazine launched in a digital-only format in 2017, and both products are part of the wider Raise Vegan online community, which has more than 50,000 members.

The inaugural issue includes features on lunchbox ideas, vegan cold remedies, and introducing STEM at home.

The Raise Vegan parenting magazine released its first print edition this spring. Courtesy of Raise Vegan

“Our online readers wanted something they could physically hold and share with their friends and family,” said Raise Vegan Editor in Chief Claire Chartrand. “There has been a huge cultural paradigm shift in recent years, and I think it’s here to stay. Vegan options are everywhere and the lifestyle has become extremely accessible to the general public.”

Data on the number of vegan children is scant, though one 2018 study from the United Kingdom found that 1 in 12 children in that country are being raised vegan. Among British parents with vegan kids, the study found that 61 percent of parents cited health benefits and 36 percent cited animal welfare as their motivation.

The Baltimore-based Vegetarian Resource Group released the results of a survey conducted by Harris Poll in March that found 2 percent of American adults are full-time vegans. The Vegetarian Resource Group polls tend to report lower numbers of vegans compared to other surveys, because they ask participants what they actually eat rather than if they consider themselves to be vegan.

Interestingly, 20 percent of the population reports regularly eating vegan meals, according to the Harris Poll. Among Americans who always or sometimes eat vegan, the poll found a full 23 percent are the parents of a child under 18. This isn’t too surprising since the adults most likely to be vegan themselves are those ages 18 to 34, the age range in the United States when many become parents.

Locally, the Portland Public Schools plan to add daily vegan hot lunch in the elementary schools starting in September. While no one knows how many elementary students here are vegan, it strikes me as significant that I myself know four vegan kindergarteners attending public schools in Portland, while I’d never even heard the word “vegan” until I was a college freshman.

I have more anecdotal evidence of this trend. First, a group of moms in Portland recently organized a vegan playgroup through Facebook, and next, bakers across the state report a rising number of requests for birthday cakes for vegan kids.

Last July, Skyhorse published “The Smart Parent’s Guide to Raising Vegan Kids,” by Eric C. Lindstrom. It joined older vegan parenting books such as the 2014 classic by Alicia Silverstone, “The Kind Mama.” Meanwhile, the 2016 vegan title “The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids” by Ruby Roth remains in the top 50 of Amazon’s bestselling children’s cookbooks.

Published in March, the children’s picture book “What Vegan Kids Eat!” sells for $17.99. Courtesy of Vegan Publishers

In March, Vegan Publishers released the children’s book “What Vegan Kids Eat!” written by Amber Pollock and illustrated by Kayleigh Castle. With bright pictures and a simple rhyme, the hardbound book takes a tour of vegan kids eating breakfast smoothies, holiday roasts, birthday cakes, home-sick-day soups, crock-pot dinners and many meals in between.

Pollock is the mother of three vegan children, ages 6 months to 6 years, and she is “always looking for vegan books for them.” While most vegan picture books explore the why to eat vegan question, Pollack’s book explores the how to eat vegan, celebrating the normalcy of foods such as “ooey-gooey cashew cheeze” sandwiches, curry with “fluffy quinoa and chickpeas” and “bean burgers on Grandma’s homemade buns.”

When we get to Christmas Eve, a little boy in blue pajamas says, “I leave the almond milk and cookies by the tree, hoping he will bring some wonderful gifts for me.”

It’s too soon to speculate about what Santa may give us this year, but I suspect the stork is already queuing up more vegan babies to bring to Maine.

 

Avery Yale Kamila is a food writer who lives in Portland. She can be reached at

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila

 

 

 

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