Opinions wanted please

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 3:41am
VeganMom's picture
Joined: 06/22/2003 - 09:00

We are vegan. This past school year, my daughter was in second grade with a boy with a peanut allergy. The children were to bring a snack and a lunch with no peanut or other nut products. They eat the snack in the classroom and the lunch at an assigned table in the cafeteria.

Peanuts and nuts are a major source of protein for us. I had some soy and soy nut things that I could try to substitute, but was told soy was also a problem because he was very allergic to that too. So the teacher said to send what I needed to and then they would just have my daughter eat by herself. But the teacher felt bad for her because she cried every time she was sent off by herself. So she told me she would just make sure my daughter wasn't sitting anywhere near the boy.

School is out now, but next year according to the new teacher the lunches and snacks will be looked at. This is because of problems that came to light having nothing to do with my daughter but other children with peanut foods sitting near the boy.

I cannot possibly get enough protein into my daughter if her snack and lunch cannot have nut, soy, or peanut in it. And this with no home made snacks is a problem too. There are no healthy snacks full of protein that are available pre-packaged for vegans. For the lunchtime, since the lunch table is actually two tables pushed together, I thought they could just be seperated and my daughter and anyone else with the wrong food could sit at one table and the rest sit at the other table, but they said this was not acceptable because the mother of the boy didn't like it.

I was going to switch my daughter to a different class, but the one she is with now is the only one with the gifted program she is in. The boy is not in the gifted program, but the teacher said they cannot ask him to switch to another class.

Does anyone know what I should do about this?

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 6:45am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

Go to the REACTION part of this bulletin board and read some of our experiences. That might help.
Go check out the "Another peanut death" listing on this site.
Another thing I would do is to help the school administration to set up a situation where your daughter does not have to eat alone.
I would find out if the child who is allergic to peanuts and soy is allergic to AIRBORNE soy. I am not sure if this is an issue. My son is allergic to soy also and has never to our knowledge reacted to soy in his presence.
Take a plate of soy and a plate of peanut butter and place them on your table. Which one has an odor? That means peanut is in the air.
If the other student's soy allergy is not airborne then it should not be a problem for you to send soy in for your daughter's lunch. We are talking about one meal a day right? As long as the other student knew not to share food with your daughter.
My son has to watch every single morsel of food that he sits next to or puts in his mouth. He cannot enter a room if peanuts are in that room. I can tell you that my son can DIE if he is exposed to airborne peanut. And it will not be pretty.
None of our children including yours can go to school if students carry guns. Think of peanut butter as a gun in the hand of a toddler.

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 7:55am
BS312's picture
Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

Vegan Mom- Thanks for asking about this here. Have you considered pasta? One two-ounce serving has 7 grams of protein--the same as two tablespoons of soy nut butter. Lots of kids at our peanut-free school bring thermoses of pasta for lunch. I'm curious: how do you handle birthday parties? My DD is allergic to milk and eggs so we bring our own treats. Do you do the same?

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 9:03am
wendysco's picture
Joined: 05/03/2003 - 09:00

My ds is peanut allergic and contact sensitive to soy, I am dreading him starting school. It seems like you could make up the protein from nut and soy product at home. Protein needs vary but I believe the high point is 22 grams, this is for an adult, kids range a bit lower(please correct me if I'm wrong). So it would seem like a high protein snack after school followed by protein in dinner and possibly a handful of nuts in the evening would be sufficient for protein requirements. I realize how hard it is to balance a diet when you have diet restrictions ( either by choice or medical necessity), and it may take some planning and creativity, but you can probably find a way to meet both kids needs.

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 9:08am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I'm not sure how these factor into this situation for protein, but perhaps pumpkin seed butter or sunflower seed butter (Sunbutter) might be appropriate. Unfortunately Sunbutter is made with hydrogenated oils, but it does have a taste close to PB. I find pumpkin seed butter a healthier alternative and very tasty too when sweetened with powdered sugar.

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 11:08am
wendysco's picture
Joined: 05/03/2003 - 09:00

Just another idea, hummus, marinated bean salad(cold), Hot bean soup.

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 11:28am
DebO's picture
Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

There was a thread in the fall called How Much protein do you need? Here is the link..
I posted a link to a detailed guide which lists the protein values for different foods. Some interesting notes:
30ml of peanut butter (2 tablespoons) has 8g or protein. 5 slices of pepperoni has 12 g of protein. (as an aside the fish has the highest ratings and I noticed that 100 g of simmered BEAR has 32 g of protein !! - fortunately half a chicken breast has the same amount). A typical yogurt serving also has 8 g. 1 cup of cooked macaroni has 7 g and one bagel has 9 g. And last, the dairy products are great. 1 cup of 2% milk has 9 g of protein and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese has 15g!
As others have said, even on a vegan diet, it should be possible to have a higher protein meal in the morning or evening and have something containing cheese for lunch.
That being said, I think you need to work with the school to come up with a solution. If there has been a problem with other children bringing in peanut butter it does not appear that there has been sufficient education of the students and parents. Having your child bring a food to school that can cause a life threatening reaction to a classmate is a risk that I think is unacceptable. Imagine how your child will feel if their classmate has a reaction and collapses, has to be injected with an epipen then taken away in an ambulance to hospital all because of something in their lunch? Especially when they knew the food in their lunch had the potential to kill their classmate?
Have you talked to your child and asked them how they feel about bringing foods to school that are unsafe? You may be surprised at what your child has to say.
take care

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 12:02pm
StaceyK's picture
Joined: 05/06/2003 - 09:00

Former Vegetarian here. I had to give it up because it was difficult to raise a vegetarian family with my daughter's peanut, soy and nut allergy. (She just recently outgrew the soy allergy). Vegan would be very, VERY difficult, since cheese is out. I would have to use beans or pasta if it were me. But if it comes down to veganism vs. life-threatening illness, and if I were the administration of the school, I would have to side with protecting the allergic child. If push came to shove, which it doesn't have to, I'd say unavoidable allergy that causes death would have to have priority over lifestyle choice. Hopefully though, it won't come to that, and something can work out for you. Good luck!

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 1:13pm
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

I would like to think that mother-to-mother if push came to shove the life of a child would reign over a personal dietary choice.
Even the life of a child you do not know.
I'm very firm on this because my son had no list of allergies to choose one from. Just like he did not get to choose his ice blue eyes and curly hair.
We are struggling with the difficulties he is going to encounter when he starts University in September. Instead of the "carefree" normal angst of a new life he also has to encounter and manage new eating situtaions and about two thousand people who know nothing about PA.
Again he is a pioneer. He'll do fine but boy I wish he did not have to think about anaphylaxis for one day.
[This message has been edited by Peg541 (edited June 22, 2003).]

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 3:09pm
tgab's picture
Joined: 06/24/2000 - 09:00

I was first going to suggest that your child switch classes, but you mentioned that isn't possible. So here are some ideas.
First of all, I would double and triple check whether you really cannot send soy in your child's lunch. Soy is in tons of stuff and doesn't produce airborne reactions that I know of. I would think that soy would be ok, but I could be wrong.
Don't send in peanuts! I'm sure you don't want your child's lunch causing the death of a classmate.
Is the classmate also allergic to tree nuts? It could be possible that you are allowed to use tree nuts or almond butter, or similar in your child's lunch. I would check on that. Someone suggested Sunbutter (made from sunflower seeds). That might also be an option. However, you would need to make sure the school knows that this is not peanut butter, since they look the same, and someone might get freaked out thinking your daughter has peanut butter.
Even if you cannot pack any soy, peanuts, or treenuts, there is still hope. Perhaps your child could eat nuts/peanut butter/soy for breakfast, and then have a lunch with lots of grains, veggies, and fruits. And then have soy/nuts for an afterschool snack.
Many grains are just as high in protein as peanut butter, and kids usually like them. You might also get a small thermos to send items such as vegan chili, soup, baked beans, spaghetti, etc. Another idea is to use a vegan meat substitute in sandwiches. Maybe you can find store-bought, but I have made gluten roast (not too tough, and high in protein), sliced it up, put the extra in the freezer, and used it for sandwiches for my son. He liked it. Sandwiches made from whole wheat bread (or pita bread) with Vegenaise and vegetables such as tomatoes, sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, etc. would also be a great lunch. What about tortillia chips with bean dip and/or salsa?
I hope something here helps you!

Posted on: Sun, 06/22/2003 - 3:17pm
tgab's picture
Joined: 06/24/2000 - 09:00

Sorry to post again, but my last post was regarding lunches. I forgot about snacks. You are unable to pack homemade snacks for your daughter?
How about popcorn, pretzels, crackers, dried fruit, fresh fruit, vegetables, muffins, etc.
Also, no child should ever be made to sit alone. At the very least, she should be able to bring a friend to sit with her.


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