Jenna Dewan-Tatum Won’t Force Daughter Everly to Be Vegan

06/25/2014 at 12:05 PM ET

Jenna Dewan-Tatum Natural Health magazine Jeff Lipsky

She’s a very healthy vegan. He’s a former Sexiest Man Alive meat eater.

And their 1-year-old daughter has yet to decide for herself what makes it on her plate.

But actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum says the decision will eventually belong to their baby girl — and the couple will support Everly either way.

“I don’t believe in forcing anyone into anything, but I’ll do my best to introduce her to healthy eating habits,” she tells the July/August issue of Natural Health magazine.

The first-time mom’s main priority is ensuring she creates a positive — and fun — approach to good nutrition.

“We have a little garden so I’ll say, ‘Let’s go pick the vegetables we’re going to eat tonight,'” the Witches of East End star, 33, shares. “My pediatrician believes it’s completely healthy and possible to have a vegan child and I think that’s amazing.”

She adds, “But when Everly gets older, I think we should allow her to be her own person.”

Dewan-Tatum is hopeful she will inspire her daughter in other ways, too. The former backup dancer — who is guest judging on So You Think You Can Dance this summer — makes it a point to embrace even the hardships of being a working mother.

“My mother worked and I was so grateful to see an independent woman going after her dreams,” she explains. “I think kids learn way more from your actions than from your words. So if you’re looking at work like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to be here, this is so boring,’ that’s so much less inspiring than, ‘I can’t wait to do this thing that I love!'”

And while she’s proud of the work she and husband Channing Tatum do and wants Everly to see her parents are “going after what we want and enjoying what we do,” any time spent away from her baby girl is harder than she ever imagined.

Jenna Dewan-Tatum Natural Health magazine Courtesy Natural Health Magazine

“I expected the emotional bond, but there’s a physical connection, too — if I’m away from her for too long, my body literally feels it,” she says. “Or if she’s not well, I take it on. The fact that I channel all my energy into caring for someone 24/7 and still have time to do other things shocks me!”

Her body may be doing double the work now, but Dewan-Tatum is ready to really challenge herself. She is looking forward to expanding her family with Tatum — but not before the couple can catch up on some much-needed rest.

“I need us to start getting more sleep first. I was an only child until I was 19 and always thought it would be nice to have a sibling closer in age, so I don’t want to wait too long,” she says.

“But I give it up to the universe! Whatever is meant to be will be.”

Witches of East End returns for its second season July 6 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

— Anya Leon

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Showing 29 comments

LC on

Such a cute family – she seems to have her head on straight. Good for them!

Shelly on

She sounds like a really sweet lady. Vegan here too, although I cook healthy meat meals for my carnivorous family members. It’s not about being strict so you can label yourself as a vegan (there’s lots of unhealthy food out there that is still vegan!), it’s about nourishing your body with lots of whole grains and veggies and plant-based protein, and it sounds like Jenna is raising her daughter to value whole food rather than a label. I’ve met a lot of vegan kids and it always gets me how wide their diet is and how thrilled they are to eat things like bok choi and black beans. When deliciously prepared veggies and whole grains are the star of the meal instead of chicken nuggets being the fun part with some bland steamed broccoli on the side, it’s soooo easy to get kids to eat their greens. I think her relaxed approach is awesome, especially as her daughter grows up and birthday parties become a thing. I’m guessing she’ll find, as relaxed vegan parents have in the past, that her daughter will prefer eating vegan as she grows up just out of love of animals — but it’s good that she gets to make her own choice!

Ramona on

Since the baby is there, never see them with their dogs.
I hope they are not one of these people who give them
away because a human has arrived.

Anonymous on

She is really an extraordinarily beautiful woman. Sounds like she is a very good mother who balances guidance with independence for her child, also.

boohoobytch on

She seems like a sweet girl

liljewgirl1980 on

I am a little surprised by this. She says she will let her daughter have the choice, yet it said in social media she stated she gave her daughter a vegan cake for her first birthday. If she is feeding her everything vegan now, yet her daughter can make the choice, what happens if her daughter is 10 and decides she wants to eat meat like her dad? Her body will not even know how to digest it and will most likely make her sick. Why not feed her a healthy BALANCED diet for now and then let her daughter REALLY make the decision like she states.

livia08 on

Please forward this article to Barfenny Frankel! I agree on the vegan thing.

This gal seems great.

Angie on

liljewelgirl, maybe she does. She just said that she gave her a vegan cake, not that she only feeds her vegan means all of the time. She seems to have a very relaxed approach, rather than condescending and arrogant like I’ve heard a few vegans act, and her husband eats meat so I wouldn’t be surprised if he sneaks her a few bites here and there anyways.

Shelley, I have a lot of respect for you! You, like her, also seem relaxed and understanding. I’ve considered going vegan myself because I don’t really eat a lot of meat. But, I do love my steak and I’m not sure I can give it all up! lol In all seriousness though, it definitely seems like a very healthy way to live life. If I were more disciplined, I’d give it a try.

Angie on

Vegan **meals** all the time, not “mean”. lol

scott on

God bless her. she is allowing her daughter to have a choice.
+1 in the parenting category.

Renee on

Ah….the wonders of first world problems.

Ellsworth on

Ah, the wonder of people who also enjoy the comforts of living in a first world society feeling superior to others.

Mommytoane on

Nice to see she won’t force her vegan lifestyle on her kids. I like that better than “oh I’m vegan so my kids are too” attitudes. I’m all for having meat-free nights, and eating healthy stuff, but I’m also all for people having the right to choose if they want meat or not. Forcing something like a vegan lifestyle on a kid will only make them grow up and eat all the meat they can….doing it in moderation will just encourage them to eat healthy.

mnmama on

She sounds very grounded. I struggle with allowing my children choices and yet I never cook meat? That is where dear dad comes in to provide those options. I hope being a vegan doesn’t become the new “it” and vanish. There are just too many positives to becoming and staying a vegan. I did it without the pressure and just did my own research.

Renee on

She should just be thankful that she can feed her child healthy meals! I think that is wonderful. So many children in this country and around the world have nothing or very little to eat. Let us all be thankful universe!

twk on

liljewgirl1980- perhaps it was a vegan cake so she could enjoy a piece…

Ashlynn on

Liljewgirl1980 – she had a vegan cake. You don’t have ANY idea what she has for dinner each night or has to eat during the day. Who are you to say that when you don’t like in their home or see what they feed their daughter. Please go away.

Nicole on

She sounds like she’s an amazing mom. I love that she’s giving her daughter a choice while still trying to always do what’s best for her. Everly is one lucky little girl 🙂

myladyeve on

I like her as an actress and dancer, but I don’t agree with forcing a child to eat vegan. I think a lot of veggies are healthy but there should be proteins combined in the food.

Nicole on

myladyeve, did you actually read the article? It specifically says that she’s not forcing her daughter to eat vegan. And also, vegans have plenty of protein options. They don’t just sit around all day eating carrot sticks. And I’m not a vegan, but I know enough to know that meat isn’t the only thing that has protein.

Jen on

@myladyeve: Maybe you should google “plant-based protein” ;-). It’s not like vegans don’t get any protein ;-).

In case anyone is wondering about Jenna’s vegan lifestyle: she follows nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s philosophy :-). It mainly promotes a focus on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with minimum (or no) amounts of meat and fish. Oh and no dairy :-).

Olive on


racoon61 on

I quit meat at 15, chicken (mostly) at 24. I must have changed my DNA because both my girls only rarely eat meat, they hate it! I never forced either. I like her sensible, normal approach!

Marie on

I am a vegan Mom raising 3 vegetarian children. My husband eats meat. It is like anything else, religion, diets, etc. You do what you are raised with until you are old enough to change it on your own, sneak away from it or voice it to your family, accepted or not. I never tell people what to do, but I have to raise my children in the healthy & ethical way I believe. I have been one a really long time & yes, we get plenty of protein.

K.B. on

I’m glad she won’t be forcing her daughter to be vegan, but allowing her the choice once she’s older. Vegetarianism is hard enough, but veganism requires a real commitment . It is so limiting and stringent that you really have to choose to live that way. I’m an adult vegetarian, I have tried to go vegan several times, and have found it too difficult to maintain.

Lila on

I think they are adorable as a family. They both seem very happy and down to earth and I am sure they will pass that on to their child.

As far as their dogs, who cares! Dogs are dogs, not people.They should be focused on their child more than their pets.

D on

“But I give it up to the universe!” LOL LOL Good luck with that!

Randi on

@lila dogs are just as important to some people, shut up and get off your high horse.

CV on

Veganism is only restrictive or limiting if you adhere to it with the mindset that you have to “give up” things. There is such an amazing variety of vegan foods (just check out the creativity of the Portland, OR vegan food scene, for example) so veganism shouldn’t have to feel restrictive at all. Personally, I have noticed that my diet has become much more varied and balanced since switching to a low-fat plant-based lifestyle.