Emily Deschanel Says Son’s Vegan Birthday Will Be a ‘Lot of Fun’

09/14/2014 at 12:30 PM ET

Emily Deschanel Mercy for Animals Splash News Online

With her son just starting preschool this week and a third birthday right around the corner, Emily Deschanel is one proud mommy.

“[Henry] turns 3. We’re going to have a little party for him, trying not to overwhelm him too much,” Deschanel, 37, told PEOPLE at the Mercy For Animals 15th Anniversary Gala Friday night in West Hollywood.

“We’re going to have some vegan tacos for his party. It will be a lot of fun,” says the actress, adding she’s been vegan for 21 years.

Naturally, the Bones star has passed on her food choices to her son.

“He’s 99 percent vegan. My husband’s not 100 percent vegan so sometimes he eats some eggs with him, but I try to make sure [they’re] coming from my friend’s eggs,” explains Deschanel. “But most of the time he’s 99 percent vegan.”

Besides eating vegan food, Deschanel — who doesn’t own any pets — finds other ways to get Henry involved with animals.

“I just took him to Farm Sanctuary a couple of weeks ago, where he got to spend time with pigs, cows, sheep, goats and chickens,” shares Deschanel, adding she tries to bring her son there to “[let] him see that they have their own personalities and they are individual creatures. They feel emotions and pain just like a dog or a cat.”

Along with fun field trips, she says her preschooler “gets to spend time with lots of other peoples’ dogs and cats.”

But getting Henry his own pet is on her list. “[It’s] something I really want for him, but we have a lot on our plate already,” she says with a laugh.

— Mariah Haas

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Showing 54 comments

Anonymous on

Que the “a vegan diet is unhealthy for kids” people in 3….2….

veggiegirl on

Que the “a vegan diet is unhealthy for kids” people in 3….2….

Anonymous on


maryhelenc on

Vegan diets are fine for kids. I just laughed at the keeping things gentle so he won’t be overwhelmed. He’s three, not a tiny infant, unless of course he has special needs. I think sometimes we forget it’s okay for kids to have fun.

Trish on

I love her and her sister Zooey. They are both so different yet very level-headed and down-to-Earth. And the two of them seem like such sweethearts. Happy Birthday, little man! 🙂

Anonymous on

vegan diets are unhealthy for anyone, not just kids

Really on

The first thing that kid will do when he’s out of his moms sight is get a cheeseburger with bacon, and he will be rejoicing with the awakening of his taste buds. It’s all well and good that she wants him to eat what she eats, but let’s be realistic, humans are designed to eat meat as well as vegetables.

Jay on

I think Anonymous/Veggiegirl is secretly craving the meat with the Freudian “que” slip, as in barbeque!

Andy on

Being vegan should be a choice… What a sucky childhood these actresses impose on their kids. Let them eat cake!

bb on

please give Em with Henry

Judy on

Nuts!! Everything within reason.

notmyname on

she and Kaley Cuoco have the strangest faces on prime-time television.

Children with pets develop fewer allergies, supposedly. I like that she lets her son eat her friend’s eggs, hahaha, does she extract them herself, using a pipette???

Go vegans!

bones on

photos Henry:)

Tracey on

ha ha remember that time someone was a vegan and didn’t mention it? Oh right, that NEVER happens

Lola on

What does she mean by “coming from her friends eggs?” She has a friend who lays eggs?

Jana on

Meat and dairy are what’s unnatural and unhealthy. Omnivores drink the mammary secretions of another species-aka milk. Gross. Omnis eat the carcasses of another living being. Ghoulish. I am vegan and my son is vegetarian and we are extremely healthy since our bodies are a garden, not a graveyard.

Cyndi on

Nothing about that sounds remotely like fun.

Storm on

It’s funny, I’ve never seen a vegan, child or adult, who looks even remotely healthy. They are more often than not bone-thin, pasty skinned and have strange bulging eyes. Why not teach the kid how to eat healthy and also have fun with food? Did he even get a cake? And I can bet you the other kids at his party are going to take one bite of those nasty vegan tacos and spit them right out! It’s awful when people are so weird and hung up about food and then inflict that on their children.

mrssugarfang on

Most kids dont like meat when they are learning how to eat. Both my kids eat very little meat by their choice. I think its a texture thing. I do make sure to show them where the milk and meats come from too. I think its good to teach a child healthy eating early on . So when it does come time for school they balance fruits and veggies not just nachos and sodas, pizza and burgers

Guest on

Jana is mentally deranged.

Charli on

Everyone has an opinion but it is her and her husband’s child and they can raise him how they want. Some kids grow up eating nothing but fast food and kool aid so I am not going to down her because she is choosing what she thinks is best for her child. I’m sure she has checked with her pediatrician.

Holly on

that poor kid must be starving for some food. i could never be a vegan.

Ashlee on

Lola thanks for the laugh …. that was just what I was thinking … maybe her friend is a chicken … lol and why impose your weird thoughts on food on your or other ppls kids ..Jana eat a burger and then you may be normal and healthy … storm you are so right the guardian’s of my son are vegan/vegetarian and don’t look normal at all they are the weirdest ppl I have met the mom looks like a teenage boy . She is so thin and flat-chested my meat eating 6 yr old has more meat on her than she does ..and my son was so thin for a long time he looked malnourished… so EAT MEAT … eating meat and drinking milk is Gross…

Ashlee on

*not gross..

People are stupid on

There is a reason why Asians have the most centenarians..they eat next to no meat. There is also a reason that americans are the fattest, unhealthiest people on the planet…scads of bacon and processed crap. Switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet and watch the weight and lethargy disappear. You have every right to eat meat, but don’t pretend its healthy.

Ava on

Love what she has to say. Vegans definitely can be healthy. You just need to supplement with iron and other vitamins/minerals.

Anonymous on

It seems a tad pretentious to add the fact that the party is vegan. Who cares? She just couldn’t say birthday party?

Ali on

These kind of moms annoy the hell out of me. Those and “we only eat orgranic” …give me a break!

lola on

Kids get used to what they are fed. His Mom looks healthy and happy so, I assume the child is as well. He might try new foods later in life, but maybe not. Better to not have a child eat red meat only to have to give it up in adulthood for health reasons like a lot of people. If the family is happy, let them be.

Luca on

A vegan birthday does not sound like fun. And don’t let your kid eat eggs if he is supposed to be vegan. How hypocritical. I hate it when so called vegetarians eat fish or chicken and yet still call themselves vegetarians. Give me a break. If he’s eating eggs, he’s not a vegan.

Anonymous on

Other anonymous- (the one who said that sharing that she’s serving vegan tacos at her son’s birthday is “pretentious”) My guess would be that PEOPLE asked her what she’s planning to serve at the party rather than her just volunteering the information herself. Also, if she had said she was serving cupcakes at her son’s birthday, I’ll bet nobody would have batted an eye or said she shouldn’t have said what she was serving. Why the double-standard?!

Ala Lemon on

I have nothing against veganism, and I’m not in a position to say whether or not it’s healthy to raise a child as a vegan, but I prefer Jenna Dewan-Tatum’s approach to let her daughter choose for herself

Mandy on

Vegan diet can be a healthy diet but it is too early to have a little kid on that diet.

sandy on

These type of women take everything to the extreme! All these stupid eating habits now- “I don’t eat, blah” “I’m on the blah diet” Then they pass it on to their kids. Eat a well balanced diet with lots of veggies, some protein, little fruit & grains and you will be fine. Why cause food hang ups? How about letting him decide what he likes? Imagine that!

Ruth on

Hey people give her a break, she is a good mother & has said many times, she will let him make decisions as to what he wants to eat. Every mother wants what they feel is best for their child & thank GOD for loving & caring mom’s, I myself had a great mom and as a child she made decisions for me. Emily you are a caring & good mom & some day your son will thank you for all the care & love you are showing him now.

Vall on

The reason it is important that the food on the party will be vegan in this article is, that the event was held by “Mercy For Animals”, organization supporting animal rights, so go figure.
And being vegan can be totally healthy if you make sure you have enough vitamins and nutrients, which a vegan of more than 20 years should know, don’t you think? And it is possible without meat! Meat lovers like to say you can’t live without meat, but that’s just not true. and there are vegan sweets too – vegan cakes etc. Look at her, she is perfectly healthy, I’m pretty sure she makes sure her son is healthy. Plus she said before he would have a choice when he’s old enough to make that choice. And in other article she says she uses eggs from a friend’s farm who treat the chickens well (unlike industrial farms).

Storm on

I honestly have to wonder too how these vegan kids fare when they go to school – do their parents have to pack a special vegan meal for them every day until they are 18? Because that is an awful lot of work. Also, how about when they go to other kid’s houses for meals and parties? Do the parents have to say, “sorry, but my child can’t have any of the ice-cream, cake, jello or hot dogs as we’re vegan”? I can’t imagine these kids are terribly popular. Same when they grow up and go to dinner parties and restaurants with friends – being so restricted is very limiting. These strange food hang ups that people have these days are not only no fun and unhealthy – they create alot of unnecessary awkwardness in the child’s life. Far better to have a rounded diet and an adventurous attitude toward food, and it certainly makes for a better social life!

Jen DC on


Just like anyone with dietary restrictions, you either make the restrictions known (if it’s reasonable to expect accommodation) or you pack your own (when it’s not reasonable to expect accommodation). That’s like saying, “Gosh, that kid with the peanut allergy… What does he DO when everyone else is having x?” They learn how to deal with it because their parents teach them how.

Veganism can be as healthy – if not healthier – than an omnivorous diet. Case in point: Emily Deschanel herself. Does she look malnourished?

Joe Namath was (is?) a vegetarian. Martina Navratilova is a vegetarian, and was for most of her career. Prince Fielder is a vegetarian. Dave Scott – Iron Man champion – vegetarian. Carl Lewis went vegan prior to his 1991 track and field season; apparently the best season of his career. Scott Jurek, ultramarathoner and vegan.

You guys just have a selection bias: You’re not vegetarians or vegans, so you don’t know of any. Is it easy to be malnourished on a vegan diet? Sure, just like it’s easy to be malnourished on an omnivores diet. Just like with anything, you have to educate yourself.

Storm on

@Jen DC

Having a serious allergy such as you mentioned is hardly the same as voluntarily choosing to never consume any meat or dairy products. Of course parents have to make others aware when their child has a serious medical condition like an allergy and no one would have any problem with making sure that that one specific food type was not around. It is a whole other thing to expect other parents and schools to make special foods and meals for certain children simply because the parents have made a choice based on fear and radical pseudo-science. The comparison you made is not at all fair: one is a serious medical condition that is cannot be helped, the other is a lifestyle choice. Also, anyone with any real knowledge of biology and science is well aware that a vegan or vegetarian diet will never be as healthy as one that includes meat, no matter how well “educated” you are.

Derek on

My son is a perfectly healthy two year old and he’s vegan. His pediatrician says a vegan diet is fine for kids his age, and whether a child is vegan or not, parents choose what their kids eat. I don’t complain about parents who “force” their kids to eat meat. And vegan cake exists, and it’s very good.

Priti on

I love how Americans who suffer from tons of diseases related to meat and dairy get so judgmental about people who don’t eat that nasty stuff. They say vegan is so unhealthy as if this beef and pork eating country is so healthy.

Ivy. on

@Tracey , Actually Kristen Bell is vegan. You’d have to watch a lot of her interviews to know that. She doesn’t really talk about it. And of course you wouldn’t know if someone was vegan if they didn’t talk about it….because they don’t talk about it..

And to those criticizing Emily for raising her child vegan, she too has mentioned in several interviews that it’s ultimately her son’s choice. She’s raising him vegan while she can but she’s aware that once he’s exposed to other foods (in school) he may not want to continue vegan. I see nothing wrong with that. It’s like raising your child as an omnivore and the child growing up choosing to be a vegan or vegetarian. What’s the difference?

The Vegan Scholar on

“Really” – you are very wrong. I was essentially raised as a vegetarian (by my own choice at age 6, as soon as I found out that meat came from animals) and I never, ever missed eating meat. Not for a second. I’m vegan now and will never go back. My cousin has been vegetarian from birth and never missed meat. When you don’t eat meat, it smells like death. Milk smells like pus and eggs smell like a sick old man’s farts. It’s not even remotely appetising. Humans can live healthily and happily without eating animal products. We don’t need meat.

And Andy, vegans do eat cake. Delicious cake. I had a gorgeous red velvet cake with vanilla icing for my last birthday and my whole family loved it. We also served brownies, cookies, a (vegan) cheese platter, chips, (vegan) sausage rolls, mini pizzas, sandwiches & a fruit parfait. I think you need to move past the outdated idea that the vegan diet consists of nothing but salad and tofu.

The Vegan Scholar on

“Storm” – veganism is about more than just what you eat. It’s a compassionate lifestyle choice. And, you’re extremely wrong in assuming that all vegans are malnourished and sickly. Did you know that Germany’s strongest man is a vegan? You should also check out the Vegan Bodybuilding page on Facebook. Also check out PlantBuilt.com. David Carter, a defensive linesman for the Oakland Raiders and a powerlifter, is vegan. So is 77-year-old bodybuilder Jim Morris, and 70-year-old weightlifter Annette Larkins.

The Vegan Scholar on

And Storm, again, I had absolutely NO troubles growing up as a vegetarian when going to friends’ houses or eating at school. My mum did pack a lunch for me every day, which is what 95% of parents do for their kids. I guess in America, it’s different. In Australia, it’s the norm to pack a daily recess and lunch for your child. At friend’s houses, I always found something. A lot more food is vegan/vegetarian than you think. I could always have a sandwich, chips or fruit (among other things) for a snack, and I didn’t mind at all. My brother, who is 6, has been vegetarian since birth and he doesn’t have any problems at school or when going to friends’ houses.

Elara on

I tried going vegetarian and I got really sick and weak because I wasn’t able to eat enough protein in other forms, no matter how much I ate. I didn’t get better again until I started eating meat. Not everyone can cut something out of their diet just because it’s the newest diet fad. I think it’s fine to have a few days a week eating vegan or vegetarian, but people’s muscles are made of protein. You need protein to keep them strong, and some people require more protein that others.

The Vegan Scholar on

Elara, how long did you try being vegetarian for? What exactly did you eat? Did you do extensive research on how to get protein in a vegetarian/vegan diet? It’s actually near impossible to be deficient in protein, as protein is prevalent in so many of the foods we eat. Broccoli actually contains more protein per calorie than steak. Beans, lentils, legumes, spinach, nuts, tempeh & tofu all contain huge amounts of protein.

One cup of tempeh = 30g of protein. That’s 65% of the average adult woman’s daily protein needs.

One cup of lentils = 18g of protein.

One cup of soy milk = 9g of protein.

One cup of French beans = 13g of protein.

So, if you eat one cup of tempeh & one cup of lentils every day (say, a lentil soup for lunch & a tempeh burger for dinner) you’ve already surpassed your recommended daily intake. Throw in a cup of soy milk & some cooked spinach and you’re way over.

The Vegan Scholar on

Plus, Elara, veganism isn’t a ‘new diet fad’. The term was coined 70 years ago, and vegans have been around for centuries longer than that. Plus, it’s not actually a diet at all. It’s a compassionate lifestyle choice that rejects the ‘commodity’ status of sentient beings.

Anonymous on

Priti and others who shared similar view points- Americans aren’t fat and unhealthy because we eat meat and dairy (and eggs and other animal products). Rather, we tend to eat too MUCH of them, and too much of the wrong TYPES (i.e., processed foods and things like bacon, which is mostly fat rather than meat anyway!). Everything in moderation, folks!

Jennifer on

I had eggs this morning (from my own chickens, so I guess that would be Emily approved) bacon and cheese and it was DELICIOUS. Oh, and I too am healthy and have recently lost 65lbs. Eating eggs. Yum.

Heather on

What about the leather clutch and shoes?

calniad on

Being vegan is part of a family’s culture and identity. I don’t see other people throwing fits because a Jewish person had a Kosher birthday party, or anyone “worried” that people who eat Halal or Kosher might have to pack a lunch? And who rails against vegetarian Buddhists for “forcing” their kids to be vegetarian? Families raise their kids as best they can within their belief and culture systems. It would be wrong for a parent to serve their child food that they are morally against just because total strangers disagree. Get over it people. And just like any other food culture, you can eat anywhere from amazingly healthily or total crap as a vegan. And eating like crap is going to be bad for your health no matter what kind of crap it is.

And I laugh at all the comments from people about how vegans are “weird” and sickly looking, it’s as though they totally forgot this article is about Emily Deschanel, one of the most beautiful and vibrant women on screen today.

What everyone should be asking themselves is why does that fact that some other people have made lifestyle choices different from yours make you feel so threatened that you have to actively and publicly lash out and attack them? Ask yourself.

candygurl2013 on

For all you people bashing the vegan diet, all I can hoenstly say is “get a life”. Oh he’s going to go run for the nearest burger as soon as his mom looks the other way? Cool, you can talk about that with all the other vegans (strong anti-meat-eating vegans) who were RAISED vegan by the their vegan parents. Children like what they’re accustomed to eating, just because you’re addicted to your little meatballs sandwiches, doesn’t mean everyone on earth shares your junk-food addictions, chronic health problems, and food-eating impulses. Who would have guessed!

Kelly Blackbur on

Why do all of you care what she is feeding her child? Oh no, fruits and vegetables! What a terrible mother. What’s terrible is people can’t see that their own fear and guilt is what fuels their crazy negative comments. As you all reach for that beer or cigarette, try reading about veganism. She’s doing what is her right to do as a parent, raising a healthy happy child, not like these other obese kids that chow down on fast food and other crap. Ya let them eat cake, and be morbidly obese and drop dead at 55 of a heart attack. Smarten up and get informed.