Brie Bella tells PEOPLE she'll eventually let her 11-month-old daughter Birdie eat meat, but is giving her a vegetarian diet for now

By Jodi Guglielmi
April 24, 2018 01:45 PM
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Brie Bella doesn’t want to pressure her daughter into not eating meat as she grows up, but while she’s still young, the new mom wants to educate her about the benefits.

While Bella and her husband Daniel Bryan have been dedicated vegetarians for years, the star of E!’s Total Bellas opened up to PEOPLE about why she would eventually let 11-month-old Birdie Joe eat meat.

“As of right now, I am [feeding Birdie a vegetarian diet],” she said while discussing the importance of children’s vaccinations in celebration of World Immunization Week, co-hosted by Rotary International and Red Nose Day.

“The day that Birdie asks me to try meat, I won’t deny it to her,” Bella reveals.

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Jennie Corti Photography

Bella says she wants to educate her daughter on the benefits of living a vegetarian lifestyle but will be careful not to “push” her beliefs on her.

“I’ll always let her know the things I believe in and why, but I’ll never push them on her,” she explains. “I was blessed to be raised in a family where they didn’t push a lot of stuff on me.”

Adds the star, “I was able to find who I am today and I want Birdie to have that. I’ll educate her on why I live the lifestyle I do, but if she asks for it one day I won’t make her feel bad about it and I’ll let her try it for sure.”

Jennie Corti Photography

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But even before Birdie was born, Bella faced criticism for not eating meat while pregnant. “You almost can’t tell people you’re a vegetarian because they feel like you’re starving your baby,” she says.

“I birthed a 9-pound healthy baby. I ate so many vegetables, which is maybe why Birdie loves them too. I just think people have a misconception about what it means to be a healthy vegetarian.”

As part of Immunization Week, the wrestler also explained why she chose to vaccinate Birdie. “I was someone in the beginning who doubted vaccinations,” Bella continues. “But I started educating myself and I started realizing how easy it is for kids to get different diseases and infections that they can’t fight off.”

“As a mother, that really opened up my eyes,” she adds. “The thing people are most scared about are vaccine injuries. I sat there and thought, ‘My daughter can catch something and I’m either dealing with death or a vaccine injury. I’ll take vaccine injury over death.’ ”

To learn more about how #VaccinesWork and see Rotary in action, go to endpolio.org.