Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter Eggs

Nothing makes me feel more guilty than when someone goes out of their way to accommodate us (it's a Jewish thing), but inevitably, once they think they've got the vegan thing down, something comes up that I have to point out isn't quite right. Like when someone makes a salad for us so we'll have "something to eat" at the party, but it's made with Caesar dressing (mmm, anchovies!). Or when a good friend buys me a beautiful scarf, but it's made of wool, or silk (oooohhhhh... um, thanks!). Or someone buys my kids tickets to the circus (no, I'm sorry, we're busy protesting circus abuse that day). Or when my daughter gets invited by a friend to decorate Easter eggs.

My daughter is lucky enough to have an adult female in her life who is an amazing support and mentor to her. I absolutely love her "Big Sister" (thank GOSH for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America!), and she is wonderful and fabulous and all-around amazing! I constantly feel guilty for knocking plans she's made for her and my daughter. So when I got the super sweet email this morning that she and her family would like to invite Kayla to decorate Easter eggs, I considered it.

I considered it because I didn't want to make her Big Sister feel badly. I considered it because I wanted my daughter to have a opportunity to have fun decorating eggs, a happy memory I have from childhood. I considered it because I feel guilty always telling people they got it wrong. I considered it because I get tired of being the freaky vegan who always makes an issue out of everything. I considered it because I feel badly that our lifestyle inconveniences others.

Maybe this is all in my mind, and others really don't feel this way. I can honestly say that Kayla's Big has never said or done anything to make me feel like I was inconveniencing her, and for the most part, nobody really has. But I still can't always shake the feeling that I am letting people down or disappointing them when I have to ask for accommodations because of our veganism.

So, as I said, I considered it. For about 5 minutes, until I realized, what kind of lesson was this teaching my daughter? That it'a okay to use animals if it's fun? That it's okay to use animals so that we don't slightly inconvenience other people, or disappointed them? I pictured my daughter face as she struggles between enjoying the activity and thinking about the birds who were locked in jails, as her favorite veg book depicts. And how sad it would make her, because I have raised her to know where her food comes from, and I have raised her to be compassionate and know right from wrong. And I thought about the chickens who laid those eggs. I thought about them crammed into tiny cages, or living in an overpopulated, dark room, filled with filth, disease, and death. And I realized nothing in the world is worth contributing to that. Especially for an art project. And it was reaffirmed that being vegan is the right choice, even if it's a little tough sometimes.

So, a quick google search produced this:
Alternatives for Easter eggs! So I sent back what I hope was a benign 'thank you, but since we're vegan, we don't eat or use anything that comes from animals, including eggs' email with a link to the alternative eggs. Hopefully this doesn't come across as rude. I think it's important to always offer alternatives, so we vegans don't seem deprived :-)
Anyways, if anyone is looking for an alternative to the egg coloring tradition, here are some ideas courtesy of PETA!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homemade Seitan!

Homemade Seitan Recipe. THANK YOU to Lachesis of Post Punk Kitchen for creating this AMAZING faux meat!

**I love this recipe because all I do it throw everything into a bread maker set on the dough cycle (liquid in first) for abut 5-7 minutes. The I take it out, form it into logs, wrap in foil, and cook as directed. It's the EASIEST THING EVER to make, and everyone loves it! You can put it in the food processor to make crumbles (awesome for burgers), sliced on crackers, or into strips for fajitas!

If you don't have a bread maker, you can follow as below:

  • 1.5 c. vital wheat gluten

  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast

  • 1 . salt

  • 2 t. paprika

  • 1/4 t. cinnamon

  • 1/4 t. cumin

  • 1-2 t. pepper

  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper

  • 1/8 t. allspice (I skipped this)

  • 3/4 c. cold water

  • 4 T. tomato paste

  • 1 T. ketchup

  • 2 T. olive oil (or any other)

  • 2 T. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce--I used soy because I had no Worcestershire)

  • 1-3 cloves garlic, crushed well (I just sprinkled in garlic powder to taste)


Preheat oven to 325°.

In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for several minutes.

Form into a log (6-8" long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired.

The Junk Food Vegans

The term "Junk Food Vegan" makes me laugh, because no matter the level of crap my kids eat, it really can't compare to the level of crap an omni kid eats! Take out the processed dairy, and your diet becomes instantly better. I know, because we were not always vegan. That's my number 1 pet peeve with people who question our diets. I hate when people caution me to be 'so careful' with their diet, or to 'make sure they're getting everything the need to grown and be healthy!' or my recent favorite, 'make sure they want to and like being vegan'.

What makes me crazy is that when we were omnis, NO ONE ever questioned how I was feeding my kids. No one asked when the last time they had eaten a raw fruit or veggie (sometimes it was days!) or how many toys they'd collected from the trips to the fast foods joints (my kids now call KFC the "Kids Fattening Center"). Not even their doctors asked, just occasionally made vague references to the food pyramid. So, while I know the vegan crap we eat now isn't great, I feel we've improved by leaps and bounds, so I tend to slack off a little in this area.

I love the way Tami feeds her family. I think it's absolutely ideal, but for various reasons, my kids and I tend to be more of 'junk food vegans' : ) Tami and I have both mentioned this before, but I think a lot of it had to do with transitioning vs. being born vegan. Both are awesome, but you learn to feed your kids from different starting points.

We actually do eat lots and lots of whole foods - the kids have a green smoothie and a salad every day - but we also indulge in junk. Here is a great junk food resource: I Can't Believe it's Vegan!

Though we live crazy close to amazing vegan friendly stores, I have to abide by a pretty limited grocery budget. We shop mainly at Trader Joes (for a complete list of the vegan products the carry, click here) with monthly (at least I try to keep it monthly!) trips to Whole Foods (which is totally the place to go for specialty items). When things are really tight we shop at our local Grocery Outlet discount store. The cool thing (aside from the amazingly low prices!) is that they often have vegan products that you can't find anywhere else (i.e, vegan crab cakes!)

Here is a sample menu of what we eat:

Green smoothie, oatmeal, crappy commercial kids cereal, toast

Lunch: Main item, 2 fruits, 1 veggie (usually carrots), snack item + extra snack for after school

Main: Sandwich (PB&J or Tofurkey) / Bagel with Tofutti cream cheese/ Refried beans corn tortilla wrap / Hummus and crackers / Baked tofu / Seitan and crackers (see AH-MAZING seitan recipe in next post!), onigiri

Snack items: Homemade cookie/bar or muffin, trail mix, chips, or other commercial junk.

I also always have a supply of bars on hand (Z bars, Luna, Builder Bars) for traveling, baseball games, last minute play dates, etc. that the kids can easily grab and go.

Dinner tends to be the big event in our house, and I depend massively on my crock pot and bread maker. I'll be posting some of my favorite recipes here! In full disclosure, I will also say that I do not make up my own recipes, I steal them from other people. I have a huge collection of vegan cookbooks, and a few go-to online sites. (I'll post my favorite ones soon!)

So yes, we indulge in the garbage foods, but we also balance it with whole foods and healthy snacks. I try to make most of our foods from scratch instead of living from cans and boxes (though I do keep those on hand!)


WHAT we eat...

Okay, so after I posted my last blog, I realized that it wasn't directly about veganism and was more of my child-rearing philosophy, so I apologize. I actually intended to go more quickly into the topic of what we consume on a regular basis, but then I got a little long-winded getting there and had to do two separate posts. Ooops! I hope I don't ever come across like I have all the answers to veganism, or raising kids, because I definitely don't and I'm constantly learning new things! =)

So now I thought I'd write a little (probably a lot, actually) about what we normally eat. I like hearing ideas of what other vegan parents are feeding their children, and I thought someone else might like hearing what we feed our little ones (which is the same as what my husband and I eat, too. No separate meals here! =) ) I love hearing what my friends are feeding their kids so as to be inspired and try out some new things--especially in the packed-lunch department.

For breakfast, we have been on a chocolate greens shake kick. I buy the Amazing Grass Green Super Food drink powder, sometimes the chocolate flavor, and sometimes the natural variety. If it is natural, I add my own cocoa powder to the shake when I make it. I add one scoop of the greens powder for each person, 1-2 tbl cocoa, one to two bananas, about a cup of nondairy milk, a little agave nectar to sweeten it a bit, plus two tablespoons of hemp seeds. I like to blend these ingredients first to break up the hemp seeds better and get a creamy consistency. Then I add some ice and water until I have about 4 cups worth of shake. (This feeds my two kids and myself, and if my husband is home on the weekend, I increase the amount I make.)
The Amazing Grass blend has, well, amazing ingredients and nutrients in it. I feel like you hardly need a multivitamin when you are eating this, though a few nutrients are a little low and it's just my lay person's opinion. (We do take a multivitamin and use vitamin D2 and b12 sprays, though not every day...though we probably should!) Oh, and it also has probiotics in it. So cool! At first, my kids didn't want the shake EVERY day, but now they love it. At first, I supplemented it to our usual breakfast of oatmeal, high fiber cereal, or sprouted wheat toast, etc., but nowadays, my kids are satisfied with it and my daughter said it keeps her full until lunchtime. (She opts to skip snack time at school and play instead.) Only in the last week have I started having some soy or coconut milk yogurt for breakfast as a change of pace, but we had been eating the chocolate shake for months. I haven't given it up, but just wanted to try something different for a little while. We still had two shakes or more this week. So, that's just one idea for breakfast. Countless options abound, of course, but I do feel like the shake is a nice way for my family to start the day. =)
Now on to lunch...Since my eldest child is in second grade, I pack her lunch everyday, and I also pack a lunch for my preschooler two days a week. I have to say that it is usually easier for me to make a more nutritious and varied lunch at home because it's easier to eat more things, and to heat more of them up if necessary. That being said, I do try and make a well-balanced lunch for my daughter to take to school. I like the lunch to be easy to prepare and simple, and I am so lucky that my daughter is easily satisfied! A common lunch I make for her is homemade hummus (which I constantly have on hand for lunches and snacks), whole wheat pitas cut into triangles, carrots for dipping, and sometimes other veggies as well, like jicama or cucumbers. I give her a sliced apple, orange, or some other kind of fruit with it. The kids always have their water bottle filled with water, no juice, etc. So simple, but my daughter never complains, even if she has this several times a week! (Go Kaylee!)
When I'm not stuck in the hummus/pita rut, I do make other things. Again there's the hummus wrap (kind of the same thing in different form) which is a whole wheat tortilla rolled up with hummus, grated carrots and cucumbers, but with the lovely addition of chunks of avocado and baked tofu. Yum! Sometimes I make her a veggie burger inside a whole wheat pita pocket smeared with avocado, ketchup, mustard and Wildwood Garlic Aoli. I also add lettuce or tomato to this sometimes, too. Kaylee is fine with the veggie burger being at room temperature and not warm. (BTW, my favorite veggie burger are the Sunshine Burgers I get at Whole Foods. They are made with brown rice, veggies, and sunflower seeds and are oh, so good. They are soy- and gluten-free, which is nice, because it's so easy to overdo it on the gluten and soy.)
I do like to utilize a thermos every now and again as well. It takes a little more time to get it ready in the morning, but it's fun for the kids to have something warm and toasty in their lunch. My kids love soup, so that is often what I put in the thermos. I may also fill it with chili or homemade refried beans. Basically, if I have some leftovers, I'll use them. If I give the kids some warm refried beans, I'll include a whole grain tortilla for them to spoon the beans into. Sounds good to me!
Little homemade burritos or "quesadillas" also travel well and my kids enjoy them. I make them several different ways. When we were eating gluten-free for a while to help my son's nighttime breathing issues, I would fill small corn tortillas (I prefer the Ezekiel brand to some others because they are more pliable and less likely to rip when rolled) with a little bit of refried beans, roll them up like a taquito, sealed with a little more beans near the edge, and brown them until crispy in a lightly oiled pan. Dip in a little homemade guacamole or plain smashed avocado, and you have a yummy lunch that travels well. These can be made the night before and popped into a lunchbox in the morning, and even last for several days so they can be used throughout the week. When we were eating gluten-free, we would take them to the park or other outings during the summer and ate them at room temperature. I liked them, too!
It may sound kind of boring, but I also make quesadilla-shaped things that really are only beans in between two whole wheat tortillas that I have browned in a lightly oiled pan. I'll put them in the lunch with guacamole and the occasional Tofutti sour cream, or even alone with nothing to dip into and the kids will eat them! I know, I'm lucky that my kids will eat such simple things! =) You can do a similar thing with beans and guac inside the tortilla and call it a burrito. So many ways to use the same ingredients! Ha! Maybe not so original, but it works!
For a special "treat," the kids will have some Cluckphrey Chic-a-roos (made by Food for Life--think Ezekiel bread) that I have cooked in the toaster oven the night before. These are sooo yummy if you haven't tried them before. I think they are the best tasting vegan "chicken nuggets" and I believe they have the best ingredients of any similar product. BTW, there are also Cluckphrey patties that are similar but in a different shape, and these are nice to have in the freezer to warm when you're pressed for time.
We do have almond butter and jelly sandwiches in our lunchboxes here and there. If I'm in a hurry and feeling lazy, I make these. The kids like sandwiches, so it's fine for us to have them sometimes. Not very exciting, but they do the trick!
If I think of more lunch ideas, I'll pass them along. I'm sure I'm forgetting something! I won't go into dinners in this blog, but I do plan on sharing some of my recipes along with photos of our dinners in the future.
Happy eating!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ewww! You're drinking pus! (Not exactly....)

My ten year old son came home super mad last week. "Mom, my friends are idiots! They don't believe that there is blood or pus in milk, AND they think the animals die naturally before they eat them! Why are they so stupid?"

Oh, man. Dylan is so amazing - I am so proud of him for always voicing his mind and speaking up for the animals. He's steadfast in his beliefs, has genuine information to back them up, and truly believes that everyone should be vegan. He is a great influence on his friends; most of them have become vegetarian or vegan (at least for a day!). But the time has come to teach him the appropriate vs. the inappropriate way to advocate.

Kids are amazing. They are so unlike adults in that they listen to information, rather than become defensive. They are curious out of pure curiosity. One of my favorite times of explaining veganism was to my daughters Kindergarten class. I picked her up from school one day, and one of the little girls said "Kayla says she can't eat pizza. Why not?" So, I explained that in our family, we chose not to eat animals of any foods that come from animals. And then endured twenty minutes of "well, can you eat string cheese? What about a snow cone? Can you eat hotdogs?" And trying the whole time not to laugh, I answered each question they asked.

In first grade, the questions were a little different; the kids were figuring out the difference between an animal and a vegetable. Kayla once got punched in the arm by a little girl for telling her her chicken nugget was dead (the girl called her a liar). I'm not one of those call-the-other-parent moms, so I didn't. I talked to Kayla about why she thought the other girl had reacted that way. Kayla decided that maybe she didn't know it was dead and felt bad (I agreed). She was more confused as to how this little girl didn't know "Mommy, they call them CHICKEN nuggets!"

In 3rd grade, after working with me on the Prop 2 campaign, Dylan decided that he would not be friends with anyone who ate meat or dairy. Man did I get some phone calls! But I was shocked when none of the parents were angry - they were calling for recipes!I think for most of them, the veg eating was short lived, and thankfully, so was his decision to only be friends with vegans. I am always proud when we expose people to a different kind of eating. Any decrease in meat consumption is a win in my book!

And now, Dylan is in 4th grade, coming home pissed off because his friends don't have the same knowledge he does. Knowing Dylan as I do, I asked him how the subject had come up. His reply? "He was drinking milk in front of me. I asked him to please not consume pus and blood in front of me". (Yes, that's verbatim!) Using all the counseling skills I possess, I asked "Hmmm.... how did he respond to that?"

Obviously, it didn't go well. So, we talked about how we could (gently) get the information across. So we looked up the info on some non-veg websites, to see if this info was right. We found out that milk generally does have blood and pus in it, but as the finished product is usually pasteurized, and does not contain this grossness. He was surprised by this, as was I -  a lot of vegan propaganda is misleading in this info.  But it was good to learn, and an even better example of why we have to be careful where we get our info! 

But Dylan still wanted to make his friend understand that drinking milk is gross. We talked about how it's unnatural to drink milk from another species, and the pain and suffering many milk cows endure. He was very upset that his friend though that the animals die naturally before being eaten, so we talked a lot about how this couldn't be the case because of disease, age, money, etc. We read a few of the PETA magazines we have, and we discussed how we can educate other kids without making them feel badly (and how not to be rude). The ground rules we came up with:

1. Don't be mean or rude.
2. Don't say anything while the person is eating/drinking.
3. Remember that we are trying to teach people, not change them.
4. Make sure we have true information that backs up what we say.

Armed with these laws, he went back to school to talk to him friend. Dylan was able to get the information across this time, but his friend is still disbelieving and thinks he is 'crazy'.

I was so concerned; was it a really serious argument? Would they still be friends?

"Mom", he said. "You're nuts. Of course we'll be friends! I like him, and if we're not friends, how am I going to keep teaching him?"

Man, I love that kid.


How my kids have come to eat what they do...

Now, so far all the pictures I've posted about food have been photos of cakes and cupcakes, but seriously, we really don't eat like that the majority of the time! I do love to bake and I also love to share our glorious vegan baked goods in order to impress people and show them that a) vegan food isn't all green and doesn't only consist of raw veggies, and b) tastes incredible (especially when it's cookies or cakes baked from scratch instead of coming out of a box or tub)!

I do know that eating sugar and refined flours is pretty much horrible and I try to limit and decrease our overall consumption of these tempting foods. Mostly we eat whole foods 90% of the time. Usually, the most processed foods we eat are whole grain crackers and whole wheat pita breads with our hummus, and our nearly daily use of nondairy milks with our morning shake.

My kids are AWESOME eaters and I am constantly proud of how well they eat! When we eat out or go to family parties, I see my younger cousins (who are older than my kids) with plates missing the veggies or salad my kids are eating. I am amazed that people still think that a plate full of chicken or white pasta and garlic bread is nutritious for their children! Though my kids don't love eating a green salad with their dinner when their cousins are only eating a piece of pizza, I'm a stickler when it comes to how they eat. I've learned that my persistence has been worth all of the effort and dedication I put into helping my kids develop a helathy relationship with food.

For example, when my kids were old enough to start eating salad with dinner (an almost nightly ritual in our home), I would serve it to them and expect them to eat it. I'm guessing they were between 18 months and two years old when they could really chew a piece of lettuce with all of the other salad elements--carrots, tomatoes, etc. I started out with small amounts, of course, and made sure to serve the salad course first--as I still do. It hasn't always been easy. There have been periods when it would take 15 minutes for them to eat their bowl of salad. There has been complaining and talk of how much they didn't feel like salad. What kept me going was my belief that kids will eat what you give them. I have never forgotten first hearing about a study that said that it takes between 15 and 20 exposures to a new food to get kids to eat it. Over the years, I have heard or read variations of this statistic, and I believe it is SO TRUE!

How many times do we hear parents exclaim, "My kids won't eat that," or hear about kids who are stuck in a chicken nugget or mac 'n' cheese rut? I recently overheard two parents talking at my son's preschool. One mom was saying something about her kid eating chicken nuggets and something else equally disgusting which I can't recall, for every meal. EEEW! Even if I wasn't vegan, common sense would tell me that that was unhealthy and gross! I don't know if parents in general are afraid of controlling their children's behavior, or if it really pertains only to food. I'm thinking that it's probably the latter.

I have plenty of friends and relatives with kids who have been taught great manners and who would never dream of jumping on our couch or talking back to a non-parent adult. Their parents have been able to teach them ettiquette and social skills, but the same parents haven't been able to teach their kids how to enjoy a wide variety of foods, let alone nutritious ones, or to at least try a new food without complaining. I really don't get why parents give up on this issue, when I know most parents wouldn't allow their child to continue to hit a younger sibling, for instance, and instead exclaim, "Oh, well. Jimmy just likes to hit Sammy so much that I let him do it morning, noon, and night. It's just not worth the hassle to agrue with him about it. I hope he'll learn to stop hitting when he gets older and tries other ways of solving his problems." While I don't think I'll ever hear a parent say something like that, I do think it's likely I'll hear a variation of the following example many more times in my lifetime: "Jimmy just loves Goldfish crackers so much that I let him eat them morning, noon, and night. It's just not worth the hassle to argue with him about it. I hope he'll learn to eat fruit and vegetables when he gets older and tries new foods." Do you see my point?

Though I don't think that food issues are a problem that vegan parents necessarily avoid (I did meet a vegan mom at a party recently who said that her young toddler would NEVER eat the chocolate greens shake that my kids eat daily), I can anecdotally conclude from the handful of vegan families I know that their kids eat a wide variety of foods, including their substantial daily intake of fruits and veggies, and that they enjoy eating a huge array of foods, not the standard bland, processed diet that most American kids eat. (A funny aside---Last night, we walked over to my sister's house for dinner, and as we approached, my four year old said, "It smells like someone's eating Thai food." In fact, my sister was making a curry dish, and it did smell a little like Thai food! How many kids would even know about Thai food? I was impressed. =) ) My kids love to eat Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Indian and other untraditionally American kinds of food. I really love knowing that I don't have to prepare a separate meal for my kids when I cook or take along different food for them when we're going to a party or a restaurant where I know there will be vegan food options available.

I do believe that if you have high expectations for your children, whether it be about food, manners, social awareness, or what have you, the children will rise up to your expectations. It can take a lot of persistence, patience, training and creativity to get your kids to do what you feel is appropriate. I remember having to clap for my son every time he ate a bite of salad when he was a few years younger, and now he actually asks for seconds on salad sometimes! So awesome!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

birthday party perspective from vegan boy

My perspective is that going to birthday parties isn't so bad. If your child goes to a party always tell their parents about what they cant have. Ask if you can bring your child a snack for cake, milk etc... now if its at school make sure the teacher knows that you can't have it and if you want ask to bring something (once again). Also come to some parties with them if they are young (mom used to do that for me and vegan girl) for them to get used to it. If they don't want you to come its ok just leave i am happy when mom leaves. Now i know what your thinking, what if people ask your kid or makes fun of him/her, mom always worries but know one ever does. but if they do well i don't know it has never happened to me.

Written by Vegan Boy, age 10

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mean Vegans.....Grrrrrrrr!

This is totally frustrating! Lierre Keith, author of "The Vegetarian Myth" was hit in the face by a pie at an Anarchist event in San Francisco. It's ALL OVER the news. Really?? Really? Okay, disclaimer here - I had never even heard her name before this, but WHY is this such a big deal (other than the fact that it's an inherent problem with the media to hype up and make minor things sensationalistic for ratings)? Keith says in this video that the lack of tryptophan in the vegan diet causes vegans to be mean. People are being killed every day - we're in the middle of a war - children are being abused. And guess what?? I unconditionally guarantee you that the HUGE majority of those crimes are NOT being perpetrated by vegans! Yes, this in part is do to the fact that there are so few vegans, but I'd even be willing to bet that percentage wise, we're WAY under the crime rate of omnivores. Because really, with all the factors that contribute to violence, I've never seen any studies highly correlating it to diet (particularly when the diet is centered around compassion). However, I'm not familiar with the tryptophan / serotonin association in relation to veganism (a quick Google search didn't seem to produce anything worthwhile), and I do believe in knowing thy enemy, so I will be looking to my local library for a copy (I considered purchasing it before realizing that I'd be crazy to support something like that). I am curious to see her perspective, and I always enjoy looking at veganism through outside eyes (even when I disagree).

We don't watch the news in our home, though I do like to talk to my kids about thing going on in the world, especially when veganism makes headlines. I'm planning to talk to them about this event, and use it as a time and example to teach tolerance, and about being open and listening to others opinions. Being vegan demands you be accountable for your food choices, and though we may not like it, it helps to be armed with information to defend our position. I talk to the kids often about why other people may not be vegan, and we discuss their reasons. So far, we've always come to the same conclusion; that no reasoning overrides the suffering inherent in animal agriculture, and each time it reinforces our decision to be vegans. Of course, we have to be able to discuss this on a child level - my kids are 7 & 10, so we have more in depth conversations than when they were younger. Generally, it sounds something like this:

Me: Wow, did you guys hear what that guy in the restaurant was saying about how he thought veganism wasn't good?

Kids: Yeah.

Me: What do you think about that? When I asked him, he said that it was the way the world was meant to be, that humans are smarter than animals so we should eat them.

Kids: Well, animals are smart too!

Me: Yes they are. But humans have been eating animals for a very long time. Some people think it's okay because we've always done it.

Kids: But now we know it hurts the animals, so we shouldn't keep doing it.

Me: That's true. The world would never change if we just kept doing the same things over and over, would it? It's a good thing humans are so smart and can change the way they act to make things better. Maybe by meeting us, he'll see that humans don't need meat think about eating less!

Anyways, you get the point. We have these conversations a lot, and I always try to end it on a positive note, and commend them for being a good influence on the world.

** There are some reports claiming the pies contained cayenne pepper. If that's true, it's absolutely wrong. But if it's not, and they were just soy cream pies, then it really is seriously funny : )

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patty's!

Happy St. Patty's day! Hope ya'll enjoyed some green beer :)

Another holiday with a center around food (but as Tami pointed out, aren't they all???) Actually, I think this one may be centered around drinking but in any case, there's usually a corned cow, too.

I am happy to say that this year, my Mom veganized the meal for us! We had Tofurkey roast, brussel sprouts, and colcannon puffs. Thank you to Susan V. for coming up with this amazing recipe! It really is one of our favorites, and for good reason - it's fantastically delish! I didn't have my camera on me, so I took a picture using my phone but there's no way I am posting it - it looks as ugly as it tasted yummy! The BEST part for the kids were the homemade vegan donuts - can you believe it?!?! They were so good, and my mom said easy too! The kids decorated them with green sprinkles, and were in heaven.

It's taken my parents years to be comfortable with the vegan thing. I am so lucky - they've always been supportive of our choice (but I have a sneaking suspicion there's been a lot of eye rolling behind my back and a lot of "she's going through a phase"'s). While they are not veg, my Mom is really close (My plan is almost complete!! Muhahhahahah!!!) and my Dad is super tolerant, and even said he liked the Tofurkey tonight!

I think it was a little hard for my parents because the way I eat and feed my children is so drastically different than the way they fed me as a child. We ate what we *knew* to be healthy, but a lot of the foods I was raised on are SAD (Standard American Diet) foods. I think, for my mom particularly, it was a bit of a slap in the face; a way of saying that what she cooked and provided for us was not good enough, or that she made a mistake. While this isn't what I think or feel at all, I can understand. Because the fact is, I feed my children differently because I believe that the SAD is not good enough. But that wasn't her fault; it's the damn system of food and commercialism (have you seen Food, Inc. yet?)

So, I tried to keep my mouth shut as much as possible, asked for limited accommodations, and tried my damnedest to educate and not lecture when opportunities arose. Was I successful? Not really, hahah! But I will say that I think my kids and I have made a difference in what they eat. They now buy organic/free range eggs, support better animal agriculture practices, and best of all have greatly decreased their meat consumption.

Bottom line is, it can be really hard to see others we know and love make the decision to continue eating meat and dairy when we've presented them with the info that made us decide to be vegan. People will make their own choices, and I believe that most will come around; it may not be exactly as we'd wish, or in the time frame we'd hope for. Always remember that we make a difference, even if only by exposing them to veganism and opening their minds - even a little. All we can do is look for those opportunities to gently educate, to bake kick ass vegan cookies, and encourage and thank them when they do show signs of acceptance and transitions.

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. ~Anne Frank

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spreading the love of vegan baking!

Kaylee and Nicole show off their creation.

Frosting belongs on the cake, but it also belongs on your face!

Baking Valentine's Day cupcakes with cousin Sam!

A little frosting with your sprinkles, anyone?

I thought I'd share some photos with you of some recent baking events that my kids and I have shared with two of my awesome cousins. I remember that when we first went vegan over six years ago, our extended families didn't know what to make of it. Vegan desserts? Say what? It has taken a while for some of my family members to admit to enjoying our food, or even try it without a grimace of slight repulsion on their faces. (And I have unfortunately overheard snide comments about our food when no one thought I was paying attention. Sad!)

But two of my cousins rock in the vegan-friendliness department. Over the years, they have either asked me to make their birthday cakes for them, or have come over to make them with me. I think they are motivated in part by the deliciousness of my cakes, but I know that they also want to include my kids in the birthday cake celebration. So sweet!

It seems to me that younger people, like my teenage cousins, are often more receptive to veganism (though I do have some young family members who definitely are not). I think that young people are more likely to want to try new things, to be more open to go against the norm. In the case of my two cousins, they are very open-minded in general, and also have big hearts. I like opening their minds to the possibility of veganism, to think differently about animals and the way most people feed themselves. Even when members of your family are not vegan, it really helps to have people who support what you do and are happy to compliment and enjoy your food. Thanks to my awesome cousins who make my kids feel "normal" and show my other relatives that people can actually make the choice eat vegan when that's not the only choice available!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Hippity, Hoppity, Easter's On Its Way!

Yes, Easter is right around the corner, and yes, it's another food-centered holiday (but aren't they all?)! What is a vegan family to do?

Since my oldest child was only 9 months old or so when we became vegan, every Easter we've had as a family has been vegan. Over the years, we've celebrated the holiday in different ways. I remember the first Easter when Kaylee was old enough to participate in our large extended family's Easter egg hunt. Kaylee must have been a year and a half, and I thought she would enjoy participating in the event. But how would I keep her from eating the non-vegan candy from the Easter eggs she found? My solution was to fill some of the plastic eggs with candy I had brought, and mark each egg with a small sticker. It worked pretty well. I learned that not all kinds of stickers stay put on plastic eggs. The stickers didn't lie flat and some peeled up a bit, but, for the most part, the marked eggs served their purpose. I helped Kaylee find the stickered-eggs, and her older cousins also gave her the eggs when they found them. Kaylee filled her basket and had a good time.

As more Easters had passed, we changed things up a bit. As my kids were old enough to understand things more and as my family became accustomed to our veganism, we have experimented with having all the parents fill the collective "pot" of eggs with candy they had brought and had all the kids gather whichever eggs they happened to find. When all the eggs were found, the kids switched the vegan candy for the nonvegan kind, and everyone got what they wanted in the end (which is how we do trick-or-treating at Halloween as well).

I do remember purposefully skipping the egg hunt a few times over the years as well. For one thing, I don't really love my kids to eat candy in the first place. For another thing, it was kind of a hassle to do the sticker thing, and it's not always super fun to have to monitor your kids to make sure they don't accidentally wind up with some Hershey's chocolate eggs--yuck! Also, we have an Easter egg hunt courtesy of the Easter bunny at our home first thing in the morning. They don't really "miss out" if we forgo the extended family event, and we don't end up with a huge bowl full of candy that I end up throwing away in a few days.

Some vegans might not even want to do an egg hunt in the first place. Maybe that's because the use of the eggs can be viewed as representing yet another way to exploit chickens. I'm actually not really sure about that...(any thoughts?) But for us, doing the egg hunt is a way for me to continue a tradition that I loved participating in as a child, and one that gives my kids pleasure and lets them do something that most kids do. I also look at the symbol of the egg as the start of new life as sweet baby chicks emerge from their first home.

However you feel about doing an egg hunt with your children, you may still be interested in hearing about some totally awesome vegan candy! I recenly ordered the candy I will be using this Easter, and I discovered some new treats. Have you or your children ever looked longingly at the brightly-colored sugary marshmallow Peeps that line candy aisles this time of year, only to be turned off by the nasty gelatin that fills the innocent-looking candy? Well, fret no more! Vegan "Peeps" are here, but now they're called Peepers and Skippers and are made by awesome vegan marshmallw-makers Sweet and Sara! While I have not tasted them yet, they look adorable and I do looove the different varieties of marshmallows from this company. (When it gets closer to summer, I'll pass on my tips for vegan camping trips, including discussing vegan s'mores! Yum!) Both online stores, Vegan Essentials ( and Pangea ( carry the bunny and chick version of this new treat, but Pangea also carries an egg-shaped variety as well. They are not quite so sugary-looking as their nonvegan counterparts, and the Sweet and Sara marshmallows are hand-painted with organic belgian chocolate. It can't get better than that!

My other favorite candies to use for Easter are Whizzer chocolate eggs (think healthier version of M&Ms) and confections from my more recent favorite candy maker, Sjaaks. The Whizzer eggs come in small bags, so order several bags if you think you'll get addicted. (I know that one of my friends doesn't really care for these eggs, but my family really likes them, so keep that it mind when ordering online.) Sjaaks chocolates ROCK! They have several filled varieties of chocolates, including mint, peanut butter, almond butter, and caramel. We LOVE the peanut butter- and almont butter-filled ones in our house! Sooo good! Pangea also has Vanilla cream eggs which they liken to the Cadbury variety of the (vegan's) past, and I also ordered them this year having enjoyed them last year. Both websites have different Easter treats to offer, including cute chocolate bunnies, so be sure to check both out to see what appeals to you. Jelly beans are sold on both sites, and I've bought both of the two varieties before, and have bought one bag for this year. I also buy the Starburst jelly beans which are conveniently vegan, from our local Target store. I like the tropical ones, though I'm not much of a jelly bean gal. They are a good price, you get a bigger bag than the those sold online, and they taste yummy. I'm sure they have many more questionable ingredients--not as far as veganism goes, but in the way of "what the heck is that in the ingredients list" and "how do they get such pretty bright colors" kind of thing.

So as you can see, I have put a lot of thought into Easter and it's goodies! You'd think I'm obsessed with candy and chocolate, and in a way, I am obsessed with the latter, but we really don't consume sugar all that much. I do admit that it's fun to indulge a little every once in a while, and the bags of candy that you buy from Pangea and Vegan Essentials are so small that buying several kinds of candy doesnt' really go that far. That being said, if you are into Easter, or at least exploring the world of vegan sweets, dive in and see what you like! You just might take a step back into your childhood where you give all of the black jelly beans to your parents and feel a little guilty as you bite off the head of your chocolate bunny...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

POLL: What's a Vegan do?

In thinking about my last post, I am wondering if I'm a hyper-active crazy vegan. If your household is vegan, do you allow others to consume meat and dairy in your home? If someone brought non-vegan food to your house, would you serve / cook it?

I could see both sides to this. My personal reaction is YUCK! My other reaction is, "so what? I'm not eating it".


No Ice Cream for YOU!

A really good friend of mine is an omnivore. Which is usually not a problem.... except when she has my kids over for dinner and cooks crabs. Or her husband is in the kitchen chopping up Bambi. Or when she brings non-vegan food to my house to feed her kids.

Maybe these things aren't really a big deal. The kids have to learn to live in a non-veg world, right? But we do have one long standing disagreement on the issue. And the question I struggle to answer is, "if your kids have friends over, do you require them to eat vegan?"

This isn't an issue when we have simple play dates / sleepovers at the house. I make some kick ass veg kid food, and really I don't think they even know the difference. Especially the older boys; I think they inhale it so fast that they could be eating car tires and would still grub it down!! The issue really comes up when we are away from home. What if we go out to dinner? To the park? For an ice cream?

To be clear, I'm not trying to dictate what someone else's child should eat, or brainwash them with our vegan ways (though this is often the outcome of hanging out with my kids! More on that in another post). If their parents are with us, I could really care less what they eat. But when they are in my care, I find that I have a really hard time purchasing meat and dairy for them. I don't support the consumption or use of animals for human pleasure, and I do believe it's unhealthy. And I firmly believe that we vote with our dollar; that each time we spend money, we are making a choice as to what we are telling marketers we want. So, if we go to Baskin-Robbins and order sorbet, and make sure to ask if they have vegan options every time we patronize, we are showing with our cash that we want these options to remain and increase. If I spend money on dairy/meat, regardless of who is actually consuming it, I am supporting that industry. And I have a hell of a time justifying that for some kid who wants a flippin' chicken taco.

Then we get into the issue of how my kids respond to it. They HATE eating with people who are eating meat and/or dairy. They know where it comes from, how it impacts the animal, their bodies, and environment, and they won't have any part of it (they are awesome little advocates). Now my daughter will remain quiet, but my son will launch into a "what is wrong with you don't you realize that your sandwich is DEAD?!?!" spiel. I support this, but also support free choice and discretion. So what's a Vegan Mom to do??

The first time this came up, it was a freaking disaster. We had an impromptu walk to the local Baskin-Robins. They were out of sorbet, and there was nothing for my kids to have. Of course, the other kiddos were drooling over the 31 flavors of cow breast milk! I didn't know what to do. I explained to the kids that we don't eat certain foods (this was pretty easy since they were all classmates and know about the vegan thing). I explained that I would appreciate it if they would not get the ice cream out of respect. And when this didn't work, I flat out told them NO and took them across the street to the store to buy some Tofutti Cuties. Yeah..... it was mean. And no one was happy.

So now I make sure to be prepared, and this include preparing my kids. We talk a lot about tolerance. If we're going out to dinner, I have to put my personal agenda and feelings about the issue aside. Yeah, it sucks and I am compromising my ideals, but sometimes you have to be a little flexible. THIS TOOK A LOT OF TIME. I still have a hard time with it, but it's the only way I could see to make it work and still do a normal thing like going to dinner. Plus, it's a great way to show people - especially kids - that being vegan IS normal!! I tell parents not to worry about bringing snacks over, or food for the meal (even so, I think I have 2 frozen Kid Cuisines in my freezer right now.... some people really just don't get it). And I just explain to my kids that all we can do is set a good example for others, introduce them to veganism, and hope it makes them think a little more about what they are eating.

And thanks for the shout-out Colleen!And I second all Tami said about her! And wanted to add that, if you don't already own "The Joy of Vegan Baking", you need to! It's my fail-safe go to recipe book. It's awesome!


Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm on the Compassionate Cooks Podcast!

I just finished listening to the podcast of my good friend, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She is the awesome, inspirational, intelligent and compassionate founder of Compassionate Cooks, an organization that's goal is to educate people about veganism, debunk the myths that surround veganism, and empower people to make educated food choices (I hope I summarized that well enough--Colleen does a much better job, of course). I admire Colleen tremendously for her work. I don't know how she finds the time to do all she does. Actually, I take that back. I know she works AROUND the clock to get things done! Colleen teaches cooking classes, has a podcast, message board, a wonderful website with many resources and an online store for the best vegan supplies, AND is an award-winning cookbook author! Oh, and she also writes for various publications, including VegNews magazine. I have had the privilege of testing recipes for Colleen's first two books, and am even in the photos of her second book, The Vegan Table. Both of her books (the first being The Joy of Vegan Baking) have amazing recipes and information, and truly are the two most beautiful cookbooks I own. I'm am sure that if you have been vegan for any length of time, you have heard of my wonderful friend Colleen.

The reason I am writing about this lovely lady is that she featured me on today's podcast about raising vegan children! I am honored that she asked for my advice and input, and I LOVED the podcast. Besides the information I shared with her which she used in the podcast, Colleen makes some wonderful points about raising vegan kids. Colleen is a highly intelligent woman and a great writer, and I'm sure all of you would enjoy listening to any of her podcasts. Visit to listen to the podcast, and to see all of the amazing things this woman has accomplished!

By the way, I am the "Tami" in her podcast, and my kids are Kaylee, Braeden and Cristian. So I guess I can skip the Harry Potter pseudonyms and use their real names! Ha ha!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Birthday Recap from Vegan Girl

Hi, I'm Vegan Girl. I went to a birthday party today. First I thought it was going to be hard because I thought there would be a lot of people and they would ask me a lot of questions. Like, why aren't you eating pizza and cake? So I didn't want to go. I changed my mind because my mom said there would not be a lot of people and then I saw my best friend(Hermione) at a store and she said that she was going so I felt good. And then my mom let me get a special vegan cupcake to bring to the party and a snack. But we played the most of the time. When it was time to eat pizza, I just ate my snack. No one said anything. we painted our nails.And then we went outside to play. My friend the birthday girl she said do you want some vegan juice. And I was thinking duh, all juice is vegan. But that was nice of her to think about. It was really,really fun!

(Vegan Girl, age 7)

Friday, March 5, 2010


I'll admit it - I am an extremist. There is no middle ground, no gray zone, no ambiguity when I become passionate about something (it's a blessing and a curse!) Transitioning to veganism was no different for me. I read Eat to Live, then I became vegan overnight.

But what about the kids? They were 4 & 6, we had only very recently done vegetarian, and they liked cheese (I kid you not, nine and a half times out of ten, people will tell you they "can't" ever be vegan because of the cheese. What the hell do they put in that stuff?!?! Hehe - I could tell you, but you might not like it. Uhmmhumm (calf tummy) umhummm).

But then I came to the realization that it's not just about the "food". It's about the values. I chose not to eat eggs and dairy because it's wrong. I was teaching them religious values, the difference between right and wrong, teaching them to be kind. Then why did it feel like it was shameful to teach them to eat thoughtfully and not inflict pain with their diet? Here's the secret, and the reason people freak when you tell them you're A Vegan. It is like saying the rest of the freaking world is wrong. Grandma and Grandpa are wrong. Your teachers are wrong. Your friends are wrong. And we've been living wrong. That's taking on A LOT, 'cause you're essentially saying that you are smarter/better/more compassionate than everyone else.

But the truth is, I feel everyone IS wrong, and the decision to be vegan IS right. For a lot of reasons, but no matter how you view it, eating animals and their fluids indisputably, undeniably, ironically conflicts with my desire to teach them ethical living and kindness. And I told them so. I told them that I had been making a mistake in the way we were eating. I explained that it wasn't good for our bodies, and that it hurts the animals. Kids are so much smarter than we ever give them credit for; they get it way quicker than grown-ups. I think it's because it really is such a simple concept; to stop hurting animals, stop eating them. And because I am the mom, and it is my job to make sure they are raised right, I threw out all the Krap - I mean, Kraft - foods in the house.

And I never bought them again. See? Easy!


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~ Margaret Mead

Here we are!

Vegan Boy & Vegan Girl @ Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti

This event was in San Francisco, and I am so glad we did it! The kids chose and made their own treats to sell, and I think it was a fabulous way to teach them compassion for people and animals.

Sarah, Vegan Boy & Vegan Girl

BFFS: Sarah, SubHerban Mama, TBD

So, this is us, in all our glamor and excellentness!

My kids!

Here are my kids, whom I'll refer to as Hermione, Harry, and Baby Hedwig (their Halloween costumes from this past October and favorite characters)

Aren't vegan kids adorable? =)

Birthday Bashes with Homemade Cakes!

I wanted to post some pictures of cakes I've made for my kids' birthdays in the past few months. My daughter turned seven in October, and we had a huge Halloween party for her. I made a 3-D Black Widow spider cake and I really had fun with it. I used pretzel rods covered in black frosting for the hairy spider legs, and used round cake molds to make the two parts of the body.

When my son turned four in February, I made a dinosaur-themed cake to celebrate his current obsession with the extinct creatures. It was so cool, and I had so much fun making it! Baking their birthday cakes really is the highlight of throwing their enormous parties! Guests enjoy looking at my creations, and REALLY seem to like the taste (not to brag or anything)! =)

Who says going vegan means giving up awesome-looking and -tasting desserts!

Sarah's right about the cupcakes!

Sarah has invited me to join her blog. Oh, yeah! One thing I am PASSIONATE about is raising kids as vegans! I have a vegan cookbook author/rockin' activist-friend with whom I have shared my parenting "wisdom" from time to time when she has been in need (she focuses on real farm animals instead of filling her home with wannabe wild animals like vegan families do) and I always love sharing my experiences with her. I have had such great experiences with my three young vegans, that I believe without a doubt that having vegan children is totally possible and totally AMAZING!

That being true, Sarah is right about the baking! It does help tremendously if you can cook and bake, or are willing to learn! I was an out-of-the-box baker and sorry excuse for a cook (of course, I was oblivious to this at the time) before I awakened to the beautiful world of vegan food, with it's truly endless bounty of culinary opportunities! I became a self-taught and self-proclaimed good cook and baker. I absolutely LOVE to cook and bake, and there is a pure joy that comes out of impressing people with decadent cupcakes adorned with fluffy swirls of pink frosting--especially when people are pass-out, fall-to-the-floor shocked that they're vegan! ("How can that be? I don't see any flecks of broccoli in them?" )

Of course, I don't always make cupcakes or such labor-intensive goodies for parties that my kids attend. My philosophy is that kids need to adjust to the world they live in---yes, vegan kids too. We know that the world is not quite ready for vegans to rule it, so we do have to learn to be around--and be friends with--nonvegans. I want my kids to feel comfortable being in their school classroom when another child is celebrating a birthday with cookies or cupcakes, and they instead have a special bag of store-bought-stored-in-the-classroom cookies to eat. I ALSO want them to be okay to be somewhere and NOT have an alternative. We can't prepare for everything, and I, in fact, think that we shouldn't. Children and adults need to adjust to things all the time. It's just a fact of life. I NEVER show that my children that I feel so sorry for them that they can't have the piece of Safeway cake or the cheese pizza. They really are not deprived, and being vegan is our choice! A glorious choice that I find joy in every day, and my kids do, too!

My kids (ages 7 years, 4 years and 9 months) have been raised from birth as vegans (with the exception of my oldest child, who became vegan at age 9 months, but really didn't eat any dairy before that anyhow) and I do acknowledge that this is probably a lot easier than transitioning from an omnivorous diet when kids are older and have become socially aware of food issues and have grown to have food preferences. Fellow blogger, Sarah, transitioned when her kids were older, so we have had some differing experiences due to this, and may have some varying issues because of this in the future. I think this will add interest to our stories, and help readers who are journeying to veganism, with kids in tow, from different starting points.

I am totally excited to share my love of food, children, and veganism and how they're related in my life. I am a joyful vegan mom, and proud of it! =)

If you're thinking of going vegan, you better learn to bake cupcakes

Veganism is easy. Say whaaa?? Yeah, it really is. EXCEPT. The 500 billion times a year that the most anti-vegan event ever occurs: The Birthday Party.

What the hell is wrong with us as parents that we think that for our kids to have a good time we have to fill them with crap food??? At virtually every kids party around the country you'll find pizza and cupcakes (unless you and your kid gets super lucky and it's being thrown at the local Micky D's - ack!)

What's a poor, devastated, deprived, excluded vegan to do? It really depends on the kid. Mine are so different when it comes to birthday parties. My son, Vegan Boy (10 years) has never had an issue with it. He's totally fine bringing along his Superman lunch box with his vegan food and eating along side everyone else. No issues. I email the parents before the party, explain that we're weird and why, ask what they are serving, and try to duplicate it for him. My effort goes wholly unnoticed by this kid. I could pack him PB&J and he would be fine.

Vegan Girl (7 years) is a whole different story. She will not attend a b-day party without me, but this year is THE year it's not super cool to have your mom there. She's getting better, but doesn't like to be there alone when there is a center around food. I attribute this to the 1st party we went to as vegans - the mom, who truly meant no harm, was waiving a piece of pepperoni pizza in her face and trying to coax her to eat it. She is a polite child, and was declining but the Pizza Mom was persistant. What does Super Vegan Mom do? I lept over the 4 tables separating us, knocked her grandmother and a small child to the ground, grabbed the slice of pizza from her and gave the pepperoni slices CPR, resurrecting the animals it had once been.

Okay- obviously not. I hurried over to the table, and (tried to) graciously explain that we don't eat certain foods. It was well received, but the hostess (as often happens) felt badly. Hence my reasons for now preparing people ahead of time. At least she didn't give me the 'special exception' plea. You know, the "can't she just have a little? It's a special occasion" pouty face. Ummm....NO! Would you even THINK of asking me that if they were allergic, or diabetic? (More on lying about these in a post to come).

So, this morning a mom at school asks, "Is Vegan Girl coming to so-and-so's birthday party ?" I remind her that we don't eat certain things, and ask if she minds if I bring alternative food for Vegan Girl. She doesn't, not at all, and on the contrary, joked that I should bring all the food! So, this evening I happily tell my please-don't-let-anyone-know-I'm-weird daughter the good news. She says, "but everyone else will be eating different cupcakes". I agreed, and used all the parenting skills from the books; acknowledged her feelings (yes, it's sometimes sucks to eat differently), agreed it would be a little uncomfortable (but remember the animals!), discussed exactly how long she would be uncomfortable for (about 5 minutes, while everyone was eating cupcakes), etc. I encouraged her to be brave, reminded her why we eat the way we do. I thought it was a good talk.

But alas, it was unacceptable. And she has now decided that the only way she will go is if I bake cupcakes for everyone, so she's not eating a different kind. What's a mom to do? I want her to be comfortable with our eating choices, to be okay with being different. But she's 7. So, maybe this time, I'll give in.

Though knowing my lovely daughter, I do not put it past her to have ulterior motives. She knows I always bake extras : )


Growing Vegans

Growing vegans. What??? Yep, we're growing vegans. Water, sun, a little bit of soy, some animal rights activism, and poof! A vegan is born.

My vegans (or veg-ins, if you're my Opa) are 7 and 10 years old. We became vegan in 2007 after I realized that eating meat and animal products was wrong. I could give you the myriad of reasons that support my decision; I could recite politically correct, well thought out, calm and rational arguments. But, I've found the answer that best suits me (especially because people rarely are genuinely interested in the answer) is that it's gross. I believe that most people, should they stop and think about it, will come to the logical conclusion that eating an animal or their by-products is the most disgusting, vile, WEIRD thing one can do. No? When was the last time you ran after a dog and took a big ol' bite out of it's butt?? 'Cause that's something a REAL omnivore would do.

But I digress (yes, already - get used to it). The purpose of this blog is to document trials, tribulations, successes, and accomplishments of our vegan kids with you. There is a super crazy small percentage of vegans in this world, and I can not tell you how lucky I am to have found two of the most amazing, compassionate, supportive and phenomenal vegan families to share our lives with. I would actually consider polygamy with them, I love them that much (and not just because they can cook better than ANYONE I know....or that their husbands can build really cool things (like computers, bookshelves, headboards, and garden beds).... or that their kids are truly some of the coolest I have ever met). No, not for these reasons (okay, not ONLY for these reasons!) but because they complete my family. Most vegans are not lucky enough to have what we do, and so my goal in this blog is to share some of the awesomeness that is us with you.