Thursday, March 25, 2010

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!)


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