Wow…Friday already?! That was fast. . .
Staying Vegan (.com)
I’ve recently discovered this Staying Vegan, a blog dedicated to giving you tips and tricks to staying on the vegan path. You can meet (and see) Jason Doucette, owner of Staying Vegan everyday on videos he posts–giving advice and tips on living as a vegan, in a non-vegan world!
He gives practical, thoughtful, and oftentimes, clever answers and advice to everyday vegan dilemmas such as, finding vegan products in a small town, what to say to meat eaters who say they “love animals”, and vegan kitchen essentials, which leads to. . .great recipes and other advice for the vegan chef in you.
Do you find that it’s had to stay vegan? What are some frustrating issues that you encounter often from being a vegan?
How to Raise a Vegan Mini-Me
Well, I don’t know if I really have the answers to this, but I think I’ve learned a few things along my vegan journey. My son went vegan shortly after turning 11, so weaning a kid off animal products at that age, could be like starting World War III, but lucky for me, my kid takes after his mother. I was never a big meat eater as a child, and neither is The Sixth Grader. That helps. So here are a few things I’ve learned as a vegan parent:
1. Cook Good Vegan Food. Easy, right? It really is, actually. Today, meat and dairy alternatives are so much better than they ever used to be and make cooking veg a lot easier than you think. However, I would introduce these “alien” foods little by little—don’t want to induce shock. When making things with ground beef, try subbing half the meat with Boca Crumbles, then every time you make junior’s favorite tacos, add more of the plant-based crumbles. Do the same with dairy: Make a mixture of almond milk and cow’s milk in a container for their morning cereal, and slowly convert it completely to almond milk. This may take a couple of weeks. Wean. . .think wean. My suggestion, is not to make it a big deal. Don’t go saying, “Guess what? Mommy’s going to make Tofu Steaks for dinner! Yea!” Won’t work; they’ll hate it before they even try it. Also, don’t try to focus on veganizing their favorite meals because it could backfire. Perfect it first, before surprising them with it.
2. Let the Kiddo be the Cook. Or at least be the sou chef (if knives aren’t involved). Whether it’s once a week, every two weeks, or once a month, let the kid pick out ingredients to make a meal for the fam. The main rule: ingredients have to be plant-based. Take them to the farmers’ market or Whole Foods and let them have a gander—rule number one won’t be a problem. There will be plenty to choose from. I think that when kids know they can be part of something and to also know a little of what to expect, they’re putty in your hands. Being able to create a meal for the family (with your help, of course) give them so much confidence and pride, they’ll probably forget that it’s vegan. Not only that, what a cool activity to do together that gives you chance to instill healthy eating habits!
3. Watch Food, Inc. This one is great for kids 5th grade and up. They “get it.” Watch it with them, then talk about it. Even though it’s not about veganism, it raises poignant questions regarding animal consumption and where it comes from. The Sixth Grader said that this movie really pushed him to go veg. For the reader, try The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Young Reader Edition. I have not read this version, have you? What did you think?
4. Try a Heaping Scoop of Guilt. That’s right. Mom’s are awesome at this. Or maybe what it is, is just tugging at your kids’ heartstrings. Take them to an animal sanctuary/rescue. Yea! Field trip! Kids love this stuff, especially when animals are involved. This is a perfect opportunity to explain why and how these animals came to be at the sanctuary. I’m sure those in charge of the sanctuary are great when talking to kids about their fabulous organization and would gladly help you out.
5. Be the Coolest Lunch Lady Ever. Pack your kid’s lunch and be the envy of all grade-schoolers everywhere and let your kid help! Ask for their suggestions, then of course, compromise (because you’ll have to), but also let them pick something out. Again, like dinner, it has to be plant-based and preferably healthy, but it gives them a little bit of power. And change it up every so often; the same-o, same-o gets boring and thrown in the trash. The Sixth Grader gets a sandwich with Smart Deli meat, a Tofutti cheese slice, tomato and spinach. He picks out his favorite soy yogurt and other snacks, such as peanut butter pretzels and trail mix. Make it a team effort and they’ll look forward to their vegan lunch everyday. Maybe you can make their favorite chili Sunday night and send it with them all week, or vegan mac n’ cheese.
6. Don’t Give Up, But Don’t Be a Nag. They’ll come around. Kids learn from their parents’ actions and will see from you, that being a vegan works. Cut them slack though, because otherwise, they’ll fight you the whole way. If you include them in the process, they’re more apt to be open to it—they may even teach you a thing or two!
“To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body.”