How To Cope With An Anti-Vegan Spouse

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So often I am asked by readers, “I want to raise our kids Vegan but my husband won’t allow it”. Obviously this issue could also concern men who want to go Vegan as a family. But so far, I have only been contacted by women with this problem.

First I want to make clear that I do not judge a parent for being weary of feeding their children a plant based diet. We are a meat & dairy obsessed society. Most of us grew up on milk, cheese, hamburgers & chicken tenders. Our mothers & grandmothers made delicious home cooked meals like meatloaf and mac & cheese that will always be close to our hearts. Our fathers cooked ribs & hot dogs on the grill every summer. Food means more to most people than just nourishment. Food represents our childhoods, our family, our heritage, our most cherished memories. How can you blame people people for not wanting to give all of this up?

The good thing is, veganism does not require that we erase our childhood memories of special meals. Even I smile when I think of my mom’s tuna casserole. And I’m not ashamed to say it. What your spouse needs to understand is, plant based foods are not only extremely healthy, but they can be delicious & satisfying as well.

Spaghetti dinners & pizza night are here to stay, and veggie burgers are amazing cooked on the grill. Childhood is still fun & memorable without animal products in our children’s diets. The food we feed them may be different than the food our parent’s fed us, but their childhood memories will be just as special. I imagine my children will think back fondly on my tempeh piccata with mashed potatoes and my fettucini with kale walnut pesto.

Dad may also worry that having a Vegan child will ensure that his son will be the scrawny kid, chosen last for dodgeball. Of course this is ridiculous, but many people still associate protein with meat. The great thing is, that plant based diets offer us loads of protein. Truthfully, many people are getting too much protein from their Standard American Diet (SAD diet) and this can lead to major health consequences.

I recommend compiling as much current information about the benefits of vegan diets and sharing this information with your spouse. Encourage him to read books by Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Watch Forks Over Knives or Vegucated together. Attend a veg conference, lecture or workshop. Explain about the cruelty of animal farming. If you are lucky maybe there is a vegan friendly nutritionist or dietitian in your area. The Vegan RD has loads of great information on her website.

Even if your spouse does not approve of a completely vegan diet for your children, I’m assuming that he does allow them to eat vegetables. So feed them as many plant based foods as possible!! Enjoy “Meatless Mondays” and try excluding meat, dairy and eggs from your child’s bagged lunch. Your children will benefit from this.

There is no magic answer to the question “how do I deal with my anti Vegan spouse”? Every relationship is different. If the kids are old enough, ask them what they want to do. Of course, you should never put them in the middle of the argument. At the very least, your Vegan lifestyle will be a great influence on your children, and they may follow in your footsteps when they are old enough to make their own decisions. 😉

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“All Aboard! A Vegan Family On A Carnival Cruise”

For spring break this year our family decided to take a cruise. Normally we sail away on the Disney Cruise, but we booked our vacation last minute & Disney did not have availability. The 5 night cruise aboard the “Carnival Inspiration” was one of the few ships that we were able to find an available cabin, so we booked it!

Minutes later I was surfing the web, trying to find any information about Vegan dining on this ship, or any Carnival ship. But information was hard to find. I came across a few comments here & there, but nothing too helpful. I did read that is important to let your server know of any dietary restrictions during the first evening on board.

My husband and I explained our Vegan diet to the server as soon as she greeted us. She explained that we would be working with a “special diet hostess’ during the week, and we should find plenty to eat. This was music to our ears. Our dinner that first night was a simple gluten free penne with marinara sauce, and I must say, it was excellent. I don’t usually enjoy gluten free pasta, but this was a good one. During our meal the “special diet hostess” came by and pre-ordered our dinner for the next evening. This is what we would do each night. For dessert our only option was a fruit platter, but we were assured that we would have better desserts throughout the week. Cookies & cakes were mentioned….

The next evening we were told that our dinner “pre-order” had been accidentally deleted and all they were able to make for us were grilled vegetables & rice or the same pasta as the night before. My husband and I chose the vegetables & the kids ordered the pasta. We all enjoyed our food. Unfortunately, the fruit platter was still the only “dessert” we were offered again. The kids were not happy. We were told that homemade cookies would be made for us tomorrow…..

For breakfast each morning we stuck to toast with jam, cereal and fruit. Soymilk was always available. Lunch each afternoon was a treat! There is a noodle station where rice noodles & vegetables are made to order. The chef uses chicken stock to stir fry, so he had us bring him a cup of water to cook with each time. The kids LOVED this, and so did my husband and I! Best Vegan food on the ship, no joke! Aside from the noodle station, there is a large salad bar & a grilled panini station. It would have been nice if they offered a vegan entree’ along the buffet line, but we still found plenty to eat.

Our third dinner on the ship was a delicious vegetable fried rice! How were the cookies you ask? Non existent. We had fruit again. This time it was cooked berries in a sugared sauce. Good, but still fruit. Thank goodness I brought my own cookies for the kids. Poor things were on vacation and they couldn’t get one decent dessert! I was seriously going to offer my Vegan baking expertise to the kitchen staff and teach them how to whip something up, but my husband thought that was tacky.

The 4th evening we did not make it on the ship in time for dinner in the dining room (too busy discovering ancient Mayan ruins), so we grabbed some veggie sushi & a grilled veggie panini at the buffet. Quite good actually.

Our last dinner on the ship were vegan stuffed peppers, and we all enjoyed them. Bananas were our dessert. Surprise, surprise.

Overall we had a great time. I feel that Carnival has the right idea, offering a “special diet hostess” to work with guests, but I do think they are dropping the ball when it comes to dessert. Vegan cakes & cookies are not difficult to make, and if Carnival Cruise Line put a little more effort into catering to vegan guests, they would get 2 thumbs up by “The Vegan Mom” instead of one.

5 “Spooktacular” Trick or Treating Ideas For Vegan Families

The spooky, creepy, sugar induced evening is almost upon us, and children everywhere are planning for the family favorite holiday…. HALLOWEEN! The costumes have been purchased (or sewn by “supermoms”), the flashlights have been loaded with batteries, and the trick or treating routes have been planned. Families all over the country are ready…. but what about Vegan families?

I have gathered up 5 great ideas to share, and hopefully at least 1 of them will work for your little witches & vampires!

Idea # 5- Only except Vegan treats or non-food items. This was my original idea, seemed easy enough. I looked into Vegan candy options which included many hard candies, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish, Blow Pops & more. The downside is this can be time consuming at each home & stressful for the kids. So make sure you think this one out, before you make your kids promise to accept only Vegan treats.

Idea #4– Stay home & give out Vegan treats with the kids. This sounds boring, but if you live in a good trick or treating neighborhood, this can be a blast! The kids can dress up & do something fun & spooky for the neighborhood children.

Idea #3- Throw a family friendly Halloween Party instead of going out. This is a safe and FUN way to spend Halloween! Allow your guests to bring food & give them a list of Vegan treats or recipes. Bob for apples, have a costume contest, dance…. actually this sounds better than going door to door all evening!

Idea #2– Let your kids Trick or Treat their hearts out, and then trade their non-Vegan treats for Vegan treats (that you buy ahead of time). Donate the un-Vegan treats to co-workers or friends.

Idea #1- Let your kids Trick or Treat as usual & then BUY all of their non-Vegan candy from them (maybe some Vegan stuff too, since no sugar is good sugar), then let your children spend the money on a new toy! Donate the candy. How much you want to pay per candy is up to you! A mom posted this fabulous idea on “The Vegan Mom” Facebook Page a few years ago & it has worked well for my family on Halloween. My kids are excited to Trick or Treat with their pals, and can’t wait to hit Toys R Us the day after. I am just happy to not have a house full of “refined sugary garbage!!” 🙂

I wish you & your family a safe, fun & healthy Halloween!

NEW for Halloween 2014~ SO Delicious ‘Pumpkin Spice’ and ‘Candy Corn’  Coconut Ice-Cream Bars. These treats are sure to please all of your little ghosts & goblins! www.sodelicious.com

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A Family Review of “Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss” Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert


Okay, it’s official, “Coconut Bliss” family taste test night was too much fun! And insanely DELICIOUS!! 🙂

When the wonderful people at “Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss” contacted me to review their product, I was thrilled! I mean who wouldn’t be? Any excuse for something sweet, is always appreciated!

As soon as our coupons arrived, the kids and I headed to Whole Foods to choose our flavors. My daughter and I both went for the “Naked Coconut”, (Ava is 4, and she thought the title of that one was VERY funny)! My son chose “Chocolate Peanut Butter”, he is so predictable. I grabbed “Cherry Amaretto” for my husband, because before going Vegan, he was a huge fan of “Cherry Garcia” by “you know who”. We also grabbed some “Dark Chocolate Bars”.

In case you have not heard the news, coconuts seem to be the new “super food” which may reduce the risk of heart disease & even help you lose weight! This product is also Vegan, USDA certified organic, Gluten free, low glycemic & soy free. Not too many desserts can say all of that!

Okay, let the taste testing begin! We started with the bars. The kids devoured them and my husband of course wanted one too!!! My 10 year old son said they tasted just like the regular chocolate ice-cream bars he used to love. This means a lot, because some kids just don’t like the taste of many non-dairy frozen desserts, and my son is one of these kids!

My daughter simply said “this is so yummy”! I had a taste, and I must say…. she was right! My husband seemed to enjoy his also, since he devoured it so quickly!

It is unanimous, The Vegan Mom & family love the “Coconut Bliss” Dark Chocolate Bars!!


Next came the pints! I went for the Naked Coconut first, and oh my goodness, it was insanely good!!! My daughter was loving it as well!!I did enjoy my spoonfuls of Chocolate Peanut Butter & Cherry Garcia, but I have to stick with the Naked Coconut as my true favorite. My son however went pretty crazy for the Chocolate Peanut Butter, Surprise, Surprise!! 🙂 And my husband, just like I knew he would, took off with a bowl of Cherry Amaretto!

“Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss” is truly what they claim it to be, “Blissfull”. It is creamy, flavorful and totally VEGAN!! My only complaint is that my local stores don’t have it. Think Stop & Shop will listen to “The Vegan Mom” and start carrying “Coconut Bliss”?? I can only hope.

Check out their website www.coconutbliss.com, and enjoy some “Coconut Bliss” for yourself!




The “Vegan Mom’s” Review of “Great Wolf Lodge” Resort & WaterPark

Back in the summer of 2005, my family stumbled upon a brand new resort in Williamsburg Virginia, called “The Great Wolf Lodge”. As we walked through the spacious lobby, mesmerized by the realistic wolves that surrounded us, we had no idea what we would encounter as the 4 of us made our way to the back of the hotel. When we came to a large window, which looked over a humungous indoor water park, I think all of our jaws dropped open. It’s a pretty amazing site for a first timer. The kids went wild, and needless to say, we cancelled our reservation at some “other” hotel, and quickly booked a “Wolf Den” room at The Great Wolf Lodge. We had a blast that week, and immediately began a new family, summer tradition!


Fast forward to the Summer of 2010, and our 5th stay at The Great Wolf Lodge (we skipped 2006 after our daughter was born). We are are still loving our waterpark resort…. but things are a little more tricky now! This is our 2nd year as a “Vegan Family” and Great Wolf Lodge is not exactly known for their “Veganism”.

The resort offers one sit down restaurant, and a couple counter service restaurants. Believe it or not, the food service by the pool was the most “Vegan Friendly”!! The menu offered veggie summer rolls, filled with fresh raw veggies, wrapped in rice paper. VERY YUMMY & highly recommended! They also served a wonderful fruit salad and they “specially” made the kids lettuce & tomato sandwiches. A pretty nice lunch, I must say!


The kids were also able to buy rainbow ice “Dippin Dots” from a machine. I was thankful for this, because there is not any sorbet in the ice-cream counter.

The main restaurant serves a Buffet every night, and lets just say that it is not a Vegan’s dream dinner!!! Lots of meat & egg noodles!! They do however have a salad bar and baked potato station. We informed the chefs about our “dietary restrictions”, I hate referring to our Vegan diet as restrictive, but when talking to people in the food service industry, that is how they view it. Thankfully, the chefs were absolutely wonderful, and they prepared us a delicious family style plate of sauteed veggies. We were very appreciative of their hospitality!


Outside of the waterpark is a small shop which sells ice-cream, fudge, coffee, candy, cereals, fruit and such. They do offer soy milk and Vegan popcorn. And each morning we would enjoy cereal & bananas for breakfast.

There is a  partially Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant in Williamsburg called “Food For Thought” and I would highly recommend dining there. They make a Vegan version of Pad Thai that is amazing!!

Over all, The Great Wolf Lodge is an amazing family vacation destination!! My children love it, and over the years we have made countless wonderful memories there! This is not a true “Vegan Friendly” resort, and you will have to think outside of the box when staying there. Thankfully, the rooms include a fridge, so stock it up if possible!

I won’t lie, I LOVE GWL, and we will continue to visit each summer, but I REALLY WISH that they would offer more options to their Vegan guests. They are considered a “Green” resort, which is very impressive! But what is more “Green” than “Veganism”??



Top 15 Vegan Family Road Trip “Cooler Essentials”

Well, we are officially into summer, and that means family road trip time for many of us! Summer Road Trips are a memorable part of childhood, and even with all of the dirty restroom stops, fighting in the backseat and hearing “are we there yet” 567 times…. I would not miss our annual automobile voyage for the world!

Most families stop at fast food restaurants a few times a day, while on long car trips. But unless your kids LOVE a McDonald’s ice-burg garden salad, there is not much for Vegan kids to eat. I recommend packing a large cooler, filled with tasty & healthy food that your family will enjoy.

Keep in mind that kids get hungry when they are bored….. or at least they think they are hungry! So pack a lot, you don’t want to run out of food when kids are involved & you are in an enclosed space! 😉

Here are my TOP 15 Cooler Essentials~

1. Some type of non-dairy milk. Rice, Soy, Almond, Hemp, whatever you like. It will come in handy for cereal, coffee, tea… etc.

2. A few “healthy” Vegan cereals. Kids & grown-ups enjoy a nice bowl of cereal at any time of day.

3. At least 1 loaf of Wheat/Whole Grain bread. You can eat it plain or create a sandwich.

4. Nut Butter (unless allergies)

5. Fruit spread

6. Mock deli meat (my kids love Tofurky)

7. Lots of fruit!! Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, etc…. make sure it’s washed & ready to eat!

8. Veggie Sticks. Take the extra time and prepare lots of variety. Slice carrots, celery, sweet peppers, broccoli & cauliflower! They can dunk them in the nut butter, or bring some vegan dip.

9. Healthy crackers!

10. Soy yogurt (or applesauce, if they are not yogurt fans)

11. Whole Grain Taco Shells. Seriously! Kids love them, and they can fill them with beans, veggies, or eat them plain.

12. Container filled with black beans or garbanzo beans. Sooo healthy!!

13. Nuts! Peanuts, almonds, cashews….. (unless allergies)

14. Drinks!! No soda for this family, so I recommend lots of water!! Juice boxes are good too!

15. Last but not least, something SWEET! Vegan cookies, a little candy, popcorn…. you get the idea. Your kids deserve a little reward for sitting in the car for so long!

Don’t forget to stock up on paper goods, forks, knives, spoons, paper towels, etc….. eco friendly ones, of course!