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. 😉

Do Vegan Parents Raise More “Ethically Aware” Children?

If someone had asked me this question a few years back, I would have stared at them, wide eyed & confused and said….”huh?… what do you mean?” It is difficult for me to believe, that I was once so completely clueless about something that I am so truly passionate about now.

Veganism has become a way of life for my family, and everything we do in some way or another, reflects on our views of living compassionately. Every dollar we spend, every bite we take and even our words, define our “ethical awareness”.

What is “ethical awareness” exactly? An easy way to describe it would simply be, “knowing what is morally just or unjust in the world around us and feeling a sense of moral obligation to do whatever is in our power to make a difference.”

Back to the question, “do Vegan parents raise more “ethically aware” children? And do our children have a greater feeling of obligation, to help end the immoral treatment of sentient beings on our planet, along with the unthinkable abuse of our beautiful earth?

As a Vegan parent, my answer is yes. Most omnivorous children have absolutely no idea of the pain that animals endure before their meal hits the dinner table. Aside from that, I have not met a child, other than my own & other Vegan children, that have any knowledge of how destructive corporate agriculture is to the planet.

I can not speak for all Vegan parents, and assume that every Vegan child is aware of these issues, but I can speak for many of us. Vegan parents simply want their children to be aware of the “negative”… so we can all begin to make changes for the “positive.”

I think most non-Vegan parents want to shield their children from the unfortunate truth, and do not want their child to feel any guilt over what they eat. I also believe that many non-Vegan parents truly believe that eating meat and other animal products is how it’s meant to be, and there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Until the children of the world become “ethically aware”, our next generation will continue follow in our cruel and immoral footsteps. We must open the eyes of today’s young people and make them understand that the selfish & unethical behavior of mankind cannot go on forever.

As Gandhi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

Vegan Kids & Bullying, Is It A problem?

Any child who is perceived as “different”, whether it be their appearance, the way they talk, the way they express themselves, what they eat, what they don’t eat.. may be at a higher risk for being bullied. We have been hearing about Gay youth in the media quite a bit lately, and the term “bullying” is being used a lot. I started thinking about Vegan kids, and wondering how common bullying is with them.

I have gathered some feedback from other parents of Vegan children, and what they had to say was a bit surprising!

Most parents feel that their children are perceived as “different”, but most school aged kids don’t seem to have much of a “problem” with their Vegan classmates. They might make comments here & there, or question them a lot, but “put downs” & “intimidating behavior” are not much of an issue.

I was happy to hear that a majority of Vegan children, for the most part, are treated fine by their peers. I know by my own experience, that my son feels completely comfortable with his Veganism at school. Truthfully, he has not had one major issue with another student.

So what is it that I find surprising?? Many Vegan children are being singled out & having their lifestyle criticized. But not by other children…. by adults!

Many parents claim that friends, family members & even teachers, have some major issues with their children consuming a plant based diet. And these grownups are not afraid to let kids know exactly how they feel!

So is it okay, that aunts, uncles, neighbors, coaches & teachers, may single out your Vegan child and tell him that Veganism is dangerous, stupid, crazy or unhealthy? What if they simply make fun of your child a little bit, or embarrass him? Or secretly offer him sausage, and promise not to tell his mom, like a woman did to my son?!?!

The answer is of course, NO. It’s not okay, for these people to interfere, put down, or embarrass our children, because they choose a healthy & compassionate lifestyle. But in this meat loving world, where we are told that kids NEED dairy to survive & be strong, it is bound to happen.

Needless to say, your children will also meet & be surrounded by many adults who will respect & support their decision to be Vegan. My son has such a wonderful group of people in his life, who give him constant praise, and brag about his Veganism. So when he is confronted by a grownup, who simply “doesn’t get it”, he stays strong & stands his ground (and yes, he turned down the sausage offer). 🙂

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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Please Welcome Guest Blogger, My Mom “Why I Became Vegan”

“Why I became a Vegan”

According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living (Penguin, 2005) a vegan is “one who avoids causing harm or exploiting other living beings as much as humanly possible. This involves excluding all animal foods and animal-based items from their lives.”


I’m one simple person who has recently made a conscious decision to live my life with greater compassion toward all living creatures. This premise of compassion is the heart of what it means to be a vegan. When you become aware of the animal suffering going on in the world, and you become determined you will no longer contribute to it, you have already taken the first step in bringing your compassion to the next level. The following is my personal story on how I’ve arrived to this point….

My oldest daughter, Lisa, became a vegan (along with her beautiful family) a couple of years ago. She’d read the The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health (Benbella Books, 2004) and become convinced that becoming a vegan would be a much healthier, more compassionate lifestyle.

My first thought was, “I have to give up CHEESE? Oh my.” I’ll be honest with you: I didn’t become vegan overnight. I more or less inched myself along, learning along the way. First, my husband and I cut out all meat. Surprisingly, it was not a difficult transition. I could be a vegetarian, I’d thought! I invested in a couple of vegetarian cookbooks. I also discovered an informative and inspiring cooking show on PBS called, “Christina Cooks.” Christina Pirello had been diagnosed with cancer at a young age and went into total remission after she chose to follow an organic, vegan lifestyle. My path of discovery continued….

This past summer my daughter, my grandchildren, and I journeyed to upstate New York to spend the night and visit a farm sanctuary there. When I entered the car in Connecticut, I was a vegetarian. When I returned from New York, I had committed to becoming vegan.

For the past 50 years animal agriculture in the U.S. has been taken over by large corporations that dominate the marketplace for meat, dairy and eggs. Industrial farming conditions are so harsh that animals commonly succumb to injury, illness and disease and millions die before reaching the slaughterhouse every year. On today’s industrialized farms animals are denied even the most basic humane consideration. Every year in the U.S. nearly 10 billion animals are raised, marketed and slaughtered under the most unconscionably cruel conditions. I had to ask myself, “How can I continue to support this?”

Visiting a farm sanctuary proved to be a very moving experience for me. My family and I discovered first-hand that farm animals are gentle, smart and friendly, just like dogs and cats! Like us, they want to be free of pain, live in a clean place and be treated with kindness. (For more information, please visit farmsanctuary.org)

According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, raising animals for meat generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, trucks, planes and other form of transportation combined. Going vegan is not only a compassionate choice for animals it’s a greener choice for our beautiful Earth!

As chef Christina Pirello would say… “Cows are vegetarian. They eat grass. Skip the middleman and go for grains, beans and veggies that are loaded with protein!”

I choose to be vegan because I truly believe each of us has the capacity to make the world a better place. I choose not to be overwhelmed by what I can’t do. I choose to be EMPOWERED by what I can do. I am now making an effort to make more conscious and compassionate choices.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948)

I invite you to join me.

Inspirational Visit To “Farm Sanctuary”

Every once and a while, you find yourself somewhere, that changes you for the better, and inspires you to do more. This is exactly what happened to us, during our visit to Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY.

We made the 6 hour journey, with 3 kids fighting in the backseat and only 2 quick rest stops. Needless to say, all 5 of us (my mom included) were super anxious to get to the farm!! We had been planning this trip since last summer, and our excitement was rising!

We were hoping to make it there before 3pm, which is when they give the last tour of the day. Thankfully we made great time, and arrived shortly after 2:00. We parked the car and entered “The People Barn” to check in. We then went to check out our cabin. TOO CUTE!! There were 3 little red cabins, side by side, just steps away from the main building. The best part of all was the view. All you could see was beautiful open farm land, with barns and of course animals!

We then took the farm tour, which was included in our B&B stay. A sweet and knowledgeable young woman named Renee, was our guide. We visited with the cows, goats, turkeys, ducks, chickens and PIGGIES!! All of the animals were relaxed, content, and many were affectionate! It was easy to see that these creatures were appreciative of the love and respect they are given. Most have come from abusive situations, so they realize how wonderful their new lives truly are. This experience makes you understand that animals are really no different than us. They want affection, they require humane treatment and they deserve respect. They feel pain, fear & love. In my mind, anyone who hurts an animal, is no different from someone who hurts a human being.

I encourage any person who has a love for animals, to visit Farm Sanctuary. Whether you are a Vegan, or a meat eater, this is a place you will feel inspired & empowered. I especially encourage Vegans, who have a non-Vegan spouse, friends or family members, to take a trip here together. You may be surprised what happens…… My mother came as a Vegetarian (she loves her cheese) and left as a Vegan. (She learned how her love of cheese was fueling the veal industry)

I entered Farm Sanctuary as a Vegan, but I left with a new sense of “being”. I was enlightened, empowered and educated. How many family trips offer you that?

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Please check out  www.farmsanctuary.org for information, ideas, updates, and ways you can help rescued farm animals.

“My New Love For Gardening”

Since going Vegan a year ago, I have been dreaming of starting a vegetable garden. There is something beautiful and fulfilling about creating your own food. I began growing seedlings in my dining room last March, and now every cabbage, pepper, bean, cucumber, squash, zucchini, tomato, lettuce, broccoli, brussels sprout, garlic & onion has been planted into the earth.

I am so excited to nurture my little plants and watch them sprout & grow every day! I am loving every minute of this fascinating process!

The kids enjoy checking on the plants each day and watering them in the evening, I just wish they would help me with the weeding!

I’m not sure how long it will be until we can start eating our garden veggies, but for now I’m having a great time watching them grow! Who knew plants could be so much fun?

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