Why did your family go vegan?
My husband and I were ovo-lacto vegetarian. I was vegetarian for several years before meeting him while he was an omnivore. I began educating him about vegetarianism and he eventually realized that there were so many moral, ethical, and health reasons to go vegetarian. After more research, we both realized that it was just senseless not to take the next step and become vegan. My husband actually made the conscious decision to go vegan about a month before I did. This was in October 2002 and it was one of the best decisions of our lives.
Is everyone in your family vegan and if not, what’s that like?
Me, my husband and our 2-year old twins, Ben & Sarah are all vegan. Our cat, Felíne (pronounced Fellini)is not. We researched feline veganism and decided that it didn’t seem in her best interests health-wise to eat a vegan diet, though this subject is not completely closed.
Were your kids raised vegan from the start or did your family transition into being vegan?
I had a vegan pregnancy and the kids were vegan since birth.
Are extended family and friends supportive of your lifestyle? If you recently transitioned to veganism, how did they react to your change in lifestyle?
Our family does not understand, nor cares to understand, veganism at all. Most of the people who we associate with are vegan, and the few who aren’t seem to understand our decision.
< Do you know other vegan families in the area?
We didn’t at first but, fortunately, we got involved with a NJ vegan children’s playgroup through VegFamily’s link and the kids have been on several vegan playdates.
How do you handle holidays and birthday parties?
This hasn’t come up. We don’t celebrate any holidays.
Do you have any favorite recipes or cookbooks?
My favorite cookbooks include: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and Vegan Vittles by Joanne Stepaniak and How it All Vegan and The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tonya Bernard. I’ve amassed numerous recipes from the internet and friends, which I use on a regular basis including a vegan macaroni & cheeze recipe, mock chopped liver, vegan cheesecake, etc.
Please describe any social or emotional issues you’ve had to deal with in raising vegan kids.
I had wanted to join Mothers for Multiples group when the children were babies and we really needed some support, but most of their activities involved non-vegan friendly restaurants. We live in a fast food society and so many children’s activities are centered around a fast food lifestyle, which excludes our children from participating. There is a level of self-doubt since we weren’t raised vegan (or even vegetarian) so whenever there is an issue with the kids’ health, for example when they came down with roseola last month, we start to question if being vegan may have had any causation. Fortunately, our children are usually very healthy. We also are hesitant to put the children into day care or find a babysitter since we just don’t trust the general public to respect our veganism.
Have you met any resistance (or ignorance) when dealing with doctors and/or teachers?
Our children see a mainstream pediatrician who is accepting of our decision to raise the children vegan and our decision to not vaccinate.
Do you have any words of advice to offer other vegan families or families in the process of transitioning to veganism?
Read! Make sure you have your facts together to respond to criticisms. If you can’t find a pro-vegan pediatrician, at least find one that is understanding of veganism. Be confident in knowing that you are doing the best thing for your family (and other living creatures) for so many reasons.