Hi Jennifer and welcome to VegFamily. Is everyone in your family vegan and if not, what's that like?
I am 100% vegan, while the rest of my family is vegetarian. It isn't a problem for us, as most meals are easy to adapt from vegetarian to vegan (for me).
Were your kids raised vegan from the start or did your family transition into being vegan?
We just made the transition about 6 months ago.
Are extended family and friends supportive of your lifestyle? If you recently transitioned to veganism, how did they react to your change in lifestyle?
Family tries to be supportive, but can't understand how we survive without meat. Everyone seems to be much more comfortable knowing the boys are still having occasional eggs and dairy. But it is a struggle to show people I can indeed live without animal products.
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Is vegan food easy to obtain in your area?
Thankfully, yes! We have a very large Whole Foods right around the corner. My local market also carries a good variety of vegan items. I utilize farmers markets in the summer as well as belong to a CSA. This year we have also started our own small garden. Seeing where the vegetables come from has helped my boys be more willing to try them.
How do you handle holidays and birthday parties?
Since my boys are vegetarian, they will usually have ice cream at a party. They don't really like birthday cake believe it or not!
Have you met any resistance (or ignorance) when dealing with doctors and/or teachers?
Thankfully we have not. The school my boys attend has a great food allergy policy in place, This also applies to families with food preferences. So, they handle it discreetly and with ease. The pediatrician hasn't asked directly. She only asks if they eat well balanced and healthy meals. I always answer yes truthfully to that question!
Do you have any words of advice to offer other vegan families or families in the process of transitioning to veganism?
Transitioning can seem very overwhelming. I actually did a few experiments before I decided to remove meat from my family's diet. I substituted soy crumbles for ground meat and meatless meatballs in our standard spaghetti and meatballs and no one noticed! So, I began the transition, and talked to my children about why we were eating differently. I had hoped to transition the family to an all vegan diet, but my children weren't eating a varied anough diet and I was concerned. They rarely have eggs and the only dairy at this point is milk and cheese. They are on their way! I think it is alot to expect an omnivore child to suddenly be 100% vegan if the initial decision to go vegan was not his own. I think with time my children will transition to vegan as well. But for now, I am comfortable with them being vegetarians.
Cynthia Mosher is the Editor of VegFamily, the Magazine for Vegan Family Living.