When your child becomes vegan


Dear blogging friends and family,

Its hard to believe that it is almost the end of the year - where has 2014 gone:). Do you think it goes faster as you get older!?

I thought I would share with you my "vegan" journey because you too might have a son or daughter who becomes vegan or vegetation and it can be daunting at first. Or, they may become gluten intolerant, unable to consume dairy or many other food allergies and as a parent they are all tackled the same way.

My youngest son (now 22) came home 2 years ago and said he was vegetarian, one year ago he moved to vegan. As a parent I had two choices - support his decision or not. I decided to support him and learn as much as I could about being a vegan as I simply didn't know anyone who was vegan except for Sandy at "Vegans Eat Yummy Food Too". 

My idea of vegan was lots of lentils, chickpeas and not a cupcake in sight and it never looked very appealing, I discovered this isn't entirely true!!

This has been quite a journey and one that I have enjoyed and found very educational. I have not converted to veganism, however we have made changes to the way we eat which I will explain later.  

So what have I done:

  • I borrowed many cookbooks from the library and read them with great interest and based on recommendations (thanks Sandy), I went and bought a number of books and started my own library. I bought cookbooks for our son so he too had his own collection. One of our favourite cookbooks would have to be Chloe Coscarelli's "Chloe's Vegan Desserts".  She is young and knows how to make vegan baking very appealing. Her Italian cookbook is also very good for vegan and non-vegan alike. 
  • I visited numerous blogs (some better than others) and gathered lots of ideas to share with our son. I learnt how to make substitute mayonnaise, parmesan cheese and only the other day I made macaroni cheese vegan style and it was very good (my son's girlfriend was very impressed). I learnt how to cook without egg, which I discovered is very handy when you run out of eggs and can still whip up those delicious chocolate cupcakes. In fact I have tested my vegan cakes at work and I am yet to find one person that would have ever guess the cakes were dairy free. One of my favourite website is: http://www.veggieful.com, full of many great recipes that taste great, including the chocolate brownie recipe (did you know that Lindt's dark 70% chocolate is vegan?). 
  • I started to visit health food stores and look at vegan options and discovered Nutritional Yeast and all the things it can be used for. In fact thanks to this knowledge I was able to help a woman at work who is gluten and dairy intolerant who really missed cheese - nutritional yeast when added to meals, tastes like cheese. 
  • I discovered the many items from the supermarket that are "accidentally" vegan - including a mayonnaise, biscuits and pastry. For a young lad, this is great news.
  • I have "liked" a number of vegan Facebook pages, especially those that alert people to new vegan products at the supermarket or those with interesting recipes such as the very yummy date and chocolate balls (that are dairy free, gluten free and sugar free). This has been very useful. Through one Facebook page I discovered a Coles brand of plum pudding for Christmas, which made our son very happy as he loves plum pudding. 
  • I started to take more notice of labels on products and that was educational on its own!!
  • I watched a number of DVDs including a well know one called "Forks over Knives" and learnt a lot. 
  • Pinterest is a great source for recipes and I have created a vegan folder where I add recipes I like. 

On the home front we switched from butter to a dairy free option (I still have butter in the fridge as its great on roast potatoes) and we now drink Soy Milk (particular because both sons drink soy and its easier to have only one milk in the fridge).  In the freezer I have dairy free pastry sheets and I stock dairy free ice-cream for husband and son. It is easier than I thought and no longer as daunting as it first was. It just requires thinking outside of the box and no it isn't all about chickpeas and lentils and there are endless cupcake recipes to choose from. 


Whilst my husband and I still eat meat, the amount we eat has shrunk and we often have meatless meals. We are also happy to eat a vegan meal when our son is at home (he usually works evenings so not home for dinner very often).  At Christmas we plan to make a vegan cheesecake for all to share and for main course we will have the ham and something vegan as well. 

I think it is very important to support one's children and to learn as much as possible to help guide them down healthy paths. As you can see from the pictures below - these look like very yummy and tasty meals and all vegan.

Have a wonderful week ahead :)



*****

Comments

  1. My Grandson, who is staying at the moment is dairy intolerant so it has been an interesting journey for us too.

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  2. It has been quite a journey for us with gluten free, too - we don't all eat gluten free as it can be more expensive, but we always have gluten free for Dan at least. At the moment I'm doing an experiment with cutting the majority of dairy out of my diet (not completely), which is a whole new challenge (I wish we had raw milk available, then I wouldn't need to cut it out at all; it's the processing that makes dairy so intolerable to a lot of us). I need probiotics in my diet and I'm not a huge fan of fermented foods, so finding dairy free yoghurt has been a challenge (while coconut milk yoghurt isn't terrible in taste, I'm not a huge fan of coconut flavour and the baby-food texture of it just kills it for me)... It's definitely possible to change our diets, but sometimes it can be quite disappointing (in my opinion). While enjoyment of food isn't the be-all and end-all (after all, nutrition is far more important to our lives), it is an important part of eating for most of us, so it is good to find foods we enjoy even when other foods have to be eliminated.

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    Replies
    1. Eldest son can't drink cows milk anymore as it upsets his tummy, DH has moved off cows milk as it bloated him - both now drink soy and no longer have any problems. One or two of Nick's children can't drink cows milk either and need to take probiotics if they do. And recently Tristan realised he can no longer eat foods containing citrus (the same as his grandmother) as it causes problems. I think we all adapt to what we can or cannot eat, or choose to not eat due to ethical reasons but I do thinks its really important to enjoy one’s food as its a big part of our lives.

      Have you had raw milk in any quality to know if it would make any differences because it might not - when I was small I couldn’t digest raw cows milk.

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    2. At a farm recently, and one of the guy's working there, said that raw milk is something you have to start life on, or it just "goes through" you! Of course, if you did start it as an adult you would have to start VERY slowly, because our guts are just not used to it...
      love,
      Bets

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    3. Interesting, I didn’t know that. We grew up with raw milk but I can’t remember how different it tasted to pasteurised milk. The problem with raw milk is the bacteria it can carry and as we have seen recently, resulting in the death of one child and three more critical. Farmers need to be vigilant in their care of their milking cows and for that reason alone, I won’t buy raw milk from a farmer that I didn’t know extremely well. My father was very careful and was always on the look out for health issues. I think its really important to remember that Louis Pasteur was right when he suggested pasteurisation - it has saved endless lives as a result.

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    5. I also know other people who have swapped to raw milk, and none of them had problems with it, either - they all said it helped them tremendously, so it's not an isolated experience. :)

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    6. Totally agree - raw milk goes straight through me like a purge! Unfortunate, because I love the taste - I just can't drink it!

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  3. My in-laws started using raw milk in the past year or so, and none of them had any problems with it that I know of - in fact, it improved their milk-related problems - but I should check with Mary to make sure I wasn't told of problems!!!
    More people have problems with processed milk than realise it - it causes inflammation because of the processes, and can mess with various systems of the body. God created raw milk, not processed milk... and He knows what He is doing.

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    1. God also created the cocoa bean. Thankfully man has been able to process it to chocolate. He gave man the ability to use his brain.

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  4. Great post! It's wonderful that you're so supportive of your son. (and these food pics look great : )

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    1. Thanks Anna, I believe strongly in being a supportive parent - children need to know and see their parents encouragement and love. Those cup cakes are GOOD!!!

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Wow, that is a change for cooking! That is good that you have embraced this for your son... This is definitely not worth any friction or battles (we have bigger fish to fry as parents!!!!). We just had a vegan friend visit for 3 days and it was a challenge but I did appreciate thinking outside of the box. Plus, it taught us some new healthier recipes too (like you mentioned). Popcorn with coconut oil and sea salt was a tasty snack for us. Some other foods we made were oven baked fries piled with chili beans (and sprinkled with cheese for the non-vegans), taco soup, tacos filled with various beans and fresh toppings, and fruit cobblers for dessert (we used a rice flour, sugar and coconut oil mixture for the top since our guest was also gluten-free).

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and insight on the Art of Home-Making Mondays Jo :)

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    Replies
    1. You are spot on - its all about thinking outside the square and it is do-able. I have also found many of the recipes healthier and for that reason I now make a number of vegan sweets instead of the the non-vegan original recipe. My son's girlfriend is also vegan and her mother never bakes anything (and about to move interstate) so I am quite excited to have to very eager people to bake for!! The internet is an excellent source of ideas and recipes and its no longer as hard as it use to be.

      I hope you are enjoying your week :)

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    2. PS, if all my son is going to do is become vegan - as a parent, it is very harmless and not one to worry over!! Quite right, some parents have far bigger issues to face!!

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  6. What a change you have had, but the food looks delicious, thanks for sharing your journey at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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