Can a family go Vegan? How do you pull it off?

I have a friend whose husband wants the family to start eating vegan. My friend isn’t quite sure how to pull it off.

Vegan is different than vegetarian. Some might say it is an extension.

From Vegan.org:

“why VEGAN? Veganism, the natural extension of vegetarianism, is an integral component of a cruelty-free lifestyle. Living vegan provides numerous benefits to animals’ lives, to the environment, and to our own health–through a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

“what is a VEGAN? A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.”


On making the transition to Vegan:

“EATING VEGAN In starting the transition to a vegan diet, there are a few different strategies. Some people shift into a vegan diet slowly, starting with vegan ‘analogues’— plant-based foods whose taste resembles animal products. Others simply take out the animal products from their diet and replace them with plant foods with which they’re already familiar. Still others concentrate on experimenting with entirely new vegan foods, often from international cuisines. Thankfully, there is no shortage of vegan foods to help make the transition. In fact, most of the food we eat is vegan, without us knowing it!”

These are my mom friend’s concerns:

  1. She has three young children and she wants them to eat their meals. If she goes too far into left field the kids won’t eat and won’t be getting the nutrition they need.
  2. She is regularly a very health-conscious cook. She is very into natural ingredients with little additives. She is concerned by products that don’t occur in nature.  So the so called “analogues” mentioned above scare her! She doesn’t want to use plant-based foods that resemble animal products.

So she is looking for advice and recipes about how to make this healthy transition for her family without it being too complicated, without it creating holes in her children’s nutrition, and without it being gross – ie products that are fake and man-made as substitutes for animal products.

I think this process is more doable than before thanks to the internet. I think a mother wanting to do this would have to spend a lot of time reading articles, looking at websites and sorting through recipes to find ones that her family would be willing to accept.

I did some more poking around on the Vegan.org site and it has a lot of good information and links out to other sites – such as restaurants that serve vegan.

I found advice for replacing eggs in recipes as well as basic foods a family can start with. Some of the stuff was pretty obvious — a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I think it gets harder when you try real recipes and not just individual foods.I stopped by yesterday and my friend was making a birthday soup for her husband with peas and zucchini. It’s tough to make a creamy soup without any cream! She was also making his birthday cake vegan — again icing is really tough if you’re not using dairy products. She was still working on it when I left. It wasn’t quite right.

Has your family made the transition to vegan? How did you do it? Do the kids mind? Did it hurt their nutrition – ie were they getting enough protein from other sources? How did you measure? What is your advice for families trying veganism out?
Would you consider veganism for your family?

124 comments Add your comment

Patricia

September 15th, 2011
9:03 am

People who believe global warming is harming the planet and is man made are in good company since 98% of the scientists in the National Academy of Sciences say it is true. Republicans reject science…whether it’s evolution or global warming. They are living in the cave…of ignorance.

Pepto-Bismol

September 15th, 2011
9:03 am

Meat stays in your body for about 7 days,
dead weight just hanging around.

Pepto-Bismol

September 15th, 2011
9:04 am

Juicy animal blood?

JoeV

September 15th, 2011
9:05 am

@Pepto-Bismol

Meat turns into poop; just like every other food.

Patricia

September 15th, 2011
9:05 am

Bella says veggies are for pansies. Then how is it that there are hundreds of famous top level athletes -even Olympians- who are vegetarian or vegan. “Olympian of the Century” track star Carl Lewis, tennis champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, cricket star Anil Kumble, Mr. International bodybuilder Andreas Cahling, Heisman trophy winner Desmond Howard, Debbie lawrence Olympic race-walker, four time Mr. Universe Bill Pearl, 4-time Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter, WBC World Middleweight Champion Keith Holmes, double Olympic Gold medalist in hurdles Edwin Moses, and Dave Scott, six-time Ironman triathlon winner, to name but a few.

Anyone who thinks vegans are pansies is just ignorant of the facts.

Off topic

September 15th, 2011
9:12 am

First of all animals are not people. We do eat meat BUT we do try and eat only organic/free range and now are raising a few chickens in our backyard for eggs. Our chickens are pets and are dearly loved. So loved that we now have four roos that we are not suppose to have that we have to keep quiet in the mornings. I have become the roos’ servant and have to wake early to bring them inside, wait until they get all their crowing out of their systems and then haul them all back indoors again. To be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing and highly recomend it ……. but the spoiled things are still chickens!

NikNak

September 15th, 2011
9:17 am

Desmond Howard is a pansy- and it’s not because he doesn’t eat animals.

Roswell Jeff

September 15th, 2011
9:19 am

We are not vegans and most likely will never be but, I’ve got to give them a high 5 for doing in what they believe. Our family limits the red meat intake and we stick to poultry and fish – when we do have meat. There are many meals that we go meatless.

I do have to point out one glaring, common sense item. The whole organics thing is a sham. It’s a step in the right direction but it’s not as “clean” as one would think. The regulations that farmers are under to proclaim they are organic are easily manipulated and not enforced as well as they need to be. Most of the farmers have gone organic to cash in on the trend and for no other reason. And let’s face it. There is virtually nothing truly organic in this world. Even your backyard garden is not truly organic – yes, it’s many times better for you than mass produced, but common sense tells the real story. The ground is saturated with chemicals, the air is saturated with chemicals and the water is saturated with chemicals.

From time to time we buy chicken from a woman up in South Cackalackey that raises free range. It’s absolutely amazing what real chicken tastes like. Virtually no fat and they were huge! One breast fed our family of three at dinner!

JOD

September 15th, 2011
9:23 am

This topic really took off! I can’t imagine eating tofurkey and the other analogues since they are processed like many non-vegan foods. Congrats to everyone with their own chickens – that is the way to go. We can’t have chickens, but I do buy ethically- and grain-fed meats from local farms. There are even co-ops you can join if enough people are on board. We are definitely meat eaters, but there is no reason to support the factory farming industry.

@Off topic – I guess no on in your house is a late sleeper? :o)

I’m not as self-sufficient on the veggies as catlady, but I’m working on it… Homegrown produce is so much better than store-bought, but finding the space to plant enough is a challenge.

Also, you can easily find cruelty-free products from soap to make-up in any store or online. These products have ingredients you can pronounce :o)

jarvis

September 15th, 2011
9:24 am

Eat what you want…don’t eat what you don’t. Just please do not tell me the benefits of what you do like I give a schlitz.

You annoy me with your preachy non-sense, and believe me, you won’t change me. I like eating animals, and I’ve got the feeling I’m going to continue to like it. You’re wasting your breath (which stinks by the way).

JC

September 15th, 2011
9:45 am

The reasons vary for why people choose vegan. Here are two short videos to help everyone understand why so many are making this life-altering choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

Mimi

September 15th, 2011
9:49 am

A healthy, balanced plant-based diet takes a bit more work than any diet comprised of fast & convenient foods but it really is easy! My family has been eating this way for nearly 3 years. I suggest you check out nutritionmd.org for recipes, shopping lists, meal planners, and nutrition advice from Dr. Michael Greger. Also, Dr. Neal Barnard has a 21 day Vegan Kickstrart which is very helpful. We did not use either of these tools and still managed. I have made many low fat tasty foods from a blog called Fat Free Vegan and then there is my own blog, leafy cafe.com. Good Luck to your friend!

Off topic

September 15th, 2011
9:50 am

@ JOD to be honest their not that loud yet as they have only just started crowing. So far our loudest is our bantam Orpington and he only crows, for now, once or twice in the morning. The bantam Cochins sound like a dog’s squeeky toy and they crow the most. I am sure that in time all of them will get louder. :-)

So far (thankfully), all of them have really good personalities. Some roos can become really agressive and can be dangerous to have around.

paige

September 15th, 2011
10:02 am

Global Warming is a farce. The very “scientist” who did the studies, wrote the papers and teamed up with Al Gore have since admitted to false data and manipulation of facts for political and monetary gains. But you sheep still think we have something to do with the natural and periodic changes this planet experiences. Nice try with your “98 percent” of people believe in global warming statement though.

motherjanegoose

September 15th, 2011
10:08 am

I lived on a cattle ranch as a girl…so NO we are not vegan. We also grew most of our vegetables and some fruits.We also had barred rock chickens that would lay brown eggs. I respect those who have a passion about most things and are disciplined enough to follow through but vegan is not for us.

Thanks for the birthday wishes friends! I am having a quiet day alone in Montana and heading to a meeting later today.

lurker

September 15th, 2011
10:40 am

So what do you think will happen to all the cows, pigs, etc. if we all stopped eating meat today? Do you think they would live healthy, long lives? NO. They would resort to killing each other. How do you vegans feel about that?

Laura

September 15th, 2011
10:42 am

“It’s tough to make a creamy soup without any cream! She was also making his birthday cake vegan — again icing is really tough if you’re not using dairy products.”

This statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Replace cream with soy creamer, replace milk with soy milk. How is that “really tough”?

LM

September 15th, 2011
10:49 am

Not sure I could ever completely give up meat, dariy or eggs. However, I know there is no way my husband would ever give up meat.

I am trying to become more self sustaining. I planted fruit trees and they are doing well. Garden this year did not do well and we ended up having to buy our veggies and fruits at the local farmers stands.

I finally found 4 femal goats to breed with our 2 billies, Next spring/summer I should be able to collect milk and make cheese. I am hoping to get a chicken coop set up this next summer. Have been thinking about adding a few cows and a bull. Not sure I am ready for them.

I can see us becoming more fresh foods and getting away from store bought processed foods. I feel if we can produce our own food we are doing better for our family then changing one processed food for another.

LM

September 15th, 2011
10:50 am

O/T Happy Birthday MJG

shaggy

September 15th, 2011
10:51 am

In celebration of this topic, I am going to use my hunting license tomorrow, dust off the archery rig, and see if I can cruelly, with blood running out of the heart-shot I intend to take, harvest a deer.
Yes, that’s right, a deer, hopefully a doe for tenderness, which I will gut and hang in a cooler for about 10 days. Then, I will carefully, skin it, reserving the hide for curing/tanning, with a process borrowed from the first nations, who weren’t vegans either. I will either use or give the skin away for many useful purposes, and put that god awful, evil, but lean, meat into the freezer, except for the tenderloin, which gets cooked and eaten straight away.
Also, I might add, when I do harvest a deer, as part of the field dress, I will partake of the fresh, bloody, liver, and thank the animal that will sustain me and my family.

Bella

September 15th, 2011
10:52 am

@ Patricia

“Anyone who thinks vegans are pansies is just ignorant of the facts.”

Bless your heart, my post “veggies are for pansies” was a joke! You “vegans” are taking this stuff way too seriously. lighten up. You are not going to convince or convert anyone here with the fire and brimstone approach you are taking. In fact, you guys are kind of throwing gas on the flames with your lectures looking down your nose at us “everything in moderation”, “normal” folk!

jarvis

September 15th, 2011
10:54 am

Pigs and cows would resort to killing each other? That’s pretty funny.

HB

September 15th, 2011
11:09 am

Anyone else notice how those complaining about “preachy” vegans seem to have written the preachiest, most condescending posts today? Most of the vegans have simply shared their own family practices and provided tips and resources for those families who want to try to go vegan. Just an observation from a pescetarian… :)

jarvis

September 15th, 2011
11:10 am

No HB. I have not noticed that.

justmy2cents

September 15th, 2011
11:15 am

LOL @ Shaggy

There’s room for all god’s creatures….right next to the mashed potatoes, right?!

Bella

September 15th, 2011
11:28 am

@ HB

So you don’t think that one poster possibily using six different (male) names doesn’t come off as “preachy”?

Tonya C.

September 15th, 2011
11:29 am

Does this mother WANT to do this? Can her budget handle it?

I want no part of veganism or vegetarianism. I LOVE being am omnivore and plan to remain that way until I leave this earth, and if I get to eat in heaven I will be one there too. Those lifestyles require CONSTANT planning of meals and where to eat that I have no interest in putting in. I despise limiting food groups and only eating certain things.

Dan

September 15th, 2011
11:36 am

Vegetable haters! at least my food has a chance to run, vegetables are sitting ducks (pun intended) stuck there in the ground. But seriously regarding families, it is the parents responsibility to provide proper nutrition for their children, I suspect doing so as a vegan is challenging, since it is not a biologically normal human diet, but it can be done. I just hope noone taking that path will expect public entities to start providing vegan options.

Mary

September 15th, 2011
11:44 am

Becoming a vegan is very easy. Please watch http://www.SupremeMasterTV.com
Go to Shows, Click Healthy Living and on page one scrolls down to watch video # 135

Title: Starting Right with a Vegan Diet : Advice for Moms and Babies.

It is a Free Constructive Programming for a Peaceful World. It offer vegan recipe and vegan cooking shows from around the world, also many interesting topics and stories that are very useful to everyday lives. Enjoy.

Patricia

September 15th, 2011
11:49 am

Shaggy said: “Wouldn’t it suck to be an arrogant, “preaching” vegan, which constistutes most of them…”

Arrogance has nothing to do with it. Meat-eating is a moral issue in the same way that cheating, stealing, and polluting the environment are all moral issues. It is not simply a food choice, where you prefer meat and I prefer veggies. Moral issues are usually issues that affect or harm others and meat-eating harms animals and the environment. If you believe that moral issues are just a matter of personal choice, then you’d have to say that putting thieves in jail or ostracizing liars from your circle of friends is being “arrogant.” Of course that is silly. Most people accept that some things are morally wrong and that it is perfectly proper for society (and individuals) to try and change bad behavior in society.

HB

September 15th, 2011
11:55 am

Bella, if the posts are by different people (and I think they are, but who knows), then no, most of the individuals are not preachy. If they are all written by one person, then you are pointing out a single preachy individual who in my opinion is outnumbered.

If a family wants to go vegan, I say go for it. Sure there are specific nutritional needs that will have to be more carefully watched, but it’s not like eating meat doesn’t have it drawbacks, such as typically higher levels of saturated fat, that need to be managed too.

Peachy Vegan

September 15th, 2011
11:56 am

“Eet mor veggies, Atlanta!,” as the cows would say. OF COURSE families can go vegan, more easily and deliciously than ever before. It’s healthier for you (far less disease and obesity), kinder to the animals and doesn’t harm the planet the way meat-eating does. Join the Vegetarian Society of Georgia (www.vegsocietyofga.org) and the Atlanta vegetarian Meet-Up (meat out?) group, and try the great recipes at http://www.vegfamily.com. Even if it’s just a meal or two a week, you’ll try new things and dispel all those silly myths about vegan living.

Oscar Greasemanelli

September 15th, 2011
12:06 pm

It is not simply a food choice, where you prefer meat and I prefer veggies

Yes it is simply a choice. You are not being forced by any means to avoid eating meat.

You are doing so on your own.

Morality has nothing to do with eating meat. I do not condone the cruel treatment of animals by any means.

However, you attempt at claiming “morality” is without merit.

Oscar Greasemanelli

September 15th, 2011
12:08 pm

And another thing, if you eat vegetables, you’re condoning the death of living creatures, right?

Plants are living creatures. Therefore to eat vegetables you condone killing a living organism.

And, whoops! So much for that “morality” argument.

veganf

September 15th, 2011
12:16 pm

Yeah, a family cab be vegan. It’s not difficult. I’ve been vegan for almost 20 years, have 4 vegan kids, and I highly doubt we “look” like vegans “from a mile away”. That’s just whacked. We’re pretty average people…kids go to public school, we’re good examples IMO but we don’t “preach” anything, we just do our best. We eat some faux meats, but eat largely produce from our local CSA. B12? Very easy to get…and being vegan during 4 pregnancies and breastfeeding certainly didn’t cause any “neurological disorders”…the two older kids are gifted students, the third is a model, and they are all friendly, talkative, normal people. I think some people spend too much time looking for something wrong with what they don’t understand. IMO the Paleo diet or WAPF cult are largely made up of people determined to justify their meat addiction.

shaggy

September 15th, 2011
12:18 pm

Maybe, instead of going hunting deer, I will just lie in wait, on a cool morning, for a………………….carrot. They are easier to kill, with one whack, you humanely send it to carrot heaven.

Nah…I’m going hunting, and just cook the carrot with the roast venison. Apples are good with venison roast too and are just as easy to stalk, and a tree stand in an apple tree, puts you close to your quarry.

shaggy

September 15th, 2011
12:22 pm

veganf,

“IMO the Paleo diet or WAPF cult are largely made up of people determined to justify their meat addiction.”

You know, I was OK with your post, until you just had to climb up on your high pedestal to preach that.
THAT is why people like me will continue to torment veg heads like you. Yes, you are a bunch of arrogant chumps.

robert

September 15th, 2011
12:25 pm

@Tallmom – i’d suggest you’re not meeting enough vegans because here’s what i look like when i take my shirt off: the link to the pic of my pale, weak body is awaiting moderation (for bloody ever!) but i’m certain it has more to do with cycling 100 plus miles per week, and lifting weights than it does being vegan. But according to your logic you have to listen to my dietary advice if i look healthier than you right? or maybe you might want to listen to these pasty vegan waifs: i removed the link – also awaiting moderation forever, but you can view the page by searching for ‘vegan bodybuilding; then clicking on the ‘profiles’ page

if professional athletes including the world powerlifting record holder for bench press, and mac danzig (mma fighter) whose nutritional requirements are probably close to 3 times that of a normal fit person can easily fuel their top-level performance on a vegan diet surely your average person can REALY easily meet their measly nutritional requirements.

shaggy

September 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

Patricia,

Don’t give me that crap. I am omnivourous, healthy enough to climb mountains, and eat meat because it tastes AWESOME. I can say the same for tomatoes…they taste AWESOME. That is why I eat them together in foods…to make it taste AWESOME.

Bella

September 15th, 2011
12:27 pm

I think vegan “Patricia” takes the “preachy” award. We meat eaters are immoral, liars and cheaters in her viewpoint. Alrighty, then! :)

All this talk of food has me hungry! Bella is off to Chick fil a for a spicy sandwich and a peach milkshake (before they are gone for the season).

Vegans: Are the pickles on a Chick fil a sandwich considered a vegtable?

Lady Strange

September 15th, 2011
12:31 pm

@shaggy – save some of that venison for me! Yummy!

Stookie

September 15th, 2011
1:05 pm

I am a part time veegan. I still eat eggs once a week and eat chicken or steak maybe once a month, not for nutritional reason, only because i like the taste. It’s a healthier lifestyle, bottom line. Store bought meats, chicken, dairy have so much crap in them, you would eat less of it if you knew what you were actually eating. But to each his own. I hate veegan thumpers who preach as I hate meat eaters who look at me like I am stupid. I am healthy, I run marathons, lift weights and have realized after years of being in shape, your diet is a huge part of your health.

Stookie

September 15th, 2011
1:07 pm

@ Shaggy-that deer you will kill is alot cleaner than the meat you will get at Kroger

jarvis

September 15th, 2011
1:31 pm

I squashed a bug in my kitchen this morning. I could have taken it outside, but it would have taken an extra few seconds, and I had to get back to making coffee.

Tonya C.

September 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

Shaggy and Jarvis tie for the most hilarious comments today.

Tonya C.

September 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

And I truly mean that. I love meat and am stunned by being called immoral for doing what man has done for thousands of years.

JOD

September 15th, 2011
1:56 pm

@Bella – Of course that pickle is a veggie. Just like the peach milkshake is a fruit :o)

@shaggy – Is 10 days all that is needed to cure/age venison? A friend has offered venison in the past, and we’re thinking of taking him up next time. I’ve heard venison needs to be aged, but don’t know anything about it…

JOD

September 15th, 2011
2:00 pm

@jarvis – Was it a house centipede? Even PETA members kill those…

Scott Garnett (16yr.+ vegan)

September 15th, 2011
3:28 pm

It’s refreshing to see an article like this being published and discussed. The real problem is that too any people focus too much time on proving each other wrong than having any real and productive conversation. Being vegan isn’t hard. It’s as simple as viewing and preparing meals outside of what you’ve known. It’s 2011. There are no shortages of cookbooks and online sites such as http://www.vegewb.com that contain endless healthy, easy to make, vegan recipes to suit even the pickiest of eaters and the hardest-core meat eaters. Arguing about which diet or lifestyle is the best is counter-productive. There is simply nothing that your body needs that MUST come from an animal source. The real conversation shouldn’t be, “You have to get this from animals!” but rather “What are my other options to source what my body needs?” If an unbalanced, unhealthy diet is recreated in a vegan way, it can be just as unhealthy and in some cases even more so. We must all approach our diets in a new and exciting light. In addition, vegans do a disservice by imposing this “all or nothing” approach. No one wants to be attacked for how they live their lives. And no good comes from doing so. Cook vegan for your non-vegan friends. Suggest they try a vegan meal once a week, then twice, then so on. Believe me, showing them everything a vegan diet has to offer will be infinitely more effective than arguing why eating meat is “dumb” or why they are “enlightened”. That’s just absurd. Guide more. Argue less.

Gordon Kelley

September 15th, 2011
3:42 pm

Tonya wrote: “I love meat and am stunned by being called immoral for doing what man has done for thousands of years.”

I believe I was the one who made the immoral comment, and wish to clarify. Although I do not speak for all vegans, I was NOT calling meat eating immoral on principle. That is a debate that is unlikely to ever be settled.

My original post and continued primary motivation for veganism is to point out that choices which do not involve funding the continued intense suffering of animals in large agribusiness factory farm operations are morally superior to choices that turn a blind eye to such evil in the name of a tasty meal.

It’s not the eating of meat per se that’s immoral — it’s paying to support the cruelty inherent in corporate animal-raising processes designed to maximize economy of scale and profit that’s immoral. This is a key distinction in this discussion and the major reason I’m a vegan.

I’ve said it many times and will repeat it here: compassionate people should avoid buying animal products from factory farms. If you can, purchase your meat and dairy from small farmers who truly treat their animals well.

Vegan cookbook suggestions: “Vegan with a Vengeance” by Isa Moskowitz, “Vegan Soul Kitchen” by Bryant Terry, and “The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen” by Peter Berley. It’s easy to eat well and be vegan.