So, if our bodies are not built to handle the convenience foods that are predominant in the typical grocery store, what do you eat? I get asked this question A LOT!!! When I tell people that I don't eat animals or dairy, they usually give me a blank look and say "well, what do you eat then"...my answer goes a little something like this
"What do I eat??? What don't I eat is really the question! I eat salads, greens, avocados, bananas, pineapple, mangos, celery, green juices, smoothies, coconuts, apples, oranges, ginger, lemons, papaya, zucchini, carrots, berries, veggie soups, lentils, rice, beans, seeds, nuts...sometimes tofu but I try to avoid it."
Its hard for people to grasp the fact that
A. I get enough protein on a diet like this
B. Can afford to eat all these foods mostly organic
C. My child eats this way too!
Our society, with much help from the media, has a closed minded approach to health. The dairy companies brain wash us to think infant calf milk is not only good for our children, but unhealthy if you do not consume it. The meat industry does the same thing. If people had to kill their own animals for their consumption I can bet you most people would become a vegetarian. I know I couldn't sacrifice another life just for my own. Especially since all the nutrients that you "need" in meat and dairy can be easily found in plant based foods. Spinach has more protein in it per pound then a slab of steak and it is more easily digested unlike the dead cow. There are plenty of books and studies that have proved that a plant based diet is more healthy for your body, the environment and can help you to protect yourself against heart disease, certain cancers and live a happier longer life.
When you become a parent, there are a slew of things you must worry yourself with, if you are a conscious parent that is. One of them is how you will feed your child. It comes down to your own beliefs. If you firmly believe that meat and dairy are healthy, you would feed those to your children. I do believe that meat and dairy are acidic and our bodies are meant to be alkaline. This is my reasoning. My son does eat organic eggs from time to time and I don't make it a big deal. If he woke up tomorrow and said he wanted to eat meat I would feed it to him but make sure it was the best quality. I don't ever want my child to think that he never had a choice. I can tell you right now that in most children, that will only cause rebellion at a later point. My son has really embraced my vegan lifestyle. He loves when I make him raw vegan foods and even asks for it! I understand that most of this is just his natural adaptation to me as his mother. I didn't used to always feed him vegan foods. When he ate meat and dairy he was always sick...when I changed his diet he got better. He also hardly ever gets sick eating this way!
Here is a typical day for my son:
Breakfast: Usually a green smoothie with spinach, fresh oj, frozen pineapples and mango and bananas. Sometimes he asks for eggs, sometimes he just has a fruit bowl with his smoothie. Depends on his mood I guess. These days, hes has eggs 1-2 times a week if even that.
Snack: We have two snacks a day. Sometimes he just wants some of my kombucha with some vegan pretzels or more fruit
Lunch: Lunch is the time we get our greens in...so always a green juice! I usually have a salad and I'll try to get some of it in him but he is not a big salad person...yet! He loves home-made vegan pizza with daiya cheese, whole wheat vegan crust and chopped veggies and tomatoes for the sauce. Its either this or a snack tray with crackers, hummus, veggies and fruit.
Snack: This snack is usually some raw vegan fruit ice cream, vegan cookies, fruit or a raw bar....sometimes he will surprise me and ask for a carrot:)
Dinner: This is my cooked meal of the day if I have one. It's usually soup, polenta, tofu, steamed veggies or a vegan pasta. I love making veggie soups in my crock pot for an easy dinner and my son loves soups! Today I have a carrot, zucchini, lentil, onion. garlic, cumin, broccoli soup brewing! I love the way it makes my house smell too.
Dessert: Usually a big bowl of strawberries! My son is addicted to them...which I won't complain about:)
I don't really emphasis on the snacks. It is a time for us to go outside and chat while we nibble on a little snack take a little time out from the day. We always sit at our family table for all three main meals which is really important to me. My husband is home from work during the late Spring/ Early summer for 3-5 months so he gets to eat how we eat when he is home. He is a full on meat eater and "will never give it up"... So when we have our salad for lunch, he has his with free range organic chicken. Usually he will just bbq whatever meat he wants. This is a compromise and where I must find balance within myself and my expectations or this would never ever work. We accept our differences, though sometimes they can get it our way when we let them. On most days, we have accepted this is the way we will live our life. My husband has adapted too, big time! Before me, he would eat most of his meals out. Mostly fast food! Yikes! Now, he takes herbal tinctures 3 times a day, drinks a green juice and green smoothie everyday and is looking much more lively these days if I do say so myself:) It isn't perfect but this is working for us so far. He still complains when my green juices don't taste as sweet as he would like but he likes how I care so much for his health which makes him feel special. I don't give him much grief when he wants to eat unhealthy. I just try to lead by example and hope he will follow. Sometimes though, I just cannot help myself. I feel I must fill him in on what he is eating and then he just gets mad at me for ruining it for him. Depending on who you talk to, this could be a loving thing to do or not loving at all. I need to remember that his journey in this life is probably different from mine. Raw Vegan Living foods are very much apart of my journey. It makes so much sense to me, but might not for a lot of other people. I need to be more understanding of this.
Back to my subject, how to feed your child a healthy diet. I can tell you what isn't. The Standard American Diet, aka THE SAD DIET. For most children it looks something like this: Processed sugary cereal for breakfast with a sugared up version of pasteurized juice, pizza with gmo's for lunch with greasy french fries and watered down cow's milk, candy bar for snack and macaroni and cheese with some form of meat for dinner. I cringe when I think this is how the majority of our children are being fed. Really people? The worst part is, these children act like they are on crack because of their awful diet and then the parents take them to see a shrink where he prescribes them class c, horrible chemical drugs to "calm them down" when really all they needed was a good diet and maybe some herbs. My son acts like a crazy person when he eats junk. When he eats well, he is still energetic, loud and playful but he can also sit down and focus on a book if he wanted. He listens to me for the most part because he doesn't have processed sugars running wild in his head. Diet plays a HUGE part in your child's behavior. It is so important people. You will also be giving your child the biggest gift of health. It is not the easy way out. There is no easy way out. Either be lazy about your health now and pay later or put some effort in it everyday and live a long healthy life...assuming you don't get hit by a bus or something. lol
So next time you are shopping for your family and loved ones, remember, YOU are in charge of what goes into their bodies. If your child is obese or experiencing weight issues, it is nobody's fault but your own. I hate to be so blunt but this is the reality. Its really not hard either. We don't just have a fruit bowl in my house, we have a whole fruit shelf! 5 shelves worth of fruit ripening on them daily is a good reminder to eat well. Eating well is living well. You can't be living well if your eating crap! So put down the soda and take that candy bar away from your child. There are plenty of other healthy treats you can give them that taste good and are good for them! Stay tuned for some kid friendly, healthy vegan recipes!