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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's been awhile since I've written on the supposed topic of this blog: transitioning from a conventional diet to a vegan one.

I'm pretty much "there," though I occasionally allow a little dairy if I'm in somebody's house and the only options are carnivore or vegetarian. It's rare in my house that I do this, but outside of the house, it's sometimes hard to eat or drink without allowing for dairy. At church, for instance, I go ahead and have coffee with milk if I have coffee at all. At events like birthdays or holiday gatherings, I'll go ahead and have a dessert that probably has eggs and butter in it. Obviously, if I host the event, the food is vegan. But it's a bit much for me to bring my own vegan dessert to somebody else's party (I'll do so if asked). For example, if the only options at a potluck for main dishes are eggplant parm and fried chicken, I go ahead and eat the eggplant, leaving most of the cheese to the side. I have privileged being a polite guest over strict dietary preferences.

I'm comfortable with these allowances, though I know the die-hard vegans would not be.

As for the rest of the family -- my husband happily eats whatever vegan dishes I make, though he has not transitioned and has no plans to do so. When he cooks, which he does often, he makes a vegan version for me and the "regular" version for himself and the kids. He shops for vegan things without my asking him to do so. He's been very supportive. I think at least 50% of his meals are vegan, another 25% vegetarian, and probably another 25% have some meat. Not bad. I can live with that.

The kids? They all still eat dairy, though I restrict quantity much more than I used to. They're now used to hearing, "You already had one yogurt, so, no, you can't have cheese." They still eat meat, though probably only twice a week (which, in all honesty, is about the rate we used to eat meat as a family). So...they have more vegan options, but I can't claim they always go for them. Many nights, my husband and I eat a vegan entree, while the kids reject it and end up eating a sandwich or a bowl of soup, both of which are usually vegetarian.

It's a real uphill battle to CHANGE the way a family eats. We were already eating very healthily, at least compared to most American families. Vegetables and fruits have always been plentiful here; low-fat milk and whole grain cereals and breads too. The myriad ways to interpret "poor diet" -- processed foods, high sugar content, low fruit and vegetable intake, low fiber -- have never been good descriptors of my kids' diets, although my middle child is a junk food junkie if left to his own devices.

The additional burden -- and that IS what it is -- to forgo meat AND dairy -- is a big one. So, for now, I'm at peace with being the family vegan, setting an example, calmly answering questions (if they're asked!), and hoping that the kids decide on their own to eat even better than they already are.

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