How our family lives plant based
Our First Month
When we first became plant based i was pretty nervous about it. I had always thought you had to be crazy to be vegan and it was a radical change for me. It’s amazing the things you do for you kids. I would never have considered it if i hadn’t been concerned for my kids future quality of life. We want them to live to be 80+ and just as agile, energetic and healthy as i am today. We cannot control their decisions when they are adults but we can give them the best possible start and teach them the tools to continue a healthy lifestyle when they do leave the nest one day.
I had so much fear of the unknown. What were we going to eat now? Like i literally did not know where to start. Would we find food we liked? What about protein? In our western culture meat is the center of the meal and it took some mind renewal to get over that. It just seemed wrong to me to have a plate full of side dishes. It was an incomplete meal in my mind.
Of course we’ve navigated our way through the first couple of months and after some trial and error we now have a yummy menu of our favorite dishes that we all enjoy.
A Normal Week
Nowadays it feels like we’ve always eaten this way. We’ve really found a groove. I like to say that we are dirty vegans. We have one cheat meal each week. Occasionally we will get a lunch out or have a latte. If there is a special treat we’ve been wanting to try we make sure it’s on the same day as our cheat meal.
Every Friday we either have family pizza night or Superman and i go out on a date, and we break the vegan rules that day. We don’t plan to have a 2nd ‘cheat’ meal every week. But there is usually some point during the week that a 2nd exception to our plant based rules needs to be made. If we have long day of running errands and didn’t pack a lunch, maybe a birthday party or family dinner with relatives. We have a lot of family near by and were always having some sort of get together.
So i’m a mom in the real world and i cook like it. The qualities i like most in a meal are limited dirty dishes, simple cooking techniques, ingredients that i can get a regular grocery store and quick cooking times. I rarely do anything that doesn’t meet all of those requirements. Sometimes, but it has to be worth it.
That being said, i’m also not a morning person so i don’t cook in the morning and i hate cleaning up a big mess to start my day. Our breakfasts consist of lots of fresh fruit and usually some sort of coffee cake or sweet bread. Fresh fruit requires little, and often no prep work. I always have the cake made in advance so when the kids get up we just set it all out on the table and pick at it. That’s our typical breakfast. We used to do cereal but spilled milk and uneaten cereal put a stop to that. When dad gets involved he will make pancakes or waffles. He’s a better morning person than i am. Lol.
We do a big lunch and a small dinner at our house. The main reason is because of the time restricted eating Superman and i do, but it also just works well for our family. It took some time to adjust to it but we basically eat our dinner at lunch and lunch at dinner. I do the majority of the cooking at lunch time. That’s also when I make our breakfast pastry if we’ve run out. I have the most energy at this time of the day and it’s the best time to make a big mess.
Dinner, like i said, is more like a typical lunch. It’s leftovers, reheated soups, salads, or a quick burrito. It sounds a little sad at first but i love that i don’t have ton of work at the end of my day. There are very few dishes since i’m not cooking a big meal and i’ve even taught my kids to eat out of the pan sometimes so there’s hardly any work at night time. It’s amazing.
I will say, right now my kids are very young and sitting down to discuss our day isn’t something we do yet. I actually do try but they are so little still. Having that table dinner together and talking about our day is a big priority for us and i don’t think that we would do dinner this way if they were old enough to carry on a real conversation. Just some food for thought,
We do make an exceptions to the rule for special events. Were not vegan on holidays, birthdays, vacations or other occasions. We used to eat traditionally at family events too, but our family and is big and close by so there is always a reason to eat normally. You just have to watch that you don’t stretch it out too long. That’s really easy with a holiday or maybe a birthday that’s during the week and a party on the weekend. All of a sudden the whole week can go by with little compromises here and there. I supposed if you never made an exception then you wouldn’t run into this problem but this works better for us in the long run.
So i never buy non vegan food during my regular grocery trip. I only buy animal products if i need to make a specific dish for a party. It helps keep our cheat days only to one meal. And if i did buy, say some cheese, for a special friday meal, then i’d probably have leftovers. That’s not my favorite because i hate wasting food and i’d feel like someone needs to eat it and then they’d be eating those animal products that we decided should only be an occasional indulgence. It just help us stay true to our purpose.
The benefits we’ve experienced the most are more energy and better digestion. Eating vegan usually leaves us feeling lighter and less lethargic after a meal. We’re full but not bloated. My husband, being a weightlifter, was concerned about losing the muscle and strength he’s worked so hard to achieve. I’m happy to say that he hasn’t lost any of his size and he’s actually gone up in the weight he can lift since becoming vegan.
I’m also happy with how much variety we’ve added to our diets. We eat a much wider array of fruits and vegetables than we did before. My kids enjoy lots of vegetables that they previously wouldn’t even have smelled, let alone, put in their mouth.
I’m very happy with how we’ve be able to incorporate a plant based diet into our daily lives. We are just your typical family with a to do list, endless errands and always a surprise thrown into the mix. Making the switch to a plant based family was challenging at first. If you are trying it give yourself some grace and stick with it. Our healthier choices have paid off in our family and we don’t have any regrets. I foresee that we will be eating the same “dirty vegan” diet years from now.
Visit the previous posts in this series here.