Plant Based Power + Family Friendly Ideas = Health and Happiness
Thinking of doing more plant based meals for your fam? Check out this latest blog by fellow Divine-Mommy-Sister-Goddess and Creator of Mom Vegan Love, Kristine Casart. She gives us all some Great Ideas and Great Resources! Be sure to follow her on Instagram: @MomVeganLove.
How to raise your family vegan
1. Make small changes and educate yourself
I’m so excited to share some of our tips for how to raise a vegan family here on the Divine Mommy blog. Meeting Jamie and being part of the Divine Mommy community has been so amazing and empowering and I’m so honored to be able to share some of our ideas here for all of you Goddesses. Thank you!
We’ve been vegan for almost 3 years now and we just love it! But if you would have asked me only 5 years ago if going vegan was something I would consider, I would probably laugh you out of the room. What changed and how did we do it?
It all started because I was motivated to find something, anything, to get rid of my son’s asthma, skin rashes and constant colds. We also wanted to find relief from our family’s seasonal allergies. When I learned that plants were loaded with protein, I got curious. Looking closer, I realized that eating animal products was not only unnecessary, but that humans could thrive on a whole foods plant-based diet. Ailments like diabetes, asthma, obesity, high cholesterol, cancer and heart disease could be prevented and even reversed in some cases simply by changing how we fed our bodies. I was floored. How was that possible? How come no one told me this before?
We gave it a try by making small changes at home and we saw the benefits sooner than I’d ever expected. But that was only one aspect – this change quickly expanded into something more profound. Opening our hearts to compassion, not just for ourselves but for all earthlings made me feel connected to the world in a whole new way. And knowing I was making better choices for our planet, well, I quickly began to realize that this seemingly small and gradual transition has the potential to change everything.
"Don't let the fear of failing stop you from even trying.” That’s been my mantra for a couple of years now, and it's opened doors to amazing new paths. You can't even fail going vegan – it’s simply something to strive for. For me, it continues to open my eyes and mind to a belief system that until now was hiding in plain sight. We don't have to eat animals or animal secretions just because we’ve always done it or because everyone else seems to be doing it. It's amazing on this side, and we’ve never felt better. Saying goodbye to asthma, high cholesterol, allergies, and weight issues has been a nice bonus, but opening our hearts to compassion for ourselves, for our family and friends, for the animals, and for the planet we all share has been the true gift.
Here are some of the enlightening movies and talks that changed my world for the better. My only regret is that I didn't watch them sooner:
Forks over Knives
What the Health
What Cody Saw
Melanie Joy - Carnism
101 reasons to go vegan
Bacon Lovers Meet Baby Pig
Take some time for yourself today and see what these movies and talks have to offer. It will be the beginning of the best chapter of your life. Change is wonderful!
2. Veganize your favorite recipes
If you’re anything like me, you have like four or five go-to recipes that call for basically the same things every time you go to the store. I’m still that way, but now all my go-to recipes are vegan. We started small by trading ground beef for mushrooms or cauliflower (just pulse in food processor), just omitted meat in recipes or replacing it with chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, or tofu, replacing butter for frying with coconut oil (I’ve had success with just plain water or vegetable stock too) and using flaxseeds, chia seeds, apple sauce or bananas instead of eggs.
We used to eat a lot of dairy – a lot - breakfast, lunch and dinner. I thought I’d be lost without milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and kefir. Good news! There are vegan versions of all of them! It's amazing! Just go to your local store and see what they offer, splurge and check out Whole Foods or make your own if you’re feeling adventurous. We love making our own almond milk – so easy.
I also love Pinterest for recipes. Just type in whatever you want to make, add “vegan" and hundreds of delicious options are right at your fingertips. We love lasagna, spaghetti bolognese, meatballs, alfredo sauce, pesto, hummus, coconut curries, stir fries, chickpea gyros, fried rice, pizza, enchiladas, pancakes, waffles, brownies, ice cream, muffins... You name it, we got it. It's such an amazing feeling living according to my heart’s true values and letting compassion lead the way. Every meal is a chance to make a difference! Don't try to change everything at once if that seems overwhelming. “Don’t do nothing, because you can’t to everything. Do something, anything.” (Great encouragement from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, The Joyful Vegan) Start small, and get excited and curious about how amazing this new world is. Once we started to see the benefits for our health, the animals, and the planet, we knew we were home.
3. Get some new tools and let the fun begin
My first homemade smoothie was actually more like a “chewy." The kale didn't even get a chance to get mixed up in our old blender. Ha ha! We quickly got ourselves a refurbished Vitamix and that machine and I are now the best of friends. I use my beloved high-powered blender every day. Right out of bed each morning I make fun and nutritious smoothies for the whole family. We also use it to make our own almond milk, cashew cheese sauces, tomato sauces, soups, hummus, tofu waffles (really!), almond chocolate milkshakes... You name it! It's the best! We also use our food processor a ton. It's great for black bean brownies, raw almond chocolate balls, hummus, pizza dough, banana muffins, cashew cream... These appliances are priceless investments in your health, so don't hesitate. Get your fun tools today so you can start reaping the benefits!
4. Read the ingredient labels and have fun at the store
When my son was about 1 we learned that he was allergic to dairy and we had to start reading all the ingredient labels. It was absolutely eye opening and totally depressing to read what was in all the food that I used to get without even thinking. I had been duped by the "all natural", "low fat" and "organic" advertisements on the front of the product and hadn't even considered that it might be bending the truth or flat out lying to me. In my mind if it was sold in a grocery store it had to have gone through some sort of testing and some credible establishment/organization was verifying that it was fit for and beneficial for human consumption. Well, I was sure in for a rude awakening. Ha ha! I decided to make it into a fun event and went to the store with my baby in tow and started from scratch, relearning which products were actually healthy for us and which I would no longer even consider as food. I quickly started feeling so much more at home in the produce isle. The fruit and veggies looked so much better with all the colors of the rainbow and no ingredient labels to read through. I also learned a tip (thank you Colleen Patrick-Goudreau – The Joyful Vegan), that if you want to know if something is vegan at a glance, check the cholesterol amount. Only animal products contain cholesterol so if it's at zero it's a pretty safe bet that it's vegan. Sweet, right?!
I absolutely love going to our local grocery store these days. It's like I view the products with a completely new pair of eyes and it's so exciting! We will pack our cart full of fresh fruits, berries and veggies, leafy greens, rice, pasta, beans, chick peas, corn, dried fruit, raisins, dates, nuts and seeds, crushed tomatoes, sprouted whole-grain bread, peanut butter, almond butter and sunflower butter, and the list goes on. Even though we try to get as much as possible organic and non-GMO believe it or not, since we cut out meat, dairy and eggs our grocery bill is actually much lower these days. It's the best!
5. Involve and inspire the kids
I'm so incredibly proud and amazed by how whole heartedly my kids have embraced veganism. They are truly my inspiration and the reason I do what I do. But when I first introduced this major change at home they were not exactly jumping up and down with joy. Ha ha! But my enthusiasm and happiness soon rubbed off on them and they slowly started enjoying the food and especially all the new treats. We wanted to explain to them in a way they could relate to, why this change was so important to us, the animals and the planet.
Bite Size Vegan has some amazing videos for kids that were very well received by our children:
Ruby Roth has written some amazing books for kids about why being vegan is so amazing. So far we have read and love:
V is for Vegan (which my daughter read at school in front of her brother's whole class and the principal. Ha ha! Amazing, so proud of them both!)
The Help Yourself Cookbook for Kids
Vegan is Love
That's why we don't eat animals
Here's her website:
Just talking to the kids and answering all their questions is really what it boils down to. Turns out kids are way more compassionate then us adults and they were on board before we knew it. Gotta love that!
6. Go to and support your local Farm Sanctuary
Taking my family to a Farm Sanctuary for the first time really made us make the connection and that we were on the right path. I got to hold a chicken named Fonzi. Just holding his shaking little body in my hands made my eyes fill up with tears and I apologized to him for not having known any better. He soon realized that I meant him no harm and fell asleep in my arms. Petting the sheep and watching the pigs hang out had a huge impact too. They acted so much like our 2 beagles and you could see the intelligence and their bright souls shining through their eyes. We truly are the same in every way that really matters. They also feel love, form close friendships and more then anything they just want to live. Just like us.