My husband and I do not have children, we know TONS of vegan parents though, who have healthy, happy children and have learned and managed just fine with being on a 100% plant based diet. For people who are making the switch, and having to change the lifestyle for not just themselves, but their family, I know it must be hard. To all of a sudden not be taking trips to a fast food place, or not having chicken nuggets or even goldfish crackers around – has to be hard on kids.
Recently, someone wrote to me about the change and I asked her if I could share how she handled it with her 2 sons. I thought the way she went about it was really humble and made the effort of getting healthy a family activity, instead of Mom and Dad just forcing it on the kids. This is what she had to say: (with permission)
“Well, we have two sons who are 7 and 11. They eat pretty well, but I’ll admit, I got pretty lazy with their meals, between sports and friends and me going back to work, there wasn’t much time to plan. So we did a lot of frozen nuggets, processed American cheese and sandwiches with deli meat. We also ate at a McDonalds about once a week, which was a real treat for them. About a month ago my husband had a mild heart attack. He is 38 years old, and it really scared us. He picked up the book “Engine 2 Diet” and decided that he wanted to change every thing. Well, I’m overweight and have some health problems already, and depression and anxiety. When I found out my diet could help that, I decided to change as well. But we hadn’t made the switch for our sons. We thought it would be hard on them, and not fair. We realized that it was a pretty selfish thing on our part, for us to get healthy, while we made our kids sick. We didn’t know how to handle it, so we had a family meeting. Basically, we apologized to our kids. We told them that Mommy and Daddy have learned a lot about what is healthy for our bodies and we want them to have healthy bodies too. We told them that we were sorry for not always giving them what was healthiest for them, but that we’d do a much better job from now on. I told them that, just like Mommy and Daddy don’t want you to do dangerous things like play in the street or play with matches, we don’t want you to do things that hurt the inside of your bodies either. We have told them about how bad drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are and told them that there are foods that are bad like those things. My youngest was completely fine with it all, my older son is having a little harder of a time, he really likes his sugar. We have started to do a lot more as a family, and we now make it a point to be active every day, together. We also have been cooking together. We tell them that we are a team, and that we need their help. I want to do what is best for my boys, I don’t want them to get the diseases that we have. I know it will be hard at first, but so was raising 2 boys so far! My husband and I are the two biggest influences on our sons, we want them to be healthy and stay healthy.”
I am curious to learn how other vegan/plant based parents made the switch, what worked for your family? Or, if you haven’t made the switch, what are you afraid of?