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 Post subject: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:20 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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Hi everyone,
My husband and I have switched our family over to more vegan ways of living, over the past 6 months and I am getting so muc grief from family and friends that sometimes it makes me question myself. My children (7,6,3 and 6months) have been wonderful at accepting it, but I am wondering how you handled all the questions? Also I am feeling a bit uncertain on what to feed my 6 month old since all my others were raised on meat and dairy for the first few years of their lives.

I know that we are getting everything that we need, and I am happy with our choice to do this for our family, I am just really hoping for a little guidance. Anything that you can share would be of great help, especially baby food choices.

Thank you!


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:16 pm 
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My son is vegan from birth, so we didn't have to deal with the switch.

Find yourself a good, solid source of information (like Ginny Messina and Jack Norris's Vegan for Life). Check out their websites, too:

The Vegan RD
Jack Norris RD

That could help reassure you (and your family) that all is well.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:49 pm 
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I read the Vegan for Life book that someone suggested here just to make sure to cover all the basics for the health of my family, especially my children.

As far as comments from the family, we haven't really declared that we are vegans. I am a little flexible with what my kids eat at family parties, but for myself I have brought my own meatless burgers for bbqs, or opted not to eat the main dish at other parties. My family thinks everything we must eat is gross (and then my sisters complain about their kids eating habits). My mom is worried about how my husband must be surviving on nothing but rice and beans (not really). Actually my parents and sisters all got a good laugh out of my dinner a few nights ago, Sweet Potato Dal, that my kids ate up. It was sweet potatoes, red lentils, and spinach, with spices. Jokes on them, I got two servings of good veggies in my kids that night. I even got a picture of my almost 2 year old gobbling up spinach. Wonder what theirs ate? My advice is to laugh with them and not to argue anything. Not sure what we will do when we host a party next. Probably make two different meals.

Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 8:54 pm 
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You don't have to justify your dietary choice to anyone! Smile and give them a cupcake or something and refuse to get involved in an unsatisfactory conversation.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:41 pm 
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Ditto to lavawitch and you should be super proud, too! What a great choice for your family. Kids are so eager to do good and resilient, it is probably easier for them than for anybody else. Plus, your food sounds yummy and wholesome.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:46 pm 
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As for feeding the little ones, I don't know what I'd do without nooch sauce. (scroll down) I boil some frozen broc with the noodles for a quick night dinner. You don't even have to add the store-bought cheeze, just some more nutritional yeast.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:55 pm 
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My 9 month old pretty much eats everything I do (and he still nurses a few times a day). I just chop stuff a little smaller or fork mash. We also like doing purees in the Magic Bullet (especially for popsicles!) that are whatever fruit we have around and a little nondairy milk. I highly recommend the book Feeding Baby Green - all research-based about how we learn to like food and different flavors and how to raise healthy eaters. It's not vegan, but vegan-friendly :)

Also, pat on the back to you! Your kids sound awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Hey Kristi, welcome to the PPK- and to veganism! I went vegan a few years ago, and was vegetarian for a few years before that. I don't have kids, but I can relate to being asked a lot of questions. I think you'll find some great ideas for meals on this forum- there are a lot of healthy vegan babies here. ;) As for family, I've found the easiest method to be kind, easy going, bring yummy food that everyone can eat, and eventually people will get over it and even go out of their way to make something for you. My mom was overwhelmed when I went vegetarian, then vegan, but she baked me a vegan birthday cake a few weeks ago and made lots of vegan side dishes for the family gathering. It gets easier. And you have tons of support here for when it is difficult. : )

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:16 pm 
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Sra. Nooch wrote:
As for feeding the little ones, I don't know what I'd do without nooch sauce. (scroll down)


we're with you, when in doubt, just add more nooch ;)

(wow... that recipe was from almost five years ago?!?!)

also, what lavawitch & FootFace said.

We've managed to raise two kids (now 18 & 15) as vegans from day one, and while there's a learning curve to be sure, it does get easier every day.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Thank you so much everyone! My older kids are doing fabulous and love helping make vegan goodies for their lunches and for their friends to try, they really like hearing people say the things they make are yummy and then they get to tell them that it is vegan and love the reaction they get. I just bought an ice cream maker to help get us through the summer. I am very happy with my choice to change our family life style and it is good to know that there is some support from such great people!!! Thanks again! Also if anyone had some good baby food recipes, I would love having some more ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:26 am 
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I think babies are easy. Even though we hadn't gone vegan when my youngest was eating baby food, most of the stuff I gave her was fruit, veggies, beans, and pasta. Both of my daughters loved beans when they were learning to eat. Black beans are small, but kidneys beans and garbanzo beans I cut in half. I gave them beans instead of cheerios on their high chair tray. Most of their nutrition is going to come from breastmilk (or formula) at this point still.

Mashed Banana and mashed avocado are really good and easy things to give. My first daughter had a lot of avocados when she was little because I was trying to plump her up. Didn't work, but I am sure she got a lot of nutrition out of them. I always just mashed up what we were having for dinner. My second daughter was a piggy when it came to eating and by 6 months she could chew. We did not buy that much baby food for her, really just used what my parents gave her.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Kristi, I would highly recommend checking out the "what did you make for your baby" thread.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:07 pm 
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This is my second attempt at going Vegan. I have my husband and 2 daughters, ages 1 and 3 yrs. My husband is on board for whatever I want to cook. :0) I really want to raise my girls vegan. The hard part is that I don't live near any whole foods places at all. I live near a walmart and a publix and that's about it. It seems that every vegan recipe that I find, has something new that neither grocery store carries. I want this to work so bad. Is there any advice for a new vegan family with minimal options (that I know of)? I also have a trader joe's that everyone says has everything, but literally everything I've tried to make, they don't have any of the ingredients! I desperately need an quick and easy way of cooking for my family, without having to go to 10 different places for food. HELP!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:46 pm 
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I find Trader Joe's fairly useless, so I'm with you there. They can hook you up with some vegan staples, though: tofu, tempeh, non-dairy milks (soy, almond, etc.), probably wheat gluten flour, etc. They're also a good source for prepared vegan soups and rice mixes and some other convenience stuff. They will have a variety of grains so you can expand your horizons there (things like quinoa, barley, millet, etc.). I'm not totally sure but they will likely have non-dairy butter as well.

I would order Red Star Nutritional Yeast (Vegetarian Support Formula) from Amazon or Pangea: http://www.veganstore.com/category/vegan-food-items

Publix and Walmart will have everything else you need: vegetables, fruit, a variety of beans and lentils, run-of-the-mill grains (like rice), and condiments that non-vegans are also fond of: soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, etc.

My best advice is to get a cookbook or two that uses easy-to-find ingredients and does not rely on meat analogues or cheese analogues. "20 minutes to dinner" by Bryanna Clark Grogan is great - when she calls for dairy replacements she gives you the recipes to make them yourself (like tofu sour cream). "The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen" by Donna Klein (or anything else by her - her Tropical Vegan Kitchen is also fantastic) is even better - she uses no soy products and I'm able to find everything she calls for in her books in a normal grocery store. Her food is rustic and familiar. For baking, Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books (she has a cupcakes book and a cookies book) are great because they require no specialty egg replacers (I think she may occasionally require flax seed, though) so almost all of her recipes are easily made if you have access to non-dairy milk, canola or vegetable oil, and occasionally non-dairy butter.

Good luck!

ETA: Apparently Donna Klein also has a book called "Supermarket Vegan" - I imagine it is just what it sounds like.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:54 pm 
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Every time you come across an ingredient you can't find locally, write it down. You can always order online when you work out a list, or find a sub.

There are lots of cookbooks that use ingredients you can find even at Walmart. Supermarket Vegan is full of easy recipes. I think most items for Veganomicon, Appetite for Reduction, and Vegan With A Vengeance are also easy enough to find.

I've had periods where I had to make do with just Walmart. They at least have tofu, soy milk, and basic grains, etc. You might have to swap spinach or collards for chard, but the basics are there.

Things like miso you can probably find at an international foods market.

Can you tell us some of the things you can't find?

Here are some quick things you can make: walnut pesto penne with chickpeas, tofu scramble and roasted potatoes, lentil soups, pea soups, seitan (Walmart usually has little boxes of gluten near the yeast in the baking aisle), baked tofu and stir fries, waffles, hummus, falafel, tabbouleh, etc.

If you can find a health food store within driving distance, you could go every month or two and stock up on things like nutritional yeast. Or order it on Amazon. I get my vital wheat gluten on Amazon; much cheaper than those tiny boxes.

Here are some recent lunches I've had:

Wrap with red leaf lettuce, couscous, Lima beans, red onion, avocado, cucumber, and a simple balsamic vinaigrette that I made.

Wrap with quinoa, baked tofu, red pepper, sprouts, peanut-lime sauce from Appetite for Reduciton.

Wrap with black bean and orange hummus, lettuce, red onion, drizzle of cumin-cinnamon vinaigrette.

Wrap with roasted red pepper and almond hummus, spinach, cucumber, red onion.

I crave fresh wraps in hot weather! All of the are healthy, quick, and use easily obtained ingredients.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Wow, thank you both. Very helpful. I'm sure most of the things that I haven't been able to find are probably there, I just don't know where to look for them. Like, I couldn't find Seitan anywhere today. Usually the things that I can't find are spices. Thank you for the information. I will start using Amazon for the things that I absolutely can't find! I have to say that becoming vegan has gotten me a lot more creative in the kitchen and everything has so much more flavor. Did I mention how good I feel now? haha. Thanks again!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:48 pm 
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truthfully, at first if i didn't have or know what a spice was, i left it out. can't miss what you don't know, right? i agree, becoming vegan has made cooking much more fun! good luck as you continue!

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:36 pm 
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I would make a list of the spices you want/need and then splurge on a big Penzeys order. They will be fresher, and cheaper!

Seitan is best made yourself, so no big loss. your mileage may vary, but I usually think store bought seitan is kind of gross (plus its expensive!). The basic recipe in Appetite for Reduction is a good starting point, or the sausages in Vegan Brunch. You can make seitan from common ingredients pretty quickly and easily.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:43 pm 
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Seitan from the store is gross. No loss. Honestly, if you're new to vegan cooking, I would steer clear of seitan for a while.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:41 am 
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Ariann wrote:
Seitan from the store is gross. No loss. Honestly, if you're new to vegan cooking, I would steer clear of seitan for a while.


If you're up to making seitan though, sausages are the easiest and almost foolproof. Grocery stores usually have vital wheat gluten in the baking aisle. Nutritional yeast might be harder to come by if you don't have a health food store, but it can be ordered online.

http://www.theppk.com/2012/01/vegan_sausage/

I use a metal vegetable steamer basket in a big pot for steaming sausages. You just need a pot deep enough for a lid to cover it with the basket in.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:24 pm 
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Thank you all again! So much help :0) I think I may stay away from Seitan until I get used to it all.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:00 am 
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I know how you feel -- I live in the country and can't even get tofu most of the time, although sometimes I can get veggie sausages. I just make everything from scratch and have lots of bean & rice-type dishes and pasta dishes and PBJs and nuts (they are a great source of protein, so concentrated, you don't need to eat very many). I have a few omni-friends who I write vegan recipes for (I try to keep my blog full of 'normal' easy to find ingredients) because they have the same problems you and I do (one girl is in PA and can't even find dried beans sometimes!).

Also, for specialty stuff, I do sometimes make a trip into the 'big city' and order on-line every so often (I'm about to buy a 25lb bag of brown rice because it's 80p/kg instead of £1.89/kg).

Anyway, the trick is to really just dive in and start eating completely different things than you probably used to instead of doing substitutes (which are expensive and not always very good anyway), although things like Shepherd's pie and burgers are usually pretty easy to veganise.

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:11 am 
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I can get soy milk locally and one brand of tofu (medium firm), one brand of sausages (no burgers) and soya mince, otherwise no specifically vegan products. I can get good vegetables and dried beans of various sorts.

I make my own seitan from whole wheat flour, I did order some vital wheat gluten to try but I prefer the texture of the stuff made from scratch. It really isn't hard.

From amazon I buy nutritional yeast and gram flour every now and again in bulk. I get vital wheat gluten , not for seitan but to bind burgers together- I use about a tablespoon a week so it lasts ages.

Much less often again I order a batch of cheezly from an online shop but the shipping is brutal! You can make great almond Parmesan (google it) There are some great noochy cheese sauce recipes and I've just bought 'Vegan Artisan Cheeses' so I may be able to make others too soon!

The recipe book recommendations above are great, but don't forget epicurious etc, I've found some real staples using online recipes sites and blogs.

Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Vegan for almost 18 years. Never made seitan. Still ticking. (But barely.)

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 Post subject: Re: New Vegan Family..... help!
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:52 am 
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Footface, I made seitan for the first time last year and didn't know what to do with it because I never cooked with meat (and don't remember my parents serving (non-ground/non-lunch) meat any way but plain). I was completely stumped and ended up looking through the meat sections of Joy of Cooking, trying to find something to do with it, and eventually just made a lame Asian-style stir fry with some of it and a nice hearty traditional-style stew with the rest of it. (Veg for 16 years, vegan for 12.) So I can grok why you haven't made any.

And Cgvegan, I never thought to bind my burgers with vital wheat gluten -- I bet that's just what they need.

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