Tell us about the members of your family – their names, ages, and an interesting tidbit of information about them!
John – 40 years old, 6 foot 6, still plays full court basketball in leagues twice a week, very active. Vegetarian for 6 years, vegan for 6 months.
Catharine – 36 years old, cancer survivor (neuroendocrine cancer likely related to herbicides and pesticides). Vegetarian since age 6, vegan for 6 years.
Jack – 10 years old, athletic and fit, hopes to be a professional football player, kind and thoughtful, biggest kid in his grade. Vegetarian for 6 years, vegan for 4 months.
Duke – 8 years old, good at climbing and a smart cookie, loves science and math, creative, sensitive, biggest kid in his grade. Vegetarian for 6 years, vegan for 4 months.
When did your family start its vegan journey?
What has been the most rewarding part of being a vegan family?
We believe that animals have a right to their freedom and their lives and that veganism is the future for compassion, health, and sustainability. We live spreading the message and showing others that it is an easy and rewarding way to live.
What has been the most challenging part of being a vegan family, and how do you handle that challenge?
I think that the most difficult thing is birthday parties, but they are not as tough anymore now that the kids know what they can substitute for themselves.
What has been the most surprising or awkward encounter you or a member of your family has had because you are vegan?
My kids sometimes are blunt about why they don’t eat meat and that is not always what people want to hear. Family members often try to push dairy on our kids in the form of sweets and that can be upsetting.
What is your go-to family dinner when you are short on time?
We do a lot of stir frys with veggies and rice. My kids make themselves veggie burgers as snacks. We eat a lot of beans and rice. We also make avocado sushi!
What is the go-to lunch you pack for your child(ren) for school?
PBJ – it’s easy and the kids love it. They always have fruit and a bar of some kind as well. Their lunch is probably very similar to other kids’ lunches.
What are your family’s favorite snacks (whether intentionally or unintentionally vegan)?
Oreos, breakfast bars, and protein bites.
Do you have any tips for eating out as a vegan family at a non-vegan restaurant?
At Mexican food restaurants, we substitute beans and guacamole for fillings for everything (as long as they are vegan, of course).
I am not against my kids having french fries as a substitute for a meal if there are no other options. Most kids eat those along with a hamburger. I would rather they just eat the fried potato and move on with their day instead of them feeling like there is nothing they can eat. My kids are super healthy and it is a rare occasion that they eat fries. (I do know that at a non-vegan restaurant the oil is probably also used to cook meat, but big picture, letting the kids eat the fries is my best solution).
Does your family have any favorite vegan-friendly children’s books or cookbooks?
To Market, To Market is kind of vegan and my kids always loved that book.
What is your family’s favorite vegan business (either local or online)?
Green Vegetarian in Phoenix and Tempe is super family friendly!
Have you been able to connect to other vegan families in your area? If so, how?
Do you have any words of wisdom to offer other veggie families or those making the transition?
Do it! It takes some adjustment, but once you get past the adjustment period, it is such a fulfilling way to live!
What’s the main message of veganism that you’d like your children to take with them into adulthood?
You make your purest decisions as a child.
Interested in being featured in our Real Vegan Families series? Tell us about your family here!