Real Vegan Families: The Therrien Family


The Therrien Family

Tell us about the members of your family – their names, ages, and an interesting tidbit of information about them!

Chris – (mom aged), Jes – (mom aged), Ely – 9, Leo – 4.5. Our boys were created through reciprocal IVF which means we each carried the others baby. Jes is a pediatric NP and Chris is a healthcare attorney.

When did your family start its vegan journey?

We jumped headfirst into veganism in February 2011.

What has been the most rewarding part of being a vegan family?

I joke that veganism is our religion. Veganism is a very tangible way to teach compassion and morality.

What has been the most challenging part of being a vegan family, and how do you handle that challenge?

The only real challenge I think we encounter are large family dinners/weddings. There is never any vegan food so we always have to plan ahead and pack our own meal. It happens often enough that we are used to it.

What has been the most surprising or awkward encounter you or a member of your family has had because you are vegan?

Recently I started a new job and I was having a casual conversation with my new boss, who happens to be a nurse-attorney. She asked me, “how do you get your protein?” Without hesitation I incredulously asked her, “oh, come on, you’re really going to ask me that, you should know better?” Then I must have turned beet red because my response was completely out of line. I rarely ever get asked that question so I haven’t had enough practice with a canned answer. I forget that most health care professionals have little knowledge of nutrition.

What is your go-to family dinner when you are short on time?

For a quick meal our freezer always has either Amy’s Sonoma veggie burgers or Gardein black bean burgers in it. We are rarely short on fruit and if we are short on time, for a good vegetable that everyone will eat, I saute Whole Foods brand Haricot Verts with a splash of soy sauce.

What is the go-to lunch you pack for your child(ren) for school?

Sunbutter and strawberry preserve is the one thing the children will eat everyday. Apples and cucumbers with hummus are also lunch box staples.

What are your family’s favorite snacks (whether intentionally or unintentionally vegan)?

Popcorn made at home in our Whirley Pop on the stove top and any vegetable available with hummus.

Do you have any tips for eating out as a vegan family at a non-vegan restaurant?

Ethnic food is your friend. Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican are all great options for eating out. If you find yourself stuck at a run of the mill American-esq restaurant look on the “sides” menu. Often you can put together a decent meal with just sides and they can cook the veggies without butter and the ever popular bacon topping.

Does your family have any favorite vegan-friendly children’s books or cookbooks?

Vegan Lunchbox is an inspiring kid-friendly cookbook. Some of our favorite recipes come from there.

What is your family’s favorite vegan business (either local or online)?

We really love The Walnut Grille in Newton, MA. They have great food and the staff is really attentive.

Have you been able to connect to other vegan families in your area? If so, how?

Unfortunately, we haven’t connected with other vegan families.

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer other veggie families or those making the transition?

It’s not as hard as it seems. If you think you can’t because of cheese, for example, go to a natural foods store (like Whole Foods) and buy some vegan cheese. If you think your children will revolt, start with some easy transitions, like Gardein nuggets. Don’t make a big deal about transitioning to veganism when preparing meals because children can be picky for no real reason. Have frank conversations with children about how good veganism is for their health, environment, and the animals. They will get it.

If not everyone in your family is vegan, what is that like? Any advice for other veg-omni families?

We are all vegan so this isn’t something I can really speak to. We had several non-vegan au pairs and they managed to survive eating vegan food because we let them pick things that sounded good to them.

What’s the main message of veganism that you’d like your children to take with them into adulthood?

Veganism is an easy step to take to ensure your good health, a better environment, and compassion for all others, be they humans or animals.

Interested in being featured in our Real Vegan Families series? Tell us about your family here!

Posted in Family Life, Real Vegan Families