Finding Balance at the Vegan Table

The following article was written by PETA guest writer Carissa Leventis-Cox.

With my family, it seemed like our highly raw vegan diet was second nature to all of us. Then, out of nowhere, or so it seemed to me, my dear son and hubby decided on “no more nuts.” This was followed by “no more raw smoothies.” Then, “no more raw salads.” In other words, no more raw anything. Yikes! Had I pushed them too far?

So, I started killing the vegetables. I cooked more and more veggies in soups, with dressing, steamed, boiled, baked, etc. And I discovered that my family actually has increased their intake of veggies this way. Dead broccoli is the new fave around here, in addition to mushroom miso soup. Surprise, surprise—I even lost a few pounds without all the added fat from nuts.

I began to wonder how raw families do it. How do they function in society? How do they enjoy being with family and friends who don’t eat the way that they do? How do their kids relate to other kids in the community? My first guess is that they just do so in a different capacity. My second guess is that husband and wife have to agree on diet and nutrition principles to make it work for the family. My third guess is that the parents have to impose and work hard to ingrain these beliefs at home (unless the children have allergies and sickness that inhibit their diets). I cannot imagine regular kids not wanting what other mainstream kids can have—unless they don’t have much of a relationship with other kids and therefore have no knowledge base of what goes on “on the other side.”

Now, as a raw vegan, I slave away in the kitchen to prepare and cook most of our meals from scratch. Truth be told, my heart sank when my husband recently bought some soda, a package of cereal with high-fructose corn syrup, and a carton of soy milk. My son has begun hoarding some vegan candy canes and has a new obsession with gum.

As a mama, it is hard to let go of control—especially in the kitchen. But this year, I found more peace andhappiness at the dining table by relinquishing more control over my family’s diet. I still buy the groceries and prepare and cook our food. I still educate my family on food matters. But at the end of the day, I let go and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to eat.

A little discouraged one day, I asked my husband and son separately if they wanted to branch out from our vegan diet. They both said “No!” Are you sure? “Yes!” Phew! At least we agree on veganism.

I offer my family healthy food, I empower them with current food knowledge, and I model good eating habits. Then, I let go in peace.

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  • toni commented on February 27, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I drink soy milk and am on my way to a more vegan diet ty for ur commentary enjoy your new out look its a healthier one remember build a frame and they will come back have a good day

  • Lady Kalayha commented on March 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Hey! I like your article and I’m thinking a lot about how my child(ren) will interact with others as she (the) grow up and have to answer lots more questions about their food!
    PS It’s not always a “husband and wife” as you had indicated in your article. Don’t forget about wife/wife or husband/husband or single parent families or multi-gen families that struggle with this stuff too! Don’t leave us out!

  • amanda commented on March 4, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I want to become vegan but a Lil scared cuz I don’t know how to do a transition without the worry of my body acting up also I have a year old son who can’t do the veg and vegan diet will it be hard to make 2 separate meals for the both of us?

  • Chris commented on March 6, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Just to be clear – there is no need to be raw to be vegan. If you enjoy raw, great.

    It’s best to take the transition in steps – adding more and more vegan meals over time is more likely to be successful in the long run then trying to do it all at once. Check out both Kathy Freston’s book Veganist and the book Main Street Vegan for some suggestions on transitioning to vegan. Also check out Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina. It’s a great and easy to read reference on staying healthy as a vegan (and it’s really much easier to stay healthy as a vegan than as a non-vegan!)

  • Rachel commented on August 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Amanda I have four children myself, and understand the struggle. There are so many amazingly easy cook books out there, for yourself and children. May I suggest “Mayim’s Vegan Table” or “The Happy Herbivore”. The first one listed she talks about raising her children vegan, and the challenges. She has a lot if wonderful ideas, and it helps to relate to someone. The second cookbook has amazing budget friendly and quick recipes.