The Daily Beet

11 May Engine 2 Parenting Series: Happy Mother’s Day!

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We are featuring a new series on the E2 blog all about parenting. We have lots of plant-strong parents raising plant-strong kids.

Being that this Sunday is Mother’s Day we wanted to highlight one of the wonderful Mom’s in our community, Loni from Whole Food Mommies .

My name is Loni, I am happily married to the love of my life, Ben. We have four daughters ages 9, 6, and twins who  are 3 years old. We changed our diet three years ago, immediately after listening to “The China Study” on a long car ride. I carry a breast cancer gene (BRCA 1). When Dr Campbell started sharing the links between diet and breast cancer specifically, it was an answer to prayers for us.  Each of our four daughter has a 50% chance of carrying the gene as well, preventative surgery was the only real option for me. I worried about cancer and my girls daily. Now I know that if we can give them the proper nutrition starting at such young ages their odds will just continue to decrease. This new information was hope and peace! It gave me back the power and the fear of cancer has dwindled.
After we listened to The China Study, I knew everyone needed to hear this stuff! I had no idea that NOT everyone on the planet wanted me to share this new found knowledge with them. I was telling people left and right. Inviting people over for plant-based goodness. It didn’t take long for some friends to stop joining us for meals or for our families to be fearful when we visited. They did not now how to cook for us or if I would lecture them on what they were eating. I learned quickly that the best approach, as with anything, is to love not judge. (and be ready ready to share when they are ready to listen).
The First thing we immediately eliminated from our diets was dairy, that was a big change for us. We were not big milk drinkers, but yogurt and cheese were used daily if not at each meal. It took some time to get use to new flavors, we certainly missed our cheese. Lucky for me, my kids were still young enough to not complain too much. As they are getting older and spending more time with friends, they see a lot more of the “normal” stuff and will ask for ice cream or string cheese. It always give me a great teaching opportunity. I get to share with my daughters the power of eating healthy. There are times when I will let them choose. I do think it’s important that they learn to listen to their bodies as well. My oldest two daughters can now feel the difference in their bodies depending on what they chose to eat.
I think the biggest challenge with feeding my children plant-strong is SCHOOL (lunch). Now, don’t get me wrong, I make their lunch everyday. It’s the trading or sharing with a friend  and the class parties where all the processed sugary junk get tasted. I educate my kids, but I know that they will get treats. It also give me another opportunity to teach them to listen to their bodies. I do not want to force this lifestyle on my children just to have them run off to friends’ homes and binge on garbage. I want them to notice how they feel and why. My nine year old came home from a friends house after playing for a couple of hours, she was sick. She told me what they ate… oreos, popcorn, popsicles, and she was offered soda. She told me how glad she was that I cared what she ate and that she doesn’t have to worry about food at home. Friends play a key role and now that she has had the opportunity to experience that sick to her stomach feeling, she makes better choices.
Another huge benefit to eating plant-strong:  My kids were sick from October to May every year. I just planned for ear infections, coughs, colds, runny noses,  and then springtime allergies. The first winter after our diets had changed we had one bout of sickness, none of the regular ear infections. No need for antibiotics or hours waiting in the doctors office. We were THRILLED! I could not believe these healthy happy kids for the whole winter, we could go sledding and actually enjoy the winter! There is no greater blessing than healthy children!
I know its not an easy road for parents just starting out. I would love to suggest start by eliminating dairy and adding a lot more greens. I let my kids take turns picking the greens for dinner. I think there are a few important keys to helping your children become plant-strong. First educate them at their level, take them grocery shopping with you and allow them to pick a few new veggies, then let them help prepare meals. If they play a role in the process of preparing they are more likely to try their creations! Most important, be patient and don’t give up! It takes time for their little taste buds to appreciate all the new flavors.
Thanks for the opportunity to share
Newbie Mommy
Thank you Loni! We appreciate you sharing your story.
Do you have kids? Are you starting to pave the plant-strong road with them? How is it going?
If you’d like to write about your plant-strong parenting adventures, we’d love to hear from you! Please e-mail info@engine2.com
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Natala Constantine
  • Michelle
    Posted at 16:24h, 11 May

    Thank You!

  • Kimberly Bryan
    Posted at 16:32h, 11 May

    Thanks Loni for sharing your story. I feel like I’ve shared alot of the same experiences. I, too, have 4 children (9, 8,6, &1) and it took a good 2 months for them them to come around. School lunch was an issue, a well as snacks or treats at school (all sugary and processed), but to my delight my kids are also choosing to eat healthier choices. Their bodies really do tell them what is best.I have the privilege to now raise my one year old son on a plant-strong diet, from day one. He has only had one non-well check up at the doctor. That was not the case with my older 3.I’m one happy mommy!

  • Romeros with Love
    Posted at 07:36h, 12 May

    Thank you for sharing. This is a whole new way to look at eating. A bit overwhelming …. when you changing everything you once thought was “good”. I too have 4 children. I look forward to finding creative ways to pull together meals and educating our children. Reading other experiences helps on our journey!

  • Jenn
    Posted at 07:51h, 12 May

    I am not a mom, but I am really impressed with how you teach your kids to listen to what their bodies tell them. I think people, and especially women, are often taught in our society to ignore the signs they get from their bodies, which helps create a disconnect with health. Kudos!

  • Laurie
    Posted at 11:04h, 12 May

    My kids have not had meat, dairy, eggs, oil for 2 years and they are the healthiest kids in their classes, they rarely get sick, my son had some pretty bad stomach distress prior to the change ,and he does not anymore.
    It just takes being committed and not getting your own cravings and addictions in the way of their health. It wasn’t easy for the first 3 months as we adjusted, but since then it has been smooth sailing.
    They don’t eat a huge amount of greens, but they do like spinach, they like tofu scramble or a big bowl of oatmeal with nuts for breakfast, for lunch they take whole grain sandwiches or sandwich roll ups, on whole wheat tortillas to lunch with fruit, hummus and carrot sticks. Dinner is usually whole grain pasta, potatos, polenta, brown rice and beans.
    Snacks and desserts , we do vegetables and hummus a lot for snacks and dessert they love blueberry dumpster cobbler, or frozen fruit. I think we as parents make things very complicated for kids, and we are afriad they won’t eat, but they will, sometimes it takes trial and error, but your kid will not starve, they will find something that works. I found that as long as my children knew that there was bad stuff in the house or that I’d just bread down and go get them bad stuff, they would not change the way they eat.

  • Deb
    Posted at 00:09h, 13 May

    I was reading another popular vegan blog and the Mom said that she can’t get her kids to stop eating a few bad foods, mainly vegan junk food and then some non vegan food. She said that they just won’t give those up. I did not understand this, as the answer is fairly simple, stop buying it.
    I know that there are times in school or parties, but those are few and far between. If we make our kids breakfast and pack their lunch and make their dinner and we refuse to have the junk in the house, they can’t eat it. I agree with Laurie on this one.
    I know it can be hard, I have 3 children and it took them all of a week to figure out that we were not going to have gardein in the house or vegan butter. They adjusted. Our treats are healthy treats, there is no need to “treat” with food that hurts their bodies. There is no difference between a treat and what they normally eat, they love fruit, we make banana ice-cream, but if they ask for banana ice-cream at 7am that’s what they get, because it is still healthy!
    I’m not going to raise my kids like my Mom did, where I thought there were good and bad foods, but it was okay to eat bad foods in moderation. In our house all of the food is good, and we keep it at that, makes life easier!

  • Marcia
    Posted at 00:14h, 13 May

    I love that you are doing this series Rip! I am a Mom and I am overweight and getting healthy! My kids LOVE you! They really liked Kitchen Rescue.
    My kids are actually a lot better about the changes than I am! They adjusted just fine, not a lot of complaints, I was the one who was fighting things like oil (HA!)
    But they just made the change, they didn’t even notice we weren’t drinking dairy milk anymore.
    My big thing has been involving them in the process, so they pick out meals to make, they pick what they want for lunch. It makes things easier.
    THanks again!

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