The Daily Beet

18 May Family Friday: Judi’s family

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Each Friday we feature a plant-strong family! This week we hear from Judi and how her 4 kids got plant-strong!
E2: Tell us about your family. How many kids do you have? What are their ages?

Right now we have 4 kids at home. Two boys ages 8 years and 11 years, and two girls ages 13, and 17 years old.

E2: When did you make the decision that a plant-strong diet was right for your children/child?
About 3 months ago my husband and I watched Forks Over Knives. The information was astounding, it took everything that I  thought I had known about nutrition and threw it out the window. My husband and I talked it over for a couple of days and by the weekend we dove head first into the E2 diet. I was able to find the Engine 2 diet at our local library and I found the Engine 2 diet website that had the first 4 weeks menu already laid out for me.
E2:  Did you have any fears about changing their diet?

I think like most parents I wanted to make sure that they were getting a properly balanced diet. I was also concerned about making sure that they had enough protein and calcium in their diet.


E2: Did you face any criticism from family or friends?

I did not have a lot of criticism from my family for feeding my children this way but I have a lot of doubters in my family that do not want to try the foods that I am making.


E2: What was the first thing you changed in their diet?

After talking with my older children and husband we decided to go head first into the E2 diet.
We stopped immediately consuming meat and dairy products.


E2: How did your children/child react to these changes?

The day before we started our E2 “diet”, my 8 year old went around chanting,” I  will not be VEGAN,” now he will be the first to tell you that you are not healthy if you do not eat vegan. He will also tell you all the things his mom can do now that we have gone plant strong, such as dance with him, race him and even go on lengthy bike rides. My girls have really enjoyed our new change to a plant strong diet.


E2: What was the biggest challenge you faced making the change to a plant-strong diet for your children/child?

My biggest challenge was my 8 year old who does not like change. I had to find some snack food that was not processed that he could munch on. I think the other challenge was to stay in our budget. It is sad that it is cheaper to feed my children food that is not healthy compared to healthy food.


E2: Do they have any favorite meals? Recipes?

My youngest son loves the Black Bean Spread, I always have to make a big batch just so everyone can enjoy some along with him. My 11 year old son’s favorite meal is the Bar-B-Q pizza made on our home made vegan pizza crust. My 17 year old enjoys our new way of making  spaghetti, we have our whole wheat noodles and spaghetti sauce but we also cook squash, zucchini, red peppers, yellow peppers, onions and mushrooms in the oven together and then add that to the sauce. My 13 year old loves all of the meals with the exception of the mushroom burgers.


E2: If your children/child is school aged, what challenges did that present? How did you overcome the obstacle of lunches, hanging out with friends and other events?

We are a homeschool family so most of our meals are eaten at home. When they have gone over to their grandma’s I have them plan their meals that they would like to take over there. When we have events that there will be snacks served I try to find out what snack will be served and try to bring a healthy version of that snack or let them choose a snack that they would like to bring.


E2: How has a plant-strong diet impacted your child/children’s health?

Even though my children were far from being over weight each one lost a little weight in the beginning. They are also more energetic. My 8 year old, who is a little  high strung, is able to be more focused on his school work.


E2: What advice would you give to parents who would like to see their children become plant-strong? 

My advice would be, let the kids have a meal that they get to decide what they would like and ask them to help make it. Also talk with your kids, ask their opinions as to what they did or didn’t like about the meal. I have found that cutting up some of the vegetables really small in some dishes help.  Don’t get into a power struggle over food. Encourage and praise them to try a bite of a new meal at least 3 different times before ruling out that they won’t eat it.  Try to find healthy versions of what they like to eat. Talk to them about why you are eating a plant strong diet. If they are old enough have them watch Forks Over Knives.

Thank you Judi! Tell us what plant-strong meals your children enjoy! And be sure to leave some plant-strong thanks in the comments for Judi!

Would you like to be a part of our “Family Friday” series? Please e-mail info@engine2.com


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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Cynthia
    Posted at 08:41h, 18 May

    This is such a wonderful way to honor both your children’s needs as well as teaching them how to live a plant strong life. Kudos.

  • Deidre
    Posted at 13:20h, 18 May

    Great story. I get so angry when I see obese children. I’m not a parent, but it seems feeding and teaching your children bad eating habits is inexcusable neglect. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are of planting a garden with my Dad, shelling peas with my Grandmother and freezing the fresh produce with my Mom. I loved the winter nights when Mom would cook bags of fresh peas and squash from the freezer we had filled the summer before. It is refreshing to see there are still families who are teaching their kids to appreciate God’s great bounty in plants. The love shows in their smiling faces. God Bless, DMc

  • susie park
    Posted at 13:55h, 18 May


    bravo! how lucky your children are to have you and your husband as their parents! you are giving your children the gift of health and vitality…..as well as making them more conscious and compassionate human beings.!

    we just had our niece watch FORKS OVER KNIVES. she is 21 and 35 pounds overweight. it rocked her world and she has already lost over 8 pounds in 3 weeks!

    my husband and i just started the engine 2 diet. i have been mostly vegetarian for years – but consumed a lot of oil and some dairy. so we are cutting it out! and if you and your family can do it cold turkey – so can we!:)

    thank you and your husband for being an inspiration!

    susie and leo

  • Troy
    Posted at 15:31h, 18 May

    I went Plant Strong on February 17, 2012 after watching Forks Over Knives and after reading The Engine 2 Diet. Full steam ahead and not looking back.. I am struggling with how to bring my kids along on this journey with me and you present some great ideas.. Thank you for the inspiration!


  • Lisa Fogarty
    Posted at 15:57h, 18 May

    Judi… your lucky your husband was so willing mine took a while… and SO very lucky that you are homeschooling and not in public school it’s a lot of red tape in public school… Great job your kids are helping you .. You are a great role model for health and mothering.

  • Behnaz Safavi
    Posted at 15:48h, 19 May

    Thank you:)

  • Behnaz Safavi
    Posted at 15:48h, 19 May

    thank you

  • ciane
    Posted at 20:16h, 20 May

    You kids have great attitudes! I agree that children who have a say in their meal and help prepare it feel ownership and pride in that. Sharing thoughts and opinions about food, health, morality, feelings, etc. is challenging for some. I’m glad that you can all express your desires, interests, feelings, etc. in such a positive way!

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