Thursday, May 31, 2018

How Should We Talk About Fake Meat?

Check out my new piece for Raise Vegan. It's called, "How Should We Talk About Fake Meat?"

We started talking about this when Tzivia was still eating nothing but breastmilk. I initially wanted to mostly go the brand name route, but Charles brought up advertising concerns, and I agreed. He wanted to just call them straight-up "sausage" and "chicken strips" with no add-ons, but when I brought up how confusing that would be, he agreed. So then I wanted to go the ingredient route, but that took a lot of intention, which I had the patience for, but he didn't, so he went the "fake" route. And then eventually, to make sense of his "fake," I started the "vegan"/"made from plants" tactic.

2-year-old Tzivia goes face-first for her veggie burger in Seaside, OR.
Tzivia was 3 before she picked up pretend food from her play kitchen, pointed at the "fake meat," and laughed hysterically, saying, "We eat pretend food!!"

She's old enough for nuanced conversations about it now (and already asks others if the food they offer her is vegan), so we're doing alright, but I'm still not sure if there's a "best" way to navigate this.

So I'm happy with this pros and cons list.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Vegan Most of My Life

It's not a birthday. Not an anniversary. But Saturday was a special day for me. It marked the point when I had been vegan more than half my life. I've now been "vegan most of my life." So I want to reflect on the journey.

Cake I made, 2008
Yesterday, I celebrated with a savory crepe and a roasted banana macadamia ice cream cone at the PT Farmers' Market. When I was a teenage vegan in Florida, I never could've imagined I could get vegan food like that (without making it myself).

Me in 2004 - homemade cheeseless pizza and pudding parfaits

It's why I got so into cooking and baking--there were no restaurant/grocery options for me at the time. I wanted to be vegan, but I never wanted to feel like I was depriving myself.

Me in 2007 at Maggie Mudd's in San Francisco

 I went vegan when I was 17 years + 143 days old (or 2,703 days old). I had been transitioning for years already, since my nausea over a 9th grade fetal pig dissection made me consider for the first time what I was really doing when I ate meat.

It was a slow transition, because I had never met a vegan or even a vegetarian. The one 9th grade friend who called herself vegetarian had actually just quit eating cows/pigs, and so I started that way too.

Eventually, I stopped eating all animals, but I still hadn't met a vegan in real life (though by high school we had the internet, and I had a big internet crush on a vegan who lived far, far away) when, with my dial-up internet, I saw PETA's "Meet Your Meat." I only had to watch it once, and I realized I needed to go vegan.

My Famous Cowboy Cookies
I set NYE 2000 as my moment and went to work learning to bake (my first chocolate chip cookie experiment--just using water instead of eggs--was a big failure) and learning what I could get at various fast food restaurants (because that was still my family's norm). I learned how to read grocery packages, memorizing which long words were vegan and which weren't (I was still eating so much junk with such long ingredient lists). This was before packages put allergen warnings in bold, before stores specifically catered to vegans.

Charles at The Cookie Counter
Me and Baby Tzivia at our old pizzeria

Because I have this experience, of having to do it all myself, and of initially putting off veganism (and even vegetarianism) because I really just didn't know anything about it, didn't know anyone to guide me or model it for me, I want everyone to know that my family is always here to guide you, to talk about it, to explain or to listen, if you're thinking about veganism, or even just eating more plants and less animal products.

Harvest Feast (Thanksgiving) in Florida, 2016

I've read that every 7-10 years, the cells of our body have been completely replaced, even our bones, that we become brand new.

For 2,703 days, I ate animal products, probably every single day (even on Yom Kippur, as the fasting goes from sundown to sundown). I built my body out of other bodies, out of cows' breastmilk, out of chickens' periods. Out of carcasses.

For 2,704 days, I've been vegan.

reading my article in the new issue of Raise Vegan

My body is made out of plants, and it's a strong, healthy body.

It's never too late to go vegan!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

When You're the Only Vegan Family in Town

My latest piece for Raise Vegan is called "When You're the Only Vegan Family in Town."
It's pretty autobiographical, with a little advice.
Family pic - watching the salmon spawn at the Illahee Preserve!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Arcelia and Jonas - The Vegan Family Behind Eburg Veg

So excited to do this article on Arcelia and Jonas, up on Raise Vegan now. Not only are they doing amazing things (Eburg Veg, Jonas' YouTube cooking show; they're dear friends!

Marshmallows at Seattle Vegan Families Camping Trip
Tzivia and Jonas

Arcelia's Instagram is worth joining Instagram for, just so you can follow her.

Food and Photo by Arcelia Kent
One of Arcelia's natural creations!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Vegan Dog Food - Yes, Your Dog Can Eat Plant-Based Too!

Here's my new article for Raise Vegan all about vegan dog food.
Did you know our perfect lil Lupin eats vegan?

All dressed up
at Marymoor Dog Park

Lupin and Tzivia in the hammock

Only one of these dogs is not Lupin.

Vegan Junk Food Substitutes

My new article up on Raise Vegan is about vegan junk food substitutes. We eat a whole lot healthier now than I did when I was a new vegan. Especially for transitioning, it can be so nice to just be able to feel like you're eating the same familiar junk you used to eat. For most of these subs, the vegan version is a little healthier. But, for me, that's not even the point. Let's eat more plants! Woo hoo!

(Pic is Tzivia having her first ice cream cone at Il Gelato Amico in Torino, Italy. It was apple ginger gelato and pear gelato. It was a rice base but so much creamier than any rice cream I've ever had in the USA.)

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers' Day 2018

EPIC day. My mom came into town in the wee hours of this morning, so I was both mother and daughter today on Mothers' Day.

Tzivia'd made bath bombs for everyone with the help of her nana, and she made me a necklace (and filled out this funny questionnaire with this amazing drawing of us) with the help of her dada.

Photo credit to my mom for most of these lovely photos!

Bubbie (my mom) and I got to do the newest Yoga with Adriene video together, and then we picked up Banana Leaf Thai food and headed to the beach! We (Bubbie, Granddaddy, Tzivia and I) spent most of the day at Ft. Warden beach, along with many of the sweet families we're friends with. Tzivia opted to wear this dress and then wade in the Sound and flop in the sand and get it just completely filthy. Love it.

 Ended the day at Finnriver, where Dada had been working hard all day, making pizzas for moms (and everyone else).

Friday, May 11, 2018

Robins' Nest at Our House -- From Newborn to Flying Video

I finally compiled my cell phone footage of the robin's nest into one video!
12 days of baby birdies: growing feathers, snuggling, yawning, eating, pooping, getting ready to fly.
The video's over 16 minutes. Feel free to skim (obvi).

They start out so cute, and by the end, when their parents are keeping their distance while feeding them, I'm like, "Oh yeah, birds are totally dinosaurs."
The nest is empty now, but the internet informs me that robins reuse the same nests, so the mama might lay eggs there again, maybe even this spring. We loved watching both parents care for their babies. The frequency of feedings reminded me of the early days of breastfeeding.

For those who don't know, Charles discovered this nest, right under our feet, on our 2nd story deck. When we lie on the deck, we can peek at the nest between the boards, so I positioned my camera there and just left it recording and walked away. We didn't know about the nest before they hatched, so we're not sure how old they were on Day 1 of this video, but the internet tells me robins leave the nest around 13 days old, so we must've caught them when they were brand new!

Right after eating, the babies poop; that's what the parents are putting in their mouths! Apparently, when the baby robins are very young, the parents eat the poop, and as the babies age, the parents will take it away with their beaks but drop it instead of eating it. Friends who have seen our car, it does seem as though every bird in the neighborhood is using it as a target for their baby's poop.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Mushrooms in the Store are Fine to Eat.

Tzivia's new ukelele song is called, "The Mushrooms in the Store are Fine to Eat."

just a lil baby chanterelle we found.
Tzivia has been mushroom-hunting many times,
and she knows some mushrooms are fine to eat
very pretty, but not fine to eat.
(after cooking) but most
are not.
She wrote the words
to this one when we
were in the co-op
this week.

Veganism Makes Parenting Easier

Here's Veganism Makes Parenting Easier, my new article on Raise Vegan!
It's something I keep coming back to in my parenting, how well all the pieces fit together. The lessons I explore in the article, that I think almost all parents want to instill, are empathy, it's okay to be different, perseverance and patience, critical thinking, consent, and healthy habits. I write about how our family's veganism intersects with all those other lessons. For us, that makes parenting easier, because the lessons reinforce each other, and there's consistency rather than a constant need for cognitive dissonance.
The article comes with a baby picture of Tzivia in a onesie from my etsy shop, and here's a picture of her from this week (in a dress I'm going to list up there soon).

Friday, May 4, 2018

WIC Vegan Food Options

I am so proud of my new article at Raise Vegan, because I would love more parents and parents-to-be to know about their WIC options!
Here's a photo of me that was in the Port Townsend Leader when I was pregnant. I got all the produce on the table (and those lovely carrots) at the Port Townsend Farmers' Market with my WIC farmers' market vouchers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Real Vs. Pretend

Two days ago, we saw a FANTASTIC rendition of Charlotte's Web, put on by the 5th/6th grade class at Sunfield (Waldorf school). Tzivia has communicated a desire to perform on stage for a long time now (well, a long time for a 3yo anyway), so it was especially great to show her other kids rockin it on stage.

Charlotte's Web SPOILER ALERT...

Charlotte dies at the end. I knew it was coming, but I was still bawling, even after the standing ovation was over.

Anyway, this morning over breakfast, Tzivia asked me,

"When Charlotte died, did the kid who was playing Charlotte die too?"

I was happy to be able to give her some good news.
It was a good reminder, though, of how unclear the line still is between real and pretend (even though my kid is super-clever and we talk about everything a lot lot lot). She's always assuring me that pretend things she does are "just pretend, Mama," and Charles thought she was doing it for me (like, that she thinks I care a lot about real vs. pretend, because I'm always talking about it, so she wants to reassure me).

Today, at library time, Teacher Jeanne did adorable peas-in-a-pod crafts with us, and most of the kids were drawing little faces on their peas. I asked Tzivia if she was going to, and she said, "No, because real peas don't have faces."

I let her know she was definitely right, but she could still draw faces on them if she wanted (like the book Little Green Peas, which she loves), but she was adamant today that plants should remain faceless. 

How does this discovery of real vs. pretend play out with you and your kids? 

Vegan Rainbow Breakfast Potatoes Recipe

Check out my new Vegan Rainbow Breakfast Potatoes Recipe at Raise Vegan!
 The recipe post includes pictures of Tzivia eating it up, and here are a few outtakes: