Whole Foods Vegan Momma

http://veganmothering.blogspot.com/

Explores fitness, diet, and vegan lifestyle issues through the lens of a twenty-something vegan Mormon, wife, mother of four, fitness instructor, self-proclaimed veggie lover and bibliophile.

Whole Foods Vegan Momma is a winner of Top 25 Vegan & Vegetarian Moms - 2012

What health changes have you experienced from becoming vegetarian or vegan?

My life has completely changed since changing to a vegan, whole foods diet.

I used to be one of those that always felt sick after eating. Indigestion, constipation, sluggishness. I couldn't figure it out. I ate "healthy"--lots of whole grains, lean meat, no-fat dairy foods, and plenty of calcium and protein rich cheese, and of course the obligatory nightly bowl of ice cream (it's good for my bones, right?). I've always loved vegetables and fruit, and was getting plenty of both, so what was the deal?

Once I got the animal foods out of my diet everything became lighter. I didn't feel like I had a rock in my stomach after eating. My inexhaustible desire for any and all forms of sugar became virtually nonexistant (I still love to make and eat desserts now, just not after every meal).

My body changed. I always thought I was a "hippy" girl (you know, I just had those birthin' hips some women are blessed with). Once I changed my diet I lost all the baby weight plus an additional thirty pounds, leading me to believe that maybe I'm not such a pear shape after all!

Sticking to a vegan diet for me, is not "sticking" to a vegan diet. There's just no question in my mind what foods are best for my body, what foods make me feel vibrant and alive, so there's no temptation to go back, no willpower to "just stick with it because it's healthy" involved here.

Do you expect your kids to be vegetarian or vegan?

Yes!

Kids are smart, they are inherently compassionate, and much more connected to their moral senses than most adults. I don't sugarcoat the issues, but I don't give it to them all at once either. They understand that killing animals unnecessarily is bad. We have plenty of plant foods at the store to eat, so we don't need to kill a cow. They understand, and I try to reinforce this, that wholesome foods give them energy, help them to grow, make them strong, and they feel better when they eat a certain way.

I want to show my kids in loving way, that good food choices bring joy on many levels. This is what I believe, in the end, will help them to make the decision to be a lifelong plant-eater.

What's one of your favorite foods you've discovered by being vegetarian or vegan?

I love starches!

I used to be scared of carbs (thanks, Mr. Atkins) in my pre-vegan days. Potatoes (don't they make you fat? have a high-gylcemic index?), brown rice, oatmeal, these foods were fattening in my mind. But now, I say, give me more! and my body and waistline love it.

Starches, the scientific term for complex carbohydrates, have the right balance of energy giving carbohydrates, fiber, protein (yes, even protein!), and other nutrients. I could not do everything I do each day without the help of these amazing starches. Current faves are oatmeal and brown rice (thanks to my rice cooker).