Arohanui Vegan Love

Having compassion and love as a vegan in all aspects of life from early childhood & natural learning, gardening, photography, health & wellness, food, birth, breastfeeding, travel, & all things vegan.

Lindsay is a winner of Top 25 Vegan & Vegetarian Moms - 2013

What's your favorite vegan or vegetarian friendly product?

Wow, that is a hard one! Coconuts seem to be one of our favourite foods that is extremely versatile. We love drinking coconuts, cracking open and eating both young and mature coconuts, coconut butter for raw chocolate, coconut oil for all sorts, but raw cheesecake comes to mind :)

You will always find avocados and hummus at our house, and we love falafel, too. As far as products that are made to be vegan, my husband will tell you Trader Joe’s Chickenless Mandarin Orange Morsels since they obviously do not sell them in NZ, and he really liked them when we visited overseas.

We have a few appliances that are awesome like our blender (although I am still hopeful of a Vitamix one day along with a dehydrator), food processor, spiralizer, and juicer.

What's the biggest misconception people have about being a vegan or vegetarian?

There seems to be some misconception that you cannot raise children as vegan because they will not get the "right" nutritional needs. The media has helped portray the idea that we need calcium for our bones and meat for protein, hardly suggesting any other vegan alternatives and implying that we are required to eat these to meet nutritional needs. This leads to the overall misconception from the majority of society where vegans get a lot of questioning, however, I feel that there is a growing community out there of people living as vegans and raising vegan children as well as the rest of society becoming more open and knowledgable toward health and nutrition.

What's your best tip for families who want to start living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?

Live a healthy lifestyle and lead by example. Zaedyn eats healthy and enjoys a variety of vegan food simply because he watches us eating the same foods. We took on more of a baby led weaning approach when introducing him to solids, and I believe this has contributed to a positive environment around food by allowing him to choose. Zaedyn loves green smoothies because he is involved in the process of putting ingredients in or watching, and holding the button if we use our hand held blender.

Other tips include: planting a garden (always more exciting for everyone to eat homegrown fruit and veg), make use of vegan apps available or vegan product lists from stores, eat simple raw foods as well as some raw dishes, create vegan versions if this helps you transition or as an occasional meal, and search Pinterest for some inspiration on recipes. We eat gluten-free as well, and there are many products now available that are gluten-free and vegan which never used to be available. It is becoming easier to be gluten-free and vegan if you wish to eat out or live a busy lifestyle where you want some quick meals and snacks.

Since being vegan is a lifestyle, it is important to know what other non food related items might be hiding animal products. Being eco-friendly is also a part of our lifestyle, and I think you will find that you will find awesome products that are not tested on animals and are vegan. Although it sounds like so many changes and things to give up, it can be quite easy. You quickly become aware of ingredients or conscious of brands that you support.

Lastly, although there are plenty more tips, look into a few superfoods or start replacing ingredients in your pantry with healthier alternatives. Just because food is vegan, doesn't mean it is healthy or good for us! We love spirulina, coconut butter, chia seeds, LSA (ground linseed, sunflower, and almond), and hemp products.