Monday, January 16, 2017

So, what does your vegan kid EAT?

vegan babyWell, a lot of stuff, actually. Here's a list of things my vegan one-year old currently chows down on so far - most days, that is!


Pasta.


Long pasta, short pasta, thin pasta, wide pasta, wheat pasta, rice pasta, pasta stars, pasta squiggles, so much pasta, pasta, pasta that I am tired of making pasta.

Most of the days, it's pasta.

BUT - when it's not just pasta, it's also:

  • Black beans and rice
  • Roasted seaweed
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis
  • Rasberries
  • Gluten-free waffles
  • Riced broccoli (either from Trader Joe's or homemade) thrown into any rice/pasta dish
  • Sprouted toast with peanut butter
  • Bananas
  • Lots of peanut butter
  • Applesauce
  • Frozen fruit
  • Lara Bars
  • Lentil Soup
  • Smoothies with leafy greens and fruit (I push this every day, especially if she hasn't had veggies)
  • Rice & quinoa noodles.
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • The Pea Snacks from Trader Joe's
  • HappyBaby Puffs (and really anything from this brand that's vegan - I love 'em!)
  • Fruit juice
  • Rice cakes
  • Veggie and fruit squeeze packs (I especially love Beech-Nut's cold puree packs!)
  • Crackers
  • Mama's milk (14 months and still going!)

In terms of HOW she eats, I'm beginning to learn the fine art of embracing some chaos when it comes to the developmental and emotional growth of a 1-2 year old, folks. 

The thing is - my daughter loves MESS. To her, it's not a mess. To her, it's examination, play, and a gleeful sort of trial and error.

She loves to use her fingers to dig into the peanut butter on top of the toast and just see what happens. 

She loves to hold cups all by herself, even if it means spilling most of the liquid onto her clothes.

She really loves to throw food onto the ground when she wants us to know she's done. 

(We're focusing on making the clean up part fun and positive for her - definitely a work-in-progress!)  

Her all-time favorite thing right now? Seeing someone else's plate and eating off of that

I've spent (and probably still spend!) time worrying over how much she's eating, what she's eating, and how she's eating it. 

But at the end of the day, I ask myself - 


Vegan Baby
Does she seem healthy, strong, and happy? 

Did she eat in a positive and fun way?

Is she pooping and peeing the way she needs to? 

Then, ALLLLLLLLLLLLL good.

I think, more important than anything else, our kiddos need to form a positive association to food. For babies around a year old, they want to explore it in the same way they explore their toys - take it apart and put it back together... and then take it apart again. And that is perfectly acceptable for now.

Honestly friends, I'm just happy to see my girl thriving while eating vegan food. It's been easier than I expected. 

Okay, I do cook almost every day and that can tire me out.

BUT - the true ease has been in knowing she's satisfied enough with her vegan diet to have the energy for her day. 

And that's more than enough for me.


If you're a vegan mama, what foods are your go-tos?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

It's Been A Kiss-Worthy Year!

So... it's been a while folks! And for a sincerely kiss-worthy reason - I have spent the past fourteen months focused very intently on an entirely new job description - "mommy at large". 

I've gotta say - I thought going vegan back in 2008 was a life-changing occasion. But I had absolutely no idea how truly life-changing the act of bringing a new being into this world could really be. My entire sense of self has been broken down and remolded into something altogether extraordinary. Strength is a word I see in an entirely new light at the moment. After just over a year, I can confidently say, I am a mother to an equally extraordinary girl named Juniper.

I'll delve into the depths of challenges encountered during motherhood in a future post. But for now, I'll stick to the kiss-worthy moments. 

Some of the perks of this journey?

Baby kisses.
High fiving with my girl.
Watching Junebug teach herself how to walk. 
Seeing my stepdaughter light up around her little sis. 
Tiny baby books held by tiny baby hands.
Snuggling. 
Watching my daughter grip a toy and examine it. 
Seeing Juniper's daddy in action. 
Singing and dancing with an enthusiastic tiny human.

But one of the absolute best perks of this gig?

Raising my baby girl vegan. 

This particular part of the journey has been the most kiss-worthy, my dear readers. In a year's time, my baby girl has visited sanctuaries like The Gentle Barn, tasted yummy plant-based foods she loves to chow down on, and developed a loving and fun relationship with our rescue kitty. Even cooler, through witnessing Juniper's vegan journey, my step-daughter Bella has expanded her own compassion by eating more and more vegan with us. 

As I stand a few days away from 2017, I feel so grateful. Because I am showing my Junebug a world where humans can have loving, peaceful connections to the other animals they share this Earth with. 

I am showing my baby girl hope. 

I wish you a safe, happy, and kiss-worthy end to this year, readers. So much more to come!


Monday, November 30, 2015

To Loving More Than I Ever Thought Possible.


On October 27th, 2015 at 12:30PM, I gave birth to a baby girl. 


We named her Juniper. 


She is a beautiful, beautiful kiddo whom I already adore more than any blog post could explain. 


The choice to have Juniper was, of course, an incredibly personal one. Staying home with her to help her grow and be nourished for the past month has been even more so. 

This motherhood thing is most definitely not for wimps. It's a superhuman effort, but a worthy one. It has not so gently knocked down any walls I had keeping me from total and complete surrender to life. 


My world is not merely my own anymore - it's shared with Juniper. 

And that's a humbling, gorgeous, bold, vulnerable thing. 


It's risky and exciting and challenging and not at all what I expected. 

It is - quite literally! - life-changing. 

What motherhood has, in a very short time, taught me is this - to fight the tide of life is to laugh in the face of the universe. It is just plain silly to try and control what is uncontrollable. Life is so much more beautifully authentic when lived moment to moment. So yes, this means that, due to this humungo life shift, I am getting less sleep. My outfits are all stretchy. My eyes have circles underneath them. My home is turned upside down a bit more than usual. 


And I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I've been living vegan for seven years now. Juniper has marked maybe the most special year of living vegan to date. Because this is the year I begin the journey of sharing everything I've learned with her. Of being the best, most shiny, most brave example of living compassionately. Of being real with her about why a vegan lifestyle is so darn necessary nowadays. 

Because I am raising my beautiful baby girl vegan.

Thankfully - oh so thankfully - I have a wonderful partner in Junebug's daddy. I also have a lovely stepkiddo who is thoroughly enjoying being a big sister. 


Both are incredibly supportive, welcoming, enthusiastic, and loving. 


So here I go. A month in, and many many many many many more months left. A vegan mama and her vegan kiddo and the incredible family who love them. 


Here's to living truthfully.

Here's to sharing that truth with whoever wants to listen. 

Here's to nurturing the inherent compassion within each and every child. 

Here's to risking for the sake of a more well-lived life. 

Here's to new moments.


Here's to all the moments.


Here's to questions and answers and more of both as we go. 

Here's to surrender. 

Here's to living, breathing Ahimsa in action.

Here's to baby smiles. 


And here's to loving more than I ever thought possible. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Easiest Part of My Pregnancy.

Well, we have hit thirty-seven weeks of pregnancy, friends. 

And just like any marathon, football game, olympic activity, or just about any other major sporting event, we are at the final stretch. You know that spot in the game when you watch an athlete on TV? They're sweating buckets, moving much slower, with an acute pain in their face, as if they don't know if they can make it one minute longer. 

Because pregnancy is HARD.

Like drawn-out, long-as-hell, challenges galore HARD.

Don't get me wrong - it's also rewarding, exhilarating, joy-inducing, monumental, awe-inspiring, miraculous, and gratifying beyond belief.

It has inspired me to greater heights than I have ever known.

It has replenished me and reminded me I am a part of something much bigger in this world.

It has been simply beautiful to experience.

But to pretend my pregnancy hasn't been the single hardest thing I've ever done in my life would be to just plain lie to you all.

This last month has been especially challenging. 

Things that have made it a struggle include:

Exhaustion like I have never felt in my life.

Soreness in my hands and feet that make me feel arthritic.

Random bouts of intense emotion - tears, mostly - as my hormones dominate my daily mood.

A general feeling of helplessness and vulnerability as I find I can't do nearly as much as I could prior to pregnancy.

Feeling a tiny, but incredibly strong, human being move and push and kick and dance around inside of me.

And, for me personally, a pregnancy-related hernia that painfully stopped me in my tracks last week. 

As I said, folks, this is the final stretch.

Out of everything, the EASIEST part of this entire pregnancy, without a doubt, has been...


Eating and living vegan. 

(seriously.)

I've been asked about cravings - "but don't you want comfort food?" -  and about classic childhood faves - "what about mac and cheese?!?!" - and also the seeming challenge of a plant-based diet - "isn't it hard to stay vegan while pregnant?" - and then finally, constructive concern - "how do you keep eating vegan during your pregnancy?" 

The list goes on and on. 

And maybe it's because I happen to live in Los Angeles, California, a virtual mecca of new, delicious, innovative vegan food. But really, all you need is a high-speed blender, a health food store or Whole Foods within driving vicinity (even a Trader Joe's will do), dedication, and an imagination to enjoy eating and living vegan while pregnant. 

It has been so easy for me. 

Some of the reasons this aspect of the pregnancy has been particularly easy include:

Annie's Kitchen Vegan Mac and Cheese,

Gardein Turk'y cutlets,

Hearty soups - homemade & from the store,

Homemade dairy-free mashed potatoes with meat-free gravy,

Vegan coleslaw made with Vegenaise,

Daiya or Field Roast Chao grilled cheeses,

WATERMELON,


French fries,

Vegan chocolate croissants from M Cafe in West Hollywood.
Organic pasta and other noodles (sometimes brown rice-based, sometimes wheat-based),

Vegan reubens at local spots,

Kite Hill almond milk yogurt (I know, I'm a lucky gal for accessing this new product!),

WATERMELON,

Pan fried tofu with soy sauce & garlic,

Homemade lentils and garlicky brown rice,

WATERMELON,

Vegan indian food - whether homemade or from a place I love, 

Vegan pizza - again, either completely homemade or from places I love,

Peanut butter straight out of the jar,

Big bowls of vegan-friendly cereals w/ sweetened almond milk,

Annnnnnnnd

WATERMELON.

And now...

One last reason.

A reason so powerful it has not only made eating and living vegan during pregnancy super EASY, but it has determined my choice to live vegan for the rest of my life. 

No matter what.


Because every single creature alive deserves to know what it feels like to nurture their baby after they birth it.


It really and truly is that easy.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Beautiful Juniper.

Last week was a DOOZY. 

Between the up and down hormones, the exhaustion that has begun hitting me mid-afternoon, and the sporadic bouts of nausea, I was feeling at my limit. Despite a relatively calm pregnancy as a vegan mama-to-be, for some reason, this week felt different. Harder. More consuming. Less doing, and more stopping. And I felt stuck.

And then, I went to the journal. 

It's a journal filled with letters for our daughter-to-be. My mom lovingly had it made for us, and Matt and I took it with us for our East Coast trip to have our family fill in the pages with words of love and support. 

I opened up June's journal. I put a pen down to the paper. And I wrote the following letter to my daughter. And then all of the challenge of the past week melted away. Because I remembered the why in all of this.  

Ah, the tiny miracles of pregnancy.


July 21, 2015

My beautiful Juniper,

Today, you are officially 27-weeks old inside of my belly!

The other day, I laid on my back and turned on my sister's music, put the music to my belly, and you started kicking up a storm. It was amazing.

You are changing my life and world in magical ways, my child. 

This month in particular, you are teaching me

To rest,

To be grateful for the quiet moments,

To surrender,

To trust in the unknown,

To grow,

To cry when I need to or want to,

To realize that strength does not always have to be in how much I produce or acquire,

To take naps, 

To connect (with you!),

To relish this time.


Thank you, Junebug.

Thank you for slowing mama down,

For allowing her to pause,

Look around,

And smile.

To stop competing 

With the fast, fast world, 

And just be.

I love you, my baby girl.

I love you without having really seen you yet.

Because to love you is to know you, 

Deep inside of this ever-flowing well that is my heart.

Till your next kick!

Love,

Mom

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Vegan Mama: My Favorite Things!

Bella and Lindsay and Juniper JUMP FOR JOY!
It has been a beautiful week so far. 

Matt, Bella, and I headed back to two different East Coast homes for a special two-week vacation this month - first to my brother and sister-in-law's place in Boston, and next to Matt's family's home in Concord, New Hampshire. On Saturday, our two families officially met for the first time, and we also had a special baby shower for Juniper (our baby-to-be). 


Having a vacation of any kind has been so soothing to my very busy soul. It's been especially healing as I continue to grow this little baby girl inside of my body. We reached the "6 Month" mark on Tuesday, folks! 


The best part about my vegan pregnancy has been all of the support. I feel so lucky - I have people all around me - loved ones, friends, and everyone in between - who, after nearly seven years, have seen what a positive impact my living vegan has had on my body and life, as well as those around me. 

Homemade vegan macaroni salad courtesy of sis-in-law!
When I mention that Juniper will be raised vegan, I've only received curiosity and positivity about it. The questions have been easy to answer so far, and for this I am so grateful. Maybe it's because our world is slowly changing to accommodate those who believe in compassionate choices for all. Maybe in it's all in how I'm choosing to see it. Whatever the reason, I'm sitting here with my coffee and soymilk, so thankful for the journey.

Speaking of my vegan pregnancy, here are some of the things I am LOVING right now while my belly grows:


Earth Mama Angel Baby Butter


I lather this stuff on my belly like it's my full-time job! Not only does it help make my skin soft and supple as it stretches, but it smells yummy! Another great body butter is Organic Coconut Oil, which I occasionally use too.


Rainbow Light Vegan Prenatal ONE Multivitamins.


Six months. :-) 
I absolutely love the Rainbow Light brand as a whole. Specifically, these prenatal vitamins have been easy to digest, filled with great stuff for me while this little kiddo takes up shop inside, and something easy for me to do every day to ensure I'm getting all of the nutrients I need.

Prenatal Yoga Videos Through Yoga Works.


Before I praise the heck out of Yoga Works,  I have to praise my dear friends Nik Shriner and Ashley Platz. Both are members of a weekly goal setting group I'm a part of in Los Angeles, and both have been kicking my butt to make sure I exercise regularly while I experience pregnancy. Ashley specifically has been incredibly motivating. A wonderful actress and yoga instructor, Ashley was kind enough to let me in on a very cool development through her yoga school, Yoga Works, which is an online video directory of classes. Just go to myyogaworks.com to sign up. I especially love that I can go at different levels depending on my energy that day.  And my body is feeling so much stronger for it!


My iPhone Camera & the Samsung Camera My Mom Gave Me for Christmas.

A moment captured during our baby shower.
Taking photos of these past six months has been tremendous. I've grown and changed so much in so little time, and having the visual proof has been a stunning experience. I highly recommend taking weekly belly photos, along with visuals of the doctors visits, new baby clothes, celebrations, and everything else involved in preparing for your baby. Now, I just need some photo albums and a great printing station!

Conscious Parenting Books.


Lately, the two I am immersed in are "The Magic Years" by Selma Fraiberg and "The Conscious Parent" by Shefali Tsabary. Both are teaching me about parenting in a way that allows for the transformative journey for both child and parent. The concept of self-awareness has been something I've been interested in for a while now, so the idea of incorporating that into my parenting really excites me.


Sleep.


Sleep has been my best friend lately. If I'm feeling tired, I nap. If I'm exhausted by day's end, I go to sleep early. I don't judge the process, I just say thank you over and over for the extra sleep as I prepare to sleep less and less in the coming years!


Meditation (w/ help from the Insight Timer App).


My daily goal is to get in anywhere from 7-20 minutes of meditation. I usually manage about 15 on productive days, and when I reach that amount, I feel clearer, calmer, and more ready to take on my day. The Insight Timer App helps keep a gentle timer going as I meditate so I don't have to worry about it while I do it. For those beginning meditators, just know that even a mere 3 minutes can make a huge difference in your day.


My Loving Partner.

Having support from family and friends is awesome, but when the bulk of the support comes from an amazing, bighearted, kind partner? It makes for an experience more loving than I could have ever imagined. 


Juniper Francis.

Deciding on a baby name is always a fun challenge, and the evolution for us has been especially fun. We started with June. Which led to Juniper. Throw in Francis to honor Matt's late grandfather, and we have ourselves a full fledged name. Nicknames our family have already decided upon include: June, Junebug, Junie, and FrancyPants. I also love Ginny, a call to the fact that Juniper berries are used to make gin. Whatever your inclination, I suggest looking up as much as you can about the name - and in my humble opinion, you don't necessarily need to spend days and days deciding on the name itself. June came to me as I was driving down a road and saw a sign for "June Street." 


As we continue the fun of our East Coast vacation, I'll leave you with a quote from "The Conscious Parent". Have a wonderful week, KMIVers! 


"When you parent, it's crucial you realize you aren't raising a "mini me," but a spirit throbbing with its own signature. For this reason, it's important to separate who you are from who each of your children is. Children aren't ours to possess or own in any way. When we know this in the depths of our soul, we tailer our raising of them to their needs, rather than molding them to fit our needs."


PS:

Bella here, and I just wanted to say that, in the time I have known Lindsay I have tried new vegan things almost every day. And soon I'll have a new baby SIS! I have also been rooting for Lindsay as she is continuing her journey of making a human vegan baby inside of her. WAIT, I need to learn how to cook VEGAN! I might see you guys again. Bye! 


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Dear Vegan Lifestyle,

At Doomies chowing down on a vegan BBQ burger.
Man, you have been rad

I've been living vegan for over six years now, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I wake up each morning grateful to be thinking of a compassionate world when I make my choices.

The food is AWESOME and always satisfying. It didn't all taste so great at first (silly tastebuds!), BUT once I gave myself the time & commitment to keep trying new stuff, it just kept getting yummier and yummier. 


SERIOUSLY!


I've seen so many people around me positively impacted by my going vegan, & since changing my eating and living habits, I've seen the world around me change too - so many advances have been made to help animals!

You give me a kind of strength I didn't know I had.

You add a special kind of love to my heart I didn't know I needed. 

You keep me full.

You keep me healthy. 

You give me something to feel charitable and kind about every single day. 

You are helping me grow a healthy, active, beautiful baby girl inside of my very vegan belly.

You keep me humble, curious, and gracious. 

You give me hope. 

Basically...

What I'm trying to say is...

Thank you for sticking with me these past six and a half beautiful years. 

Thank you for continuing to inspire me. 

And hey - I just made some kick-ass sprouted toast with vegan butter & pear jam, while my boyfriend just made his coffee with organic soymilk. 

We did all that after snuggling with my rescued kitty Vicki. 

It's been a really really really good morning so far. 

And I'm pretty sure you are the reason. 


Kisses and Hugs,

Linds 


"I will not kill or hurt any living creature needlessly, nor destroy any beautiful thing, but will strive to save and comfort all gentle life, and guard and perfect all natural beauty upon the earth."

~ John Ruskin