The Jealous vegan is raising The dialogue about plant-based lifestyles while being honest about the benefits and challenges of sustainably changing the way that we eat & how we think about food.

Conscious Parenting - Part 1 of 3

In our podcast episode on Conscious Parenting, we explore some of the childhood experiences that have contributed to our approach to food as adults.

Since none of the TJV team are parents, we thought we would interview some of the Moms and Dads who are juggling their children’s preferences with nutritional needs.

Our questions below are italicized.

Michelle Montgomery, Washington, DC Metro

Michelle’s family: (Left to right clockwise) Michelle, Andre, Saniya, Alexis

Michelle’s family: (Left to right clockwise) Michelle, Andre, Saniya, Alexis

How many children do you have?

“We have 4 children in our blended family; 2 of them are minors.”

Do you work outside of the home?

I work outside of our home full-time, 40 hours.

Do you have any health related or nutrition issues that have informed how you feed your family? How has your childhood influenced your eating routine as an adult?

“I came up in a house where you ate what was put in front of you, sitting at the table all night or going to bed without eating. I have a funny thing about texture and taste so a lot of nights I would not eat.”

Michelle discovered early on that her strong-willed daughter Saniya would go many nights without eating so Michelle decided to adjust the standard she grew up with to be more accommodating in her family.

How do you classify your personal nutrition plan?

Hormone-conscious and fiber and vitamin rich. “I try to eat a vegetarian diet with organic and non-GMO as much as possible.”

Does everyone in your family eat the same type of foods?

Saniya will pretty much eat what Mom eats as far as plant-based options go but her husband Andre is less inclined to adjust his eating plan to coincide with Michelle’s.

"Some days we all eat the same thing but other times I prepare 2 or 3 meals to take into account the preferences of the family. For instance when we make tacos, I have to make 3 versions: Meat for Dre, Veggies including mushrooms for myself and for Niya: veggies but no mushrooms. Often, I’ll make modifications to the vegetarian main dish so that everyone can enjoy it."

What’s your biggest food-related challenge?

Mind over matter. "My Southern history usually means using fatback to season vegetables, candying yams and frying foods. They all taste good to me and I still love it but my body’s makeup doesn’t allow me to eat those foods on a regular basis anymore. The challenge is creating southern-style dishes that are also healthy for us."

What’s your family’s biggest food-related challenge?

Trying to figure out what everyone wants. "Balancing my spiritual, family, work and community obligations along with recovering from some health issues means planning for and executing meals on a bi-weekly (every 2 weeks) basis. I wish I could share some tips but I’m still far from perfect."

Are there shopping or grocery delivery services you utilize to take some of the stress off of you?

Walmart online ordering allows her to plan ahead and get groceries every other weekend.

“The service is helpful but the produce selections are inaccurate, like the time I got Napa cabbage instead of bok choy, or the shopper will choose items that I wouldn’t have selected because they are past the point of the right level of ripe."

Anything else you’d like people to know?

"Finding places for the whole family and our meat-eating friends to enjoy together has been extremely difficult. Traveling sometimes means picking foods that aren’t as healthy or part of my everyday plan, but I keep trying!"



Kerry Rooney, San Diego, CA

Kerry’s family: (Left to right) Jack, Rosie, Ella

Kerry’s family: (Left to right) Jack, Rosie, Ella

How many children do you have?

Three, all of whom are still living at home: Rosie is 17, Jack is 13 1/2, Ella is 11.

Do you work outside of the home?

I work outside of the home about 25 hours/week

Do you have any health related or nutrition issues that have informed how you feed your family? How has your childhood influenced your eating routines an adult?

"We had a lot more packaged food growing up than I feed my family. At the time, they were new and exciting and our parents tried a lot of them but I try to make as much fresh food as possible. I always ask myself, 'Can I make this myself instead of buying it?’ I like to cook the old-fashioned way, though sometimes I take shortcuts."

How do you classify your personal nutrition plan?

“Haphazard Gourmet”, said with a chuckle. “Flexibility is the name of the game because there are a lot of variables in our lifestyle. Everyone’s schedule changes frequently so I try to prepare salads and soups ahead of time and cook as much at home as possible. My go-to trick is to sneak vegetables into spaghetti sauce."

Does everyone in your family eat the same type of foods?

“Not really. I batch cook and make a lot of different foods at the start of the week that can be combined and mixed and matched to everyone’s preference. Sometimes I will make hybrid meals and I won’t cook a different meal for each person, but I will provide different items in the style that works for that person. For instance, I will make a soup base but everyone can choose to add things into their individual soup to accommodate their dietary preferences. I’ll serve a rice bowl with lots of individual sides so everyone can make the meal that works for the right there at the table.”

“I hate throwing out food and save scraps and bones to make my own broths and soups as often as possible. I find it easier and healthier for us to pull things from the freezer rather than out of cans."

What’s your biggest food-related challenge?

“Getting everyone to eat what I’ve made instead of grabbing cereal. That and battling sugar, so we don’t keep it in the house. If they want it, they have to walk down the street and get it for themselves. I tell them, ‘You’ll have to spend your own money and you’ll have to exercise to go get that.”

What’s your family’s biggest food-related challenge?

Creating mindfulness about what to put in their bodies. "Helping them realize that health is important and eating things that help your body feel good are important."

"It’s hard to get them to try new things. We encourage them not to snack and to wait until dinnertime so they’ll be more likely to try something n. We talk and reason with them instead of dictating what they eat so they are prepared to make good choices when they leave the house.”

Are there shopping or grocery delivery services you utilize to take some of the stress off of you?

“Not right now but if they had been available when my kids were smaller I definitely would have taken advantage of them. I find the grocery store to be a happy place and my husband Dan and I go to the store together on Sunday nights; it’s just something that we enjoy doing."

Anything else you’d like people to know?

"Living in Southern California makes it easier for us because people all around us are reinforcing the messages of healthy and conscious eating. We’re not “the weird family” that doesn’t eat sugar; everyone has something special they’re doing to address their health needs."

"We love the Cruciferous Crunch salad mix from Trader Joe’s with their Green Goddess dressing in the refrigerated section. It’s a killer combination."



For Community Discussion:

When is it a good time to STOP eating vegan?

That’s our topic this week! Join The Jealous Vegan Private FB group and let’s discuss how to get present to your own needs and live your best life!


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