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 2 of 3

In part 2 of this 3-part series on Conscious Parenting in harmony with the accompanying podcast, we talked to a single Mom and a working Dad about their childhood eating habits, how they are working to provide quality nutrition to their families and their approach to healthy eating right now.

(You can read part one of this series here.)

Our questions below are italicized.

Kimisha Reed, Washington, DC

The Reed/Woods family: (Left to right) , Daniel, Kimisha, Gregory

The Reed/Woods family: (Left to right) , Daniel, Kimisha, Gregory

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have two boys: Daniel is 9 and Gregory is 13.

Do you work outside of the home?

Yes, 28 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 routine as an adult?

No health concerns yet. Growing up as the 7th of 10 kids, we would often eat things we could make ourselves because our Mom worked at night. We mostly ate quick foods like noodles or a sandwich. We didn’t have a lot of fruit or veggies unless it came in a can.

How do you classify your personal nutrition plan?

The way I feed my family is very different than how I grew up. My family eats at home a lot, we prepare our own food, we eat a lot of fruits and veggies. I only shop for things that I know for sure are going to be food for our health. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get snacks sometimes, but I am intentional about what I purchase for us.

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

For the most part. Sometimes the boys want pizza to go with our salad but I will usually stick to the salad.

Biggest challenge for you?

When I forget my lunch at home I end up at a food truck, where the choices are not the kinds of foods I would normally eat.

Biggest challenge when it comes to feeding for your family?

Helping them be mindful of what they eat when I’m not with them and trying to counteract the influence of their friends whose families are deeply immersed in a traditional Western diet. I am very conscious that my children have fresh fruit and vegetables when they go to play with other kids.

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

Nope - I like to touch my stuff. I try to make sure I don’t get too much at one time so that it tastes fresh and nothing is wasted.

Grocery shopping can be fun, especially when they are playing great music. Grocery shopping as a family is a great time for us to be together to talk, find out what they want/like to eat, and figure out what’s on their minds. The conversation that starts in the store continues as they help me cook and while we eat together. Everything around our meals is enjoyable family time for us.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

Early introduction to what a meal could look like is so important for kids to be comfortable eating outside of the home and making their own choices going into their adulthood. My experience growing up and learning what a meal should be was very different than what my family considers a meal. I always thought that meat was supposed to be the biggest part of the meal and the small stuff surrounding it (vegetables) was less important. We like to try new things and we have days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) when we have no meat and we are all learning that they can get full without having meat.

We watch documentaries about different types of food and when they learn the benefits of certain foods, they WANT to eat those foods.

That education also pays off because I let the boys name our smoothies and it makes it more exciting for them. We have the “Dancer Enhancer” with bananas and mangos that gives us energy. “Think Quicker Elixir” has blueberries in it and is great for early mornings so that their mind is prepped for school work.

Kids are great imitators and I try to set a good example. They snack on carrots because they see me snacking on carrots and they want to do what’s Mom’s doing. As a result, I try to make sure that we have lots of healthy options for snacks. We indulge in treats from time to time but I try not to keep anything in the house in too large a quantity that if we accidentally went overboard, it would make us sick or take our energy too low.



Jesse Ellis, Fairfax, Virginia

The Ellis family: (Left to right) Jesse, Harper, Paige and Anna

The Ellis family: (Left to right) Jesse, Harper, Paige and Anna

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

Two daughters: Paige is 15 and Harper is 12.

Do you work outside of the home?

Yes, 40 hours/work

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?

No. We ate all sorts of vegetables growing up, mostly out of the microwave, like peas and pearl onions and green beans. When my Dad cooked, there were more vegetables than when Mom cooked. I never thought much about what healthy eating was, particularly when I would come home from school. If I had made better choices in high school, I’d probably be in better shape now.

How do you classify your personal nutrition plan?

Omnivore. I don’t have a defined nutrition plan. My wife, Anna, and daughter, Harper, are pretty well-aligned with me but my oldest daughter Paige was vegetarian for 5 years. She will eat meat sometimes now but still not as often as the rest of the family.

Both of our kids are athletes and as a result they are pretty conscious about what they eat to make sure they have energy for their sports and activities. They are also tuned into what they need to consume in order to recover after exercise.

While Paige was vegetarian, we all ended up eating less meat because we didn’t want to cook 2 meals. We would all eat veggie burgers some nights. Sometimes we would leave the beef meatballs separate from the spaghetti and also prepare non-meatballs for Paige. Whatever we were preparing for the family we would try to find/create a meatless version for Paige. More often than not we were making meatless meals for everyone.

Biggest food challenge for you?

Training myself to eat more healthfully and eat less sugar. Thankfully I like fruits and vegetables. I’ll sit there and eat a bowl of fruit and think, ‘Why aren’t I doing this more? It’s so good!’ My meals are pretty decent but I could eat better snacks. My current go-to snack are nuts.

Biggest challenge when it comes to feeding your family?

There are different needs for all of us and especially between our daughters. They have different body types and different levels of physical activity, which means they need varying levels of calories, carbs and protein to build and keep muscle. In the past we might make a meal and not have enough protein to support our daughter’s activity level, but now we are focused on making sure everyone gets what they need.

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

So far I have refused to use a delivery service but we LOVE the Wegmans App. I do most of the shopping but everyone in the family has the app on their phones and it’s all under the same account so when somebody needs to add something this week, they can just go on their phone and put it on the list. It allows you to be specific and add notes so I can get exactly what everyone needs. We also use the app for meal planning, mapping out what we are going to have for dinner each week and then we can make sure it’s on the list. The app will also tell me where things are in the store so I can go down my list based on its location in the store. It’s awesome!

Anything else you’d like people to know?

Paige was a vegetarian who is also a picky eater. When we would go out to dinner it could be stressful for her because she doesn’t always want to get a plain salad. So we did a lot of planning to make sure that wherever we were going we could review the menu as a family ahead of time and make sure that Paige would be able to find something.



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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