Helen Long writes about her vegan family guide

Veganism is one way to eat more green. The latest David Attenborough documentary suggests eating less meat and now is a good time to try, since November is World Vegan Month.  The Vegan Society, Viva and Animal Aid are therefore offering free daily support. But raising a vegan family can be tricky, which is why I started creating a vegan family guide.

My plant based Mum blog began as a personal notebook during my vegan pregnancy.  I struggled to find information about vegan baby products, and bought some non-vegan items in error.  It was even harder to find plastic free, organic and Fairtrade options.  I decided to make a ‘one stop shop’ – so new vegan parents can quickly find the facts we want.

Every diet needs variety and balance, and providing the best for your child can be daunting.  The NHS and British Dietetic Association advise how vegan families can keep healthy but the Vegan Family Guide lists further breastfeeding, nutrition and meal planning resources and supplements, along with other products and activities to compliment a compassionate lifestyle.  

Cooking and eating together helps develop good habits and social skills, and provides an opportunity to discuss where our food comes from.  Understanding how plant foods grow can also help us understand nature more widely.  In my Vegan Family Guide you can learn about veggies with games and puzzles from: Animal Aid, Violet’s Vegan Comics and Clever Coconuts, playlists of children’s videos such as Vegan Delight by Benjamin Zephaniah, and books.  

Vegan kid’s recipe books, such as: ‘Best Bites Cookbook’, ‘How to Eat a Rainbow’ and ‘Help Yourself Cookbook’ teach children to look after themselves.  ‘Baby Loves Vegan’ and ‘Plant Based Colouring Book’ personify vegetables to make wholefoods fun.  Vegan children’s picture books such as: ‘Vivi and the Planet Protector’, ‘Livi and the Story of Climate Change’, and ‘The Trouble with Dragons’ use stories to gently explain the environmental impacts of animal agriculture. 

In Lancaster, I’ve joined the Lancashire and Cumbria Vegan Parents (UK) Facebook group, and eaten at the Herbarium vegan restaurant.  I’ve also started creating a map of Lancaster children’s places and lockdown activities, such as baby friendly cafes.  This idea started when I was a child myself, and sketched a tour of playgrounds.  

My family recently moved into the Lancaster Cohousing eco community in Halton.  There is a cooperatively owned food shop, apple orchard, and (under normal circumstances), occasional community meals.  I am fulfilling a childhood ambition to live like the mice of the Brambly Hedge books; in a friendly riverbank settlement, with a sustainable food ‘store stump’.

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