All four of us in the Maus house are vegan. Yes, even our children! We’ve found that people tend to be fairly interested in what it’s like raising a vegan family, we get plenty of questions! I thought it’d be good to put together some of the questions we get asked the most about being a vegan family.
How long have you been vegan?
We’ve been a vegan family since around the end of September 2017.
Why did you decide to become vegan?
Our eldest daughter has never particularly enjoyed eating meat. She doesn’t like the texture of it mostly. Then, when she was 6 she made the connection between animals and the meat on her plate. She asked if we could stop eating meat and her younger sister was completely on board too.
Ok, so why not vegetarian?
The main reason is that our youngest daughter is lactose-intolerant, so we were already a mostly dairy-free household. It felt ridiculous to say “oh we’re dairy-free vegetarians”. Whilst we were discussing whether vegetarianism was the right choice for our family, I watched a couple of Netflix documentaries and vowed to go vegan right there and then!
Do you eat enough protein?
Do you?! This is one of the questions we tend to get asked by people, but I wonder whether they even know how much protein they consume. We get protein from plenty of sources: vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and meat substitute products.
What about calcium?
Asking about calcium is the other question we get asked a lot. But only in relation to our children! There are loads of plant-based calcium sources such as soy beans, spinach, broccoli, tofu and some nuts. Then of course we have soya milk which has calcium in too. In fact, there are plant-based sources of calcium that way better than dairy milk, so we have no worries about strong teeth and bones here!
Don’t you think your children are missing out?
No we don’t. Since we changed our diet, we’ve all been enjoying all kinds of new foods that we hadn’t tried before. I actually think we have a more varied diet now! Plus, being vegan is their choice. If they ever wanted to eat something that wasn’t plant-based then they absolutely could. With the exception of dairy for our youngest.
If you mean nutritionally, then again, no. Our daughter was seeing a dietitian due to her lactose-intolerance. We discussed the decision to change our diet with him and went through food diaries we’d kept. We even showed him the multivitamins we’d bought! He agreed that our diet was healthy and lacking in nothing, which was great peace of mind.
What happens when you visit people?
I usually take a bottle of soya milk with me for hot drinks, but if I forget then we just drink black tea. As far as food goes, most people we know are really accommodating and if we are going to be eating they’ll ask in advance if certain foods are ok. Where we can we just take food with us though, we don’t expect people to go out of their way for us.
Are your children left out at birthday parties?
We only tend to go to birthday parties of close friends, so no! My friends are all really good at including the girls and always ask if they’re not sure if something is vegan. As far as birthday cake goes, I would usually bring something for the girls to have instead. But as our youngest daughter is lactose-intolerant, I was doing that anyway!
Do you eat out?
When we first went vegan, we did find it a little harder to eat out. However, thanks to movements such as Veganuary, veganism has exploded in the UK recently and, if anything, we’re spoilt for choice!
When you host for others, do you only do vegan food?
Absolutely! When people pop over for a cup of tea they either bring their own milk, or just have soya. We hosted a New Year’s Day party and I did a completely vegan buffet. Most of what I cooked was things like vegetable samosas, onion bhajis, mixed salad, chips, crisps; just stuff everyone eats. We had no complaints and no food left over!
Our wedding was 100% vegan as well. We had an afternoon tea instead of a formal meal and then a buffet on the evening. The best part was our wedding cake! Everyone loved the food and we had so many compliments.