Can you tell us about yourselves?
Me and Andrew are a married couple in our late 20’s with a gorgeous little girl, Evie! I am currently trying to juggle motherhood and finishing my PhD, which is focused on how the public feel about native plants and animals in urban areas. I love photography, AFL (go pies!) and spending time with my family. Andrew works for 000 as an ambulance dispatcher, when he is not doing that he is a big kid and loves comic books.
How and why did you go vegan?
I went vegetarian at 18 and went vegan 3 years later. I had never really thought about dairy until I saw some footage on the net about how dairy cows are treated. Right then and there I decided to cut everything out because I could not justify simply being vegetarian. I think some other vegetarians may be in the place I was before becoming vegan, just having no idea about the dairy/egg industry…. so education is important! Andrew became Vegan after meeting me and being introduced to the cruelty involved in eating meat and dairy, he has never looked back!
Did you encounter any difficulties? If so what were they and how have you dealt with them?
We have found being vegan quite easy. Although eating out at restaurants has been a bit of a pain. We have overcome this by trying to always go to vegetarian/vegan restaurants or places where we know we have options. It can be a little limiting, but as long as your friends and family are on board and don’t spring the steakhouse on you, it’s mostly fine. And the added bonus is you introduce non vegan friends and family to some vegan restaurants they would not otherwise have been to.
A happy vegan pregnancy
You’ve recently given birth to a baby girl. Can you describe what that was like and if there was anything in particular you had to be careful about raising a baby vegan.
Having a baby has been awesome! We had a problem free pregnancy, I did take a vegan prenatal vitamin, but most women take a prenatal anyway so we were no different. Evie is now one (it has flown by!) and is perfectly healthy in every way imaginable. We are not suprised how healthy she is – we know a vegan diet is healthy, but you can get some people who think otherwise. It can help to be able to tell them that the American Dietetic Association says that well planned vegan diets are healthy and nutritionally sound… and may provide health benefits like the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. They also say that a vegan diet is appropriate for people during all stages of life, including pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and beyond. Having said that, we had no issues with being vegan and never had to defend ourselves, all the doctors were very supportive.
When I was pregnant I started up a Vegan Parents Group (based in Melbourne, Australia). This group has been fantastic for us. We have met so many other vegan parents and little ones and formed some really good friendships. We are so happy that Evie has some little vegan friends to grow up with and it is great for us to be able to mix with like-minded parents. Also the birthday parties are great – we can eat everything! The group has a facebook page and meets formally every few months. New members are always welcome, so if you are a vegan parent, vegan parent to be, or plan to be in the future, feel free to join up!
How have your family and friends reacted to your veganism? Have you influenced anyone else to go vegan?
We have had pretty supportive family and friends. Although Andrew’s family were a little reluctant at first, they have come around now and Andrews 89 year old nana now makes vegan versions of dishes for us at family gatherings! We have got more questions since being pregnant and having Evie, but no criticism. It’s always funny when someone asks… “so are you raising her vegan?” It seems like such a silly question, like asking a devout catholic if they plan to raise their child catholic!
How do you feel switching to veganism has impacted your health?
For me it was so long ago I can’t really remember how I felt eating meat. Andrew noticed he had more energy after making the switch. Earlier in our veganism we were not so aware of all the vegan junk foods available, so we were healthier. As time has gone on though… we have been seduced by vegan junk food so are not as healthy as we used to be! Minus the junk food though… a vegan diet is super healthy!
What are some of your favourite meals, takeaway and/or home cooked?
We love our food, but with a little one, cooking elaborate meals can be hard sometimes. For takeaway we can’t go past plush pizza! Our two favourite easy foods are pasta and baked potatoes topped with corn, pineapple, onions and lentils. If we have more time we love lentil pie and tofu and veg lasagna. We recently got a copy of the Veganomicon, which is an awesome cookbook full of some quite fancy dishes, we are hanging out to have a dinner party and show off our culinary (or lack of) skills!
Have you encountered any absurd stereotypes, comments or negative attitudes?
Nothing over the top, but people always have a lot of questions. One lady at Andrew’s work is constantly asking him “Can you eat this…?” It could be nuts or something equally absurd, but she still asks! I do find it amazing that people are always so surprised by the variety of things we can eat and how healthy we are.
What do you think are the most effective ways of helping veganism to become more mainstream?
We need to show that vegans are normal people (thumbs up for this campaign)! Also, I think if there were more vegan products available in mainstream supermarkets it would help ‘normalise’ veganism and encourage more people. Also… have vegan babies, make the next generation the VEGAN generation!
You can see Amy’s recipe for Lentil Pie here >
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