A Vegan Parent Asks, “At What Point Am I Brainwashing My Child?”

June 22, 2014 at 12:34 am , by

3 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

As we pulled up to the red light recently, you proclaimed from the back seat: “Daddy, you’re a veggie-a-saurus.”

I had to ask.

“Jack, what is a veggie-a-saurus?”

Your reply was sincere,  as always:

“I think it’s a dinosaur or something.”

Then a few days later as we were outside playing at your water table. After a few minutes of no real conversation, you sprouted this on me:

“Daddy, people don’t have to eat meat. Someone should tell them. Hey Daddy! Maybe they will drive and see a cow and then the cow will moo at them or something- then they would know.”

When I hear my son say something that clever, I can’t help but be proud.

But I do remind myself: As a plant-based family, we still represent the minority of American families who live this way.

That means as your Daddy, I must be quite sensitive to the mainstream’s view of our family’s alternative lifestyle.

Is it normal to teach a kid that that “soda makes people sick”? Because that’s what you say whenever you see a soda delivery truck.

And you learned it from me.

Is it normal for a 3 and a half year-old to know that the human body does not require the protein or nutrients of animals in order to be healthy, as long as they can get those nutrients from plants (veggies, fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds) instead?

I don’t think so.  But you know that. And you learned it from me.

Of course, I learned it from the documentary Forks Over Knives, and also from the fact that I personally haven’t eaten any meat in 2 and a half years or any animal products (including eggs and dairy) for more than a year now.

Ultimately, am I brainwashing you?

Maybe so.

And I’m okay with that.

Granted, if as you get (much?) older, and you just really wanted to have some meat, I would be… understanding.

However, few American children are like you, having never really eaten meat before.

So it’s difficult for me to imagine why a boy who loves animals so much, and who understands that proper nutrition can came from plants alone, would ever want toeat an animal.

The concept of “eating an animal” to you is probably just as bizarre as someone who eats chicken, beef, pork, and fish to suddenly consider eating monkeys or horses.

Oh well, I have to assume that if I am indeed brainwashing you as a parent, there are plenty of other forms of it out there too.

Asking the question of whether I’m “brainwashing” you is sort of one of those “morality is relative” issues.

Some parents teach their children to fear Democrats… or to fear Republicans.

Some teach their children there is a God, or no God; while others raise their children in an unpopular religion that other mainstream religions say is a cult.

For me personally, to officially cross the line of “brainwashing” would involve negatively categorizing a whole group of people for not believing what we do.

I have taught you that “soda makes people sick,” not that “people who drink soda are wrong.”

I have taught you that “we don’t have to eat animals,” not that “people who do eat animals are wrong.”

What I feel I am doing is teaching you why we live this way, but at the same time not teaching you to stereotype that majority of our nation who doesn’t believe the way we do.

Yes, you will be probably be slightly different among your peers; as you already are at your school, for being a vegetarian.

But here’s a secret, if you are indeed brainwashed by me, you’re not the only one who has been “brainwashed” in some way by a parent. In fact, find me a kid who hasn’t been; because I’ve yet to see it.

 

 

Love,

Daddy

The Gradual Social Acceptance Of My Family’s Plant-Based Lifestyle

June 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm , by

3 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

Over three years ago when I started The Dadabase, we were a kosher family; meaning that we observed “the Jewish food laws of the Old Testament” (the Mosaic Law) regarding not eating pork or shellfish.

I had recognized that nixing the foods that the Bible had deemed as “unclean” helped my eczema (dyshidrosis) from getting worse. I began understanding why pork and shellfish were considered unclean; because like vultures and possums, they are at the bottom of the food chain.

So to consume the dirtiest animals for food, it was only feeding my disease.

One thing led to another, and by December 2011, we became vegetarians. You were so young that you never really ate meat to begin with.

Then by March 2013, I officially became a vegan; after discovering that my 22 years of constant sinus pressure, sinus infections, and allergies to animals were based on my consumption of the least amount of dairy and eggs. (I even had to get a much weaker prescription for my glasses after becoming a vegan!)

So for the record, since becoming a vegan, I no longer have eczema, sinus infections or allergy issues.

In the process of Mommy basically being forced to become a vegan chef for our household, you and she are almost vegans as well now; by default.

Meanwhile, it has been interesting to observe the gradual social acceptance level of our family’s plant-based lifestyle.

I have been told that I was single-handedly depriving my family of the protein and nutrients we need. I should point out that none of us have had to go to the doctor since we adopted the plant-based lifestyle.

So it seems that is a good indication we are actually healthier since the change; considering we used to get sick and now we don’t.

But that was a year ago. The more people have heard my testimonials, the more it makes sense.

My friend Ben Wilder, who was taking a Zyrtec a day, became a vegan after hearing about our family’s switch to plant-based living, and he is no longer on his medication… because he no longer needs it.

It was my goal to make it common knowledge that there is an obvious connection between allergies (as well as my eczema) and going plant-based.

I feel I have reached my goal. I was never trying to convert anyone; just help people understand why we are this way and provide a way for them to join us if they wish, which is why I started my “Ask A Vegan Anything” series.

To my surprise, the questions I have been getting have not so much been from confused or accusatory people, but instead, from people who are sincere in their curiosity; who are willing to consider going plant-based at the chance of reaching similar results.

So in the same way I feel I’ve reached my goal of helping to “rebrand fatherhood” as a daddy blogger, I also feel my mission is accomplished in helping others understand that the plant-based life is not so crazy after all.

That’s why in my writings to come, the focus will be more on reviewing vegan recipes and food products that our family enjoys…

 

Love,

Daddy

My 15 Year Class Reunion/Father’s Day Weekend

I Wasn’t Meant To Be A Bachelor, But Maybe A Hula Hoop Star…

June 16, 2014 at 9:12 pm , by

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

For the past couple of nights I have come home to notes from Mommy telling me how long to preheat the oven to cook her homemade vegan dinners.

How awesome is Mommy?Seriously!

Let me tell you, life without you and her in the house is so… quiet.

I can hear the refrigerator, the ceiling fan, and even the lights.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a good thing.

That’s my way of saying that there are no “signs of life” other than me in the house.

I should explain; you and Mommy are visiting family out in California for a few days before I get there. (Mommy had more vacation days from work than I did.)

Last Saturday morning, after we packed up your new Okiedog rolling suitcase with several GoGo Squeez pouches and free apps on Mommy’s Kindle, I dropped you both off at the Nashville Aiport.

Since then, I have rediscovered my impressive hula hoop skills, while visiting my side of the family in Alabama: Saturday was also my 15 Year Class Reunion.

But trust me, I am ready to see you and Mommy again.

I just wasn’t meant to be a bachelor. My identity is so closely woven into me being a husband and a dad, that every other part of my life just seems silly.

Everything else seems like I’m just waiting in line for something to happen.

I was meant to be your Daddy. I was meant to be married to Mommy.

Whether it’s fate or not, what I do know is that you and Mommy are parts of my life that unquestionably make sense.

It’s like peanut butter and jelly. Though really, when you think about it, peanut butter and jelly make for an odd combination.

But it’s a combination that works- like you, me, and Mommy.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

The Lego Movie Is The Boy Version Of Frozen

June 15, 2014 at 7:50 pm , by

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

It has been well established that you and I are huge fans, as well as advocates, of The Lego Movie.

Not only did I write to youback in Novemberabout how excited I was that the movie was coming out, but then in February I wrote a letter to you (which got over 1,200 likes on Facebook) telling all about the two of us going to see your very first movie in a theatre; which obviously, was The Lego Movie.

So that helps explain why I was asked by Lego to do an “unboxing and review” of the Everything Is Awesome Edition of The Lego Movie on my other blog site, Family Friendly Daddy Blog, where I review cars, movies, food, travel destinations, etc.

With a release date of June 17th, it’s just in time for our annual family vacation to California which is coming up soon, so you can watch the movie while on our trip.

Seeing The Lego Movie again, after having recently seen Frozen for the first time as a family, I can’t help but compare the two.

It appears as if The Lego Movie is the boy version of Frozen.

By that, I don’t mean at all that the movies share similar plot lines. Instead, I mean that the themes that The Lego Movie deal with seem a little more relevant to boys; while the themes of Frozen are more feminine, in my opinion.

Maybe the best way to word it is that The Lego Movie is an action movie, while Frozen is a chick flick.

I still can’t get over the fact that in Frozen, the whole thing could have been prevented had the parents of Elsa and Anna, the King and Queen of Arendell, not taught their daughters to close off communication with each other.

Seriously, what normal parents decide to basically lock their daughter in her room for most of her whole childhood because she has a superpower? As the King and Queen, could they seriously not have found some kind of wizard dude to cure her before coming to such an extreme decision?

Frozen is worth all the hype, but it just bothers me that the whole plot was a result of the parents teaching horrible communication skills to their kids, as well as setting them up to hold in their emotions.

Meanwhile with The Lego Movie, while the whole thing is a fantasy, at least it doesn’t hinge on some easily preventable premise.

The plot instead is more like Die Hard and Braveheart, in which a regular guy ends up outsmarting and overpowering the bad guys and their whole system by recruiting average Joes to join the cause of the underdog, therefore freeing his people.

I’m not saying that Frozen is definitely for girls and that The Lego Movie is definitely for boys, but I do feel that your fellow dude friends at your preschool seem a little disconnected while “Let It Go” plays over the speakers at the end of the day when I pick you up.

But if it were “Everything Is Awesome” playing instead, there would be a class of full of little boys jumping around, singing the words at the top of their lungs.

 

Love,

Daddy

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