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Raise happy and healthy plant-powered children with more than 125 family favorite recipes by Vegucated film creator Marisa Miller Wolfson, plant-based chef Laura Delhauer, and parents in the vegan community.
“The Vegucated Family Table comes at a perfect time, when it’s never been more urgent for people to live more in line with their own values.”—Senator Cory Booker
For both vegans and the veg-curious, The Vegucated Family Table answers the question every caregiver ponders on a daily basis: “What should I feed my child?” But this book goes a step further, showing parents how to navigate the early years of childhood as a vegan, giving not only recipes and nutritional advice but also tips for holidays, packed lunches, play dates, and more.
Unlike other family-oriented vegan cookbooks, The Vegucated Family Table is the first to focus on raising vegans “from scratch,” from five months through elementary school. A Q&A section focuses on nutrition, with advice by renowned pediatric plant-based expert Reed Mangels. With more than 125 rigorously tested recipes for beloved dishes like Baby Mac-o-Lantern and Cheeze, Chickpea Sweet Potato Croquettes, PBJ Smoothie Bowl, Tempeh Tacos, Baby’s First Birthday Smash Cake, and more, this book will become the go-to reference for parents raising vegan children.
Under the Cover
An excerpt from The Vegucated Family Table
If you’ve thought about transitioning your family to a more plant-based diet, or if you’ve decided to raise your child completely vegan, this book is for you.
If you’ve read in baby food books how it’s “really hard” to raise a baby on such a “restricted” diet and that you should “talk to your doctor” (who likely had less than a day of nutrition education in all her or his years in medical school), this book is for you.
If you’re tired of feeling like a crappy parent because you fed your toddler chicken nuggets (“to get some protein”) made with a white starch for the umpteenth time this week since he doesn’t like to eat colors and he has to eat something, dammit, this book is for you.
If your little one rejects meat or has an egg allergy or a dairy sensitivity and you’ve heard that vegans have some weird and witchy formula for getting their kids the nutrients they need without these things, please enter our coven, for our secrets are wondrous and abundant, and this book is for you.
If you’ve ever been told that feeding your kids a vegetarian or vegan diet will make them social outcasts and they’ll end up in the school dumpster, this book is for you.
If you really love animals and you really love the planet and oh my God you love your baby so much but you want to make sure you’re giving her the best and healthiest start in life, we wrote this book for you.
We’re glad you’re here, and hey, let’s get crazy in the kitchen, because parents need some way to maintain a sense of adventure. But first we’ll tell you a little bit about who we are so you have a sense of what we’re about, what we’re doing here, and why we’re doing it.
When I decided to forgo animal products eighteen years ago, raising children without milk, meat, dairy, eggs, and fish was the last thing on my mind. I was a greenie and an animal advocate, after all, and I wasn’t sure I even wanted to burden the planet with kids. Fast-forward ten years, and there I was, suddenly visible in the public eye because I had made a vegan documentary, Vegucated, and because I was very pregnant. Well-meaning family members who knew I was a staunch vegan had the balls (the balls!) to send me warnings about raising my child on a plant-based diet . . . as if I hadn’t already done my homework, as if I didn’t already know what nutrients to be mindful of, as if I didn’t have a growing network of vegan parent friends whose kids were winning track meets, excelling in school, and proud as hell of being vegan.
When I was pregnant, I fantasized about having a healthy son who would still look rosy in spite of his wardrobe of cream-colored natural, organic clothes, who ate steamed kale, and who petted pigs at farm animal sanctuaries with me. I felt heady from the power and joy of it all—the idea that I could set the foundation for a lifetime of loving the foods that do the best job of preventing disease and ensuring my son a long, happy life . . . Gah! It’s what every health-conscious crunchy mama dreams of.
But then Gabriel came along, and he made it clear that he was not there to fill my crunchy mama fantasies. He was a real person with his own likes (processed vegan cheese!) and dislikes (steamed kale!), and I had to let go of a lot of control. I also scrambled to find resources to give me ideas for how to expand his palate and get him to love as many healthy plant-based foods as possible. At the time, there were no cookbooks aimed at parents of vegan babies, toddlers, or young kids. I relied mostly on inspiration from other vegan parents, in real life and online. We discovered new favorites and new ways to incorporate kale (see Perfect First Green Juice, page 124), and Gabriel, now age seven and a proud animal-loving vegan, is thriving. So is his sister, who, by the way, really likes kale, especially in chip form (see Baked Kale Chips, page 131).
Meanwhile, I would constantly get emails from other plant-powered parents with health or food questions and requests for recipe ideas and inspiration. It seemed that they, too, needed the book I had searched for in vain. And then brrrring! (magical chime sound)—the idea for this book was born. I was pumped and ready to write.
Then something unexpected happened: I became preggo again and got back into baby-planning mode. Shortly before my daughter, Emmeline, was born, I hired a vegan mother’s helper, knowing how hard it is to juggle a toddler and a newborn when your husband works long hours and travels often. This helper was the lovely Laura Delhauer, an actor/theater producer/childcare provider. I discovered that she was also a naturally gifted cook, so I took the burp cloth and the baby and handed her the apron. She even helped get Gabriel to eat more veggies. From her work as a nanny, she had experience getting kids who had been raised on the standard American toddler diet of chicken nuggets and buttered noodles to love foods like green peas and hemp seeds. We turned my home kitchen into a test kitchen and reached out to plant-powered parent friends for their mainstay recipe contributions, and we haven’t looked back.