Archive for the ‘ Health ’ Category

Making Room For Dessert… Literally!

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

Mommy made some more awesome vegan chocolate cupcakes this weekend, from that recipe on the blog Oh She Glows. She had told you that you could have one after lunch today.

However, you hadn’t eaten much of your quesadilla before you were asking for your cupcake.

“I’m full. I want my cupcake. I want to hold it,” you told us.

(I like the fact that you were somewhat implying that you just wanted to hold the cupcake, not eat it.)

Mommy and I explained to you that if you were too full to eat the rest of your actual lunch, then you were definitely too full for a treat.

You’re a clever kid. Let me just say that.


We heard you grunting and straining. We were confused as to what you were doing.

“Jack, are you trying to make room for dessert?” Mommy asked.

The sly look on your face gave it away. Yes. That’s exactly what you were trying to do!

Nicely done. It worked.

Mommy and I decided to let you have a very small bite of your cupcake before your noontime nap.

You’ll get the rest of it later.

But honestly, it was as simple as us not wanting you to strain yourself too hard. After all, Mommy had already changed a dirty diaper of yours this morning while we were at the shoe store.

So we weren’t sure that you had much more to… push out.

I’ve heard of saving room for dessert, but never making room for dessert.

Well, at least not until today.




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Calling For Grandparental Reinforcement To Finish Dinner

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

There’s no question that you love your GoGo Squeez applesauce pouches. (As do I.)

It’s just that you’ve begun to associate finishing your applesauce with finishing dinner, and therefore, having to get ready for bed.

So you take your time eating dinner, essentially trying to make it never ending.

But a few nights ago, you were really putting up a fight… Mommy and I never let you finish dinner without eating some kind of fruit.

So half jokingly, Mommy asked you if we needed to call Papa (my dad) to tell you to finish your applesauce.

You hesitantly agreed.

I quickly briefed Papa on what was going on before putting him on speakerphone and handing the phone to you.

“Jack, you need to eat your applesauce. It’s good for you,” Papa advised.

You didn’t say a word. You just listened, nearly in disbelief that I actually called Papa about this.

He did his best, but ultimately, after the phone call, you still stood your ground.

We gave you a choice: Either eat your applesauce and have some playtime afterwards, or go straight upstairs to get ready for bed.

You chose to go straight upstairs. (Granted, Mommy still forced you to eat a spoon of applesauce before taking you upstairs.)

So sort of like the time you put yourself in time-out so you wouldn’t have to get dressed, you chose not eating applesauce over getting extra playtime.

Just in case you missed it, here’s the irony:

You didn’t want to eat your applesauce because it signified going upstairs to get ready for bed, meaning your fun time would come to an end.

So you refused your applesauce, meaning you went straight upstairs, forgoing the option of playing with your toys in the living room for a few minutes before going upstairs.

Even Papa tried to help. But sometimes you’re just so set in your ways.





P.S. I have to brag on GoGo Squeez. Their products are free of high fructose corn syrup or any added colors or flavors. I’m not waiting or hoping for the government to mandate food labeling. Instead, I’m taking control of the situation myself by purposely buying food from brands I can trust. Brands that aren’t dependent on Monsanto for their livelihood or that are shady about their ingredients. Any food brand that can claim to be kosher certified, as well as vegan friendly, has my attention:

100% natural Kosher certified BPA free packaging Gluten free Wheat free Vegan friendly



(Plus, all GoGo Squeez products are produced free of common allergens, including milk, egg, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish.)

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Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Options For Eggs, Milk, Cheese & Butter

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I know, I know… After having just written to you a few days ago “Never Talk About Politics, Religion, Or Food You Don’t Eat,” the very next day I followed it up with “A Parent’s Prayer For Wisdom, Humility, And Grace,” which is obviously religious in nature.

And now here I am writing about food we don’t eat.

Of course, my point was that when do we talk about politics, religion, and food we don’t eat, it should be done in a way that’s inclusive, not exclusive. Plus, it has to be a conversation with someone who is already curious or open-minded enough to want to hear what you have to say.

I suppose anyone who has read the title “Non-Dairy, Plant-Based Options For Eggs, Cheese, Milk, & Butter” wants to be here, so I’m going to give this a shot.

As a quick refresher, it was about 4 and a half months ago that, sort of accidentally, I refrained from eating eggs or dairy for a weekend.

It was no coincidence that my severe sinus pressure, which had plagued me constantly since 1992, disappeared. Not to mention, whereas I used to be horribly allergic to cats as well, I can now pet and hold a cat without sneezing, coughing, itching, getting watery eyes, or having a headache for the rest of the day. Plus, I used to regularly get severe sinus infections with congestion and fever… that’s all gone too.

I don’t know the science behind this, I just know it’s been true for me. Needless to say, I have continued not eating eggs or dairy since that random, fateful weekend.

That had to be a bit challenging for Mommy at first, as you can imagine, because that meant she had to rethink all our meals, as well as which ingredients we kept in our fridge and pantry.

But Mommy is great! She has totally embraced this lifestyle change, and now, both you and Mommy are more non-dairy and plant-based as well.

The biggest help for her was a food blog called Oh She Glows. What a lifesaver! It has been really good about helping us understand the non-dairy, plant-based alternatives for the ingredients we use to depend on.

So, since our family’s meals are made without eggs, cheese, milk, or butter, what do we use instead?

I see this question asked frequently on Facebook, as several people I know have children with food allergies.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for what we do for these following American food staples:

Eggs in dessert: Applesauce or chia seeds.

Eggs for breakfast: Avocados.

Dairy milk: Rice milk and coconut milk. (I’m not loyal to a certain brand for either.)

Cheese: Avocados, unsalted cashews, or unsalted sunflower seeds.

Butter: Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread Original, which is non-dairy and plant-based, consisting of a natural oil blend from palm fruit, canola, soybeans, flax, and olives. Not to mention, it’s also non-GMO and gluten-free.

Since you and Mommy still do consume some eggs and dairy, our meals are constructed in a way that eggs and dairy can be added to the meal if desired.

Okay, then, that’s how our family survives without eggs and dairy. Any questions?





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Never Talk About Politics, Religion, Or Food You Don’t Eat

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

I’ve decided that in addition to writing about the funny things you do and say on a daily basis, and covering trending parenting stories, I want to start teaching you “life lessons from dad.”

So here’s the first one:

I have learned that the topics of politics, religion, and food are so interwoven into emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity, that to bring up a point that goes against or even questions a person’s already established viewpoint…

Well, it often ends up becoming an insult, a threat, or a display of arrogance: It could put you in danger of being perceived as self-righteous or judgmental; even if you have the purest of intentions.

While it seems most people are familiar with the fact that politics and religion are sensitive subjects, I recently learned that the topic of “food you don’t eat” is equal in regards to one’s emotions, moral beliefs, and sense of identity.

But my opinion about these topics isn’t worth dividing people. I want to connect to people and make them feel included, and I’ve learned that openly talking about, or even just asking questions about, these three topics isn’t the way to do this.

So for the past month or so, I’ve been trying something out. I’ve been very careful not to use the “V-word” to label myself in regards to my eating lifestyle or the “L-word” to label my political beliefs.

And when it comes to speaking about my religious faith, I am trying to focus on humility, more than anything; which is one of the most important aspects of what I believe anyway. What good are my religious beliefs if my personal beliefs regarding politics and/or food distract people from my faith?

This is me trying to deliberately not perpetuate America’s polarizing tendencies, especially in social media. Both CNN and Fox News are pretty good at that already. I’ll leave it to the experts.

Regarding politics, religion, and food I don’t eat, I’ll let my viewpoints remain as much of a mystery as possible… until people specifically ask, or it works its way into conversation more naturally.

I want to earn the right to have these conversations with individuals, not broadcast my lifestyle across the universe to the masses like I’m the ultimate authority on these three sensitive subjects.

Here’s to finding out if my actions can speak louder than my words.




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The Health-Conscious Road Trip: An Oxymoron?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

I can barely remember it, but for the first five months of our marriage, Mommy and I didn’t have any dietary restrictions.

Whenever we took a road trip, we didn’t have to consider where or what we could eat; just where and what we didn’t want to eat.

Then we went kosher in November 2008, and vegetarian in December 2011, then I went vegan in March 2013; as you and Mommy are pretty much there with me too by now.

With that being said, gone are the days of not having to carefully plan out in advance every single meal and snack over the course of a road trip.

As you know, this past weekend for our 5 year wedding anniversary, Mommy and I decided to take you along for a mini-road trip; a 2 and a half hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky.

Using hotel points we had earned last year, we made it an overnight trip and visited the magnificent Louisville Zoo.

Just as we had to plan out in advance which hotel we’d be staying in, making sure we could not only redeem our points there but also that it was closest to the zoo, we additionally had to find out its proximity to the nearest Whole Foods Market.

Basically, we packed half the food we would need, including plenty of water and snacks; then bought the other half of the food at Whole Foods the next morning.

We dined on veggie wraps, fruit snacks, and bottled water in the parking lot. It was like a picnic in our car; fortunately, it was the perfect weather for it… not too hot or wet.

Plus, I knew from previous visits to Loiusville that the city is laced with 14 different Heine Brothers’ Coffee shops. Not only is their coffee perfect, which Mommy and I could definitely appreciate as a fun way to start the day, but they also have plenty of vegan options for snacks.

So was it difficult to make our road trip a health-conscious one? No, because we carefully planned for it.

But was the actual driving part of the road trip difficult because it threw off your sleep schedule? Absolutely!

(That’s a whole different story and I plan to tell it in the near future.)

Our mini-road trip served as necessary practice for the big one up ahead in a few weeks, when we will be taking our annual family vacation in Sacramento to see Mommy’s family.

It’s one thing to avoid eating at restaurants for 23 hours, but another thing when we’re staying at someone else’s house for over a week and trying not to become a burden because of our alternative lifestyle.





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