I just told Mommy, after discovering Gluten-Free-Vegan-Girl‘s no bake recipes, I don’t even miss baked goods- and definitely not ones that contain dairy and eggs.
Needless to say, you and your chocolate mouth agree, as you can see from these pictures. You even got the first taste, as you stuck your finger in like Little Jack Horner.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this awesome and delicious recipe is that in addition to containing no animal products or gluten, nor does it require any baking… the recipe also contains no added sugar!
But you would never know it.
In fact, I didn’t realize that until just now. I actually had to ask Mommy to make sure I wasn’t reading that wrong.
I’m serious. Between this and the No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls, I’m all set when it comes to sweet treats.
As a plant-based kid getting to enjoy wonderful recipes like these, I really don’t think anyone can feel sorry for you.
When it comes to desserts, you are in vegan Guinea pig heaven!
As of today, I have been doing this for exactly 4 years. That’s right- I’ve been writing to you, or at least about you, since April 13, 2010; which was 7 months before you were even born.
Here’s an explanation as featured in the About Me section:
“Back in April 2010, I decided I wanted to set a world record for the longest-running daddy blog in the world, beginning with the day the parents-to-be went public with the news they were expecting a baby. Nearly a thousand blog posts later, I write a new one nearly every day.”
Sure, it takes discipline and creativity to write a fatherly post 25 times each month (this is my 955th over all), but it’s one of the things in this life I do best.
Even then, my best isn’t always great. In the past 4 years, I have definitely written things I would later, and still do, regret. At the same time, those “regretful” moments also have served as important milestones in my maturity as your daddy, as well as a writer.
On the other extreme, I think it’s interesting to see what the most interesting things I’ve written to you are about. While my Top 10 Dadabase posts are definitely not my personal Top 10 favorites, the free market has decided otherwise, and I absolutely appreciate their opinion and input.
Just for the record, I have still yet to officially “break the 4th wall” and admit to you that these letters are seen by anyone other than you and me; today is as close as it gets for now. (It’s sort of like how on the TV show, The Office, they never really acknowledged the camera crew or the fact there were making a documentary until the final season.)
So to celebrate 4 years and running, 3 of them being on Parents.com, I now take a look at how my fatherly perspective most resonates with the general public:
To my surprise, my review of the recipe for “No-Bake Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls” is by far the most popular thing I’ve ever written. I only wrote it 2 months ago, yet it has now nearly doubled the number of views of the #2 most popular most, which was published nearly 3 years ago.
So I guess I need to review more vegan recipes?
Over all, just glancing at which ones made the Top 10 list, it appears I am most interesting and relevant when I am talking about our vegan (“plant-based”) lifestyle, morality issues, identifying as Generation Y parents, questioning the traditional norms of child discipline, being “cheap” parents, poking fun at the realities of trying to sleep as a parent, planning a child’s birthday party, and spotlighting cool news stories about parenting.
(Plus, putting numbers in the title, like “The Top 10 Dadabase Posts Of All Time: 4 Years And Counting”, seems to help too.)
I’ll try to keep these things in mind as I continue writing my thoughts as a dad in these “private” daily letters to you.
With Mommy and I both working full-time, it’s a fact that as a family, we are constantly running short on quality time for the three of us together.
So even though it would be more efficient for Mommy just to go buy groceries by herself on Saturday mornings while we stay home, we instead have made it a family routine that we all go to there together.
I have learned that quality family time isn’t always automatic; it’s often something we have to create.
Granted, buying groceries is not necessarily the most stress-free thing to involve a 3 year-old. But finally, it’s gotten to a point where I feel it really is quality family time for us… largely in part because our Whole Foods in Nashville recently purchased about a dozen kid-sized shopping carts.
On the car ride there each Saturday morning, you and Mommy read stories in the back seat while I drive.
Then once we get there, you grab a kid-sized cart and literally help me buy my specific items, like my Synergy brand Kombucha (a source of Vitamin B12 for vegans) and my bottle of balsamic vinegar (I avoid eating oils for salad dressing).
It’s a lot of fun for you and me both. You actually are quite helpful to me- you take the job seriously.
You don’t make a joke of the task. It’s not like you’re running around, crashing the cart into fruit stands. You’ve never tipped over the cart or made a mess of any kind while pushing that little cart.
Then, after we’ve collected my stash, we always have a father-and-son breakfast in the Whole Foods café; which is our version of going out to eat, since most restaurants are not very enticing to plant-based families like us.
By the time we’re finished with our vegan bars and coconut water, Mommy is finished with the rest of the shopping.
What’s not to like? It has become good quality family time for us.
Of course, that kid-sized shopping cart has a lot to do with that. It gives you a purpose and transforms you into Daddy’s little helper, while Mommy has time to do the hard work. So that way everybody’s happy, even at the grocery store.
There’s this familiar cliché in which a child doesn’t finish all their food at dinner so one of their parents tells them, “What a shame… there are starving children in China right now.”
The implied concept is that by taking more than we need, it means someone else on the other side of the world (or down the street) will suffer a deficiency of that same commodity.
So if you don’t finish your fruit here in America, in theory, a starving child in China will go without a piece of fruit that he desperately needed for nutrition. Yet somehow, if you don’t waste that piece of fruit, the kid in China doesn’t go without.
I think it is important is to live a lifestyle in which we are constantly asking ourselves, “Am I consuming more here than I actually need? Or do I have enough?”
From food, to water, to clothing, to toys.
As I recently pointed out in an infographic, which I have included again at the bottom of this letter, isn’t it peculiar that Americans consume 1/6th (or 16.6%) of the total meat consumed worldwide even though Americans make up less than 1/20th (or 5%) of the total population?
“In the U.S. we are faced with an unprecedented amount of diet related disease including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are many different contributing factors to these illnesses and over consumption of meat produced in unsustainable manners is certainly one of them.
Diets high in red and processed meat have been found to be associated with greater mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, such a diet is connected to higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Red meats are often high in saturated fats which increase cholesterol levels leading to greater risk of heart disease and stroke…
Most Americans eat far more than the serving size recommended by the USDA Dietary Guidelines adding to overweight and obesity rates and the other health problems associated with these conditions. By reducing meat consumption and opting for a more balanced diet high in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, these diet-related diseases can be mitigated.”
I believe that with the right mindset, America could begin to learn how to consume enough.
That is a hard word to process, “enough,” because it’s not often easy to know the difference between actual needs and wants versus perceived needs and wants.
Once we begin recognizing when we are taking more than we need, we can begin to figure out how to give that excess to others who actually need our surplus.
Mommy and I recently watched a relevant documentary on Netflix, called I Am, which is about what happens when we as humans take more than we need:
“There is one fundamental law that all of nature obeys that mankind breaks everyday: Nothing in nature takes more than it needs, and when it does, it becomes subject to this law and it dies off… We have a term for something in the human body when it takes more than its share. We call it cancer.”
Friday morning as we were on our way to school, sitting at the red light, you looked over and saw what you assumed was a tanker truck delivering gas to the gas station.
“Actually, that’s a soda truck. Soda makes people sick. It’s not healthy for people to drink it,” your health nut dad explained.
Your immediate response:
“Daddy, we should pour soda over the heads of the bad guys.”
Now, maybe if an outsider somehow heard that conversation, they might suggest it’s a prime example of a parent brainwashing their child.
I don’t know, though. I don’t know if it’s common knowledge that drinking soda leads to diabetes (type 2), like it is common knowledge in our family. Fortunately, Diabetes.org recognizes this on their website:
“The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should limit their intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages include beverages like: regular soda, fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks.”
Plus, I don’t know if this is common knowledge either, like it is for our family, that diet sodas are no better for a person who is trying to avoid cancer or disease. Even WebMD doesn’t outright deny or dismiss these claims:
“The most recent headlines have raised concerns that diet sodas boost stroke risk. Diet and regular sodas have both been linked to obesity, kidney damage, and certain cancers. Regular soft drinks have been linked to elevated blood pressure… Observational studies like these can point to possible concerns, but they can’t prove that sodas do, or don’t, pose a health risk.”
But over time, like smoking cigarettes, regularly drinking soda is the sort of like playing Russian roulette.
The way I see it, it would be an act of mercy to pour soda over the heads of the bad guys. Better on them, than in them.
Honestly, I would be very upset if I found out that someone let you drink soda when I wasn’t around. That would be extremely offensive to me; even if you only had a few sips.
Aside from the overdose of sugar, and the mysterious chemicals, there’s also the caffeine to take into consideration.
“According to a study conducted by New Scientist magazine, 90% of North American adults consume some form of caffeine on a daily basis, making this legal, psychoactive substance the world’s most widely used drug.”
As for you, you just drink water all day, then almond milk with dinner.
Soda is not for drinking. It’s for pouring over the heads of bad guys; at least, according to you it is.
You’re nicer than I am, though. Again, I think making the bad guys drink that stuff would be a lot worse.
(Your health nut) Daddy
Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.