This is the second post in a year-long series of guest bloggers on Oh, Honestly! Each month I’ll feature one blogger (from Maine and beyond) to share their real life with you. They will write about any number of things; the only caveat being that, in line with my challenge, they ‘keep it real’.
Today I welcome guest blogger, Lauren Lear of Happy New Lear. When Lauren told me what she planned to write about, I was intrigued. My family isn’t vegan, or even vegetarian, but as the mom of a child with a dairy allergy, I’m always interested in hearing about safe and delicious snack options for him.
Hello, I’m Lauren of Happy New Lear and I’m honored to be doing a guest blog for Lauren of Oh, Honestly!, and what better way to contribute to a family-focused blog on being real than a guest post on eating REAL healthy foods. I interviewed Maggie Knowles and Elizabeth Fraser- my two role models in health, happiness, and family. They are the co-owners of Kids Gone Raw, a raw vegan, gluten free, organic kids snack food company. KGR recently won Best Brownie at the Chocolate Lovers’ Fling- a first for a vegan treat!
HNL: What made you decide to be vegan?
MK: I became Vegetarian when I was pregnant almost seven years ago. When I was carrying life, it was impossible to think about eating a part of someone’s family, be it fish, chicken or cow. Throughout that next year, I didn’t miss meat at all but I consumed dairy being under the impression I needed the added fat and calories to make enough breast milk. And honestly, I just loved cheese. I swore I would never give up my ritual of red wine and big hunks of French cheese. Yet, after a while, even my beloved cheese started tasting too salty and weird to me–not to mention the horrible congestion I would get for days after. Thankfully, we are living in a time and place now where there are so many wonderful vegan cheese and meat options, that there really aren’t any excuses as to why we can’t shift as a society toward a fully plant-based diet. I think if people were honest with how they felt after consuming animal proteins, they would say they feel tired, bloated and blah. Since our bodies are not meant to digest flesh, it takes so much energy for our bodies to break down and discard meat. That is energy that could be spent fighting off germs, repairing old cells and replenishing our entire systems–that’s a reason so many people are sick so often and look so old and weary; their bodies just are taxed dealing with poor food choices.
EF: My quest for health and my love of animals brought me to the vegan lifestyle. It has been a long journey, but being vegan allows me live my best life in every sense of the word. My weight has been stable since becoming vegan, my energy level is high, I feel more connected to myself and to others than I ever have before, and food has never tasted so good. I am blessed to be living this lifestyle and sharing it with others.
HNL: How long have you been vegan?
MK: Now I have been Vegan for about six years and started a high-raw diet about three years ago. In the winter months I am about 50-60% raw and about 80% in the summer.
EF: I have been vegan for 5 amazing years.
HNL: What are the reasons that you have stuck with it?
MK: So many reasons! My body is in balance now. I live in an alkaline state–whereas the standard American diet puts one’s body into an unhealthy acidic state. My skin and hair are clear and healthy, my weight is stable, I sleep well, and I am rarely sick–and if I am, I recover very quickly. My heart is happy that through my food and living choices, I am helping to protect the planet and her animals.
EF: As far as the food goes …vegan food is delicious! It is so flavorful, satisfying and it truly nourishes my body and soul. And as far as animals & health go … it’s a no-brainer. I love to read & watch movies and once you get your hands on some books like “Skinny Bitch,” “Eating Animals,” “The China Study,” or movies like “Forks Over Knives,” and “Fat Sick & Nearly Dead,” you cannot ignore the facts about how animal products and processed foods are making our country sick, and sweet critters are being raised in horrific conditions for human consumption. I don’t want to add to any part of that. It really is easy being vegan!
HNL: Why did you choose to start Kids Gone Raw?
MK: Elizabeth and I originally paired up to write an un-cookbook, also called Kids Gone Raw, where we would show families that they can enjoy their favorite meals but in a new, RAWsome way. Through that process, we decided to also make snacks that would be readily available to our community. The snack line was such a hit that we ended up starting a whole company to keep up with the orders! Our goal is to still publish Kids Gone Raw over the next year. We were able to publish, Smoothies Gone Raw last year, which is a great tool for those wanting to start adding some green goodness into their diet.
EF: Kids Gone Raw started out as an un-cookbook project. Maggie & I wanted to spread the joy of raw vegan living with families & kids–if we can show our youth that healthy eating is fun, yummy and makes you feel good, we can set kids up for a healthy life. (If only I knew as a kid, what I know now!) While working on our un-cookbook, we decided to create a RAWlicious snack food line that includes kale chips, grawnola, crawkers, chocolate bars, cookies & fruit rollups. With our snack food line we can both provide families with healthy munchies and educate them about raw vegan treats at the same time. Our book is still in the works, but it’s going to be worth the wait!
HNL: How do children react to a vegan diet?
MK: There is a great quote that says, “Put and apple and a bunny in a crib with a toddler. If it plays with the apple and eats the bunny, I will buy you a new car.” Children are closely connected to the earth and are attracted to the natural sweetness and vibrancy of fruits and veggies. It is society that converts them into eating fat, sugar and chemically-laden crap made in labs, which is why the state of our country’s health is such a mess.
EF: Kids love animals and they love bright colors, so a vegan diet comes very naturally to them. Kids gravitate to fresh foods that they can eat with their fingers. We, as a society, are the ones who steer them away from this simple way of eating. Eat a rainbow of fresh produce every day and get all of the nutrients your body needs!