My friend, Anette, wrote the following comment on the Swedish Surprise post:
I’m thinking that everyone had ice cream and your kids got broccoli!
Some background before you think she was being mean: Anette is Swedish herself. In fact, that’s how we met–through a Swedish play group when our oldest kids were toddlers. I think it’s fair to say Swedes have an obsession with ice cream, consuming even more than gelato-wielding Italians so it’s natural to serve ice cream for dessert to Swedes. And she meant it to be funny.
However, Anette’s comment sparks an interesting conversation and that’s what OneGreenSmoothie is all about–open discussions about why and what it’s like to be plant based. There are many misconceptions about vegan diets, but here are a few related to her comment:
- veganism is extreme
- veganism is deprivation
- vegans don’t have fun
Extremism–veganism probably seems extreme when compared to the Standard American Diet aka SAD, but when viewed from a health perspective, the environmental impact lens, or animal welfare concern, it’s the SAD diet that is extreme in it’s over reliance on processed carbs, animal consumption, and convenience food. We all know vegetarians and if you think about it, the step between being vegetarian and vegan is short–just the elimination of eggs and dairy so really not that “extreme”. Of course veganism is typically associated with a full lifestyle rather than just dietary, but for the sake of brevity here, let’s just stay food focused.
If you are courageous enough to watch this incredibly powerful speech , I am confident you will conclude that veganism is not the extreme, but rather the other way around. I’d love to hear your thoughts after viewing either way.
Deprivation–When first going plant based, it can definitely feel like “you can’t eat anything.” We certainly felt that way in the beginning and to be clear, we are not 100% perfect 100% of the time. However, now that we’ve been in this general mode for a year or so, we’ve realized that we’ve actually increased the variety of foods we’re eating. We have explored all sorts of beans and lentils and veggies and grains and tofus and tempehs and so much more than we ever would have considered before. See my Dallas post with the “Best Tacos Ever!”
Fun Factor–this has simply not been our experience. We still have fun, despite the grim faces in the picture I posted that elicited Anette’s comment. In fact, it’s actually been a bonding adventure for our family. We found a cool vegan-friendly restaurant, Mountain Rambler Brewery in Bishop, CA when we went skiing in Mammoth Lakes this past winter. Niklas and the twins found a vegan-friendly food spot at Magic Mountain just last month. When we travel, we go on a hunt for vegan-friendly places or at least a local Whole Foods Market. Discovering new places, food items, and recipes is all fun! Is it always easy? Not in the least. But it does get easier with experience.
Thank you, Anette, for unwittingly getting the conversation going. And to answer your question, no, the Moe kids did not get broccoli for desert! There are so many amazing vegan treats that it would be easy for anyone to be a “junk food vegan”. But we’ll leave that for another time.
Love to hear your thoughts anytime!