Tell us a little about yourself. Where you live, what you do for a living.
My name is Danielle and I am a stay at home mother of identical twin boys; Alessandro and Leonardo. I am also the creator of the blog WonderMamas that is a vegan support blog for families; it includes how to feed your children, how to live a sustainable life, and even how I stay fit with two little toddlers running around all day. The website is WonderMamas.com. It began as a little journal type blog but now it has grown into a meal plan membership, fitness site, gentle parenting recommendation blog, wild child inspiration, and more. I am still in shock with what the blog has turned into! I love my job so much. I am an American Veteran (USN) and was in the middle of traveling the World after my 6-year contract was up when I met the love of my life (A policeman in North Italy) and I never went back to the states. I moved here and that was that. Our lives are so beautiful and nature filled; a dream for me.
What lead you to veganism? How long ago?
I turned vegan about 4-5 years ago (I do not know exactly when!) while living in Hawaii. It was a natural progression from being vegetarian and it happened overnight! Documentaries like Cowspiracy and Forks over Knives made the leap easy. Many of my friends joined as well and we kept eachother accountable.
How many children do you have? Were they born vegan?
I have identical twin boys and they were born vegan. They are amazing!
Did you have a vegan pregnancy? If so, how’d it go? Please share any challenges or victories.
Yes, I did and it was rough! I was studying abroad in Paris while pregnant and I had a heck of a time finding food throughout the day. I had to travel about an hour back and forth on the subway to the University and morning sickness was not my friend. It was a very rough time but I made it through!
What are some of the challenges you find raising a vegan child? How have you dealt with these challenges?
The only challenge thus far has been our pediatrician and public opinion. Our pediatrician believes that dairy is bad but eggs are a necessity. Public opinion believes that we are hurting our children or being too “crazy”. Our town is a very old village with many Austrian and Italian folks who live on farms and do not understand our thinking that animals should not be exploited. Life is much different here than in the States and so I do understand their stance but I would never go back to consuming dairy, eggs, or meat. I am a firm believer in the rights of animals and I am absolutely OK being the only vegan in our town!
Do you believe we should show children the process of how animals are turned into products? How are you educating your child/children on veganism and compassion?
I do believe that children deserve to know about the process of how animals are turned into products. I believe that no child should consume animals until they know and agree with the truth of it all. Since my children do not consume animal products, I will wait until they ask or when they are at an appropriate age to talk about it openly and discuss into detail whatever they wish to know. As of now, we teach our children compassion through respecting nature and animals, while also respecting themselves and others. Communication and education is key here.
What does being vegan mean to you? For example, does it extend to not killing bugs and bees? Does it include not patronizing vegan companies owned by non-vegan parent companies? Does it affect the way you treat other humans? How does your definition of this affect your parenting?
Veganism has changed my entire being. I have found the road to gentle parenting through veganism. I choose to not consume honey or kill any animals or bugs (I am sorry but mosquitos do not count here). I do not support non-vegan companies with my money. I have also found that I am much more compassionate towards others and understanding. I do not fight others for not being vegan, I am compassionate towards their beliefs.
What’s your favorite Vegan restaurant?
I cook everything at home.
Please share your the vegan recipe your kids love most.
Cashew Mac n’ Cheese
Some encouraging words or advice for vegan parents.
Find your community and surround yourself with those who support your choice. From your pediatrician to your running partner, try your best to seek those who share your lifestyle and want to nurture you in your journey.
Have you connected with other vegan families in your city? If so, how did you meet?
I cannot find any!
Do you make any exceptions for your child’s veganism? School snacks? Family gatherings?
No, but my grandmother did “accidentally” give my youngest a bite of her chicken salad sandwich. She does not understand what vegan is.
How do you think you will react if your is out with his/her friends and they eat animal products?
In the future? It is their choice! I would hope that they were open enough to tell me about it and then we can discuss it like respectful family members. It is not my choice to make.