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My husband and I have been transitioning into a vegan lifestyle for the past few months. I spent about a year researching nutrition and learned to cook quite a few excellent (and some not-so-great) vegan dishes. July first was my official one month veg-anniversary!

We are nothing if not quirky/distinct, albeit slightly unphotogenic.

Why did it take so long to transition? Welp, the short answer is the adorable, picky, short person in my life– my nearly five-year-old daughter, Miki. We are a family that eats together, and it took a great while to get Miki acclimated to the dietary changes. We are a non-traditional family; my husband is my daughter’s step-father, and her biological father, who is very much involved in her life, is a devout omnivore. This has created obstacles that require a great deal of finesse to navigate, as everyone involved is committed to co-parenting, but inevitably differences arise. Although there are many great blogs that showcase how to successfully raise compassionate, healthy, vegan children, I have yet to discover one that explores the issues my family faces. How to be a vegan parent, of a part-time-vegan child, all while maintaining respect for the other parent’s choices?

In addition to creating a space to discuss the issues facing non-traditional, vegan parents, I would like this blog to be a resource for the local community. Champaign-Urbana, the smallish twin cities in Central Illinois best known for being home to the University of Illinois, while home to only one vegan restaurant, boasts an incredible Farmers’ Market, the wonderful Common Ground food co-op, and many vegan-friendly restaurants. I hope that as time goes by, there will be an excellent account of where to find a variety of vegan food when eating out. Full disclosure: as a parent and a full-time student, there are many nights that I simply cannot bring myself to prepare an elaborate meal; having a reference for what is available, when, where, and how delicious and child-friendly the food is, could be considered a bit self-serving. I can accept that, but my hope is that this may help those that are considering veganism, but worry about the difficulty, cost, and time commitment.

With that last statement in mind, I would like to say that I do not intend to be proselytizing. I will write this blog under the assumption that readers are either vegan or vegetarian, or open-minded about such choices. While I believe that even the smallest amount of research into veganism is very convincing, I understand that there are a multitude of reasons that one may not yet be (or ever choose to be) vegan. My aim is to be compassionate, supportive, and understanding while providing resources that can help people make ethical, healthy choices concerning animals, the environment, and  their well-being. So, no judgments, because judgments lead to suffering, and let’s face it, suffering sucks.

-Stefi

P.S. The blog name? Inspired by the Charles Baudelaire quote “Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.” I think that’s a lovely and true sentiment, one to keep at the forefront of one’s mind. (I tend to be a bit bookish :))

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