Monday, March 28, 2011

Kids and Veganism + Kid-Friendly Seitan Soup

The kids had their checkups recently at the doctor. They are both doing great. Olivia has always been tall. Jackson used to be wee (5th percentile at one point) but he had a growth spurt and now he is on the tall side, too. I guess this means they are getting the nutrients they need to grow, but I always feel like there is room for improvement with their diets. I want them to be as healthy and strong as they can be.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that Tony's an omnivore, and we decided back when I got pregnant with Jackson that we would raise him that way too, until he's old enough to make his own food choices. I went vegetarian at the age of six, with no exposure to the idea at all, just a love of animals. So I know it doesn't take very long for a child to form such opinions. Jackson currently eats dairy, eggs, and meat. (I never cook meat, don't even know how, but Tony will occasionally cook a steak or pick up a roasted chicken or something.)
When I was pregnant with Olivia, I seemed to crave eggs constantly. Funny since I was never an egg-lover before that. But after she was born, I developed a distaste for eggs and dairy, influenced by my watching Food, Inc. and reading Eating Animals around the same time. It was shortly after her birth that I started cooking completely vegan meals.

Now that Olivia is eating pretty much what we eat, Tony and I have discussed her diet. He says he is OK with me raising her vegetarian because he sees how healthy she is, and she's never eaten meat. She does eat dairy and eggs, however. As for Jackson, well, he seems to have a taste for meat, and I don't think it would be right to forbid him from eating it, while Tony eats it in front of him. So for now, the plan is to let him eat meat when he asks for it, and hopefully in a few years he will make the meat-animal connection and no longer enjoy it. We'll let Olivia eat meat, too, if she shows an interest, but so far she has not. I'd happily transition them all to a vegan diet tomorrow, but it's not only my decision. Tony says maybe he'll try going vegetarian after we move. That's something!

To use up the last of the seitan in my freezer, I was going to make chili, but then I realized I was out of chili powder. So I made this soup instead. It's not spicy unless you top it with sliced jalapenos. I wanted to make something Olivia would enjoy.

She loved it! Messy girl.

Kid-Friendly Seitan Soup
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. seitan, thinly sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped small
3 small tomatoes, chopped
4 cups water
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
2 pickled jalapenos, sliced (optional)

Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the seitan and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. The seitan will start to stick to the bottom of the pot a little; that's ok. Add the tomatoes, water, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, cocoa powder, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Serve over rice or with crushed tortilla chips. Top your portion with pickled jalapenos if you want heat.

Check it out - Vegan Heartland is giving away goodie packages including coupons and samples of vegan products such as Gardein, Tofurkey, and So Delicious. Go enter and get some vegan swag!


  1. I will have to try out the recipe.

    My hubby and I chose to raise our family vegan as it is part of our ethical belief system and we wouldn't say that they have a choice in an ethical belief system until they are adults. We know it will be challenging at times, but most things worthwhile are. So far Cordelia is thriving on a vegan diet. She is right in the 50% percentile for weight and 90th for height (I am tall too).

  2. Recipe looks great. I am raising 7 kids on the vegan diet- for health reasons. So every now and again the older ones sneak in cheese pizza- but all are healthy and thriving.
    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

  3. That is so awesome that your kiddos are vegan :) So precious!