Raphael is a Barber whose family recently turned vegan due to some health issues suffered by his wife and daughter. They were vegetarian for a while prior to this and decided to give up animal products altogether when they discovered that their newborn was allergic to dairy. During this time, Raphael and his family learned about the dairy industry and how badly it impacts human health and the earth and that strengthened their decision.
Since making the switch, Raphael’s wife’s health and that of their baby have greatly improved and Raphael has also made the decision to make his barbershop a cruelty free business.
We asked Raphael to tell us about his family’s journey to veganism and his thoughts on raising children on a plant based diet, among other things.
Why are you vegan?
My wife made the transition first, she was suffering from some major liver issues. We both did some research and started to cut various animal products from our diets, that’s when I noticed change! Her liver values got dramatically better, as did her general health and energy. This was just the start! We also have a 16 month old baby girl who is allergic to dairy. She had severe eczema to the point where we couldn’t touch her because her skin would break and weep. It was heartbreaking. We came to the conclusion that we would just cut animal products in general as a household. Our baby hasn’t had any eczema since!
Have you had any negative interactions related to your decision to go vegan? Any positive ones?
This is a little hard to answer as I am new to being vegan. The only negative interactions I have had are with narrow minded people. I have a background heavily involved in bodybuilding and on a daily basis I have people say “but you need dairy or eggs, or where do you get your protein”. This narrow mindedness always fuels a heated conversation! People today are skeptics when it comes to nutrition.
On a positive note I have met a lot of beautiful people who have been very supportive of our lifestyle change. I look forward to the tough conversations (laughs).
What’s your favorite food?
Favourite food would have to be Mexican style beans and rice. This is a daily. Don’t forget the hot sauce!
What are your views on raising children as vegans?
I think it’s very important to raise our children with the awareness of being vegan; raise them to love animals, learn proper nutrition and the healing power of a plant based diet. And also about preserving the earth we live on. I’ve had lots of people say “your kids will be malnourished” that’s just lack of proper knowledge! I personally think it’s the healthiest way of life. I wouldn’t raise our kids any other way now that I know! I wish I was open to it years ago!
You’re raising your kids on a plant based diet, can you tell us about any struggles or triumphs you’ve had so far?
There has been some stubborn moments with changing the kids’ diets but! There’s enough choices these days that even fussy kids can enjoy being vegan, you can give flavour to anything. Be creative.
What’s your advice for someone who is thinking of making the switch to a vegan diet/lifestyle?
Making the switch… hmmmm .. my advice is transition at your own pace. Do some research and don’t be afraid to ask other vegans for help/options. Once I learned the amount of alternatives it was easy. And make sure your doing it for a cause. Whether it’s to prolong your life, save animals, or save the earth. Being vegan isn’t a diet fad, it’s a way of life; people will always find it hard until they realise what they are doing it for.
Do you think it’s ever too late to go vegan?
Do I think it’s ever too late… no not all. “It’s better late than never” right? If I went vegan later in life and managed to share how it helped with at least one person! That’s a job done.
A Note From The Raise Vegan Staff
Don’t forget to check out the Facebook Group Vegan Eats For Smaller Feet, for some great ideas on easy peasy meal ideas for that amazing plant based family! If you’re looking for other like minded parents, we have the main group, Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting, over thirty thousand parents, all Raising Vegan! From homeschooling, to food and everything in between. We have you covered for every over asked question that may come your way. Check out articles such as Hot For Food, An Interview With Lauren & John and Michelle Fro Vegetarian To Vegan – Everyday Vegans.
Raising children vegan is sometime wrought with worries about nutrition, and doubts from outside influences. You are doing an amazing thing for your kids, the planet, and most importantly, the animals. We thank you, we are grateful to you, and we admire you! Keep on rocking vegan parents, we are changing the world together!