Recently, we sat down with three amazing fathers to find out what it's like being a plant-based poppa. For the unedited scoop, you can watch the video here (check out the video description to jump to different questions!), and/or keep reading to find out what they had to say!
First off, let's meet our BEEFLESS CAKE dads - who are all featured in our NEW COOKBOOK!
Randy is Robin's husband and the proud father of two boys, ages 3 and 7. He owns his own business in the financial sector and loves coaching little league.
Chris is Kate's husband (as seen in our Plant-Based Parenting series) and dad to 11-year-old Maddie. He's in the military and has been stationed all across the world.
Derrick is Robin's brother-in-law and dad to a boy and girl, ages 4 and 6, respectively. Derrick works in the corporate world and, living in Iowa, brings the perspective of being plant-based amongst a farming family.
As you can see, these fantastic fellas don't fit into the typical "vegan" mold. If you've been tuning into Plant-Based Point for a while, you have hopefully gathered that veganism doesn't actually look like this (at least not in our worlds!):
Not that there's anything wrong with this. Just. You know. It's not ALL like this.
Listening to these three dads, you'll soon hear that their path to plant-based was rooted in health concerns. From arthritis to high blood pressure to ulcerative colitis, all three dads experienced medical issues in their 30s.
Because they wanted to enjoy long, full, and healthy lives with their families, Randy, Chris, and Derrick all eventually turned to a plant-based diet.
"I was my own test case. [...] In about a week -7 to 10 days- I started feeling something shift. I started feeling energy, I started feeling good spiritually about what I was doing for animal rights reasons, for my pockets, for my health. Every benefit was coming to me based on what I was putting in my body." -Chris Parente
"My recovery time [from running] was cut in half, then cut in half again," says Chris. (Seen here post marathon!)
They were each skeptical, but hopeful, armed with encouragement from their wives. Within the following days and weeks, they immediately noticed a change.
"All it took was changing my diet to plant-based. That was it. And I've never taken a medication again." -Randy Schwartz
Plant-based living is like tapping into the Fountain of Youth! (Robin + Randy circa 2008.)
All three men turned their health issues around in no time at all. In fact, they felt so good that staying on a plant-based path was a complete no-brainer.
But what about the food itself? What do they eat?
Randy says he loves a good Beyond burger, and being from the Maryland area, was a huge seafood fan.
Luckily, we've got plenty of recipes in BEEFLESS CAKES to satisfy those cravings.
Like our Crabless Cakes!
Chris is all about Taco Tuesday! "There are plenty of substitutes and different ways to incorporate that into a Mexican meal," he explains. "Get the Beyond meat or a meat substitute, you can do it with mushrooms or slaw, and cilantro and beans... We do find interesting ways to spice up taco night."
Our Beany Taco Meat recipe from BEEFLESS CAKES.
"I was always a big Chinese [food] guy. So mine was really easy," Derrick says. "One of my favorite things is breaded tofu, and you can get the sauces [to a] very similar taste and everything."
We promise we didn't pay these guys to keep mentioning recipes featured in BEEFLESS CAKES, like our General Tso's sauce!
"If anybody thinks you have to have a big hunk of meat on your plate to be a guy or a dad, that's a dinosaur move; that's just not forward-thinking." -Derrick Lehman
What about any struggles? Has it all been Easy Street for these three dads? From navigating conversations with skeptical family members and co-workers, to learning how to use new ingredients in the kitchen, these guys definitely do experience some "teachable moments."
"I just kinda sat [my mom] down and explain[ed] the situation," Randy shares. "I don't think she really understood that I was really battling an autoimmune disease and being vegan was really the thing that was really keeping it under control and actually making it go away."
"I love to have people over to our place," Chris says. "And throw something on the grill or cook for folks. And they enjoy it!"
Maddie and Chris: Vegan Grill Masters. (Did we mention we've got THE best grill marinade in BEEFLESS CAKES??)
"You're always going to have the naysayers," Derrick explains. "I do it for health reasons and environmental reasons, and that doesn't mean everything to somebody else, but it means a lot to me and my kids and my family."
Derrick's daughter June enjoying some plant-based pie! ...Is anyone else hungry??
Our chat with Randy, Chris, and Derrick was loaded with tips and advice. Here's a quick breakdown:
RECOMMENDED BOOKS/MOVIES/PRODUCTS (affiliate links)
In Randy and Derrick's homes, they LOVE the Bentgo-style lunchboxes!
Chick-Fil-A Sauce - to veganize simply use agave (for honey) and vegan mayo (we love Veganaise)
For the other EASY plant-based recipes mentioned, check out THE JUICIEST COOKBOOK YOU'VE EVER LAID EYES ON.
"We need to realize it's our responsibility to set our children up for success, and [plant-based living] is one of the ways we can majorly impact that." -Derrick Lehman