IS THIS A RECIPE SITE?
While you while find many recipes on this site, that is not the sole focus. The food is a key component of The Family Table, but the connections and conversations around the family table are equally as important.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY CONNECTION AND CONVERSATION?
There are two levels of connection and conversation that we will talk about. The first, is the one around your actual dinner table. The connection to the people around your table, the relationships, and the sense of intimacy as well as the conversations that grow from your dinner table. One of the main goals of The Family Table is to help you grow and nurture the relationships around your dinner table. The second piece is the connections and conversations that I hope will be fostered and strengthened within the broader, virtual community on this site.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES PLANT-BASED MEAN, AND IS THAT THE SAME THING AS VEGAN?
A whole food, plant-based diet is one that aims to maximize the intake of nutrient dense plant foods (vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, nuts, and seeds) while minimizing processed foods, oils, and animal foods. Vegan diets simply exclude all animal products. There can be quite a bit of overlap, but they are not exactly the same. If you are avoiding all animal foods, then a plant-based diet is a vegan diet. However, a vegan diet is not necessarily a plant-based diet. For instance, Oreos may be vegan but they are not considered whole food, plant-based. While terms and definitions can be helpful to categorize things, they should not stand as a barrier to making positive changes. If this seems daunting, overwhelming, or restrictive, just focus on what a plant-based diet INCLUDES!
I’ve naturally gravitated towards a vegetarian diet (it’s how I grew up) but have definitely eaten a variety of foods (animals ones included) throughout my life. When I went to medical school and completed my residency training, there was very little education around nutrition. The focus was on biochemistry, feeding premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, and rare nutrient deficiencies that I have yet to see. There were no lectures or rotations on what we should be eating or telling our patients to eat. There was certainly no mention of cooking. After practicing for many years, I couldn’t help but notice that food and nutrition were such an integral part of health and well-being. I decided to take matters into my own hands and learned as much as I could. My extensive research led me to a plant-based diet as way of optimizing health. The more I learned, the more convinced I became. The environmental benefits and averting animal cruelty sealed the deal for me. I don’t have all of the answers. I’m still learning. And, I hope I always will be.
ARE ALL OF THE RECIPES ON THIS SITE PLANT-BASED?
Most of the recipes on this site are whole food, plant-based. Some of the earlier ones do contain animal products. I decided to keep them on the site rather than take them down because it was a part of my journey. Though I no longer cook with animal-based foods any more, I do cook with small amounts of oil and salt, and occasionally use added sugars or minimally processed foods. (when we are traveling or eating out, it may be not so small amounts!). I think it’s important to include recipes like this, because it is the way that I cook and feed my family. Things may change along the way, and I plan to share as I learn.
WHAT IF I’M NOT INTERESTED IN BECOMING VEGAN OR EVEN VEGETARIAN?
It’s perfectly ok! I want this space to be as inclusive as possible. It’s not an all or nothing sort of a thing. I’m not perfect. My family is not perfect. Perfection is not the goal. Health, connection, and joy around the dinner table are all important.
WHAT IF I HAVE A SPECIFIC A QUESTION OR CONCERN ABOUT FEEDING MY FAMILY OR EVEN GENERAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING?
I’d love to hear about it! While the information on this site is not meant to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment, I would love to talk more about the topics you care about. Feel free to use the contact us form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to submit a question or topic you’d like to hear more about.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RESOURCES THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND?
You bet you I do! Below you will find a list of resources organized by category.
Centers for Disease Control
From the latest on Ebola to this year’s flu strains, a great source of health information. The travelers’ health section is especially helpful if your family plans on traveling abroad.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Trusted source of information on all things pediatrics.
MORE ON PLANT-BASED NUTRITION
If you are new to plant-based eating, this documentary is great introduction.
MISC. BOOKS & COOKBOOKS
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan
Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child The Heart of Parenting by John Gottman
Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey
Parenting with Presence by Susan Stiffelman
Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton
The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook by Ann Crile Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn
SOME TED TALKS I’VE ENJOYED:
Andrew Solomon: Love, no matter what
Clint Smith: The danger of silence
Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity
Rita Pierson: Every kid needs a champion
Jamie Oliver: Teach every child about food
Mark Bittman: What’s wrong with what we eat