Interview with Mariia Goldschmidt from the Tofu Family
VeganOrigo: When and how did veganism come into your life?
Mariia Goldschmidt: It was actually my husband’s idea to go vegetarian. He stumbled upon some footage from a slaughterhouse and saw how these animals were treated and realized he couldn’t be a part of it anymore. We’ve always been on the same page and supportive of each other’s decisions so after having a conversation about it we became vegetarian for about a month. After doing a lot of research, reading books, watching documentaries like “Forks over knives”, “Cowspiracy” and “Earthlings” we became vegan. It was almost 3 years ago and we have never looked back. Going vegan was truly one of the best decisions we made for our family.
V: What does being vegan mean to you?
M: It means that we value life more than our taste buds, tradition, convenience etc and we do not want to contribute to the absolutely unnecessary suffering of live sentient beings. Besides not consuming animal products we do not purchase products that are tested on animals or made of animal skin/fur. We vote with our dollars for the world we want to live in.
V: What has changed in your life since then?
M: We feel healthier, happier, have more energy and have better digestion. It feels good to align our morals with our actions.
V: How did you meet?
M: I’m originally from Ukraine and while I was in college I did a program that allowed students to work and travel in the states during summer. That’s when I met my husband who worked for his dad’s business at the time. We both were very young and far from living a healthy lifestyle. Even though eventually we started eating healthy according to our understanding back then we didn’t transition to veganism until our daughter was 2. We went vegan together, because after doing research we both came to the realization that following a plant-based diet is the most ethical and healthiest way to live.
V: What is it like being a vegan family? What it is like raising a vegan child?
M: So far it has been very easy. The vegan movement is growing very fast and there are vegan options popping up on every corner. We are also very fortunate to have family members who are very respectful and supportive of our choice even though they aren’t vegan themselves. So are our friends. Whenever we come over they always have vegan options and I make sure to bring something for everybody to share. Our daughter knows why we are vegan so she would never eat something without making sure there are no animal products in it. If there is a party and I know no vegan options will be available, I’ll make sure to bring something for her and for everybody to try. We’ve never had any issues and people actually end up loving vegan food and get curious about a vegan diet. It’s a great opportunity to plant a seed. Anything they eat we can eat vegan.
V: Does she know why you don’t eat animal related „products”?
M: Absolutely. I want my child to know where her food comes from. She knows what meat, dairy and eggs are. Kids are born with love and compassion in their hearts and they wouldn’t intentionally want to hurt animals. Most kids don’t even realize what they are eating used to be a live sentient being. We read books about animals and veganism, talk about health issues and the environment. Eventually when our daughter gets older we will watch documentaries together. Kids are very smart and they deserve to know the truth.
V: What do you, as a family, eat and what your child eats in a day?
M: Our focus is mainly on whole foods. A lot of fruit, vegetables, greens, legumes, grains, seeds, nuts, etc. Occasionally we get processed stuff for convenience or when going out to eat but it’s not an every day thing. Our daughter eats pretty much the same way we do with some modifications depending on what she likes at the moment. Kids change their preferences a lot so we just try to offer healthy options and go with the flow.
V: Is there any special rule do you follow while eating?
M: Not really. We just try to eat variety of whole foods throughout a day to get all necessary nutrients in.
V: Any tips for including more veggies into a child’s diet? Does she have favorites?
M: If your child doesn’t like certain greens or veggies you can blend them into smoothies with bananas, dates or any other fruit for sweetness, pasta sauces, soups, veggie patties etc. Mia’s most favorite vegetable is probably broccoli. She also likes cucumber, bell pepper, cauliflower, peas, corn, green beans etc.
V: What are good kid friendly vegan sweets / treats?
M: We make a lot of healthy treats at home like fruit popsicles, bliss balls made with nuts/seeds and dates, bean brownies, muffins, ice cream with cashews and coconut cream etc. You can find recipes on my Instagram page or Youtube channel. Every now and then we also get store bought vegan ice cream, dark chocolate, or cookies/cake when going out or on special occasions.
V: What do you put into Mia’s lunchbox?
M: Usually a little bit of everything to make it fun. Fruit, vegetables and main meals like tofu scramble and rice, or lentils and potatoes, or veg sushi, also a little homemade treat. You can see her lunchboxes on my Instagram as well.
V: What do you eat before / after working out?
M: Pre workout meal is usually oats with dates, berries and seeds, banana ice cream or pancakes. Post workout would be something like a buddha bowl with rice/or quinoa/or potatoes with beans/or tofu/or lentils, some greens/vegetables and avocado. If I don’t have time to eat an actual meal, I’ll drink a smoothie with a superfood blend, greens and fruit. You can find ideas for your meals on our Youtube channel Tofu Fitness.
V: Where can people follow you?
V: What is your YouTube channel about?
M: Our Youtube channel is about vegan food, family and fitness. On our social media platforms, we share recipes, meal ideas, workouts etc. We want people to see that you can not only survive but thrive on a vegan diet, build muscle, be fit and be healthy.
V: Do you have any fave documentary / book you would suggest if someone is interested in
Picture credit: Mariia and J.D. Goldschmidt
Riporter: Edit Horvath
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