Vegan Families

Emily Jans

Vegan mother, boxer and kickboxer, and drummer in the hardcore punk band ‘Straightjacket Nations’.

Vegan mother, boxer and kickboxer, and drummer in the hardcore punk band 'Straightjacket Nations'.

I went vegan when I was 15 years old and have never looked back. It was 1998, I had been vegetarian for two years and was soon finding out that animals were treated no better in the dairy industry as they are in the meat industry. Veganism just made sense. I couldn’t have animal products on my plate anymore and simply ignore where they came from and what had happened in order for them to be there.

I have always been an active person, playing sport, drumming, riding bikes and generally keeping fit but I got into boxing and kickboxing when I was about 23. I trained for years and did a few kickboxing fights before moving onto boxing in which I boxed for Victoria, winning the 64kg national championship in 2012 and runner-up in 2013 – the year I gave it away.

My band, Straightjacket Nation has been around for 12 years, playing furiously fast and relentless hardcore punk. Drumming is one of my most favourite things in life and drumming in SJN is both exhilarating and exhausting – a bit like parenting. We have toured around Australia, South East Asia, USA and Europe and released multiple records with the latest LP about to be released in the next couple of months.

When I became pregnant in 2014, I already had the knowledge of what to eat, how to take care of myself and how to get extra nutrients such as iron, calcium and folate that are important during pregnancy on a vegan diet. It irked me when I was automatically referred to a pre-natal dietician at the hospital when I told them I was vegan – as though it was considered a deviation that needed to be addressed. I couldn’t help thinking here I was, a former elite athlete being lectured to about how to eat while the next expectant mother in the waiting room could be eating chicken and gravy every night without any critical feedback.

Our baby boy came along in Spring 2015. Like any other family, our baby eats what we eat and so Vinnie is naturally vegan. Being vegan was never something we really had to think about for Vinnie as both his father and I are vegan.

These days it is so easy to be vegan – the internet gives us all the information we need; there are so many speciality products to choose from; vegan and gluten free options are commonplace in supermarkets and restaurants and; we even have the tools to have our shopping delivered to our door!

I give my baby a few supplements but so do many non-vegan parents wanting to boost their baby’s nutrition. Moving forward and beyond 1 year when food plays a more important role in his nutrition, I will have to look at his diet more thoroughly to make sure he is getting all the nutrients that he needs but then again, what parent doesn’t have to do that?