For plant-based parents, the decision to raise a vegan baby is often an obvious one. For many, it’s an extension of a sustainable lifestyle that includes a commitment to earth friendly practices; eating is just one of them.
That’s certainly the case for Jenné Claiborne.The vegan chef and author of the Sweet Potato Soul cookbook has been exploring food -- and where it comes from -- since she was a little girl in her Nana’s kitchen.
Now as a mother, her decisions around food and sustainability are more important than ever. In the kitchen, that means getting away from processed treats and moving toward a vegan, plant-based lifestyle. And sharing that journey with her young daughter.
But her commitment to sustainability goes far beyond food. She’s doing her best to choose high-quality baby gear that’s made from sustainable, recyclable materials, and free of toxins like lead, BPA & formaldehyde. Which is why she opted for bloom’s alma papa crib for her daughter’s brand new nursery and the fresco solo high chair to nourish her daughter with food that’s good for her body and good for our planet!
Below we chat with Chef Claiborne and get a little style inspo from her new LA home!
Was there a catalyst that made you choose veganism?
I became vegan in 2011 while working at a vegan restaurant. Learning about the horrors of animal agriculture, and thinking more deeply about the issues with animal exploitation are what made me decide to go vegan.
As a chef, what are your favorite flavor-forward meals for your vegan baby?
My girl loves anything with a lot of flavor. Her favorite meals have always been curries. I regularly make red lentil curry, tempeh tikka masala and curried chickpeas and potatoes. She loves it all, and so do I.
What are some of your go-to foods for easy, plant-based snacking?
For me, I am obsessed with spirulina chia pudding. I make it at home, and both my daughter and I snack on it almost daily. Full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. We always love snacking on fresh fruit, too. For her I make toddler muffins –– very little sugar, and bit pieces of nuts or anything, so they're easy to chew. When we're on the go I bring along Cerebelly pouches for her, and nuts and dried fruit for me.
- Go vegan. That's the number one way we can personally have a hugely positive impact on the planet.
- Buy less, upcycle and buy second-hand. I'm a huge fan of buying and selling second hand clothing and even electronics.
- Shop in bulk, buy concentrates and in general use less plastic.
What are some other ways you bring sustainability into your home?
I love shopping for second hand decor pieces on Facebook marketplace. When I buy new pieces, I make sure they're sustainably made, and will last for a very very long time so that I can resell it or give it away once I'm done. It's crucial that the things we buy have long lives, and don't end up in the landfill after a short time of being used.
I like the bloom alma papa crib for my daughter's room especially because it is made from sustainably harvested wood, is coated in low VOC paint, it doesn't contain chemicals like formaldehyde which are bad for our health, and it holds up so well. This is actually the second bloom crib we've had! We lived in a very small apartment before so we had the alma mini, which my daughter outgrew at 16 months.
Also, bring sustainability in your home by bringing nature indoors. Open the windows and bring in houseplants to help keep your air clean and lower your cooling costs naturally. Lastly, I'd recommend replacing household and beauty products with cleaner sustainably packaged versions. For example, I make my own cleaning supplies with Sal Suds concentrate, vinegar and essential oils.
shop Jenné's bloom faves
Hanna Nakano is a Washington, D.C. based writer and photographer, and mother of two.