When she was 26, Nicole Slater started struggling with a chronic illness, and she found that a vegan, plant-based diet was the cure.
Nicole lives in Northern California and with her husband and 2 young sons (with plans to move to Maui in the next year). She is sharing her thoughts on living consciously and what it's like to raise a well-rounded vegan family.
You have 2 sons. What lessons you want to pass onto them?
I want to teach them how to be truly happy in this life by being well rounded, kind-hearted and healthy, functioning people. It’s important that they become caretakers of our beautiful planet and all the creatures on it. I also want to teach them that meditation can change everything and have it be the place they go when they need help and answers.
Have you found a community of other moms you can relate to?
I found my ideal tribe on Maui. There is an entire thriving, healthy and beautiful vegan homeschooling community that we plan to be a part of in the future. I can’t imagine a more perfect place to be.
What is the biggest joy of motherhood? The biggest challenge?
The biggest joy is seeing how they evolve and grow as human beings….how their personalities are their own from the very beginning. They are my biggest teachers and I am so grateful that they chose me to be their mother.
The biggest challenge as a mother is making sure that I take enough time for myself and that my husband and I make time for each other. It’s so easy to get lost in the day to day schedule of life and when I don’t take the time for myself, I get tired and run down and everyone suffers.
How long have you been vegan? Describe what went into making this lifestyle choice.
I’ve been plant-based for 9 years and vegan for 7. I originally became plant-based for my health. I was struggling with chronic illness and that’s how I found the vegan lifestyle. It was shortly afterwards that I became aware of the exploitation of animals and how important it was for me to be plant-based ethically.
Is the rest of your family vegan? Have you encountered any challenges along the way?
My husband and 2 sons are vegan. My step-daughter is vegetarian. My oldest son had some eggs from our family chickens, but has now been vegan for 2 years. My youngest has been vegan from in utero. There was definitely some challenges along the way. My husband wasn’t on board right away, but once he started cutting animal products out of his diet he started to feel better and have more energy and it wasn’t long after that he adopted a vegan lifestyle.
What are your kids’ favorite vegan meals?
Both of my boys love green smoothies, vegan pizza and mac & cheese. My oldest son loves salad, but my 3 year old isn’t a big fan yet.
On Instagram, you’ve shared about living with a chronic illness and how you have healed with plants. Can you share more about this?
When I turned 26, I started to have flu-like symptoms often. I had nausea, chronic heartburn, headaches, itchy skin and fatigue and would go to the doctor only to be told that there was nothing wrong with me. When I turned 28, I had debilitating joint pain that made every movement painful.
I started researching and reading everything that I could. I went plant-based and gluten-free and did a juice fast. I went through A LOT of detox and pain, but got a little better each day. I got pregnant with my oldest son when I was 30 and at that point felt almost 100% better.
How does being a mother affect the decisions you make in everyday life?
Being a mother affects every decision. We are a homeschooling family and so I am around my kids 24/7 most days. I can’t make any decisions without thinking about them. We are a vegan household so it’s easy to shop. Everyone uses and eats the same things.
They know that we eat vegan for the animals, our health and our planet. I’m also constantly talking about the use of plastic and the products we purchase with the kids so that they are able to grow up and know how to shop consciously. We talk about ways to recycle and reuse. They even are conscious of their toy purchases because we try to avoid purchasing unnecessary plastic! ;)
What does it mean to you to purchase consciously? What do you look for in a company or a product?
I am always trying to purchase consciously. That’s not to say that we don’t shop at Target or that we are perfect, but it’s an awareness that I hope to instill in my children. To me purchasing consciously means supporting small, local businesses when I can and also purchasing products that are made ethically and sustainably. If a company uses all recycled products, is vegan, uses solar panels and plants a tree with every sale, I’m all over it!
What is your morning routine like? Do you do anything specific to stay healthy and happy?
I wish I had more of a morning routine, but it varies throughout the week. We are currently living in a tiny space and co-sleep with our boys. I wake up when they do and exercise first thing and then I make everyone breakfast which usually consists of some type of fruit or smoothie.
I always make sure to move my body every day and I know that I need to fuel my body with the right foods so that I can feel my best. Sleep is so important and something that I could use more of! I know my boys won’t always sleep with us. ;)
Meditation is also key for me to stay grounded and to feel at peace and healthy.
What does nature mean to you? What is your favorite place to spent time outdoors?
Nature is so important to me. It’s everything and without it I feel like I would probably shrivel up and disappear. It’s where I go to reset. To explore. To tap into mother earth and recharge. I am never in a bad mood when I’m in nature.
I don’t have a favorite place in nature, as long as I am in it. I feel like I am equally pulled to the ocean and trees so I spend time at both.
What is your family’s secret to staying active and healthy? What are some of your favorite activities to do together?
The boys, like most kids, are naturally so active so it’s easy to stay moving every day. I love to go exploring in nature. We’ll go to a local creek or our favorite hiking space often. The beach or river is also always a good place to recharge.
Where can we follow your adventure?
You can follow us on IG @indiemamalife and on Youtube @NicoleSlater and find more about us at my website www.indiemamahealth.com