Here’s how Danika Nemis and Luke Landrigan ensure their daughter Luna thrives on a meat-free, dairy-free diet
The business of clean, vegan eating has slowly been gaining steam over the past years. The pandemic, has, no doubt, taught us that being in the pink of health is necessary. This thought spurned healthier eating habits in many of us, inspiring some to go the extra mile and go vegan.
For model, entrepreneur and mama Danika Nemis it was a cyst on her left ovary that inspired her and the founder of the Philippine Surfing Championship Tour and head coach of the Philippine Surfing Team Luke Landrigan to change their eating habits and eventually, follow a plant-based diet. Fast forward almost five years later and their daughter, Luna is a strict vegan! Here’s how they made it happen:
A solid plan
While Danika was pregnant with Luna, she and Luke were already having conversations about changing up their eating habits and being more mindful about their choices. When Luna was born, she developed a skin allergy that covered her whole body, as a result of Danika’s dairy intake. It was then they decided that they would go plant-based and raise Luna as vegan. While Danika admits that both she and Luke sometimes consume fish, their diet is mostly vegan, while Luna is strictly vegan.
How they make it work
With Danika and Luke’s transition to a plant-based diet came a newfound interest in preparing healthy meals. “I studied all kinds of plant-based recipes and I did the meal prep over and over because I was also enjoying the process,” shares Danika. It was also around the time that the young family decided to start Seabuds, a plant-based cafe in La Union.
Danika intimates, “As I was learning how to bake and make more healthy plant-based food, I stumbled upon a golden milk recipe using turmeric. I made Luke and Luna try it and they both loved it! So after some fine-tuning, I developed a recipe that could be sold on a larger scale. And that’s how the Seabuds Golden Milk story started! It was really just a drink for us to enjoy as a family but after posting it on social media, it inspired a following and now the Seabuds Golden Milk is available for sale all over the country!”
Looking to transition to a plant-based diet or raise a vegan bub? Here are Danika and Luke’s tips:
1. Know that it’s totally doable
While transitioning to a plant-based diet may sound scary to most, Danika says it’s doable. The most important thing, she says, is to trust the process. She advises transitioning slowly, cutting out one thing at a time first. With Luke and me, we stopped eating all things dairy first. Then we quit meat. Or you can also try to limit your meat intake by going meatless once a week first. Once you see and feel the difference in your body and mood, you’ll want to transition completely much sooner!”
2. Get the kids involved
While Danika admits that Luna has always been raised to be plant-based, she thinks that getting Luna involved in meal prep makes her more excited about her food. “Luna usually helps me make breakfast, usually a smoothie bowl with peanut butter or avocado toast,” Danika explains. As soon as Luna was old enough to take on smaller tasks like mixing, she started joining in with meal prep. “We also got her a wooden toy kitchen set to encourage her to “practice” kitchen skills like chopping and cleaning,” she adds.
3. Talk to them
Want to get kids interested about going plant-based? Talk to them about it! After doing all their research about nutrients and natural ingredients, Danika and Luke talked to Luna about what they learned. “I would tell her that this fruit is good for her skin, this vegetable is good for her eyes, and that to get strong muscles and bones she must eat as much as she likes,” she says. In fact, Luna is one of Danika’s taste testers for all her Seabuds products.
4. Make meal times fun
When Luna was still venturing into the world of solids, Danika and Luke used the baby-led weaning method to get her interested in food. Through baby-led weaning, Luna was more in control of her food intake and her food choices. Now, she’s never picky about food!
5. Following the leader
Our kids love to copy what we do, and that extends into our eating habits. “Luna sees us eating the same food so she doesn’t feel like she’s different,” says the mama of one. And yes, this includes treats and snacks. Danika shares that Luna has a great appetite and always asks for fruits and green smoothies as snacks!
Going meat and dairy-free is not only awesome for your body, but also for animals and the planet. And by being more mindful of everything they feed her, Danika and Luke always know that they’re nourishing their daughter with good, whole food!