Wife with Psychosis

Hog

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My wonderful wife of 26 years just returned from a 10 day in patient hospital stay for psychosis. Within 24 hours of her return home, she exhibited psychotic behavior. I am a father of two kids. One of them has autism. So life is complicated at the moment.

I have been serving some fairly unnutritious vegan meals since her last psychotic episode. My autistic son is also getting upset with my cooking. I do not have money for fancy expensive vegan cheese. But, if I served some cheese sandwiches, my sons might eat more nutritiously.

I fear I might need to serve cheese products to keep peace in the family and improve my sons' nutrition. Both boys might be loosing weight.

I would appreciate your thoughts about this issue. Please try not to be judgemental or condemning of me. My family is going through difficult times. A couple months of them eating cheese could make life easier for them and me. I watched so many animal abuse videos, that milk is too repulsive to me. Thus, I will personally stay vegan.

Still, animals will suffer if I give my wife and kids cheese.
 

Lou

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First off you have my sympathy.
More than a few thoughts about cheese, veganism, compassion, and effects.

We have talked about the definition of veganism so much here lately I feel like one of those guys who study the constitution or the bible. Thank god the definition of veganism is so short. Anyway, without getting into that all over again let's just fall back on Dr. Joy's advice, "Be as vegan as you can be."

The word "compassion" doesn't show up in the definition of veganism. But if it's not the goal it is at least the driving force. I think a lot of these personal dilemmas that we find in our way can be dismissed by looking at it thru a lens or scale of compassion. Which alternative feels more compassionate?

It doesn't even seem a contest to me when you look at the needs of your own son over a cow. And not even a whole cow. some small fraction of a cow. You can greatly affect your son's life. Your effect on cows, in general, is mostly theoretical. Of course, there is the whole ethical argument - but how much of that can an autistic child understand?

However, cheese. It's really unhealthy. It is somewhat addictive. If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, "I'd be vegan, if it wasn't for the cheese".

I don't think cheese is a good long term solution for your children's well being or health. But it might be an excellent patch for now.

I'm assuming that its grilled cheese sandwiches is the issue. It's typical comfort food. And even long term vegans occasionally miss it. In fact, somewhere around here there is a whole thread on which vegan alternative makes for the best-grilled cheese sandwiches. But even vegan alternatives are not very good nutrition-wise.

So, for now, you have enough troubles, serve as many cheese sandwiches as necessary. The issue of dairy cows has been out there for years without you even being aware of them. It feels different now that you are aware of it. But it is no emergency.

In the meantime, keep looking for an alternative to cheese. Or maybe even better, a couple of vegan meals that are popular with the kids. My favorite recommendation to parents is the book, Deceptively Delicious. It probably has some ideas in it that you just haven't thought of yet.
 

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Sorry to hear of your troubles, @wonderfularizona . It sounds like you have your hands full :(

You gotta do what you gotta do, as they say.

In my own parenting experience, it has been very important and also very successful, to get our daughter on board from the very start with the whole philosophy behind veganism. We're in the fortunate position that both myself and my wife were vegans when we met, and our daughter is therefore vegan since even before birth. We've instilled in her compassion for animals since she was very little, starting with the basics, and progressing as she gets older with age-appropriate information. Now she knows all sorts of things about animals from books and TV series, for example. We've also visited animal rescue centres, gone to several vegan festivals and met up with other vegan families. Therefore, even though I wish she would eat a bit more healthful and nutritious food, the vegan aspect is never a problem.

I don't know how old your sons are, but I think the earlier you start educating them about animals and instilling good values/compassion, the easier it will be to get them on board. Think about this more in the longer term. You probably don't want to force them to eat vegan food as that is likely to create resentment, and once they're old enough to decide for themselves, they'll revert to meat eating. So if you have to feed them something un-vegan now in the shorter term while you perhaps work on the longer-term struggle to win them over to vegan philosophy, that sounds like a sensible thing to do.
 

Emma JC

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I agree that you should do what you need to to keep your family as healthy as you can and my sympathies to you and your family in this difficult time.

Maybe a combo of some cheese and some easy vegan healthy cheesy options that don't include any vegan cheese but that taste like vegan cheese. There are a number of vegan recipes out there for vegan nacho cheese and that includes only potato, onion, red pepper, spices and some nutritional yeast. There are also similar great recipes for vegan mac and cheese that do not involve buying any actual 'vegan cheese' but are made from simple ingredients.

Here is High Carb Hannah's short and simple nacho cheese recipe:


Emma JC
 

Lou

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Sorry to hear of your troubles, @wonderfularizona . It sounds like you have your hands full :(

You gotta do what you gotta do, as they say.

.....

I don't know how old your sons are, but I think the earlier you start educating them about animals and instilling good values/compassion, the easier it will be to get them on board. Think about this more in the longer term. You probably don't want to force them to eat vegan food as that is likely to create resentment, and once they're old enough to decide for themselves, they'll revert to meat eating. So if you have to feed them something un-vegan now in the shorter term while you perhaps work on the longer-term struggle to win them over to vegan philosophy, that sounds like a sensible thing to do.

IS, your situation is so different than WA's I don't see how it's even relevant. but still, your bottom line advice is very good.

A little off-topic but....
My sister's garden is just overflowing with tomatoes. And not the little tiny ones I like in my Big Salads. But great big ones that are great for slicing and making sandwiches.
Later on, I'll be cooking up pasta sauces to put in the freezer but for right now I'm all about sandwiches. and I have rediscovered a love for grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches. Had it on English muffins for breakfast almost every day this week. Anyway, I'm using Field Roast's Chao slices.
I may not be a good judge, I haven't had real cheese in 20 years, but I love these Tom&Cheese sandwiches. Chao isn't too expensive (it's not particularly healthy either), but maybe something you could try out.
Do tomatoes grow in AZ. I know they like it hot.
 

Lou

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A while back I recommended Deceptively Delicious. It's not a vegan cookbook. But I remembered seeing a blog somewhere that veganized some of the recipes (a lot of the recipes include cheese). I found the blog but the author gave a very half-hearted endorsement of the book in general.

So I went back to the drawing board and I found a different blog. *. Although a lot of recipes require baking (do you bake?) a lot are pretty easy and definitely kid-friendly.


* This may be the longest one-page blog entry in existence. But it loads fast despite all the pictures.
 
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Hog

Hog

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I loved the blog entry about 66 Kid Friendly Vegan Recipes.

I wrote the original blog entry while my wife had a full psychotic episode. Nobody wanted to eat last night. I was at a very low point yesterday. Thank you everybody very much for taking time to respond to my concerns. They are very heart warming.
 

FlandersOD

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honestly it's kinda difficult for me emotionally to read about your difficulties.
and labeling attitude makes it more difficult and worse the ever changing labels
some of which turn out to be demonisation. and experiences i'd rather use an alt account to describe.

Asides that, xD I also love that blog entry could try those recipees.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I'm very very sorry to hear about your wife's illness.

Here are some simple nutritious things you can serve:

BREAKFAST

Peanut butter toasts or peanut butter oatmeal with soy milk
Juice or fruit
Tea or coffee

LUNCH

Canned chickpeas (drained) mixed with raisins, chopped celery (maybe onion if your kids like it?), and/or pickle, with Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo, Hellman's Vegan might be cheaper at your local Wal-Mart or Safeway) on toasted or plain whole grain bread (or sourdough rolls).

V-8 juice in little cans (or in their thermos)

Pretzels and/or nuts as snacks

Fruit and/or carrot sticks as snacks

DINNER

Pasta with Italian or Asian dressings. For Italian you can make pasta with marinara sauce and veggies like squash or zucchini. Maybe more nutritious, you can make a stir-fry that is Asian style with plain tofu block, sliced into small squares, with whatever veggies you have (frozen broccoli is okay! with some onion or cabbage or whatever!) and soy sauce, oil, spices, and maybe the juice of an orange or a nut sauce over noodles.


FAST NUT SAUCE AND CHEESE SAUCES:

Here's my peanut Asian-style sauce and "cheese" sauces:

PEANUT SAUCE:

2 tbps peanut butter (or almond butter)
A little hot water to thin the nut butter
Soy sauce or tamari
Lime juice or lemon juice (at least 1/2 a lime, but to taste)
Hot sauce, like Sriracha or Tapatio

You can put this over Ramen noodles instead of the spice packet and it's more nutritious for your kids!!!!


CHEESE SAUCE:

1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp flour (any flour)


Brown over medium heat.

Add 1 cup plain, unsweetened soy or almond milk
Also 1/2 to 1 cup nutritional yeast

Stir until thickened.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.

I do have a cheese sauce that's more complicated with potatoes and cashews, but this one is cheaper and faster, and you can put it over noodles with broccoli for a nutritious meal.
 
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Forest Nymph

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Burritos are also super easy. Buy the cheapest kind of burrito wrappers/tortillas you can find, and a couple of cans of vegetarian refried beans, or plain black beans.

Top with lettuce or cabbage, tomato and onion or scallions,

Green or red salsa (depending on what your kids like)

Crumble crushed nacho chips into the burritos for crunch, and add jalepenos if they're old enough for spice

Add rice. "Spanish rice" can be had in boxes or even microwavable pouches, but plain brown or white rice works if cheaper.

If you can afford it add some avocado. If not, settle for a can of olives for healthy fat. Both is good, too.

Add tofu simmered in spices for extra calories and protein.

You can "cheat" on a lot of this by getting canned stuff, or pre-packaged taco/burrito spice.

Plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt works as "sour cream" as well as vegan sour cream or mashed silken tofu with lemon juice

Herbs like cilantro help any dish
 
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Connie

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I have been serving some fairly unnutritious vegan meals since her last psychotic episode. My autistic son is also getting upset with my cooking. I do not have money for fancy expensive vegan cheese. But, if I served some cheese sandwiches, my sons might eat more nutritiously
I'm not able to help directly with what your autistic son will and won't eat. No one here is. But we can give you some pointers.

Autistic children don't tolerate change well, or in some cases at all. My brother is mildly autistic and now has a child (not his own) that is badly autistic with severe development problems.

You need to reestablish the old routine. But you may not actually know it so is going to be hard. You need to recreate what your wife was doing. This could be as simple as them always having 5 red grapes in their lunch box. Not 6, or 4, not white or green or black but red. It could be as simple as half a peeled apple cored, cut into x many pieces. It may be that be well only eat white bread with the crust cut off. Don't worry about the nutrition lost in the crust, just be thankful for what they eat in tbe rest of the bread. Again he may only eat it cut into triangles or squares (yes I've been there with my brother).

With my brother and many autistic children, it was all about patterns and colour in that pattern. If it didn't 'look' the same, they wouldn't touch it and correcting it there and then doesn't fix the problem that it wasn't correct to start off with. My brother took a long time to learn to read, but he knew exactly which bottle of pop or soda he had from the pattern and colour (company's rebranding caused mayhem).

Think back to what your wife served and serve the same. Don't try to impose a new system on him, it simply won't happen. Presumably if your wife is now home, she's stable and improving, so you can ask her questions like this. If not, ask his school what he ate, ask his friends or other children. Delve into the deep freeze and set if there is anything in there. What brands of what is important and more important than a varied diet. and just stick with what you can get him to eat and worry less about exact nutritional needs and more about reestablishing his routine. The rest will fall back into place slowly.

As for cheese, if he didn't eat it previously, he probably won't now do don't waste your time trying.

Sorry I can't be of more help. (And apologies for any tardiness in responses, I'm in Australia so on a different time zone.)
 
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