I’m so happy you are visiting Plant Bellies! I have created this space to share with you creative & multicultural plant-based baby/toddler friendly recipes, along with my thoughts on food culture and how I try to share my journey with my daughter.
A little about me
My name is Pooja Haney and I am located in the Chicago area! My parents are from India, and a lot of my healthier eating habits come from them. I grew up vegetarian, and while my mom made the healthiest (usually Indian) food from scratch for us every day, I did not escape the era of fast food, processed sugary treats, and CHEESE. This went on through college, pharmacy school and beyond where typical meals were frozen pizza, pasta + jarred sauce + tons of cheese, and quesadillas. Oh and breakfast was almost always some sugary cereal and milk. I did maintain some nutritious habits throughout that time. I craved veggies if I had gone a few days without, and I did consciously try to limit sugar intake, knowing diabetes runs in my family, but, looking back, whoa have I come a long way! And I plan to keep going a long way.
About my family
My husband and I have always bonded over being able to talk about our views and coming to a place where we can see things from each others’ side. This is why we never had a problem with our different diets when we got married. I was vegetarian and he was not, and now I am vegan and he still eats an omnivorous diet. That being said, I do believe we have very similar views on eating and food, which I love that we can share. While we don’t necessarily eat the same foods, we both view better eating as consuming foods from the Earth as close to their natural state as possible. Ideally we will be growing most of our own food when that becomes an option for us! This understanding between us is what keeps me open minded about food and respectful of other people’s diets.
us + 1
When I was pregnant, my husband and I both agreed that our child should be able to choose what their diet will be in life. That being said, we both came to an agreement to not feed our daughter meat until she reached an age which we believed she could understand how meat gets to the table and decide on her own whether or not that was a choice she wanted to make.
I didn’t choose to become vegan or really progress significantly in my food journey until I had my daughter. Having a kid will do that to ya… make you change your life around for what you think is best for them. I had been learning more about where my food comes from and how it gets to me over the years, mostly thanks to my sister, Archaa (UR-chah). There was a point where I knew veganism was the next step for me, but I never committed to it, because giving up cheese just was not something I believed myself capable of. But for your child, you can do anything, and so one night in bed, it sank in for me that if I wanted Amaris to have exposure to eating and loving plant-based food, I had to make the change in my life, and once that clicked, I didn’t look back. From there I began to experiment with variety, flavor, and cuisines of different cultures, and I have never eaten better in my life!
a blog for everyone
My vision for this blog has nothing to do with being vegan or ascribing to any specific diet. My goal for this blog is to share my journey of discovering a world of wonderful whole foods and different ways to prepare them and seeing my daughter’s love and appreciation for those foods grow alongside mine. My daughter was a very picky and late eater. Seeing her blossom into a toddler who appreciates a wide variety of nutritious life-giving foods has been one of the most beautiful experiences in my life.
If anything on this blog helps get your kiddo this excited about exploring new foods, I feel like I have done my job. Thank you so much for following and joining us on this journey!