Vegan Family Spotlight The Schickel/Sarkodie-Mensah Family One thing that has helped the Schickel/ Sarkodie-Mensah family in guiding their kids on the path of veganism is cooking with them. The kids get in the kitchen with their parents and learn about the ingredients, how to use them and about the health benefits. Since the time their son, Khi, was two and a half, they have let him use kid’s chef knives so he can help them in the kitchen. Orion now uses them too and they will both help to prepare food for dinner. M eet the Schickel/Sarkodie-Mensah family! Chi-Chi Schickel and Kofi Sarko- die-Mensah are raising their two boys, Khi (5) and Orion (2), vegan in Austin, Texas. While Kofi is an omnivore, the rest of the family has been vegan for about a year and a half. For Chi-Chi, the transition to a vegan lifestyle came as a gradual awakening process. Having been vegetarian for six years before taking the leap, she could no longer deny what her body was telling her, the downfalls of the food industry and the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. As a new mom, breastfeeding opened Chi-Chi’s eyes to the realities of the dairy industry and the exploitation of the animals it affects. She began to educate herself on veganism by read- ing books, listening to talks and watching documentaries. Kimberly Snyder‘s book, Beauty Detox, was instrumental in helping change the way she thought about the anatomy of the human digestive system and how it relates to what we eat. Over the years, as she continued to acquire more knowledge about veganism she started to feel significant guilt around eating animal products. She was becoming aware of the harsh realities of how the animals in the food industry are treated and could no longer be part of such cruelty - it was out of align- ment with her personal values and integrity. The final shift that helped her fully transition to a vegan lifestyle was listening to Gary Yourofsky‘s talk, “The Best Speech You’ll Ever Hear.” On April 11, 2017 she went vegan and has never looked back! For Schickel, the best part of raising her sons vegan is how good it feels to be consciously raising them with a sense of kindness, compassion and respect for all living beings and the planet. Their kids have taken to the lifestyle change with great passion and are quick to tell others about their vegan diet. Schickel noted that this can make social situations a bit awk- ward. For example, after moving into a new home recently, their neighbors brought over a cookie bouquet to welcome them to the neighborhood, upon seeing it, their eldest son, Khi, immediately asked if the cookies were vegan. It led to a friendly conversation, but Schickel was aware that it may have come across as if they were rejecting their neighbors efforts in kindness or harshly judging their lifestyle. She prefers to gently weave the topic of veganism into conversation as she gets to know people, which is something most vegans can relate to! 56 R a i s e V e g a n NOVEMBER 2018 They LOVE to chop! They give each son a cutting board on the floor, a knife and some smaller pieces of food. A lot of the food they chop ends up in their mouths or on the floor, occasionally, some will end up in the pot for them to cook, too.