This month we caught up with Keely Busby. She’s married to James whom she shares three beautiful boys with: River 6, Bodhi 3 and Winter 18 months.
She’s originally from, and still living in, Surrey with her family, creating more memories and looking forward to what the future has in store, there! Both Keely and her husband James are hairdressers and met in the industry, a while ago, now; she tends to work around her boys’ schedules a lot from home while her husband runs his salon over in Farnham. On family days they like to be outdoors, letting the boys run wild. Their dream is to live in the sunshine eating fresh fruit on a beach, all day long! What else? They’re plant based! And as we become more and more acquainted with the term and, in many cases, swayed by the immense health benefits it has to offer, we decided to chat to her about what it means to be a plant based family in a little more detail.
So how long have you been plant based?
As a family we have been Plant based for 4 years in April.
Was your decision based on environmental, ethical or health reasons?
I started because of its health benefits, initially but all the other really important and life-changing factors felt like a bonus, to be honest. My husband and children all suffer/ suffered with eczema and asthma. My husband James switched to a plant based diet 8 years ago when his skin was at its worst, and now he is eczema free! When our eldest, River’s eczema appeared, it took 2 years for James to convince me to start him on a plant based diet. After doing loads and loads of research, I agreed to try and I’ve never looked back.
It’s so common now, but we do still experience some unwelcome reactions. What were your friends’ and families’ responses like when you became plant based?
My husband and I were both brought up on meat and dairy, so it was all completely new and unfamiliar to our families. I think because the kids were so young, there were definite concerns and a lot of questions, but seeing for themselves the massive change in the boys’ skin and looking at how much happier they are as a result, has meant that they’re now totally on board. Our friends are the same – everyone is just so happy that we’ve found something to help the boys!
What would you say has been the most difficult thing about being a plant based family?
To begin with, eating out was particularly difficult – our options were extremely limited and there just wasn’t that much choice around. But now it is turning into such a big thing, you can get plant based food practically anywhere, and the chefs are more than happy to change a dish for you, these days! We actually left restaurants in the past because the chef refused to take the cheese out of a dish for my husband – we laugh about it now but he was not impressed at the time!
And what would you say has been the best part?
I love watching my kids get so much goodness from their food. I think it’s so important to teach our children about what we are putting into our bodies and how it can affect us for the good or bad… and of course, how much as a family we are helping the planet. Yes, we could do more, but knowing that we’re doing our bit is a really good feeling.
Do you enjoy experimenting with recipes, if so – what’s your favourite dish to cook?
I’m really not the best cook at all, actually! I think that’s why it didn’t take much to convince me to be plant based. All the recipes seemed so much simpler. They’re all so tasty, there isn’t a favourite dish that stands out to me. We try to mix up what we eat as much as possible, in order to get the boys familiar with all kinds of foods.
Any recommendations on a good spot for lunch?
There are so many lovely spots opening up now that so many more people are going veggie/plant based. We always loved Farmacy in Notting hill.
Which countries have you found are most accommodating with regards to your diet and which are a little trickier?
We always have a little trouble when travelling. Two of my boys have severe nut allergies and a lot of plant based meals include nuts. We always take a small blender with us, so I can whip them up some goodness-packed smoothies in the mornings… Then I can chill out about them eating chips for the rest of the day!
And the kids’ school’s attitude toward plant-based families. What’s that been like?
They are amazing with it. I think because of their allergies, it has made them much more aware of what they should and shouldn’t be eating. I make the boys’ lunches everyday so I know exactly what they are eating and I don’t have to worry. Their school is more than happy to provide a plant based lunch for them, though which is great and really appreciated.
What are your boys’ eating habits like and what are their favourite snacks?
River and Winter will eat everything and anything! They literally don’t stop eating, whereas my middle boy Bodhi can be really fussy. He loves smoothies but it can take forever to get him to finish a meal. I don’t stress about it though; some kids are just not as hungry as others. They love to snack on bananas, but they do also love a packet of crisps, just like most kids!
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