‘Can I Eat at River’s’ is a website and cookbook with a goal to demonstrate that it was possible to raise a healthy, energetic toddler on a plant-based diet. Founders Amy and Chad also hope to support other health conscious parents looking to make similar changes with good food, fun, friends and family.
Chef Chad Mitchell, has over 13 years of culinary experience. Working in high-end resorts and private restaurants and puts an industry spin on plant-based home cooking. The duo’s meal plans give you 20 days of dinner recipes, designed to flow through each week, allowing you to get the most out of each ingredient and avoid food spoilage.
1. How did the concept for Can I Eat At River’s come about and what are the main services and products that you offer?
The concept for Can I Eat At River’s? came when we started transitioning to a plant-based diet. At the time, we felt there were limited resources and support for raising a child on a plant-based diet. I knew with my years of experience in the holistic health field, and passion for preventive nutrition, if I was having trouble finding clear cut answers, other parents would have difficulty as well. This is what inspired the Can I Eat At River’s? Cookbook. We wanted to created more than just a cookbook, a plant-based reference guide to support other health-conscious families looking to make similar changes. Can I Eat At River’s? Cookbook covers everything from the plant-based basics, to nutritional guidelines set by Health Canada for young children and during pregnancy, cooking tips, and the nutritional breakdowns of over 50 mouthwatering recipes.
Since Chad has become more involved our direction has evolved slightly. We are still all about helping people eat well, so they feel well. But with Chad’s background as a chef, we now focus on bringing an industry flare into home cooking with our recipes and meal plans. Our mission is “WE DON’T JUST BRING THE CHEF TO YOU, WE BRING OUT THE CHEF IN YOU!”
2. There’s been a lot of interest in the media about whether a vegan diet is safe for growing children? How do you combat this challenge?
Like it has been stated in the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, a well planned vegan diet is safe for any life stage, including children and pregnancy. Making sure your child is eating healthy is a challenge on its own, whether they are vegan or not. A lot of the time we have to get creative by hiding essential nutrients into smoothies, sauces and soups to help ensure we are meeting River’s nutritional requirements. Also staying persistent is a must, don’t give up introducing a certain type of food, just because he/she didn’t like it one day. It can take up to 10 taste tests before a child will accept a new food.
3. What’s your favourite recipe in the cookbook and why?
That’s hard, there are a lot. If I have to choose I would say the Patatas Bravas with Tempeh & Roasted Garlic Kale. We found when going plant-based a lot of the vegan breakfasts were heavy on the sweet side so we wanted to include some really killer savoury breakfast dishes. This one was inspired while travelling in Spain, it’s absolutely delicious. The texture of the crisp potatoes topped with smoky tempeh, garlic kale and tomato avocado salsa, is hard to beat.
4. You often run Facebook live videos to promote your business and River is always included. Is this a deliberate decision to help connect with families?
River is our why. Not including him wouldn’t make sense. It has been our goal to create a business where we could be together as family while doing what we love. We want to leave this earth and better place for him and his children, by being of service and value to others.
5. For people looking to introduce a more plant-based diet into their families lives, what advice would you give to those who feel like it’s just too much extra work?
There is a great quote “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” I am not sure who said it but I couldn’t agree more. Everything we do is a choice and we have to decide what is important to us. Because if it is important we will make time.
And just for fun…
6. If River had to choose just one thing to eat for the rest of his life, what would it be?
Oh man, if it was up to him he would eat chocolate and cookies all day long, this is why he doesn’t get to choose, lol! We have to keep the treats out of the house, as much as possible. It’s like having drugs around a drug addict, he has no control. Right now he is loving this peanut sauce we make with broccoli, carrots, tofu, hemp seeds served over noodles or quinoa.
7. What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?
We are big foodies, so dinner and drinks either at a fancy restaurant or a local market is our favourite thing to do whether it’s local or when we are on holiday. This is definitely something I don’t think we could live without.
8. Any food experiment disasters or combos we should avoid?
I once saw a post in a vegan group I am a part of, asking if peanut butter and sweet potato would be a good meal. I wanted to jump through the screen and say NO! This is why Chad and I do what we do to save people from suffering through terrible vegan meals.
9. What makes you roll your eyes every time you hear it?
I really want normalise veganism by removing the judgement and intimidation. Every vegan activist has their own ideology. I personally don’t connect with some of the more radical movements. Unfortunately, in this day in age, we all take part in some form of injustice whether we like to admit it or not. It’s not and perfect world and as human we are naturally flawed. Trying to guilt or shame people into a vegan lifestyle is not what we are about. We just want people to be aware of their choices and show them how to prepare wicked healthy vegan dishes.
10. Who’s your favourite celebrity chef and why?
We loved Anthony Bourdain, he is not vegan by any means but he is authentic and relate-able, and Chad really enjoys Sean Brock.
For live videos, cooking demos and meal updates, head to Can I Eat At River’s? Facebook page.
The Can I Eat At River’s Instagram page is a great place for meal prep and food inspiration.