One of the first decisions we make as parents is choosing a pediatrician -- and a healthcare track in general. We read through information about immunizations, well-visits, growth charts, food pyramids, and percentiles, all meant to help us through the myriad choices we'll face about our children's health. The choices can be hard ones -- I know they were for me. Yet I also learned that sometimes your choices will go against the mainstream, and when they do, you will need to trust your judgment and stand your ground. The best way to make an informed decision is to equip yourself with the best information available. Pregnant with my first child, I met with a well-respected and highly recommended pediatrician. I quickly realized that this doctor was not a good fit for our growing family: She didn't react well when she learned that we planned to raise our child vegan, without dairy products like milk. Her response: "If you don't drink milk, I won't be able to tell you where to get calcium." My husband and I had done a lot of research, and we knew this wasn't the case (this was only the first in a long string of disparate views on health and nutrition -- I'm pretty sure the doctor thought we were herb-worshipping hippies!). Leaving the office disappointed, I realized we also had an enlightening experience -- I'd learned that accurate information is your chief ally when you want to take a less conventional path. Making informed decisions for ourselves also teaches our own children how to do so. We've taught our children to "listen" to what's going on within their bodies. I fear that given all the toxins in today's world, many little bodies have a hard time hearing themselves at all. We went on to find a pediatrician who supported our decision to raise our children as vegans. But we continue to meet physicians and others who question our lifestyle, and we always have our facts at the ready. (In case you were wondering, there are many good sources of calcium for vegan babies, including breast milk and soy milk, and when they are older, orange juice, raisins, molasses, broccoli, kale, lentils, pinto beans, and squash, to name a few.) Here's a good bean recipe: Black Bean and Corn Salad - a great spring salad, slightly sweet with a little added kick from the fresh garlic. 1 cup Black Beans, rinsed well 1 cup Corn 1 small purple onion 2 cloves fresh garlic 2 tbsp. Olive Oil 2 tbsp. Apple Cider vinegar 2 tsp. lemon juice 1 tbsp. maple syrup Dash of sea salt Whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, and maple syrup. Add in the onion (finely chopped). Then add the beans and corn. Toss and serve on a bed of blue corn chips or in a wrap with fresh greens. Top with a small amount of cinnamon and toss before serving.