Thursday, May 19, 2011

On being vegetarian...

Yes, I am vegetarian.  Not vegan.  I still eat eggs and would probably die if I had to eat vegan cheese (ew, so gross...even the ones the vegans swear tastes "just like the real thing"  They don't.). I don't drink cow's milk because I linked it to my asthma a few years ago and, as soon as I cut it out of my diet, I no longer needed a puffer (that was before I started running...and I haven't needed one since, either)

So much of the time, when I tell people I am veg, they ask the same question:
"So you just eat chicken and fish?"

Um... No.  Neither.  People who call themselves vegetarian but still eat chicken and fish ARE NOT VEGETARIANS!!!

Those who still eat fish are called pescaterians (though, hubby told me a great new name for them the other day: vegaquariums.  I'm still giggling!)

The other one I love is when people are eating a steak in front of me and waving it in my face while they say "I'm sorry.  Does it bother you that I'm eating this?"

Um...No. Just get it out of my face.  I don't want any.  Red meat smells amazing when it's cooked but you couldn't pay me to eat it.  I haven't since I was 21. Same goes for pork.

Now, just because I'm veg doesn't mean I have always eaten fantastically.  I used to be a pretty crappy vegetarian (and I was really sick a great deal of the time because I was).  I like to call those the days when I was a Potato Chip Vegetarian.  Main course would be potato chips.  Dessert was, inevitably, a chocolate bar.   I ate more soy than anything back then and had myself convinced that a vegetarian meal had to be like a "meat, potatoes and vegetables" style meal.

Eating like that made me very sick.  I would get chest infections so bad that it would take a month to clear up...only to get another one almost immediately.   It was this level of sickness that made me force myself to go back to eating poultry and fish for two years.   My infections cleared right up and I thought it was due to eating better.  Turns out it was probably due to the antibiotics they pump into most poultry.  When I found that out, I went back to being veg again...I just did it better this time.

When I went back to being veg, hubby came with me.   Everyone around us thought I had co-erced him into it, but I didn't even ask him.  In fact, I flat out told him he didn't have to.  He responded with "How are WE going to do this?" after I shared some of my findings with him from books on the meat industry I'd been reading.  He's been veg for 5 years now and I don't think he'd ever go back.  I could be wrong...and if he wants to one day, then he is welcome to.  But I'd like our girlies raised veg.

Am I naive enough to believe that they will stay veg?  Of course not.  If a teenage rebellion of a Big Mac is the biggest of my concerns, then I will consider myself fortunate.   I'd just like to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as I have control over their diet.   I'd like them to grow up learning to try new things and to know how to put together a healthy meal before they need to on their own.   When they are old enough, I will explain things like growth hormones and antibiotic resistance and animal cruelty and GMOs and environmental impact to them so they will be able to make smart, informed decisions on their own.   They might just surprise me and wind up staying veg and making the next generation veg as well.

Most of all, I'll make sure they know they have my support no matter what they choose.  I won't COOK meat for them...they'll need to do that themselves.  But that's mostly because I think it's disgusting nowadays.  To each their own, but don't make me touch it.

With any luck, though, our teenage rebellions will have more to do with curfews and boys than with meat.  I hope.  And I'm really glad they are still many, many years away....


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