Yes. It’s true. I have been a vegetarian for 21 years this September. I have not eaten any meat, including fish, in that time. I do consume dairy and buy free range eggs.
Having been an animal lover my whole life I don’t think it came as a surprise to my mom when she found out. Luckily, she was supportive in my decision (and by supportive I mean she said that as long as she didn’t have to cook two dinners it was okay, so I cooked for myself LOL).
It was much harder back then since vegetarianism wasn’t so mainstream. You couldn’t go to a fast food chain like Harvey’s and get a veggie burger, and vegans weren’t even on the map yet.
Both pregnancies I remained vegetarian. People often referred to Sawyer as Soybean because he was literally made of tofu! Surprisingly, no one, not even my doctors gave me a hard time about it. I did have to be a lot more careful with my diet when I was pregnant with the twins, since the human body is basically designed to carry one baby at a time. But, considering all the unsolicited advice you get, no one was worried about my protein intake (for once). I could never eat meat, even if the doctor told me too anyways (not that they would).
I managed to keep Sawyer a vegetarian for his first year of life. If it were up to me, I’d raise him vegetarian until he is old enough to make his own decision, but I am concerned about him getting all of the vitamins and nutrients he needs. Plus, dad used to be a chef and still eats meat so even though he usually cooks vegetarian he occasionally breaks out the porkchops. It makes me sick when I see them eat it, but I do want Sawyer to have a “normal” childhood and have real chicken once in a while. Plus, it is pretty darned convenient since no matter how many vegetarian options there are, there are always more meat ones.
I am a huge believer in animal rights, but I am also a huge believer in people’s right to choose. So I never force my beliefs on anyone. I will go on forever though if someone asks me about it! When Sawyer was born at almost 9.5lbs I kept saying “look what a 115lb vegetarian can do”.
So what do we eat? Stir fry with tofu, veggie burgers and hotdogs, falafels, tacos and burritos with veggie beef, vegetable pot pie, Mac and cheese, vegetarian lasagna, veggie spring rolls and rice, and the list goes on. Hey, after 20 years I have learned a thing or two about vegetarian cooking. 🙂
So far things have worked out, but I am not sure how the eating situation will change with two more kids in the mix, and as they get older.
So what do you think? Can you raise a healthy vegetarian or vegan family? Is anyone else out there a vegetarian mom? If your kids are older how did you explain to them what they are actually eating?