Thursday, October 1, 2009

Going veg?

It's October. That means changes in our household. J15, while a tried and true onmivore, has always expressed interest in being a vegetarian. For lots of reasons. I don't have a problem with that. I was a very lax vegetarian while I was in college. In fact, I hadn't eaten red meat for years when I met V. (he is a fabulous cook and he won me over with a grilled steak, marinaded in red wine first) What does this have to do with it being October, you may ask? October is Vegetarian Awareness Month.
Two years ago, J15 was going to try to eat a vegetarian diet for the month of October. We were supportive until she wrecked her bike, lost a lot of blood and ended up in the hospital. She was so anemic that I gave her the option of giving up the veg for the month or eating lots of spinach (and other iron containing foods). She opted for eating some red meat.
I'm not sure what happened last year but this year, she is again hoping to take the challenge. She has one friend at school who is going to be her 'veggie buddy' and she has asked me to join her as well.
We already eat much less meat than many Americans. We already eat vegetarian meals at least once a week anyway so it isn't that much of a stretch for us. Someone once asked me (on this blog) why I thought it was important to eat vegetarian at least once a week. I've got lots of reasons.
First- health. Both of my parents have trouble with their cholesterol and Dad has had a triple bypass. They are both on medication for blood pressure. While my cholesterol has always been fabulous, I'm not taking any chances.
Second- I just don't think we need to eat that much meat. Nutrition-wise, it seems better for us to eat lots of things other than meat. I feel kind of sluggish if I eat too much protein. I'm much happier with the meat being an ingredient, not the star of the show.
Third- Even though I grew up on a farm (corn, soybeans and pigs (non-confinement!)) I have a really hard time with factory farms. We do eat meat but we're more aware of how it is produced now. Grassfed beef is much more expensive than the feedlot stuff (but more tasty) so it isn't economically feasible to eat great slabs of meat.
Fourth- I want my children to have the exposure. I feel it's important to introduce them to many different foods and ways of life. This way, if they go to a friend's house, they are less likely to be turned off by something different being served. I mean, really, my boys will actually eat tofu!
There are a few other things, but these are the most important

So, the long and short of it is that J15 and I are going to try to go veg for the month. It will mean some juggling and creativity on my part as I'm not going to expect the guys to do it. We will still eat several vegetarian family meals each week as usual, but there will be times where J15 and I will be eating a slightly different meal then everyone else.
It will be an interesting month.


  1. Good Luck for the Veggie month! We don't eat all that much beef either. We have pork, chicken, fish & shrimp and sometimes turkey. I don't mind all veggie dinners. I love beans and pasta. Be sure and tell us what you two girls are eating. We want to know by golly!...debbie

  2. I think it's great you are supporting her vegetarian diet. It will help her grow into an independant woman by making important decisions. Just find a way for her to keep a balanced diet (protein is important!). It's also a healthy lifestyle choice that I am sure she will enjoy!

  3. Good luck! It's great that she is so willing to try other options and that you support her in this. And yes - tell us what you are eating, how you make it and what's in it!

  4. Probably the biggest reason that I eat as much vegetarian stuff as I do is the cost and ease of storing it. Vegetables, beans, tofu, etc are so cheap compared to the equivalent amount of food in meat to get full. Meat lasts perhaps a week in the fridge before going back and vegetables can last a month. Beans can last years!

    Besides, bean burritos are heaven for me. Wish you both the best of luck. Were I living in your house, I would be joining you for the month.

  5. My best friend is vegan, we respect each others choices. We are at the point that we are raising 75% of meat we eat. I am hoping to hit 100% in the next couple years.

  6. It is great you are supporting your daughter..My son's girlfriend is a veggie.I support her and even ordered the vegetarian mag so I could learn more. She buys the veggie frozen ribs and chicken nuggets..I always have them in the house for her..I get onto her about her protein as I always see her eating pasta and fries...never beans..Also it is best to cut out alot of red meat an pastas and go with whole wheat grains...My husband's side of the family, men and women have heart problems...My husband was complaining his wrist hurt and he was 2003 we were at the emergency room because of my insistance and all his blood work was fine....tryglercides were fine, cholestrol was fine..I talked with the cardiologist that his family had heart the wonderful doctor did a heart cath...2 arteries were 90 percent blocked and the others 40% blocked. He had 2 stents put into the ones that were 90% blocked...The doctor listend to us...Russ was 49 when the stents were put in. The men in the family didn't live past 55...except for his father who had heart problems to but had good medical doctors and he lived to be 89.. So what goes through your mouth is very important..Sorry about the LONG comment....Lisa

  7. Good luck for you all Judy! I think you will find it much easier than you think, especially as you already eat loads of veggies. I don't eat meat, but I do eat fish, and my family eats everything. I cook meat and chicken only about twice a week these days and they do fine with veggie stuff. They will even eat tofu which is great. I love finding new veggie recipes for the family, it is another passion of mine! I wouldn't be surprised if you all end up being vegetarian after this! :)

  8. Hope it goes well! And its great to hear you are doing this right along with J15. :-) I agree, often it's easiest to do with meals that are "naturally" veg, rather than trying to adapt something that would normally use meat to a veg format. Look forward to the updates.

  9. I think it is wonderful how you are supporting her. Like your daughter I had a strong interest in vegetarian diet in my early teens but found my parents were mystified and scared at my choice (this was in the '80s). It became a bone of contention (no pun intended). Long story short, at 17 I finally ditched the meat and stayed vegetarian for almost 14 years (my husband changed my diet as well, but it may have been the coincidence of some soul searching I was doing at the time). My parents finally came around and my dad even learned to make me fabulous alternatives like mushroom tacos.

    I also have been leaning again towards a vegie diet and living in California this past month and cooking meals only for myself, I ate 75% vegeatarian (I ate meat twice the whole month!)

    Good luck and I hope you share your meals with us!

  10. i just recently read a book by lierre keith called 'the vegetarian myth' - she was vegan for over 10 years, veg for over 20 and had some scary health problems as a result.

    i agree that most americans eat way more meat (esp. factory farmed) than is necessary for a balanced diet, but personally i think including a reasonable portion of animal products, and particularly some meat now and then, is crucial.

    that being said, it is Way better for you if it's what i call 'groovy' meat - grass fed rather than grain fed, wild caught or sustainably raised. there's a lot of good information in that book, though, especially about women and their need for good fats and the misleading advertisements that try to keep women on no- or low-fat diets.


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