Defensive Stance (Not to be confused with Tiger Stance)

I know you’re on the edge of your seat and your fingernails have been worn down to the painful under-layer due to the Hitchcock-like anticipation of The Furnace Issues. Pull the hands away from the mouth. In short: Ducts are getting cleaned this afternoon and the new furnace (and humidifier and basement cold-air exchange) will be installed tomorrow. Yes, you are correct, we’ve not had a working heater, well for a long time apparently but it hasn’t been on at all for a week. Not to fear though because between the fireplace and the complimentary space heaters The Gas Company provided, we haven’t been too cold. Lots of sweaters and slippers for me and trying to force the kids to wear sweaters and pants but giving up yesterday and letting them both run wild in their skivvies for awhile.

 

Let’s put all that behind us for now. For today I feel like checking in and giving an update on the new vegetarian lifestyle I’ve switched my family to.

Lucky you!

**********

The diet change has been the easy part: no meat. Pretty straight forward. Plus, dicing vegetables is so much easier than cutting up meat into cubes, there’s no “mystery” in a bag of carrot sticks compared to a package of lunch meat (save the many invisible pesticides I’m choosing to not think about right now because, by the gods, I’m only one person and it’s too much to think about right now), the variety of produce combinations is virtually endless (and easy!) (and cheap!) versus three types of meat (pricey!) and (ok, many more types of) seafood (pricey!) whose recipes are, frankly, terrifying what with all the undercooked meat warnings on everything.

Hold me, I need a blankey just thinking about it all.

So, diet: Check!

*************

Getting the family over to the new diet has been easier than I thought. For the most part, we are meat free. I am 100% meat free (save a half-bite of steak on Matt’s birthday which reaffirmed my not-missing-meatness), Jonas and Jaden get meat at their grandmother’s house at lunch sometimes. Jaden hasn’t requested meat other than chicken nuggets and hotdogs. I cheat by giving her “Morningstar Farms Chik’n Nuggets” and not stocking hotdogs in the house. She’s more of a cheese and peanut butter kind of gal, anyway. Jonas is too young to have an opinion other than “Yes, food is great!” Matt eats whatever I make; if he wants meat, he makes it on the side or will eat it over lunch. I told him from the beginning, “This is MY choice and while I’d love you to come with me, you are free to eat whatever you want.” He’s been wonderfully supportive and I don’t think know I couldn’t have done this without him. My friends and family have been great with their “menu suggestions and accommodations” at a high and “meat-eating persuading” at a low.

Family Conversion: Check!

Awesome Family and Friends: Check!

********************************

One thing I only sort of prepared for: defensiveness. It hasn’t been bad and I’ve only had to really defend my choice to the Taco Bell guy and my mom. But I feel compelled to defend it. At first it was just, “I’m a semi-vegetarian meaning I’ll eat meat if I know where it came from i.e. small farm, no antibiotics, nice friendly environment for the animals.” Then I realized that was the stupidest thing in the world to say. “I’ll only eat happy animals? The fuck?” But somehow, people seemed more accepting of the “I want to know what’s in the meat I eat” than “I don’t want to eat animals. Because they have brains. And I’m pretty sure those brains are connected to nerves. And those nerves? Don’t like being killed.”

Honestly? If I knew where the animals I ate came from? I sooooo couldn’t eat them. I’d go take picture of them and name them and tie little bows on their tails. Well, their necks for chickens, but lose enough so they wouldn’t strangle or anything. 

Here’s the thing: I never wanted to become one of those Preachy Vegetarians that people hate. Here’s the New Thing: I’m not Preachy but I don’t think I should have to defend my Bean Taco to the high schooler behind the Taco Bell counter. So I’m not. I’m a vegetarian because I don’t want to eat animals. Plain and simple (also the health aspects yada yada yada but that all went out the window when I discovered the aforementioned “bean taco”.).

Defensiveness: On-going.

***************************’

What’s been really “fun” is seeing how Meat Heavy our culture is. For example, while looking for pictures of “happy animals wearing bows” Jessie typed in “Happy chicken” and saw this as a google image result 

chicken sandwich

Does anyone else see how very very wrong that is?

Vegetarian menu items at restaurants are pretty scarce and, yes, finding stuffing or other dry mix without chicken stock in it is still damn near impossible without going to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or something.

There are currently 307,810,936 or so people living in the United States. According to a 2008 Vegetarian Times Study, 7.3 Million Americans Are Vegetarians. Think about all the chickens and cows and pigs and sheep have to be raised and then killed to feed the other 300 MILLION people their daily intake of meat. Think about all the land being used just to raise meat. Think about the land being used to grow sub-par grain to feed those animals. I can’t get past all of the chickens that need to be raised and killed just for fast food chicken sandwiches alone. Doesn’t it squeak you out a little bit, too?

And don’t get me started on dairy and eggs. I’m not ready to make the switch to vegan but don’t think I don’t think about thin egg shells and bloody udders. I’m taking steps, little steps but steps in the right direction nonetheless.

Guilt and Squeeked Out: Check!

*********************

This past weekend Jaden and I were talking about farms and animals. Nothing serious, just animals she’s seen at “the farm” at the zoo. Anxiety started to twist my stomach up a little bit because I keep waiting for her to make the connection between the chickens she sees at the zoo and the chicken she eats in nugget form sometimes. I never made a big announcement to Jaden about how we’re not going to eat meat anymore or the reasons behind the sudden lack of animal protein on the table. She’s never asked, either. That’s just Jaden: go with the flow, whatever’s clever, etc.

I don’t know why I’m so wary about telling her “where meat comes from”. It’s right up there with “where babies come from” but, y’know, worse because we don’t eat babies, do we? You’d think I would know better. I always write on this here blog that Jaden’s easy going when it comes to The Big Stuff but I tend to forget all about that in my panic and worry and anxiety of preparing for The Big Talks.

This time I ignored the twist in my stomach and said simply, “Hey, Jaden, you know bacon and hamburgers and chicken nuggets?”

“Yeah!”

“Well, that all comes from pigs and cows and chickens. Like you saw at the farm.”

“What?” her voice tilting at the end in disbelief.

“Yup,” I assured her, “It’s true. That’s why I don’t eat those—“

“That is so silly!” She laughed(!) “People eat pigs and cows? That is so silly, mommy!”

“Yeah, it kind of is.” I hugged her with one arm as she sat next to me on the couch and thought that maybe Jaden understands vegetarianism more than most adults.

Underestimating My Kid: Check!

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On that happy note, I leave you with this recipe. It’s my favorite way to eat mashed potatoes. The only difference I make is I mix some shredded cheese in with the potatoes as well as sprinkling some on top. Oh, and I add some pepper as well. I think that’s it. It’s super awesome yummy fun times and I’m making it for Pre-Trick-or-Treating Dinner. Can’t wait!

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6 Responses

  1. so…got another really REALLY simple recipe for you that yes is pasta as i am sure your sick of but Amaya loved it (tyson ..well needless to say unless its ramen its a no go)….Linguini with Alfredo sauce and spinach (i of course threw chicken in there)…anyways i thought it was a great way to incorporate spinach without the kids really tasting it …just thawed in the microwave, added it to saucepan with alfredo and a few tomatoes … toss over linguini and done. simple and they gets them their spinach *TOOT TOOT*

  2. How short sided and narrow minded you are. Atleast animals take out a human every now and then. Who defends the poor vegetation from the likes of you? And teaching your children to pick the most helpless and defenseless food choices possible, while admonishing those who don’t agree with you is hypocritcal at best.

    Yes, meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder. So is eating vegetables – Tasty, tasty murder. Everything that exists does so at the expense of others. Get your head out of your butt and face reality like a grown-up.

  3. Huh, Sandy Gearhart, didn’t think I was admonishing anyone. Just saying what I think and feel….on my blog. How head-in-butt of me.

  4. no se coman es pollito vivo

  5. que no se coman es pollito vivo

  6. nooooooooooooooooooo se coman es pollito vivo

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