Feeding a Family

Eating well is a family affair, and as parents, we set the tone for what stands as “normal eating.”  Although it’s been less than a year that I’ve been vegan and only about 6 months that my daughters have been vegetarian, we’ve always had clear ideas about what is normal to eat, and what is not.  It’s been bred into my kids that there are right and wrong ways to eat.  Audrey, my almost teenager was reminiscing today about how frustrated she used to feel in second grade when her friends wouldn’t believe that the white bread they were eating was actually not good for them.

So from the beginning of their lives, my kids’ standard foods were wheat breads, skim milk, lots of fruits and vegetables,and poultry. My husband and older daughter would occasionally eat pork (Audrey wouldn’t because of her love for pigs).  We didn’t eat beef, never bought soda or chips, almost exclusively  ate sweets that we baked ourselves.  A few times over the last few years, my daughters forayed into meatless diets, but the smell of grilled chicken was too much and their vegetarianism only lasted a few days, tops.

Once I decided to go entirely animal-free, the rest of the crew was really supportive.  In reality, it wasn’t a hard transition for us. The change was simply about making animal-free our new normal.  Additionally, I make a lot of things that we used to eat, I just make them without meat.  From enchiladas formerly filled with chicken or turkey to stir-fries now made with tofu, the flavors are all still there and good.  I’ve also made a concerted effort to seek out fun ideas and to let the kids pick the nightly dinners from a list of the possibilities.

Experimentation has been fun.  Yes, some meals have been bombs.  But honestly, I’ve had my share of meated bombs, too.

As I said, my kids are vegetarians, not vegans.  This means that they still drink milk, eat cheese, ice cream and other dairy, and occasionally eat eggs.  My husband eats all those things, plus turkey, chicken and fish when he goes to lunch or on the occasion that I make some as an extra for him.

So, to recap, I’m completely animal-free and the rest of my family is animal free about 90% of the time.  It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal, it just takes effort and commitment.  The bigger the deal you make of it, the more resistance you’ll likely get.  It might be fun to try for a week without saying anything…. Make some meat-free meals and see if anyone notices:o)

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