|A very veggie Thanksgiving:|
First off, after 25 years of eating meat, why did we choose to make the switch to a veggie-centric diet? Personally, the reason I decided to become a vegetarian initially was because I plain old didn't enjoy meat. But after some educational reading on how to stay healthy, and the benefits of a vegetarian diet, I realized I was making the best choice for my body. Following a vegetarian diet has been shown to lower cholesterol, which, in today's society where heart disease is so prevalent, seems like a no brainer. Factory farming is also a huge problem, and I have a big issue with animals being kept in small pens all for the sake of a cheap burger. But I'm not going to spend this post talking about the ethics or morality. Becoming a vegetarian is a personal choice, which brings me to another comment I hear all the time.
|Falafel...a family favourite:|
Whenever people find out we're vegetarians, most often proceed to tell us that they don't even eat meat all that often, and are basically vegetarians, they just can't give up bacon, steak, or whatever their favourite meat happens to be. I hate to be a stickler on this point, but if you eat meat, even once a week, you are not a vegetarian, almost, basically or otherwise. But you know what? That's okay! I didn't choose to be a vegetarian so I could convert the masses. I did it for me, and I don't expect anyone else to change their dietary habits because of my choice. If you want to eat meat, do it. My main advice is to just be mindful about where your meat comes from, and that you're eating a balanced diet, including lots of fresh fruits and veggies.
|Hearty stews are a winter staple:|
So, how does a vegetarian family maintain a healthy diet if we don't eat meat? Where does our protein come from? Well, it's really quite simple. Most of our meals include some form of legume or nut, which are chock full of protein! From nuts in our granola, to lentil soup, to almost every Mexican inspired dish we eat, there is almost always a vegetarian source of protein to be found. And low and behold, they're also high in fibre, which is great for our digestive systems. As I said, we are lacto-ovo vegetarians, which means we eat dairy and eggs. So, essentially, our meals are what most omnivore families would eat, just without the meat portion, which we usually replace with some kind of bean variation.
|It's easy to forget that fruit is vegetarian:|
So, the next question I get a lot is whether or not we are raising our kids as vegetarians. Quick answer, yes. Long answer, of course! I do the cooking, and I'm a vegetarian, as is my husband, so our kids are vegetarians, too. Quite proud ones as well, which is pretty awesome, I think. So here's the follow up question. What if my children decide they want to eat meat? Well, when they're old enough to cook for themselves and buy their own food, it is their right to choose. Until then, I will do my best to educate the about where that meat comes from, and help them make healthy decisions.
|Mexican meals are easy as a vegetarian:|
Sure, when we decided to stop eating meat, it was tough, and a huge learning curve to make sure we stayed healthy physically and mentally. But over time, we've adapted. It's really not as hard as we initially thought, and we're healthier for it. It was our choice, and we're very happy with our decision. But we don't judge anyone for being different. Your choices are your own, and I hope that my choices can be respected. Eat well and be happy!