Sunday, September 23, 2012

Guest post: The Veggie Mama vs Omnivore Family Dilemma

Howdy! Please welcome Kelly from Natsukashii today. She relentlessly analyses life in general there, and lately has been chronicling her foray into veganism. She is even a graduate of Deakin University's Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) program. This makes me a little envious.

Being vegetarian in an omnivore house is a tough gig. I quite literally make two meals most nights and, as you can imagine, this is less than ideal! But what can I do? My kids, aged 3 and 9, are fussy eaters at the best of times, so taking away their beloved dead animals is not the easiest of tasks. Master 9, my boy, likes the idea of being vegetarian, but the practice tougher. I tell him that it's okay, it took me 34 years to get there, and every meal he doesn't eat meat is a good start. Miss 3 is adamant she wants her meat. So be it.

There are some meals I can get away with omitting their meat. There is a green bean sesame dish they quite like, meatless burritos (or circle bread salads as Miss 3 calls them!) platters of raw veg and cheese they are happy to eat and don't look for meat. but ask them their favorite meal and invariably it contains meat of some kind. 

I face a dilemma when not only do I have to touch and cook the stuff which kinda grosses me out, but also buying it supports an industry and practice I despise and am upset by. Even buying ethical meat is difficult because to me the bottom line still equals an innocent animals death. I struggle with it, but nor do I want to force my kids into a belief they're not coming to on their own. I encourage them to, and I am honest about what they are eating (cow/chicken/etc) and so on, but I don't feel right flat out banning meat ya know? Am I the only one that has trouble with this?

The upside, is that I get to make whatever meal I want for myself. I don't have to worry about their fussy ways and what they may or may not eat. If I want raw salad, I will crunch it. If I want hipster style tofu, hit me up. If I want hot and spicy chilli I will go ahead and burn my mouth off! I can be as adventurous as I want to, without restraint, and that means a lot of fun. I'm having a ball with the challenge that vegetarian and vegan eating can bring to someone who has always loved food and cooking. It's fantastic! 

We do have one rule about food in this house when it comes to the short folk, though. You must try it. If you don't like it, that's okay and you won't be made to eat it all, but you must try it. It's actually a really good rule, because through this, Master 9 especially, has discovered new favorites and things that he likes that he didn't expect to. Chickpeas for one. This works if you ensure to include tasty treats as well as new vegetables and stuff. Miss 3 was over the moon when she tried ice cream for the first time in one of these "must try" rule experiments. It then encourages them to try other things. They say it takes twenty or so exposures to a food before a child will accept the new taste. I reckon Miss 3 had that four times over with cucumber, but now it's a staple favorite.

Lucky I am a stubborn persistent veggie Mama...  


  1. I'm the only veggie in this house. Luckily, DH will eat anything I put in front of him & the kids aren't old enough to argue too much (nearly 4 & 1.5yrs), so I only make one (veggie) meal & if they don't like it (but do try it) they get something along the lines of a PBJ sandwich. If they don't try it, they don't get anything else.

    I did cook meat for the kids when I was weaning them (they are now at nursery 3 days a week, so leave them to deal with the dead flesh), & it was gross, but just told myself that as it was organic & free-range, it wasn't ^that^ bad , and worked out a way to cut it up without actually touching it - or got DH to do it.

    I have also been totally honest about where the meat they eat comes from day one. Beef is cow, bacon is pig. The older one understands that I don't eat animals & that means that I won't eat some sausages or jelly. My MIL thinks I am trying to freak her out, but it is completely the opposite - I didn't want her to get to aged 5 & suddenly discover that the lamb on her plate is in fact the cute little lamb in the field.

    DH thinks that they will both choose to be veggie when they are old enough to make that decision - I hope he is right, or that they will at least care about where the meat comes from.

  2. I was the only veggie in a variety of houses for years, through uni, at my family home and then through the start of my relationship with my now husband! It was though but everyone always catered.

  3. This is exactly how I operate! Honesty and choices. Awesome.