Really Eleanor, vegetarian? So if you know me/my blog you would know that I like challenges, so you would not be too far off if you guessed that me going vegetarian had something to do with world vegetarian day (today) and month (October).
But it’s a little deeper than that because it has to do with my six-year-old son who tearfully became a vegetarian at the age of two because he figured out where meat came from.
Aidan has been very committed to his vegetarian ways over the years (for a pre-schooler) always asking me to pack a lunch bag to functions in case there aren’t any options for him (I mean he is not only a vegetarian he is also annoyingly picky and prefers very bland foods like oat flour wraps with plain cream cheese).
I don’t speak about this too much as I’m allergic to the eye rolls from people who don’t understand, the people who; “wouldn’t let a child dictate their meal times”. People who have never had to console a sobbing child in the meat aisle because he doesn’t understand how dead animals could be on display for people to eat.
I don’t feel for the judgment from people who; “would have lied to the child”, who would have said; ” God made animals for us to eat”, people who would “have a meat and potatoes boy in a month” if they were in my position.
I guess I’m a little shy that it might sound pretentious to have a vegetarian pre-schooler in a family (extended fam included) of proud meat eaters. Maybe I sound like an overindulgent mom when I have to explain how I supplement his meals and carefully up his protein and iron intake by hiding chia seeds in his seed bars and pureed vegetables in his donuts. Even worse so, when I admit how I even allow him to eat away from the rest of the family during braais or when the meat on the table looks particularly “animaly” (meat on the bone, spatchcock chickens).
On his request, I even asked that he sit with the Rastafarian kids at his daycare so he would feel more comfortable during meal times (daycare served hot meals). At his current school I send alternatives on special days where they serve things like hot dogs and burgers.
This is normal in a family of vegetarians, but to bend over backwards for a single child’s whims ( which could easily be classified as “full of nonsense”) is less common.
BUT Aidan has made his decision very clear…
“I don’t want to eat animals, infact I wish people could make pets out of cows and sheep as no one ever eats cats and dogs.”
So despite him saying “I love you even though you eat animals mommy”. I’ve decided to join his crusade, starting very slowly; one month for now, slowly, maybe more pescetarian than vegetarian because sushi, slowly…
I chatted to the guys over at Fry’s Family Food about my month long vegetarian experiment and they are being incredibly encouraging, in fact they are sending over some meat free alternatives and will be collaborating with recipes and prizes so keep an eye out for my vegetarian month and send plant based good vibes.
If you are interested in joining you can download their cookbook for fun ideas