My oldest has recently stated that she would like to be a vegetarian and I had to laugh - she really is reaching her adolescent milestones earlier than I did; I didn't actively go veggie until high school and here she is at middle school making that decision. I think that is largely due to peer experiences, since today's general population is jumping on the green bandwagon which would trickle down to younger kids more than it did even 10 to 15 years ago.  I stopped being a true vegetarian when I married my husband and got pregnant with twins, because it’s certainly possible to get enough protein in your diet to grow two babies, but it’s MUCH easier to have animal proteins in the mix.  Now that the twins are out and getting a little older, I’ve been bugging my husband about having fewer weekly meals with meat in them to save money.  When I was hanging by a thread at my last job it made sense, but now that I’m working more hours, it’s hard to argue with the guy getting dinner on the table every night. Since I’m full of random thoughts and musings, I thought this would be a good blog topic to cover off and on over the next few months – of not necessarily going back to being a strict vegetarian, but being more conscious and limiting what meats we are willing to eat and with what frequency.

I’m not sure what it is about the teenage years that spawn a need to be a vegetarian in an otherwise omnivorous household, but that seems to be an American rite-of-passage.  I’d be curious to know if this is common in other cultures – it’s probably similar in other countries that have a base diet similar to American’s, but I haven’t done much research on the topic yet.  Is it just an American, middle-class, white girl thing?  Regardless the reason, having gone through those internal arguments myself, I couldn’t really see any reasons for saying that my daughter couldn’t, other than telling her that if we were providing a meat-based entrée that she chose not to eat, she’s in charge of finding/making herself another protein source.  Basically, with twin 4-1/2-year-olds, I didn’t want to turn into a full time restaurant with different food for each individual at the table.  If the twins are willing to eat something, then that’s good enough for me and the 13-year-old can manage in the kitchen just fine if she’s motivated to do so.

Other than the environmental impact of consuming less animal proteins, as an engineer I’m ever the practical one and if a meal works without meat, then it’s cheaper and it works for me!  The only issue at the moment is that when I do our grocery shopping and plan out our meals for the week, I typically ended up coming home at least once or twice to ground turkey having been added because that’s the way the cook (dear hubby) likes it. But Honey, we don’t have to have meat in every meal! *sigh*

I thought this battle would continue even after my oldest’s recent veggie decree until my husband read an article regarding the training methods of some MMA fighters.  They have found they recover from their workouts faster if they don’t eat meat, so he’s finally willing to have that conversation even though he’s not a pro MMA fighter.  He also brought up a point that I agree with completely – we don’t want to impose upon anyone else that feeds us.  So when the Thanksgiving turkey is getting cut, we’re not going to staunchly state that we are vegetarians and won’t eat it (“we” meaning my hubby and I, who knows what my oldest will do).  We’ll eat it just fine, it will just be something that we won’t actively seek out for our own home anymore.  We’re going to use up what’s left of the meat in our freezer (mostly boneless, skinless chicken breasts and ground turkey) and then go veggie from there.  I’m sure I’ll have lots to share about all of this as we go, including adding new recipes to my index that suit our new preferences.  We’ll see how far we take this and I’ll be researching and documenting more about where we’re starting from and how far we make it in having our household go veggie.

Any helpful tips or recipes to start our adventure with?  Most notably ones that a 13-year-old would be willing to prepare? 

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