1. Someone recently asked me how we’ll raise Emory, vegetarian? Vegan? I answered (not so eloquently):

    Autumn, no. We are no longer veggies, gave that up quite a while ago. Instead we are supporting our local farmers, killing pigs, chickens and turkeys. We’ll be giving him meats but they will be (what I like to call) kosher. We may avoid fish because we’ve seemed to have destroyed all natural habitats (short of salmon) and the farm raised stuff is bad for so many reasons I won’t go into it here. We’ll see. It might be hard to do whenever we go out fishing with my father. I just can’t turn away fresh flounder.

    So, no, we’ll be feeding our little guy meat and veggies and dairy. We’re just going to make sure that we know where it comes from and what goes into raising it and killing it.

    That article is a perfect example of what I’d like Emory to understand. Too many people forget that meat was once alive. It has bothered me forever.


  2. I had just started reading that when you twittered it (and just as Mike was sending me a link). I actually got a little teary-eyed reading it.

    All of this stuff is so important, and I just can’t understand why people are so resistant to learning about this, to paying more for food that is REAL, not manufactured in some laboratory somewhere, for food that was raised right and humanely. There is so much waste in this country, so much conspicuous consumption, why is it so weird for people who can afford it to care about and pay a premium for what they are putting into their bodies, what they are feeding themselves and their children?

    You know how strongly I feel about this so I won’t go into a big ole rant here, but thank you for posting this article.


  3. I posted this to get some rants going. It’s OK if you want to rant, rant away! That’s the point, really. And it frustrates me to no end as well, Jen. I actually lose sleep over this stuff. Have for a long, long time.


  4. we ate at blue hill in december and it was wonderful. you should try to get there asap. I am normally vegetarian, but that night (at a wedding dinner) the main dish was silver chicken that they had raised and killed and i couldn’t resist, and i am glad i didn’t.


  5. Reading this article made me want to become a born again vegetarian. You see, I still have problems with the fact that while I know that they are killed and that it’s not at all pleasant, I am still very unsure if this is EVER something I could do personally. I have an internal moral and ethical dilemma going on with this.

    I do and have killed my own fish. I know how that feels, looks, etc. But I haven’t ever killed a chicken or seen it done live. I still can’t say yes to beef because whenever I try and picture killing a cow, it makes my chest hurt. Pigs are making a comeback but if I think about it too much I order something else.

    This is a problem for me. A big problem, something I am trying so hard to work out, come to terms with.

    rant over.


  6. I love the line, “why should a chicken cost less than a pint of beer”. That makes so.much.sense. We too try to buy our meat from a local supplier… though, they did give us a one-legged chicken that we ordered at Christmas. We called him “wingy”.


  7. Though we’re trying to be more budget-minded these days in preparation for our move, we spend a large portion of our income on food. And I’m okay with that. It’s a decision that I made a few years back after reading Fast Food Nation, Omnivore’s Dilemma, etc. and beginning to realize just what goes into getting food to the table in this country. And I know that there are family members and friends that are just boggled and appalled by what we spend on food, who think we live some extravagant lifestyle because of the way we eat – and it’s not that, it’s just that that is what we have chosen to spend a good portion of our income on.

    We don’t have a fancy apartment in a nice neighborhood, we don’t have a car, we don’t spend money on vacations and new clothes and $300 handbags, and I’m not saying there is anything fundamentally wrong with people who do, but it’s just not for us. And I know it’s easier for people like Mike and I who enjoy sourcing out ingredients, who enjoy getting them home and cooking, and some people just don’t have the time or energy or whatever to cook a meal at home from scratch most nights of the week – but I do wish people would be more aware of the impact their decisions have on the economy, the environment, and their health.

    And there I go ranting again. :)


  8. I twittered you when you posted this but with such little space I couldn’t really say what I had wanted to say.

    I loved that article. It made me want to become a vegetarian at first, then I realized that is not what they are saying. They want people to be more conscious about where and how meat gets to them. I had never actually thought that there was a more “ethical” way to kill animals for food but I ignored that they died so that I could eat them. If that makes any sense.

    I agree completely with jenblossom’s comments with how they afford to eat the way they do. I often wondered how but never judged. I dreamed of using the ingredients that she did for dinners but always figured it was too expensive. Now I realize that if I really want to eat better food, not only healthier but better for the environment, I should be willing to give up certain things.

    I’m excited to try to do this now. Maybe I’ll feel less guilty when I eat.


  9. As a vegetarian, I do not like the idea of killing animals. I personally cannot eat something that was once breathing and alive. That is my decision. However, I gather that the majority of the western world eats some form of meat. Although the idea of killing a chicken on television makes me ill, I do think it is a good wakeup call for the public. People often forget that the chicken or beef on their plate was once a living creature. I applaud the efforts of the chefs who bring light to the fact that yes, eating meat involves killing, and if one decides to eat meat, consume meat that is raised properly and killed as humanely as possible. And besides eating meat, purchasing organic vegetables from local farmers, when possible, is also important. My husband and I, like jenblossom, spend more on food but we know where it comes from and we feel better consuming it.
    Whoo! A rant and a tangent!


  10. As Kingsolver will point out, the chicken doesn’t cost less than a pint of beer. You pay taxes to subsidize industrial farming.

    Local farms only cost MORE than industrial farming if you keep fooling yourself into believing your taxes pay only for roads and stellar schools.

    The question, of course, becomes, “If I’m paying for subsidies, shouldn’t I reap the benefits by eating $.30/lb chicken?”

    Of course you should, if you don’t mind your market choices being made by your government…

    To add to Andrea’s notes, I also suggest, if nothing else, not requiring every meal to include meat. Have two vegetarian meals and one meaty meal per day instead. Easy, and your Lipitor co-pay will go down as well!


  11. if i had to see the face of every animal, i was going to eat I would instantly become a vegetarian again. I simply could never eat something i have met. For 8 years I was a veg and then I slowly stopped thinking about it and now love bacon. But I also think pigs are the cutest things and I know they are smart. I cant really justify eating them. Thankfully, nobody asks me to. My mom does yell at me, but I turned her and dad into vegs so I ignorantly feel it evens things out. Damn, I know i feel overly guilty about everything, but am just starting to realize I feel guilty about eating meat. There really is no reason to do it. We have so many other alternatives. I am not preaching here, just thinking out loud. I do eat meat. But as I was crying while reading the article and know my life needs a change, maybe I will stop. Holy Shit! Just realized that the times I have been severely depressed in life coincide with the times I ate meat. I am always anxious. For a while I have been reading about the fear hormones animals produce when they die and it always struck a chord with me. But I just realized that the first time I stopped feeling suicidal was in college – when i was able to be a vegetarian w/o getting yelled at for it. And the anxiety started around the time i started eating meat again.

    This just reaffirms my new motto: life is great, as long as I don't think about it.  :)
    I wrote that before my holy shit realization - I do want to become a vegetarian again.  I felt better inside and was forced to do way more creative stuff in the kitchen, especially for vegan boyfriend.  I used to buy fresh organic tofu though, and I cant stand the packaged stuff now.  I live in Miami which just might be the worst place for a vegetarian.  Well at least as far as major American cities go.  Would have starved in Mexico City.  Actually New Orleans was the city that started the slippery slope.  I figured it was eat some seafood or nothing but fries and the city is known for its cuisine so I had to try something.  If anyone knows where to get fresh tofu in Miami, I would love to know about it!


  12. Don’t know why the end of my insanely long “comment” is tiny


  13. I applaud Jamie Oliver for the stances he’s taken on cafeteria food, eating whole/some foods, and now this. A happy side-effect from this, I hope, is that more people will become veg and the demand for meatless/dairyless products will drive up the quality and choice for these products in stores.

    I’ve been veg for 16 years and haven’t looked back but my issue with the meat industry isn’t “killing innocent animals”, it’s the institutionalized cruelty that factory farms partake in daily that disturbs me.

    I commend anyone who eats one less meat meal a week (or a day) or anyone who tries to purchase more meat from humane, local farms instead of the cello-wrapped stuff in a regular grocery store. Every little bit helps. All this is another sign of how we are becoming more aware and more concerned with what goes in our body – which can only lead to good things down the road. Facing the reality that eating meat necessitates the killing of animals makes a difference too, if only (for some people) in consciousness.


  14. another reason to become a vegetarian- from the AP: “FDA gives approval to food from cloned animals” In the article ”…the FDA wont require food makers to label if their products came from cloned animals, although companies could do so voluntarily.” The article goes on to say that the cloned meat and milk wont hit the market for a few years and we wont actually be eating cloned animals, just their offspring. I should go visit my own blog huh? :)


  15. Warning, loooong post ahead: I feel really strongly about this topic, too. I was vegetarian for eight years, and in the end I gave it up in part because I love cooking and food and wanted to broaden my palate (at the time, it was still pretty hard to get anything when eating out that was beyond boring pasta or your standard portabella/roasted pepper/cheese sandwich, and in part because I was eating way too much processed soy stuff, and after much research, decided that it was worse for me than just eating qulaity meat. But I still am not an everyday meat eater, and when I do have it, I try really hard to eat only organic, free-range eggs and meat. And I buy it from the farmer’s market when I can, at the booth where they sell the wool and the lamb meat and the sheep’s milk cheese all at the same stand, so that you have to think about the whole package and where it came from. Yes, it costs more, but if you eat it sparingly, treating it, as Michael Pollan suggests, more like a condiment, to be used in small amounts for flavoring, it’s feasible. (I know he has lots of readers and people have mentioned him here-but Michele, you should read his latest, IN DEFENSE OF FOOD, if you’re interested in learning more about the way agribusiness and food lobbies and faulty nutrition science have messed up the way we eat.) I eat meat probably 2-3 times total a week. I try to cook (some weeks are better than others) as many of my meals as possible from scratch, using whole grains, and try to get as many veggies in as possible. I think I never had quite the same gut reaction about killing animals for meat-mine was mostly about how they were treated during their lives and also what they were being pumped full of, and what I was ingesting because of it. It terrifies me to think about all of the genetic/chemical/hormonal manipulation going on, and I will admit that I can drive myself (and my bf) a little crazy with it sometimes. I just don’t know that the havoc that’s been wrought upon the way we produce and sell food is fixable, and that’s scary. I live in Brooklyn, so I’m fortunate enough to have access to farmer’s markets and specialty organic shops and FreshDirect where I can get food I feel good about eating, and I kind of eat outside of the system. But where I grew up, that was not the case, and I and most people I know were raised eating packaged foods filled with unpronounceable ingredients. And while I am not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, I do make enough that I can afford to buy organic stuff as long as I budget carefully. But there are lots of people out there who feel not like they should pay .30 a pound for chicken, but like that’s all they can pay. I don’t know how that gets fixed either. I feel like the only way the government changes the way food is produced is if lots of people stop buying the GMO/antibiotic-fed/industrial farm foods (and if beef and dairy and corn lobbies miraculously disappear), and the only way a lot of people stop buying those foods is if healthier alternatives become more affordable. Because it is a lot more expensive to eat from small producers and organic farms. It feels like an insurmountable problem, but I guess the first step is raising awareness, and I’m glad folks like Oliver and Blue Hill and Pollan (who will be #1 on the NYT bestseller list next week—which gives me hope!) are doing just that.


  16. No Name For This One January 16, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    It’s interesting, and one must wonder, since we’re paying taxes to help subsidize industrialized farming, in a sense we’re paying so that people can cut corners and eat industrialized (and crappy, low-grade) meats.

    If we work toward a socialized health care system that our government runs, will this happen to our health care as well? Will it become absurdly low-grade. Will they cut corners? Will people end up paying for healthcare for everyone via tax dollars and also continue paying out of pocket for private and better care as well?

    this is off topic, but if our government allows for this sort of muck up happen with the meat industry, won’t the same bullshit take place once healthcare is tackled by these knuckleheads?


  17. Wow. Thank you for the link.


  18. Oh, god. This Jamie Oliver/Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall stuff has really got to my husband and me. We live in Ireland right now (I am American, he is British – we both feel like outsiders), and we have both refused to watch the shows mentioned in this article. Not because we don’t think what they are doing is a good thing, but rather, because I actually cannot watch animals being killed or tortured. I find it physically impossible. That being said, of course I have been a vegetarian for 14 years. But, even before I was a vegetarian (became one at the age of 14), I didn’t eat chicken – this came down to my mother. My parents are THE meat-eaters. They are from Wyoming. It’s not dinner unless there is a chunk of rare meat on the side. But, my mother the dietician refused to allow us to eat chicken. Only recently I discussed this with her and she said it was purely because of the way they are farmed. She was raising us back in the 80’s, so it was difficult to get organic or free-range. I am grateful for this now – I never developed any taste for chicken. I suppose in many ways, I am lucky vegetarian. I had a dietician for a mother to help guide me the start of my journey; I had never really eaten much chicken; I am not a fan of any pork products (never have been – people don’t believe me when I say I just don’t like bacon, but hell, I also don’t like chocolate, so I am just a freak); I only ate beef because it was there. Essentially, I was a meat-eater by default, so why not become a vegetarian by choice?

    My husband eats meat. Not that much, since I do most of the cooking, but when he does, I make sure it is organic, free-range, not pumped full of chemicals. We have a good every-day farmers market near us. We are lucky. Bonus – restaurants are expensive here, so I have to cook almost every day.

    We are talking about having children soon. I don’t want to force my belief system on my children, but they will, in all likelihood, eat a primarily vegetarian diet for the first few years of their lives – only when their father is cooking will they really eat meat, I suppose. I feel strongly about my vegetarianism. It makes me happy to know that I am not part of that industry in any way. I am so glad that people in the UK and Ireland are being confronted with their food. I remember Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall did a show a few months back where a devotee of ‘ready-meals’ (pre-packaged dinners) saw the slaughter of a pig – one of Hugh’s pigs that had been well-reared- and he immediately turned vegetarian. They checked back with him a few months later and he was still vegetarian. Some of us just don’t have it within us to eat meat.


  19. Well, after much thought about this, and then a really difficult yoga class, I have decided that I will stop eating chicken (again) until I can sit through one of the videos. I can’t watch them. I refuse. And until I can, I don’t feel right about eating a chicken (pig, etc). I never cared much for beef, so that’s easy. And even pork doesn’t really appeal to me. It’s chicken and turkey.

    Anyway, so, yeah, I feel like I need to write that out here once again. We only ever buy free-range meat from local farms (I, too, live in brooklyn and use Fresh Direct and the local farmer’s market as Andrea mentioned earlier). But until I can get behind the actual death involved, I don’t feel right about this at all. I really need to think about this because on the one hand (and this has been written about extensively) it’s better to eat local, humanely killed (oxymoron anyone?) meat from local farms than a bunch of processed vegetarian meals – you know what I mean? While I do love that fake chicken that MorningStar makes, it’s not exactly good for you. It’s not bad, but the list of ingredients is really long, one must wonder about food made in factories as well. Anyway, that’s another post entirely. For now, meat is going to be put aside until I can really get behind what’s happening with the slaughter, etc. Like someone mentioned earlier, I find it physically impossible to watch an animal die. Fish, I can do, perhaps that’s because I was raised fishing with dad, but otherwise, what i see, it sits with me for hours, days, weeks.

    Before, when I gave up eating meat, it was because of the excess involved with industrial farming. (As another person mentioned here earlier.) Now? Well, I guess it’s a bit of both. IF we eat it, it will continue to be local so as to support our local farmers, which is better for the environment all around (in lieu of eating a bunch of boxed vegetarian crap). But for now, I just can’t do it.

    Wow, this comment most certainly makes little to no sense.


  20. Also, Wendy, are you talking about TAL’s show on pig farming? Click me. Not graphic. This show was brilliant.


  21. Wow. I was thinking about this issue all last night after watching an episode of a show called “Nimrod Nation.” It’s about a high-school basketball team in rural Michigan – which, on the surface, has nothing at all to do with the subject at hand. But the portrait of the town’s life was really fascinating, and so much of it revolves around hunting and killing animals. In one scene, a kid kills the family pig by distracting it with some corn and putting a bullet between its eyes. I was horrified, but I couldn’t condemn that action. That’s just what they do for food – they use every part of that pig, and they obviously know exactly what they’re doing.

    I haven’t eaten red meat since I was a teenager, but I do eat other kinds of meat, and right then and there I started seriously reconsidering all of that other meat. It’s something that’s been bothering me for years, since I watched my husband and his friend salmon fishing in Alaska. I refused to touch or kill a fish, but I sure did eat them. And I felt really weird about it—I realized that if I wasn’t willing to actually kill the animals I eat, or at least acknowledge exactly what has to happen in order for it to get to my plate, I shouldn’t eat it. But I’ve kept eating it. And now I really think I should stop.

    Thanks so much for posting that—that was really crazy timing. And yeah, this comment probably doesn’t make too much sense, either. It’s early.


  22. I miss living in the UK. In some ways (and in ALL ways environmental), they are miles and miles ahead of us. As far as No Name For This One’s comment, they’re also miles ahead of us on socialized medicine. You’d think their system would be falling apart (and from their point of view, it is) but after having my daughter there, wow. Just wow. That is one well-oiled machine. But socialized medicine is a post for a different day :-).


  23. I’m sure someone else has already said this much more coherrently, but there’s something of a push-pull here that the article doesn’t quite address. Caring about the life cycle of your meat is an honorable thing and a good thing, but it’s still a luxury and I think it’s important not to lose sight of that issue.


  24. Oh Kate, one of the many reasons I am happy to live over here! As a young American, I was spoiled by my mother’s excellent health care, but once I got to earning age, my god. Have so many friends having kids right now and they are struggling with things that I don’t even want to think about! Anyway, you are right – another post! As for the environmental stuff here – well, I agree with you. When we lived in London, we had a local shop (right around the corner) that stocked all sorts of organic goodies and organic meat for the husband. And this was in poor ol’ East London. Whenever I go back to the US, I am always amazed at the cost of just plain old eating healthy and ‘green’. I lived in Seattle, so I used to go down to Pike Place Market for all my fruit and veg, but when I am visiting my parents out in the suburbs, I just get shocked by the low quality and the high prices.

    Currently, we live in Cork – quite a ‘foody’ place, if you will. Lots of vegetarian and organic shops. I spend a lot of time cooking – I was never really interested in food before, but now that I am not the main bread-winner, I get to focus a bit more on our health and what we eat.

    Michele – I hadn’t seen that TAL thing – will have to have a look as soon as I finish here! I agree with what you are saying about vegetarian pre-packaged meals – which is why I now don’t touch the stuff. When I was a college student, I lived off them, but you are right – the ingredients lists are scary.

    If one is going to eat meat, I do think it is important to be aware of the life-cycle behind it. That is what really bothers me, I guess. So many people just eat blindly without realising the process behind it. I don’t know – I guess this could all the sudden become a big old rant on the modern food industry, but I will stop now before I become an incoherent mess!

    Just curious, Michele – why did y’all decide to start eating meat again? Not asked out of judgment or anything, but it is something that I am interested in. I have quite a few friends who have started eating a bit of meat after years of being veggie, and I always wonder if one day I will turn! I have eaten meat in the past 14 years – mainly when we have been traveling and I just couldn’t face another plate of fried cheese (oh, Eastern Europe…).


  25. I was so interested in this article. I loved it, too. I’ve always said that if I had to kill an animal and eat it to survive, I could. And I really believe I could. (I have killed animals before, when I lived down a country road where lots of wild creatures would be hit by cars but not die. It makes you sick inside, but I felt an obligation.) I applaud Jamie Oliver for reminding people of the blood that comes before the meal. It is always good to “get back to the earth” as it were, and remember, viscerally, that we are part of the food chain just like every other animal.

    Something a previous commenter said struck a chord with me, though, too. To grow your own food, even to track how the animals you consume were killed, is a luxury – a luxury of money, a luxury of time, a luxury requiring education, access to communication networks, etc. The very educated, the type of people (like us) who write blogs and read them and have internet access etc – we have the luxury to debate this. The very poor do not, and the impact of a small change in prices at the grocery store could mean the difference between health and malnutrition for them. The thing about America I think is – we are a huge country. We have to feed a heck of a lot of people. Economies of scale are the only way a country of our geographical and population size could survive. We do not see folks in America die of starvation at the rate they do in other large (but undeveloped) countries. These undeniably horrific animal farms are probably part of the reason why.

    However, I would argue that we’ve gone too far in the one direction. It’s important to have a balanced diet, but it’s also important not to get too far from nature when building that diet. And I think the societal barometer is swinging in the opposite direction. As people like us debate the issue, Jamie Oliver puts it on tv, and consumers start to show a preference for more humanely raised meat, then prices for that meat will come down. Practices will change. It is the beauty of capitalism, of democracy. Vote with your vote, and vote with your wallet, and vote with your protests. Things happen slowly, but I have faith they can happen.

    One final thing. I have probably 80% meatless meals each week, for health and money reasons (meat, even the cheap stuff, is expensive for our budget!) But I truly believe that meat is an important part of the human diet. My sister’s vegetarian – I’m happy to cook meals for her, and I don’t nag her at all. But – we have omnivorous teeth, like other omnivorous animals. Our body makeup requires a lot of protein. My sis, not a very stringently health vegetarian I’ll admit, suffers from acute anemia. So, everyone picks their own diet. I’m just putting my oar in for the omnivores. It’s a vicious food web out there, and we’re part of it, molars AND incisors at the ready.


  26. Someone just wrote something that has me thinking about another part of this that TJ and I have been flirting with. It’s called the “100 mile diet”. You heard of this? Basically, because of industrialization and globalization, we are able to eat whatever we want, whenever we want even if it’s not in season and doesn’t grow anywhere near us. What if we were to eat whatever really is locally grown? eating all free-range and organic is great, but how much gas is used to get it to us? What if we tighten the reigns even more and eat only what’s local (ie. within a 100 miles from here.)

    We may try this for one month. I am certain we will if I get around to starting Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver.


  27. http://www.templegrandin.com/

    PS – there’s a really neat lady out there named Temple Grandin. Autistic, loves animals, and felt an affinity with cows and their nervousness as they went through the chute to be stunned, killed, and slaughtered. So she developed some sort of contraption to calm the cows and make them less scared. I really love reading about her continuing impact on animal treatment.


  28. “But – we have omnivorous teeth, like other omnivorous animals. Our body makeup requires a lot of protein. My sis, not a very stringently health vegetarian I’ll admit, suffers from acute anemia.”

    Gillian, I don’t know about this. I was in a biology class where the prof (without an agenda as I do recall he was an omnivore) detailed the ways in which we are much more similar to vegetarian animals (like cows) than we are to omnivorous ones – with regards to jaws that move back and forth (and not just up and down) and an intestinal tract that is very long (as opposed to a short one, say, in a dog). There was much more to it (an hour’s worth with charts and graphs) but it’s since faded from my memory. I do remember being pretty excited about the lecture!

    As for protein, I’m not a nutritionist but I do know that the average NA diet has much more protein than is necessary or recommended. Without eating meat, you can still get plenty of protein in your diet without trying very hard.

    As for anemia, it’s hardly vegetarian specific (though you may not have been suggesting it was, vegetarianism and anemia are often brought up in the same sentence). Of course, it’s possible to eat a shitty diet no matter what your personal eating guidelines are. Doctors pay close attention when you say you’re veg and I’m regularly sent for blood work. Being that I’ve been vegan for almost a decade, my doc sends me every year for bloodwork to check my iron levels. I was most recently told that I have more iron in my blood than the majority of women. Believe me, I’m nowhere near eating raw collard greens and kale for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    I think it’s quite interesting that people often ask me about lack of protein and iron in my diet but would not talk to a meat-eating friend about heart disease, obesity, and other diet-related illnesses.

    One last note regarding iron intake and vegetarians vs. omnivores (from an Australian study from 1999):
    “Mean iron intakes were not significantly different between vegetarians (10.7 mg/d) and omnivores (9.9 mg/d), although vegetarians tended to have slightly higher intakes; median intakes were 9.4 and 8.9 mg/d, respectively. Several other studies also showed no significant differences in iron intake between vegetarians and omnivores (17–21).”

    If elephants and cows and apes can survive on a vegan diet, I know I’ll be okay.


  29. Super interesting article.

    It is for this reason (not being able to deal with the fact that an animal had to die for me to eat) that I’ve really been cutting back on my meat intake.

    Sure I still eat meat, but I’m gravitating more and more towards alternatives. At some point soon, I would really like to make sure I only eat fairly treated animals.


  30. I am a meat eater. My brother Jeremy is vegan, as is my 9 year old niece Anastasia. Jeremy became vegetarian at 16 when he (and my niece’s mom) worked at McDonalds. He became vegan when he was 19 (he’s now 31). His idea has always been that Anastasia will be raised vegan, and will be told the reasons why they are doing that. If she ever decided she wanted to try something that isn’t vegan, he would let her, he just wouldn’t buy it for her.

    Anastasia was visiting her mom once (who was a vegan but went back to eating meat) and ate a hamburger and fishsticks. She confessed this to me in tears, afraid she would be in trouble. We were at the mall getting a pretzel, and I bought cheese to dip mine in. She asked if she could dip hers (she was 4 at the time) and I told her it wasn’t vegan. She replied that it was ok. Without being pushy, I asked her why it was ok. She started crying and asked if she could tell me something without me getting mad at her. She told me she ate the burger and fishsticks, and was afraid she would be in trouble.

    I hugged her and promised her no one would be mad at her, that she can make her own decisions. I told her it might be a good idea to tell her dad and they could talk about how she felt about it. I asked how she felt about eating those things, and she told me the burger upset her tummy, but the fishsticks she LOVED. Quote: “I ate ALL of them and wanted more.”

    She sat in my lap and together we told her dad what she ate, and of course he wasn’t mad. We all had a good talk about how we can make our own decisions, and not everyone makes the same decisions, and that it’s ok. She decided she wanted to stay vegan, because she was “sad that animals had to die” when she could eat other things.

    She’s 9 now and still vegan. I know the ingredients to look for in food so we always have snacks and food at our house when she comes to visit. We get some pretty funny looks at the store sometimes when we go to get her snacks, I ask her what she wants for movie night and she replies, “Tofu and carrots!”


  31. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Highly recommended! Some great ideas about how to eat locally and some decent recipes. There are even passages about raising, slaughtering and preparing their own turkeys and chickens. Really makes you think. I only wish I had time to do as much gardening…


  32. Ciaochow –

    Thanks for the info! The doctor actually told my sis that lack of meat could be an issue. She is a very lazy eater – like, potato chips and beer are often the only food groups for a whole day. Anybody should pay more attention to their diet than that, regardless of their feelings on meat.

    The omnivore teeth lesson came from my years as a naturalist, when I used to use animal jaws and help my kids guess whether what I was holding was herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. We talked in very educationally shallow terms about the differences – the kids were usually quite young and only visiting for the day. But it sounds like you had a more detailed lecture. It’s something that interests me, so I’ll probably look into it more. I definitely think the American diet contains too much meat – we think every meal should have a meat main course, and I disagree, I believe roughage should be the bulk of our diet and meat should be an occasional garnish.

    But, like we all CAN agree – diet is a very personal thing. My boss can have his daily hamburger and shun broccoli and grow wider by the day. You can forego all meat and still turn up healthy and happy. I will do my omnivore thing, and be healthy and happy, too. I’m just glad to be able to talk about it with educated folks. Civil discourse – the beauty of blogs, am I right?


  33. Your comment about the 100 mile diet made me think of the Slow Food organization. One of our favorite restaurants here had the local chapter come in for a cooking demo/informational session. We weren’t able to go (to nice of a place to bring your niece and nephew), but it sounded really interesting. Here is a link to their site: http://slowfoodusa.org/


  34. melhow – Slow Food is an awesome organization. My husband and I have been members for a few years now, and are big fans of what they do. We’ve had a great time attending some of their local events as well (which, by the way, were totally kid-friendly – might be something else to check out, M & TJ).

    Also melhow, I forget, are you in Birmingham? You might be interested in this:


  35. Thanks, jenblossom. We’ll try and check that out! We are about 1.5 hours north of Birmingham, but it is an easy drive (and one we make a lot because that is where Simone’s ped. endocrinologist is).


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