It always comes back to food

I have to say that I think I’ve empirically proven that misery does, indeed, love company—I found it immensely gratifying reassuring that many of YOU are in something of a funk recently, as well. It hadn’t even occurred to me before that the time change might be a factor, and that’s because I have brain damage. Because I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and OF COURSE the time change is a factor, moron, just like it is EVERY YEAR.

I’ve dug out my trusty full-spectrum light, and we’ll see if that helps.

But just to cover all of my bases, I’ve decided to try some other stuff, too. It just seems like good common sense, no? I mean, SOMETHING is bound to make me feel better. I mean, besides the realization that I’m just sort of being a whinerpants.

And SPEAKING of pants….

Faced with the choice between working out, eating better, and fitting back into the pants I already own OR driving myself clinically insane trying to find new pants that fit and don’t make me want throw myself off of a cliff, GUESS which one I chose? That’s right, I opted for insanity!

And this time, I brought the WHOLE FAMILY along!

We made a pilgrimage to the Mall of Georgia, and made a whole day out of it, and it was actually lovely. I couldn’t tell you the last time we spent the entire day together and everyone was so pleasant and well-behaved. I mean, Otto didn’t have a single tantrum! And the kids were pretty good, too. It was nice. Just what I needed.

We didn’t spend the entire time shopping, of course. We also spent some time looking at cars we can’t afford, and then we took a truck for a test drive, and let me tell you, if you’re looking for a way to convince small children that they are having more fun than is available at Disneyworld, I heartily recommend a test drive in a big truck. They thought they’d died and gone to heaven. Especially when the car salesman guy asked if we’ve ever had a truck before and Otto said we ALREADY have a truck and I piped up from the back that yes, we do, but Otto recently set it on fire, and then Otto protested and the salesman looked VERY frightened and the children laughed themselves silly.

Our family knows how to have a good time, is all I’m saying.

We also enjoyed some Mexican food, which permitted me to avail myself of another of your suggestions (helloooooo, Margarita!), and all in all it was a very cheerful day.

It was made EVEN BETTER by the fact that at the last store I opted to walk into, I finally found some pants. Woo!

And then the cherry on top was listening to the kids call their dad and explain their day. “Well, Mom needed pants. So we got tacos. And drove a truck!” I’m sure he thought maybe THEY’d had margaritas.

But here’s the part about food: Chickadee had one of those lightbulb moments a few days ago. I was looking at some crocodile-print boots online and she asked—horrified—if they were made from crocodiles.

“No, of course not, honey,” I told her. She relaxed. “They’re made of cows, like most leather stuff,” I added, carelessly.

Now, I don’t believe for a second that she didn’t know that leather comes from cows. I’m sure we’ve discussed that, before. But you know how sometimes you know something and that’s different than the moment when you KNOW something? Chickadee had one of those moments.


“I don’t think cows should DIE just for BOOTS!” she protested.

“Oh, well should they die for the cheeseburger you had last week, instead?” I replied, all empathy.

And that is how my daughter decided to become a vegetarian.

Look; I support her decision. As part of my new regime of menu-planning I’ve been cutting back on our meat consumption, already. We have a vegetarian entree a couple of nights a week. But… I’m wondering 1) how long this will last and 2) how to keep her eating balanced meals while it does. I’m already having angst over tomorrow’s planned meal (chicken lasagna) because I don’t know if I make her a separate little meat-free lasagna or I tell her to get a job and learn to cook and in the meantime, here’s some plain spaghetti, kid.

Alternatively, I could go vegetarian as well, which would force me to get more creative about meat-free options (and would balance the family; I could make half meat-free for us girls and half carnivore for the boys), and might allow me to fit back into my old pants, too.

Hey, at least margaritas are vegetarian.


  1. Leandra

    You could do like my friend did with her daughter and tell her that porkchops grow in the ground. Of course Chickie is older and probably won’t fall for it, but it’s worth a shot.

    I’m leaning towards telling her to get a job and learn to cook but that’s probably because I’m fed up with the food situation in my own house and I’m tempted to tell everybody they’re going to have to fend for themselves.

  2. Jennifer Suarez

    Chickadee is ADORABLE

    I was vegetarian for a while years ago. Not because I felt bad for the animals, more because meat made me feel – yucky, for lack or a better word.

    But then I really missed cheeseburgers.

    Now I focus more on veggies, but I still enjoy meat on occasion.

  3. RuthWells

    I’ve had to cut out virtually all forms of animal protein for health reasons, and I did in fact loose a bunch of weight when the new diet started. Unfortunately, I then turned 40 and gained it all back. Ah well, win some, lose some…

  4. Megan

    Sounds so much like the scene in… which Madeleine L’Engle book was it? Meet the Austins? Where Suzie realizes that bacon is made from Wilbur the Pig.

    Oh dear.

    Now I’m just thinking wicked, wicked thoughts about the bacon omelet we had for dinner last night…

  5. Ashlee

    When I was 12 I decided to go vegetarian and my mom was great about it. I started helping plan meals and shopping with her and even doing some cooking on my own. Chickadee may be a little young to make this a life-altering decision, but I never went back to eating meat!

    I hope you can find a good balance that won’t increase your feelings of insanity!!

  6. Mara

    My sister decided at 14 that she was going vegetarian. My parents thought it was a phase, but it’s been 11 years, now…

  7. tori

    When my son went vegan, I respected his choice. I ALSO respected myself by realizing that I could not handle planning two meals for every meal. He and I went shopping for some cookbooks and he was responsible for choosing things, writing the ingredients on the grocery list and also for helping to cook the meal. In the end, he gave it up after several months because Lucky Charms have marshmallows in them which are not vegan and he really wanted to eat them anyway. Every once in a while he pulls the cookbooks out and writes things on the grocery list but for the most part he doesn’t feel it is worth the effort anymore. I don’t actually care if he is vegan, vegetarian or whatever, but I am opposed to him becoming a candy-tarian or a chip-tarian so we talked a lot about nutrition too.

  8. Rasselas

    Just make sure she gets enough protein, through dairy and beany stuff. There’s lots of very cool indian dishes that are vegetarian.

  9. Barbara

    I’m predicting you might want to prepare for a vegetarian in the home for the long term. I’m starting to think that going vegetarian is a typical developmental behavior for young girls and middle-aged women.

    Mine still eats fish, eggs, and cheese, so I can accommodate her without much trouble. I don’t like her father and her trying to convert each other to their own particular philosophies.

    Her reasons are definitely because of the animal-treatment orientation. She is reassured by the fact that fish do not feel pain – not enough nervous system for that. You’re welcome!

  10. crgilvr

    Or you could be me, with a 24 year old coming for Thanksgiving dinner, and me sitting here at work googling “vegan thanksgiving recipes”.

  11. shannon

    one of my 3 sons won’t eat beef or pork much. chicken and fish is about it. and it is hard to balance the meals, somedays i just tell him “this is dinner….eat it.” (he’s 5). another friend’s daughter decided at 8yrs old to be vegetarian and she hasn’t looked back. she’s 30 now. i say get her involved and she’ll love it or hate it! how does she feel abaout the little fishies? here’s a little more info on complete proteins. all i knew before was rice and beans, but there are more options! and you don’t have to eat them at the same time! makes things easier =)

  12. Zuska

    Go, Chickie (um, even if you are making your mom’s life a bit more complicated, lol!)!!

    I’m willing to bet that when you do some research, you’ll find out that she’ll still get plenty of protein; most Americans tend to get way more protein than they need in the average day.

    Funny enough, even though we were vegetarians long before we became parents, we really downplayed our decision once our kids came along. My daughter came home from Kindergarten one day (near Thanksgiving, actually) and announced that she was never going to eat meat, and would that be okay with us? When we pointed out that we didn’t eat meat either, she was so relieved!! Neither kid has much curiosity about trying meat, and both are relatively healthy. Keep us posted on how your family manages with your new vegetarian!

  13. Ariel

    I’ve been cooking rice for myself since I was 5 ( my mom watched, but I did the hard work) cause I was the worlds PICKIEST eater. I ate rice and potatoes and rice and rice and sometimes some chicken :) I’d say it’s not too early to let her start cooking :) Let her assemble her own lasagna :)

  14. Burgh Baby

    I was 14 when I finally (and permanently) ventured over to the dark side of vegetarianism. If I recall correctly (and I do), I was on my own figuring out how to deal. It wasn’t really that hard, though, since it was a meat and potatoes kind of house. I just skipped the meat and added an extra side dish to my plate. Now that I think about it, it might have been nice if my ‘rents had challenged me to eat something other than mac-n-cheese once in a while . . .

  15. Tatiana

    When I became a vegetarian (a choice I’ve since given up), my diet started to consist of potato chips, salad, and pbj sandwiches. Probably not the most well-rounded diet ever, but hey, it is what it is.

    There are TONS of kid-friendly vegetarian recipes out there on the web, but you should definitely try to get her to begin cooking for herself. If she’s mature enough to make a drastic change in her lifestyle, then she’s responsible enough to learn how to help make her own meals, too … and it’ll set a great groundwork for later on in life :]

  16. Lori

    I became a vegetarian at about the same age as Chickadee so you just never know when these things are phases and when they will stick. (I also married my high school sweetheart…parents beware of “phases”!)

    My parents refused to cook separate meals but they did make it easy for me to “pick it out.” Like meatballs in the spaghetti instead of ground beef mixed in. Which was a nice compromise for a tween. But when I was in my 20’s, my hubby and I visited for dinner and they served a pizza with meat on it assuming I would just “pick it off.” I smiled politely, got in my car, drove to the store, bought my own food and returned. They got the point.

    There are meat substitutes for just about everything but that means eating a lot of soy. You could use tempeh in place of the chicken in the lasagna. Or eggplant. Or Smart Ground. Like everything, soy should be consumed in moderation so I recommend finding other natural sources of protein like beans/rice, lentils, etc. You may want to consider an iron supplement as well.

    Good luck! Now the big question…is she going to wear leather?

  17. Katie in MA

    I say go for it! What a great opportunity to show her that you support her…as long as she understands that you’re *support*ing her and not doing it for her. Let her help plan the menus and the shopping lists and help you with dinner. Maybe with the lasagna thing you could leave chicken out of one end of us and mark it with a toothpick? On nights that require a separate dish, enlist her help. If it’s something that you were planning on doing anyway, she’s off the hook. That way it’ll seem less like punishment and will help her understand all of the work and committement a decision like this entails. AND it will help ease her into the world of responsibility. Although that’s my own soapbox thing. My mom never made us cook ANYTHING, and boy, was I a mess when I left home!

  18. Katie

    One word: BACON

    And congratulations on the pants. :)

  19. Nichole

    My stepsister became a vegetarian around the same age and for the same reason. My family wasn’t terribly accommodating. She ate mostly side dishes for years. I’d think it would be reasonable to make vegetarian entrees several nights a week and to make sure there were enough non-meat options (rice, pasta, veggies, etc.) available on the other days.

  20. carrien

    Beans and nuts and lentils oh my. You can also get textured vegetable protein and throw it into sauces and stuff. like if you plan to make her her own little lasagna, you throw some TPV into her sauce instead of meat and then make the rest the same. Or in the case of lasagna, you could just stick to the cheese for protein.

  21. Cassandra

    My son was a vegetarian for about 5 months when he was 8. This was ater he found out that the fresh prawns we caught had their heads pulled off. He overheard! Anyways, he lasted from summer until the Christmas holidays when we were out shopping and he thought that a cheeseburger sounded really good.

    I let him do his thing – never pressured him either way – and he made the choice to come back into the land of meat on his own. We don’t eat a lot of meat anyway so it was no big deal – and I just kept a lot of veggie burgers in the freezer for times when there was no vegetarian option for him.

    The funniest part of his sabbatical was when he opted for no turkey at Thanksgiving, but yet smothered his potatoes in gravy. No one mentioned what the gravy was made of. Someday he may hate me for it, but heh, there are worse things to hate your mother for…

  22. Cele

    Good luck!

  23. Headless Mom

    My girl wanted to be vegetarian at around the same age. We told her she could when she was preparing her own meals and that part of our job as parents was to provide a balanced and varied diet for her growing body.

    Carnivores, we are. Now so is she, with no delusions to going to the other side.

  24. StephLove

    You’ve already gotten a lot of veggie advice already so I will just address bacon and shoes.

    Morningstar makes a good veggie bacon. It’s available at most grocery stores. Of course, I’d been a vegetarian for years before I tried it, which might make a difference.

    Moo Shoes is an online site for non-leather shoes, belts, etc, but there’s not much in kids’ sizes so our kids wear canvas sneakers most of the time and faux leather shoes from Target when we can find them.

  25. joshilyn

    Oh I like the “fish feel no pain” route…at least SHELLFISH — clams do not even have EYES, and can somethign with no WINDOW to the soul have a soul? No. And shimp/lobsters/crabs have eye-like stalky bits BUT they look like roaches and deserve to be killed and eaten for that alone.

  26. Keyomi

    i am proud of ur daughter. way to go!! :) it should be too hard to get veggie options included in a meal. If nothing, veggies grilled, or a sandwich and salad etc should all be healthy! she can get her protein from pulses that you can crockpot as well! :) And yes, maybe you will fit into ur pants if u go veggie too! :)

  27. Keyomi

    good luck! let us know how it goes with her and you too!:)

  28. StephLove

    Oh, and crocs, can’t forget those. My son lives in them. We got him the wooly-lines ones for cold weather.

  29. Jessica

    “I mean, SOMETHING is bound to make me feel better. I mean, besides the realization that I’m just sort of being a whinerpants.”

    You know, in cases like this, I ALWAYS recommend roller derby :)

    Some day you’re going to take me up on it!

  30. Nancy

    When my daughter was in high school a friend wanted to be a vegetarian. Her parents told her to write a paper on the subject with research on what she needed to eat to get everything her body required. It needed to include menus and recipes that made sure she had everything in her diet. I believe she never did it, and I always thought it was a great option for helping a child decide if they could sustain the vegetarian lifestyle. I never had to use it because my kids never opted for “meat-less” though we have been trying to cut down. That was until my boyfriend started shopping at an organic farm stand – how can you resist happy chicken and happy cow?

  31. The Other Leanne

    Two words for Chickie’s future: iron supplements.

  32. exile on mom street

    Funnily enough, I grew up vegetarian (reformed-hippy parents) and rebelled by becoming a total carnivore starting in college.

    Now my hubby and I are heading back in a more vegetarian direction & we love it!

    The toddler on the other hand still will not touch a vegetable that cannot be disguised as a french fry (sweet potatoes, zuchini etc.)

    Oh, and I second the iron supplements for Chickie if she sticks with this, I sure did need them after I started menstruating…

  33. Randi

    We had a great weekend too – and I know what you mean about wanting no whining, no arguing, and just plain fun. I’m glad you got some!

    As for vegetarian, I only know one vegetarian (apparently us here in Northeast VT are very into eating meat).

    The other day Toad found out that the ham he was eating was “fried pig” – he’s fussy as it is, and when I let that slip out I thought for sure that I was screwed.

    I was wrong – as evidenced by the conversation when we went grocery shopping.

    “Mom – can we get some more of that fried pig? Do they fry cows too? And chickens? How about dogs?”

  34. Half Assed Kitchen

    The thought of shopping with my entire family makes me want to slit my wrists with some very sharp credit cards.

  35. Sheila

    Hey, are you SURE Chickadee is your daughter? I mean, with the rebelling at crocodile-print boots and bacon and all? I’m just sayin’.

    I’ve got one daughter who is basically a vegan (“Meat!?! Yuck!!”), I stick to a no red meat diet, and somehow we manage to feed all five of us (including my “if there’s no meat on the plate it’s not dinner” husband) enough food at each meal that no one’s died or gotten scurvy (or rickets) yet. It helps that my almost-vegan LOVES milk, cheese and yogurt. We eat a lot of beans and I also make meals, like some others have said, that allow the non meat-eaters to pick the offending stuff out.

    If Chickie sticks to this diet, I think I see a Tofurkey in your Thanksgiving future!

  36. mar

    She does realize this means no bacon, right? I mean, I could give all of it, I think – except for the bacon!!

  37. Kate

    But then, no bacon?

  38. Crinklish

    Not only no bacon, but no Bacon Salt?

  39. karish

    pretty much anything morning star farm vegetarian is very good, much more so that the cruddy other soy options which seem to work on the assumption that if you are vegetarian, you obviously don’t want flavor. *sigh*

    and also — all this fear over “omg if you are vegetarian you aren’t getting all your nutrients” is mostly paranoia from a society that can’t imagine life without meat. take a look at india, probably the biggest mostly vegetarian society in the world. lentils + nuts = protein, vegetables are alwaysalwaysalways there, along with yogurt, and lots of produce. it works out very healthily, as long as you remember not to eat too much rice.

  40. alala

    Bacon Salt is vegetarian, so no worries there.

    I have a friend whose son is not vegetarian, but extremely picky, and she’s a soups-and-casseroles mom instead of a meat-and-potatoes mom. She says one thing that worked was to give him the separate components of whatever she made: while the rest of the family had lasagna, he had some lasagna noodles, some tomato sauce, some spinach, and a bit of meat. It wasn’t as much effort as cooking two separate meals, and that way Chickadee can eat with the family and just leave out the meat part.

  41. Kathleen

    My main thought is that if you’re going to support this, you’re going to need to be careful about nutrients. She’s still a growing child, and that means there are a lot of things she needs which will take some extra planning when deciding what to make. And it may also require a little less pickiness from her if she’s opposed to certain vegetables/grains.

    Being a vegetarian the smart way is more complicated than just leaving out the meat.

  42. lolly

    When I became a vegetarian my father made me read a book…and i don’t remember what it was now…but the goal was to educate me on nutrition and make me patially responsible for my own diet…some dinners we all ate vegie, some nights i only had side dishes…things like lasagna was made 1/2 and 1/2.

  43. Alice

    Ah, but Bacos are totally meat-free! I have to say, with all of the fake meat options that are available, Chickie (and you) will have an easier time of this than I and my mom did 20 years ago (when I was … just about exactly her age. Maybe there is a developmental link…)

    You’ve gotten a lot of good suggestions – I think having her help with cooking will be *key*, since it’ll give her a good grounding in what meatless cooking is all about. It’s really not that hard, but it is different than what most college students do when they’re first on their own, and I wish my mom had done that with me. And if you’re tempted to go the ‘pick-out-able-meat’ route, beware that it’ll only work for a while if she sticks with the vegetarianism. Pepperoni leaves a very discernible residue on pizza, and it’s really unappealing.

    Anyway, if she does go leather-free (it took me a couple of years before I got to that point), mooshoes is great, and Zappos has a vegetarian option to help suss out non-leather shoes. I’ve got wide feet, which most comfortable nonleather companies pretend don’t exist, and have ended up going the eBay route which has worked well. I’ll compromise by getting leather shoes, but I refuse to support the industry itself. Not sure if that would be harder for kid-sized feet, though – I mostly did Payless’ cheap fake leather (which comes in wide) while growing up.

  44. annette

    I knew the margarita would help! I should have had one this weekend!

  45. Laura B

    My 11 year-old daughter went vegetarian 2 years ago. She eats beans (rinsed but right out of the can) as her protein on nights when the rest of us meat. I told her she couldn’t go veggie until she agreed to eat beans (she’d been trying to convince me since age 5.) When she gets picky I hand her the kids veggie cookbook we have and tell her to choose something and/or make it herself. She quickly becomes agreeable. Good luck!

  46. mbbored

    I became vegetarian at the same age. Most meals I ate beans or a veggie burger in place of meat. For casserole nights, I ate leftovers, pasta with marinara & cheese or a pb&j or grilled cheese with a salad. My mother did put me in charge of heating my own beans/veggie burger or assembling my own sandwich. She also encouraged me to find simple recipes that I could help prepare for everybody. I never had a problem getting enough protein.

  47. Caz

    When I was a vegetarian my parents didn’t take it very seriously… They tried, but then my mom’s the laziest cook ever and so wouldn’t make 2 meals each night. If we had something like casserole, lasagne etc. she’d make 3/4 with meat and then leave one end 1/4 without meat and just all the other veggies etc. still in the same pan etc. Often the veggie side was smaller/lower so you could tell which it was, often it wasn’t and my mom’d have a hard time guessing which part was mine. This often ended up with me picking around small chuncks of meat that had made it into my side.
    Then again I was 13 and a little older than to be throwing a tantrum about it.

    Then again I was a pretty lazy vego.

  48. cindy

    Hi Mir, My daughter (8yrs old and only child) careens in and out with meat, for exactly the same reason. She thinks it wrong. I really wanted to respect the process of having a realization and making personal choice to do otherwise. We alter her dinner accordingly. Her plate might contain a little cup of nuts, edemame, hard boiled egg, french bread (the filler upper).

  49. Dyan

    Hemp hearts are a great source of protein, omega fats, etc. If Chickadee is serious about this, it might be a good idea to get her some just to help balance her diet. Most health food stores carry it – check out the link:
    Have fun ;)

  50. mama speak

    You’ve gotten lots of great advice, but the one thing I would suggest is not to go down the road of becoming the short order cook; if what you plan on having as a family is not Veggie than perhaps you could have a compromise on those nights; she will make her own soup or salad or heat up her own veggie burger, etc… If you want to go down that road w/her great, but I wouldn’t do it just for that reason.

    We aren’t Veggies (there’s no way my Kansas-raised-meat-and-potatoes husband would ever even consider that, he probably thinks we are since we only have red meat once a week,) but I’m not a huge meat eater and when we had kids I wanted to include them in dinner from the second they started eating regular food. The result is that a lot of meat is grilled seperately. We also pretty much always have a starch (pasta/rice, etc…) and two veggies at dinner. If you want your food “fancy” (spiced up) than you add that later. But then we like “fancy” (5YO & 2YO included) so our idea of that might be too “fancy” for most.

    Good luck with this, mostly I think it’s just important to be supportive of her decision. If you all want to go Veggie you could read, “Diet for a New America”, it’ll put you off animal products for months at least.

  51. MaryP

    Both my girls have been vegetarian for a couple of years each. It’s not so very difficult to accommodate. When you make the chicken lasagna, you make a second teeny one for her. All the ingredients will be identical — except, instead of chicken, you crumble some firm tofu into the cheese.

    Chickadee’s old enough to stand at the counter beside you and assemble it, layer by layer. It could be a Bonding Experience — and, she’ll be learning to cook!

    What we also did was make a pot-full of some vegetarian entree on weekends: honey-baked lentils, vegetable stew, baked beans, tofu something, and freeze it in serving-size bags. That way, if there was something planned that really didn’t lend itself to an easy adaptation, the kid could just nuke themselves their protein-rich entree, and have the vegetables, etc that the rest of us were eating.

  52. Jenni

    Good Luck! My sister became a vegetarian around the same age and is now a devout vegan. The holidays are always interesting! The best thing you can do is go along with it and not give her a hard time. My sister was (and still is) teased about it and she holds some resentment towards all of us. She also shaved her head bald when she was seventeen – like I said, Good luck!

  53. Lori N

    My daughter’s friend is making this decision right now & she has decided to “ease” into it so she can decide if it is right for her. (Pretty amazing, since she’s 7). It has brought up all sorts of conversations at our own dinner table – which I love! There is more salad & veggies being eaten even without my kids making any kind of declared veg decision.

    The best part is when we sit down to dinner, my 4 yr old will look at the food on the table & declare, “We’re having a Vegetarian Feast!” when he realizes we’re having a meatless meal. (We too are “cutting” back…except for the hamburgers we had last night!)

  54. Erin

    You can try the book “The Flexitarian Diet” – it has a lot of recipes that are vegetarian only as well as a “flex” option for them to sub in meat/fish/etc. The recipes are surprisingly good (I went to a class taught by the author) and even my meat and potatoes husband has eaten a few without any complaints (and we have served one dish to two of his friends – who asked for seconds – and then were later told it was made with gahhhh… soy!!!).

  55. Foodie

    I’m proud of Chickie for listening to her heart! And I’m proud of you for supporting her. Being vegetarian / vegan is different from many moral decisions b/c it affects your behavior on a daily basis and sometimes requires making choices which might make others uncomfortable (which is why I think so many people ignore their own compassion towards animals and justify eating them). There are some great animal-free “meat” products out there, but I think many people who go veg over-rely on processed foods and don’t eat enough “whole” plant foods. We DON’T have a problem in America with too little protein — we have a problem with too much. Of course I know many omnivorous kids who subsist on chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese, and they’re no better off than a veggie kid who eats only fake chikn nuggets and mac-and-cheeze. :) So I’d push fresh fruits and veggies and beans for the WHOLE family and make sure she and Monkey both have a good quality multi-vitamin every day. ps I’ll teach you how to make tempeh bacon, and I promise to wait a few months before I tell Chickie about the relationship between dairy and veal. ;)

  56. nil zed

    I think a vegetarian phase is standard, esp. for tween/teen girls these days. Sometimes it sticks.
    I know your kids help cook, but if she’s gonna go off on this tangent, it might be time to allow her the responsibiltiy of planning and preparing one meal a week in return for the trouble you have to go through most other days of the week. Of course, this means the two of you will have to jointly work on researching veg. meals she can cook…

    Once we gave up meat entirely for Lent. 40 days of vegetarian meals. We REALLY expanded our repetoire. And, the lamb on Easter was so DAMN GOOD!

  57. Stephanie

    Sydney has several classmates who are either Vegetarian or Vegan. They know how to buy some great stuff to eat…she usually comes home from a playdate saying how GREAT the food was…Veggie hot dogs are, apparently wonderful…but, I wouldn’t know…never tried one.

    We don’t eat much meat…I use ground turkey for anything that requires beef. I don’t mind eating turkeys because they aren’t cute nor particularly intelligent. I know, that’s a very superficial excuse for eating them, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    Good luck with Chickadee’s new direction. It’s not a bad thing…just a *different* one.


  58. Zee

    Fish don’t feel pain? Really? (I’m not disputing, just hadn’t heard that before. :)

    I recently stopped eating most meats – pork, chicken and beef being the primary ones I avoid – and have found that beans are a great source of protein. Soy and tofu are also good for protein. I don’t eat dairy, eggs or wheat/gluten either – due to food sensitivities – so veggie dogs are out for me (as many are made w/ wheat). However, there are a lot of options out there if you’re willing to look for them: Trader Joe’s has some good ones, as does Whole Foods or similar stores.

    (Oh, and I just stumbled across this, in case anyone’s curious about the fish question:,0,916376.story :)

  59. styleygeek

    I’m vegetarian and my husband loves meat, so we have had to find a way to work flexibility into our eating schedules. Basically we get around it by cooking a lot of dishes where meat can be added to his half after I serve my portion. Pasta with sauces is good for this as you can cook the meat separately and then add it to the sauce at the end; so are salads; omelettes (sprinkle bacon over his half); pizza (half and half); or anything like burgers or hotdogs where I can have a vegetarian “sausage” or patty in mine and he can have a real one. Even casseroles or stews can be made vege and then he can stew meat separately in some stock, and add it to his own serving.

    He’s also happy to have one or two meat-free meals a week, and that’s when we pull out the lasagne option, since vegetarian lasagnes are really quite tasty. We use lentils in the tomato filling instead of ground beef, and add lots of herbs and spices for flavour. We also use layers of mushrooms and spinach, and lots and lots of cheese, and you’d never guess there was no meat in it.

    Finally, sometimes on a meat-free night when my husband really wants his meat, he just fries a small steak separately and has that on the side.

  60. Kate G

    woohoo! i similarly freaked my mother out until she realized i always picked over meat anyway and it wasnt that bad. I found that is great for figuring out the nutrition thing and some recipes. i am also in love with even though i do eat dairy – her pictures are make me drool (and i even make some of the stuff she talks about, i know!)
    yay! good luck! and happy veggie eating :)

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