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Saturday, June 25, 2022

You Can't Be a Vegetarian and Not Like Vegetables!


 Last Sunday, after two weeks of Singin' in the Rain training at the Holly Theater, Senia Mae announced, "My friend Sadie is a vegetarian. I think we should be, too." I knew this was coming. She is my daughter and watched me stand up for the things I am passionate about, so of course she is going to do the same. 

 In health class last year the school showed the movie, Diet For a New America, which showcases the food industry's mistreatment of animals used for human consumption. When I was in chiropractic school we watched that same film. Learning the truth about factory farming and the inhumane treatment of living creatures was appalling to me and the following day I vowed to not eat meat, which I did continue for the next twelve years until I became iron deficient in pregnancy. How could I expect my daughter to react differently? I am going to support her and help in any way I can. 

The problem? She's not a huge fan of vegetables. 

"Senia Mae," I said. "You can't be a vegetarian and not eat vegetables." She's okay with cucumbers and broccoli sometimes, but spinach is a hard pass. Asparagus, no way, and don't even come near her with any tofu or vegetarian meat replacements. 

 "Mama, those things are just disgusting. They don't taste like  hamburger," she said. I realize this and try to explain that meatless alternatives are not going to taste the same because they are not the same. I try to explain the importance of good nutrition and protein and iron for her developing twelve year old body. I'm pretty sure her ears hear me saying : Rah rah rah rah rah. 

She is going to continue to consume dairy products and seafood, which I'm thankful for. In all honesty, I feel like I was a more creative cook when I was vegetarian. I ate a more complete diet, but in general was healthier. I think having the convenience of having meat available in fast food or as a quick fix has made me more lazy in the kitchen. So, I'm kind of excited about this new adventure.

Yesterday, I made one of my old favorite recipes, Crawfish jambalaya, loaded with nutritious onions, peppers, celery,  and tomatoes. The savory smell infused the kitchen as I licked the last bit of spicy goodness off the wooden spoon before plopping it in the sink. I scooped a small portion into Senia Mae's bowl.

"Mama, you know I don't like peppers or things that are green," she says, as she's making a definitive line separating the rice and crawfish from the celery and peppers. She'll eat beans sometimes but would prefer her vegetarian diet to be mainly macaroni and cheese, shredded cheese, sliced cheese, and maybe a scrambled egg, 

"If you're going to be a vegetarian you're going to have to like vegetables!" It felt like a futile plea coming out of my mouth as I lowered my head on the table in defeat. I'm still trying to figure out the end to this story :)

1 comment:

Kim said...

Sooo funny! I love your stories!!!