Thursday, August 12, 2010

Question of the Day

Many of the people we saw on our road trip asked about Lydia's diet, and I realized that since we introduced her to solid foods, I haven't really discussed our choices here. This is in part due to the fact that Lydia's diet has kind of evolved naturally and isn't the result of one particular decision or declaration and also due to my hesitance to make others feel like their choices in feeding their children or themselves are wrong. I feel like for whatever reason, food and diet can bring out strange defenses in people.

So Lydia's food. She eats what we eat, for the most part, especially at dinner time, except for that she is vegetarian. With the exception of three occasions, she does not consume meat. On two of those three occasions, she rejected the meat and threw it on the ground and on the third, she loooooved Aunt Heidi's rainbow trout.

We knew that we wanted to hold off on meat for Lydia when we started giving her "normal" food, largely because since weaning her, I have significantly reduced the amount of meat that I eat. I find that my body is generally happier when I am eating primarily vegetarian, and I felt uncomfortable introducing something to Lydia that I was trying to cut down in my own diet. We didn't make this decision in order to make a statement, nor is it absolute. It's just how things are working out for the time being.

So the next question... am I a vegetarian? The short answer: no. Note I said that Lydia eats what we eat except for that she is vegetarian; we are not. I half-jokingly use the term "flexitarian", since I will never be 100% vegetarian and don't really aim to be. If meat is what I want, then I eat it, for the most part. When we are eating at restaurants or with friends, and meat is on the menu, that's what I eat. For our anniversary, Robin went to the Farmers' Market and picked up pork chops, and we had a delicious dinner. I don't intend to teach Lydia that meat is bad in nature. When she is old enough to ask for meat or want it when eating without Robin or me present, she can have it.

I will say this: after reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safron Foer, I am committed to making sure that the only meat eaten in our house is from family-owned farms that subscribe to humane treatment that goes beyond the "Free Range" and "Cage Free" labels that are found at the grocery store. We have started going to the Farmers' Market and talking with the farmers and when that isn't an option (like yesterday when the market was rained out), I go to Wheatsville Co-op. I'm okay with Lydia knowing the difference between the places where food can come from, and I wish that I had begun to understand this earlier. I'm also okay with the fact that, in Texas, this means higher prices. The price makes us think, which is okay with me. I'm okay with stopping to think about the cost of our food and the implications of the cost, whether it be low or high and that naturally, between the extra time and money it takes to go to these other sources, we eat significantly less meat. I will also say that since reading the book, the moments when I really, truly want to eat meat have been few and far between and have been special occasions. If vegetarian is an option, that's what I usually eat, at least for now. If it's not, then meat it is.

I will admit to feeling somewhat nervous about posting this. As I said earlier, I think people become strangely defensive when diet is discussed. It is a tremendously personal subject, despite being something that is the very definition of everyday. I hope that readers note that I have very purposefully tried to avoid implying that since we're doing things this way in our house, that our friends, family members, and strangers we meet on the street should be doing so, also. As I said, this is personal, and it's about Robin, Lydia, and me, and since I've been fairly transparent about most other aspects of our life as a family, I thought I would be transparent about this, too.

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