Saturday, July 23, 2016

Our vegetarian girl

The brunette twin decided a few months ago that she wanted to become a vegetarian. It wasn't a big surprise as she never ate much meat. There were a few things, like hamburgers and hot dogs, that she would eat so quickly you had to think about whether or not it was ever on her plate. Other things were a struggle. She balked at steak. She tolerated ham. She never considered fish.

She asked one day if she could be vegetarian. I told her it was her choice. She could become vegetarian, but she had to keep dairy products and eggs in her diet. I could work with a vegetarian diet, but vegan was a whole level I wasn't willing to take on. 

Slowly but surely we're figuring out how to replace meat with meat substitutes. Some things have been easy. Vegetarianism is so common now that you can find veggie burgers and veggie chicken strips in every grocery store. The first time we looked for these items we went to a specialty store. Once we had a few favorites, we started looking in other grocery stores. From discount grocery stores to mass merchandise retailers, you can find options everywhere.

There have been a few bumps. We have to keep track of her trace elements. We've added a daily multi-vitamin to her morning. We watch to make sure the brunette twin adds some protein to every meal. We try to vary her protein so she's not just eating peanut butter every day.

The hardest part for the brunette twin is eating out. An amusement park trip was hard. She was with her band and wasn't able to go from place to place looking for vegetarian options. She ate, but she was still hungry. Her default meal is a Caesar's salad. It's easy to find, although it's not a truly balanced meal. 

As we tell friends and family they are often surprised. Grampa owned a butcher shop. How did his youngest granddaughter decide to eliminate meat from her diet? Sometimes people wonder what they should feed the brunette twin. It's a whole lot easier than it seems at first. 

The biggest problem we have is that the brunette twin doesn't like a lot of fruits and vegetables. We keep telling her she can't be a vegetarian who doesn't like vegetables. We encourage her to keep trying new things as she creates her vegetarian life. It's an adventure for all of us as we figure out the best ways to support her choice.

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