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Vegetarianism For Dummies

February 9, 2011

Last weekend I made a beautiful roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding. It is, without a doubt, one of my favourite meals of all time. After slaving over a hot stove for hours, I served it to my family and asked my husband how everything tasted.

His response? “I think we need to eat more salad.”

Before you start hating on the Serb, I must admit that he has a point. We are not a family that immerses itself in veggies. I don’t shove hot dogs and Wonder Bread down my kids’ throats, but they’re also not particularly well-acquainted with the wonderful world of lettuce.

It wasn’t always this way. Before we had kids, the Serb and I ate very sensibly. When my first child was a baby, I was a stay-at-home-mom making his food and it was rife with kale, spinach and asparagus.

By the time my daughter got here, I was working full-time and she had to settle for the jarred stuff. To this day, my son still scarfs broccoli while my daughter wouldn’t eat a green bean if I held a gun to her Barbie’s head.

I tried being vegetarian once when I was in my twenties and for the first dinner, my sister pointed out that I’d made – and devoured – beef tortellini (I then proceeded to polish it off with a ham sandwich). Where my husband grew up in Serbia, vegetables were never taken seriously as a food group, especially when compared to their dietary building blocks of cheese, meat and more cheese.

I’m determined to put more emphasis on flora over fauna. Who knows – I may even be some sort of vegetarian phenom. Hopefully this time I’ll make it past dinner.

My new mantra.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011 7:55 am

    This is what I strive to become, a lover of salad. Unfortunately, my daughter hates salad and so we make do with carrot and sometimes broccoli. I bought a huge salad box at Sams Club the other night, found out yesterday it just expired without me tasting a leaf. Oh well, I am going to get on the veg craze soon too 🙂 Maybe sex craze too, oh wait veg sexy diet. LOL

    • February 9, 2011 9:00 am

      My daughter sounds like your daughter…thankfully she appears to have my husband’s metabolism!

  2. ryoko861 permalink
    February 9, 2011 9:33 am

    One thing you will never hear my kids say; “May I have more salad please?” In their late teens early twenties they still abhor anything that’s green (except M&M’s or Gummi Worms). One can only hope that they develop a taste bud for veggies as they get older because they’re going to need them.

    Hubby only eats them to set an example for the kids and to make me happy.

    I love veggies. More than meat. I can do without the meat. What’s wrong with this picture?

  3. February 9, 2011 9:43 am

    I try to get a veggie in at least once a day.

    2things help…first my kids wil eat raw veggies as long as there is ranch for dipping. Second, I have them believing they don’t have to like the food, they just have to eat the food to be healthy and strong.

    • February 9, 2011 10:46 am

      We are singing the same song, sister. That all works pretty well with my son, but the daughter agrees and then spits it all out. She’s gonna get a crash course in lettuce…

  4. February 9, 2011 10:25 am

    I agree with Annabelle: Ranch dip is a godsend.

    As for adults, soup is a fantastic way to get vegetables (and you can always puree it so you don’t feel like you are eating a ton of them). Not that I do this regularly. But if I did, it’d be a great idea. I’m almost sure of it.

    • February 9, 2011 10:41 am

      Funny you mention soup – the Serb and I realized that whenever he has it, a Pavlovian signal is sent to his brain that real food is coming. Ergo, soup is not real food. And my kids loooove ranch dip…but use their single piece of veggie as a scooper until it’s gone…

      • Mel permalink
        February 11, 2011 3:59 am

        Here (Central Europe), soup is eaten before the main meal – both lunch and dinner. Most people just don’t see soup as real food. I’m fortunate though that my Czech loooooooves soup, and we often have it as a whole meal. Pumpkin soup, onion soup, spicy tomato soup, dill soup with potatoes and foraged mushrooms when we have them, potato soup… he loves them all! 🙂

        Oh, and I’m vegetarian – not so easy eating out here! I occasionally do sausages or burger pattie for him, but other than that if he wants he meat he buys it and/or cooks it. He doesn’t eat much meat these days! Often he’ll even order a vege option when he eats out.

      • February 11, 2011 3:04 pm

        My Serb lived in Prague for years – we might go this summer – is that where you live? It’s true – soup for him is nothing but a sign that a meal is coming. Being a vegetarian where you are is freaking amazing…

  5. February 9, 2011 11:18 am

    Isn’t it incredible how everyone’s taste and needs are different?
    I prefer not to eat meat. I have noticed that I have far more energy when I do not eat it, which is weird because there is so much energy in meat! Maybe I use too much digesting it 🙂 Cooking for my family I found I have to hide veggies, either cut them really small or blend them or disguise them in some way, and then they always taste so good 🙂 And of course I rarely tell them what they eat 🙂
    I love your blog Lori! I am so enjoying your writing 🙂

  6. Ericka Clay permalink
    February 9, 2011 6:09 pm

    You can do it! I went vegan after years of practically snorting beef.

    Sorry for the visual.

    • February 9, 2011 8:05 pm

      Ok. We need to talk. How did you do it? Do you cook for others as well as yourself? DON’T YOU MISS HAMBURGERS?!?!??!

      • Ericka Clay permalink
        February 9, 2011 9:22 pm

        I cook for my daughter (19 months) and my husband. We’re all vegan. Okay, fine I eat fish from time to time but not dairy, meat or honey so that still counts for something, right?

        How I did it? Books. Lots and lots of books particularly The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. Make sure you’re taking a multi-vitamin and a B12 supplement. Make kale your best friend.

        And yes, from time to time I miss hamburgers. Then I remember how that hamburger was processed, how that cow was treated and what our government regulates as passable sustenance.

        And suddenly my craving disappears.

      • February 9, 2011 9:54 pm

        Wow – how was it getting the husband to go vegan? My kids actually hate meat so that part shouldn’t be hard…it’s getting them to eat other stuff (legumes, etc) that I have to work on, and I know that’s mostly due to me not knowing good recipes. I’ll grab that book from the library…thanks!
        p.s. judging by your photo, veganism works well for you! 😀

      • Ericka Clay permalink
        February 9, 2011 11:02 pm

        You know, my husband was healthier than me when I met him. He’d never even had dark cola until I corrupted him. So he was cool with it. But we took our time with the process. We started with nixing steak and eating chicken. Then just seafood. Then cut out the cheese, etc. And now I cook solely vegan meals and when we go out to eat on date night we’ll eat seafood/sushi. And I’m a big proponent of making things tasty. So vegan cookbooks will be your friend. Try something like veggie fried rice or vegan mac ‘n cheese with a side of a sauteed veggies (I love sauteed okra – frozen – with olive oil and Tony Cachere’s seasoning). Here’s my mac’n’cheese recipe: Promise it’s tasty. The kids should be pleased.

        And thank you! You know, I’ve always been in shape (thanks to inheriting my dad’s metabolism and the somewhat unhealthy obsession I used to have with working out) but I could not kick the cellulite to save my life. I just thought this was how I was made, end of story. I decided to go dairy free and now I have thighs of a goddess. Or struggling writer/mom of a toddler. But I’ll take it.

      • February 11, 2011 3:00 pm

        This is good stuff – I’m gonna try some of this (she writes, with a pkg of chicken in the fridge…). Thanks!

  7. February 10, 2011 6:30 am

    VERY funny. Thank you Heidi.

    I had a fourteen month stint as a ‘raw food’ fanatic. Though I have a rather less well-defined version of the Madonna/Gwen Stefani jawline (which purportedly REQUIRES meat and specifically red meat in the diet) I struggled along with sprouting every bean and grain in sight in bowls all over every free horizontal space in the apartment, determined that I was going to save my enzymes from the daily exhaustion of digesting cooked food and live to be 150…) after 14 months of this deprivation, I could barely make it up the stairs. Okay I had been supplementing with coffee and chocolate, (not part of the recommended plan) and decided that they had to go. But after another week of perfect adherence to the recommended raw food diet, I was worse than ever. After a roast beef sandwich for lunch, I felt like a new person. After a (grass-fed cattle) hamburger for dinner, I never looked back. I like vegetables, but I eat meat. Every day. It’s possible some people need it. Here’s a link about the
    ‘jaw-line’ theory.

    • February 11, 2011 3:01 pm

      I’m gonna look into this jaw thing – is there a category for “must have chocolate and nachos and red wine?” Yes, I’m classy like that….

  8. February 10, 2011 7:11 am

    Sorry Lori, got mixed up as found your blog through Heidi Turner

    • February 11, 2011 3:02 pm

      NP! I love being introduced to new sasstastic blogs such as yours and Heidi’s (your webisodes are hilarious!).

  9. February 10, 2011 10:39 am

    Love this!!!
    I hate cooking so I’m pretty sure this is why my son hates all things green. Currently, I’m trying to figure out how to start a successful rap career so that I can be rich and afford a chef, then my kid will finally eat broccoli. Totally. Doable.

    • February 11, 2011 3:02 pm

      I think that is a fine plan. When I become Oprah’s new BFF (cuz Gayle can’t last forever), I will have you on her new show…

  10. Monika permalink
    February 12, 2011 12:22 am

    There’s very few children that I have heard of that don’t mind the thought of vegetables. (Those children are almost as rare as Bigfoot sightings.) I can honestly say, I dodged that bullet. My son loves his veggies, and scarfs down salad like it’s his last meal on earth. Even better, there is no bribery or lame threats of grounding or destroying of toys required. Now if I were to have another child, that may be a totally different story…..

  11. February 16, 2011 4:45 pm

    We have a rule where our kids don’t have to eat their vegetables but at least try them. There is hope. The first time my oldest son ate brocolli, he literally gagged on it. He almost threw up right there on the dinner table. 2 years later, he loves it. If you just have some vegetable on the plate every night and force them to have just one bite (bribe them with dessert if you have to), eventually they’ll start liking some of them. I also think ages 3+4 are a very picky time. My oldest ate everything at first, then ate hardly anything for a couple of years and now his diet is expanding again.

    • February 18, 2011 9:27 am

      Thanks for the hope! My oldest is not too bad (although he WEPT at the table this week when I served millet) but the 3 yo is a nightmare.

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