The Modern Chef: 5 Reasons To Explore Vegetarianism With Your Kids
I kept it hush, but I did it. I didn’t tell many people, because I knew certain circles of friends wouldn’t understand. Others would have jokes. Even women, would suggest I was less than a man. But, quiet as kept…I did it on the low-low. Last year, I spent over six months as a vegetarian.
Through the years, I have lightly explored bouts as a veggie head, primarily for weight loss. However, as I have moved forward in life, I have found that this life as a part-time vegetarian actually works for me. I am at my lightest weight in years. I managed to crank out a half marathon last year and I am far more active than ever. Granted, this is a different time in my life and good health is a priority over all. So, perhaps I could get similar results eating more meat. I just didn’t.
However, what is more important is that I take the kid on this journey with me. Here I will outline my reasons for doing so and perhaps you will ponder it more. These reasons are not that of a doctor so please consult one or a nutritionist when really delving deep into vegetarianism.
1. General Good Health.
I know I’m not a doctor, but I don’t have to be to know this: vegetables are good for you. Duh! Generally, we just don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. There is a general practice that I have in my house, there have to be at least 2-3 brightly colored items on our plate at night, if we happen to have meat. You can get any nutrition from vegetables that you can get from meat. This is one of the mistakes I made earlier in my exploration, but last year I got help getting my total diet together.
2. Instill Good Health
I know this sounds like the first one, but it’s not. I intend to fully instill the proper way to eat to my daughter now so that she keeps that forever in life. What I mean is that it’s not good enough to just put it on the plate. You have to explain to them why eating veggies is important to their lives. I share with her the dramatic health ailments that some of my friends and associates have had in their 30’s and 40’s. It may not be solely meat related, but it certainly is junk and lifestyle related. I let her know, if she starts and maintains this healthy life, she can have a great quality of life. Once, upon a time, I thought Hamburger Helper was a good, home-cooked meal. My parent didn’t feed me garbage growing up. I just didn’t know.
3. Meat – Gotta Rethink It
I realize now one of the reasons I ate meat a lot of the time. It just got me full and kept me full for a longer time. Also, you could get meat for shockingly cheap prices – that $2 for two cheeseburger deal was the bomb! And I was broke. There is another side to this and it lies in high cholesterol levels, hormone-injected meat, antibiotics, other toxins and no fiber whatsoever. Meat actually contains more pesticides than fruits and vegetables, one study said. Also, meat simply stays in the system far too long. It takes a lot of energy to process. A year and a half ago, ate a giant jalapeño burger in New York City and the ‘itis was so bad, I called it a day. It was the last time I ate beef. My daughter has cheerfully joined me on this journey. Her mother recently told me that she goes to her home and even shares some of the things we cook at my house.
One of my favorite rappers, KRS-One planted the earliest seeds of vegetarianism. Shout out to him and his song “Beef” from 1990.
4. Vegetables and Fruits Taste Great
I stopped having junk food in the house. I openly admit, I don’t have the will power and neither does my daughter. I recently tried to have cookies in the house as the occasional treat for her. I looked up there high in the cabinet and saw there were way less cookies than before. She had been sneak-eating! I left her the following note for when she goes for another stealing session!
Huxtable quips aside, I have learned that vegetables taste really good and even better when you add the proper spices. Add some legumes, quinoa, brown rice or fresh-cut potatoes and you won’t have any issue have a fulfilling meal. I admit, it takes a bit more time and planning, but it is well worth it. I don’t want to discount fruits – I love them way more than fruits.
5. I Want To Stay Around
My daughter and I have a great time together and I’d like to keep it that way. I am the product of a father that left the Earth in his mid-40’s. I am acutely aware of my mortality at all times and my health as well. It is my intention to say around, strong and healthy as long as I can – primarily for my daughter. Heck, I want to stay around for myself too, but I just know that it is necessary to help guide your children even when they are grown. She’s do the same for her kids and so on and so on. This has to be a movement.
I just finished a month as a vegan. Let me tell you…that was not easy for me at all. Its like vegetarianism on steroids! However, I will continue to delve deeper into living healthy, as we all should do. Right now, I am a mere pseudo, part-time vegetarian that is weighing out the options. After my month of veganism, I had some great hot wings during the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. I’m back now though. For me, its not necessarily about rigid vegetarianism. It is about sharing the full breadth of options to my daughter. The food our kids ingest is very different that the food of old even the fruits and veggies. (About 70% of all that stuff is genetically modified!) It just isn’t good enough to ignore the obesity rates in kids, which is about 1 in 3 here in America. Understand, this is a war over mind and body. It doesn’t sound pleasant, but it will be when you’re child is running the same way at 40 when she/he was 14. Now, that’s a vision for the future.