|Veggie Burger @Chili's restaurant|
As a kid, growing up in the 70's in a typical American household, I was never given a choice not to eat meat. Even when I asked not to after watching our pets get slaughtered for a meal. My parents and everyone around me argued that I needed to eat meat to be healthy. It left a horrible scar on my self-esteem as my parents didn't respect my decision or strong personal opinion. But I was ahead of my time, I didn't know anyone else who didn't eat meat, so I gave in and ate what I was served despite often feeling sick about it.
Now as a parent raising kids myself, our family eats meals without meat and our kids are aware of where bacon, ham, hot-dogs and other meats come from and the animals that have to die if people want to eat meat.
|Grilled Cheese & Slaw|
When we are at social gatherings, if there are only meat options available - our kids will go hungry before eating the meat their friends are eating. This doesn't come from us, we have said they can eat meat if they want to now that they know what it is. I'm happy knowing that they know where their food comes from and are able to make an informed choice.
This summer, our 9 year old is living with his grandparents and uncles and unfortunately getting pressure to conform to their meat-eating lifestyle.
Although I set him up with cheese pizzas and veggie dogs that he likes and he knows how to make them for himself, my own father has said he is not going to make any effort to help get his grandson anything non-meat at their daily dinners.
I don't really understand the hostility and lack of caring since this is a very doting grandfather, but when it comes to the meat issue- he treats us like we are abusing our kids by not serving them animal-filled meals.
A couple years ago during a visit, he said he "felt sorry" that our kids could never eat a hamburger- as if eating meat somehow equals happiness?
He disregards the problems with not offering non-meat proteins to his grandchild by saying "We always have salad, so he can eat the salad."
But this is a total disregard of the need for a growing child to have adequate proteins and carbohydrates in their diet. It makes me sad and to be honest, I don't see an excuse for this behavior- as veggie-dogs, veggie-burgers and non-meat varieties of every popular food are readily available in any supermarket in the US now, it shouldn't take much effort.
If it were a religious choice not to eat meat would it make a difference? An allergic intolerance? Why is it less important if it is a personal conviction?
I don't mind being around people eating meat, it is their choice. So, I think vegetarians should be able to expect the same respect from others if they choose not to eat meat- it should be a no-brainer.