Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Veggin Out!

I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian in my late teens and early twenties. If I admit it to myself, I probably did it to get attention. I didn't really have a strong feeling about killing animals other than I wouldn't hunt myself and the whole "environment thing" wasn't that big a movement 15 or so years ago. Anyway, by about age 22 I was again eating meat. I had men taking me to eat in fancy restaurants and they didn't want to see me order the pasta primavera every time. In any case, it didn't stick. Now I'm 35 and I know a lot more about the environment. I've voted for bills that require more humane treatment of animals and I try to purchase animal products that are organic or "free range". But that isn't cutting it anymore.

You know when it really hit me? I was driving up the 5 freeway with my hubby last week on our way to a fabulous "retreat" with friends. I can't remember where we were exactly, but it was somewhere north of Bakersfield -- anyway, we were driving and I suddenly saw a huge number of cows. Thousands of them standing in dirt. There were overhangs where they could go to keep cool, but not a speck of grass to be seen (so much for California's Happy Cows). We drove for what seemed like almost a mile and on my side of the car the cows just went on and on. In the distance I spied a bunch of outbuildings. The slaughterhouse I guessed. I don't know why, but that really got to me. Not just the eating an animal thing, I mean there are countless animals that are born only so that they can be food for other animals. But we are making more of these animals. And we are killing the environment as we do it.

After a weekend with friends and so much drinking, smoking, maryjane and guilty indulgences in paparazzi magazines, I felt I needed some good, wholesome food. Our meals for the past 3 nights have been vegetarian. And to my surprise, the kids liked everything and everything was easy to prepare and cost next to nothing.

I'm not saying that I'm going vegetarian because I don't want to eat my hat, but I'm going to make a big effort to try and stay away from meat. I have to go lacto-ovo, though, because my body can't stay away from eggs and cheese. But even if my family of four gives up meat, that will do something for the environment.

If you have any yummy recipes that are vegetarian and not too out there (I have two youngins) send them my way.
So far the kids love the pita pizza with goat cheese, artichokes and local tomatoes. We also love butternut squash and black bean stew and pretty much any kind of quiche.

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