Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where's the Beef???

Apparently it's in my home. Yup, you read this right, this almost lifelong vegetarian, sometimes vegan is now an omnivore. It was an evolutionary decision and one I of course have the right to change at any time.  I know some of you are cheering, some are booing and others are thinking, who cares.

I became a vegetarian originally for mostly health reasons. And it was easy. I didn't really like 'red' meat (except ground or smoked) so there wasn't much there I was giving up. I loved exploring all the new  options being a vegetarian offered over the meat, starch and veggie meal I grew up with. Plus I found a wealth of information touting how great and healthy a vegetarian diet is. I think I read every book the library and book store had on the subject.

The books still exist, they are still worth reading. But there are many other books out there that promote the opposite  that a meat based diet (low or now grain) is actually the best. Both 'sides' support their positions with studies, statistics and anecdotal information. The web is also full of reviews that praise and slam each.

So what do you believe? You believe what makes the most sense for you that you can work/fit into your life. I think there are benefits and drawbacks to both ways of eating. I will continue to read and explore and adapt based on how my body and that of the kids respond to the changes.

The kids. Whole other subject. I'm in my late 40s now. And while I may want more kids, it's incredibly unlikely that they would come from my body. So while getting extra hormones in my food supply might cause mood swings or a more difficult menopause, it won't affect my growth and development, but it will theirs. To that end, meat sources that come into the home won't have them. Poultry in Canada can't have hormones, but the red meat supply can. Antibiotics in meat are another concern. Nathan has had antibiotics once, Corwyn never. If they ever need them, I want them to work. Too many infections are becoming antibiotic resistant and having it in our food chain is part of the problem. No meat with antibiotics at home.

That means very limited choices for meat that enters the home. And what does is expensive. So there will not be meat at every meal, or even every day. But it will be an option some days. When eating out, unless its Oceanwise or organic, they will be eating vegetarian.

So far, for me, it's been a couple of weeks. I'm fuller longer. I'm not sure if that is because of the meat in general, or because my body has not had to digest it in almost 2 decades and doesn't know how. I still don't like steak or similar cuts of beef. Chicken is wonderful. I roasted one last week and all but devoured it. And bacon, ah bacon. I've found some great no added nitrate bacon and am loving it. While all the official problems I had with my digestive track were official over a couple of months ago, some things never returned to normal. This seems to be helping (so far).

Corwyn is my little protein fan and loves eggs, yogurt and tofu. He's tried fish and thinks some of it is good (not all, so need some mild ones). He's had some chicken 'nuggets' (not from the place with the big yellow arch) and thinks they are okay. Nathan ate half a nugget, but he doesn't like eggs, yogurt or tofu either (at least not at the moment).

My friend Monika over at www.aias.ca is another recovering vegetarian for a few years longer than I am. She is also a mom to a selective eater. I'm looking to her for food ideas and sources of the protein without hormones or antibiotics.

Anyway, for those who follow along with us, that's what's new in our life. I'm not saying a vegetarian diet is bad or unhealthy. My kids are 4 now and at the top of their physical growth and developmentally normal so clearly, they are fine. I'm just saying read everything, then decide what works for you. Feel free to change your mind later.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Compromise Progress

I know with kids it's one step forward and two steps back, so I don't take our recent breakthrough in the area of compromise as a new way of living, but as a step in the right direction.

If you have more than one child you have had to deal with the battles of one wanting one thing and the other something conflicting. If you're kids are different ages, you can sometimes appeal to the elder one for a bit of a break or some balance. Not always, but sometimes. If you have twins (or more) that's not an option.

Many times mine will agree on things, be it what they want for dinner, want to watch on TV, where to go play, if they want to go play etc. But on the times they don't agree, they really don't agree and neither will budge. Sometimes, one will disagree just to disagree.

I have tried it all. Take turns, do what A wants then what B wants (battles). Reason (yeah, right, reason with 3 year olds). Let A pick the meal and B pick the movie (battles). Do something else (battles). Arbitrarily pick one (battles). And the battles can be small, but more often or not, they get physical. Since words did not win them their own way, they will try other methods, or just scream for a few hours straight. I kid you not, if Corwyn picks a movie Nathan doesn't want, Nathan will cry the entire time. But honestly, that is better than the other way. If Nathan picks a movie Corwyn does not want, Corwyn will turn off or unplug the DVD player, throw toys or pound on Nathan, all the time screaming. Often I'm the punching bag too, both literally and figuratively.

So I decided enough. Now we do nothing until both agree. Sometimes it takes a very, very, very long time. This weekend, while waiting for dinner to be cooked, they couldn't decide on a Netflix show. I refused to put it on until they did. Eventually one walked away to do something else. The other considered it a victory of course.

Same with food. I wont start a meal until they agree (at least on the part I offered them a choice in).

Everything takes much longer now and sometimes there are battles while they try to force each other to agree, but it's getting better and each is making more compromises.

But the best was when they worked something more complex out and no one 'lost'.  We had been playing out in the back. We came in for a bit. Nathan wanted to eat outside in the backyard. Corwyn wasn't hungry and wanted to go ride his bike to the playground. Nathan did not want his bike, Corwyn did not want to go into the back. I suggested eating at the playground. Nope. They were both quite agitated so I just sat down and told them they had to agree or we would do nothing. So I sat. They both whined their requests over and over a bit, pleading with me to pick them. I stood my ground. Finally, after about 15 minutes, Nathan said "Why don't we watch 1 TV show. Then eat here. Then take our bikes to the playground". Corwyn immediately said yes. And while TV on a nice sunny day was not in my plans, I was not going to do anything to derail this progress.

And that is exactly what we did. It was a big small step.