Reflections On Veg & Non-Veg Getting Along

Example speaks louder than words, my actions reflect in my children

Happy Family

After reading Savvy Vegetarian on veg and non-veg getting along together, Marion L. was inspired to write the following letter.

Marion describes her experiences raising a family on healthy food, becoming a gourmet cook, always counting calories, and her long-time desire to be vegetarian. She thinks Savvy Veg has an amazing collection of recipes! Thanks for writing, Marion.

“Funny, I’ve been catering to different food preferences most of the time while bringing up my family. It began with sorting out allergies for very young children. Milk made them all so congested and aggravated/caused constant ear infections. Sugar and refined foods made them so hyper it drove me crazy! Then when they began making their own choices, at various times there were vegetarian and vegan preferences to cater to.

Meanwhile I was always calorie counting and had a husband of the meat and two veg variety with a refined palate that liked Cordon Bleu recipes. He did after all, for my first Xmas present as his wife – many years ago now! – pay for me to go to that famous school in London which I enjoyed very much, and started me off on a life’s journey of attending many different schools and workshops around the world. Cooking has always been one of my passions and now Savvy Vegetarian fuels that with its amazing collection of recipes.

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One son is now engaged to a vegan chef, another has a vegetarian family, and the youngest prepares very healthy gourmet recipes with his significant other and supports organic sources. So I think my efforts to feed them appropriately for their metabolisms and to instill healthy decision making about food has paid off.

Meanwhile I still count calories and prepare healthy gourmet dishes. My preference has always been vegetarian, and I do cook things separately for myself and my husband, though I flip flop (between veg and non-veg) for the sake of convenience.

I read your article, Vegetarian Wife with Non-Veg Husband Needs Help, which I found full of common sense and good advice. It give me courage and confidence to be more assertive about choosing to be 100% vegetarian in my choices without feeling that I am an inconvenience or am being judgmental of meat eaters.

Last night I cooked chicken for hubby to add to his portion and did as I always have done, quietly buried my revulsion at working with raw meat. It made me reflect on why I felt like that and I can easily trace back it’s origins.

I studied Natural Sciences for my first degree and one of the classes was Behavioral Psychology. I had done Physiology which had meant working on dissections, usually on dead animals. I had been fine with that because I was fascinated with the knowledge I gained. This new class about behavior and perception was also fascinating and I was like a sponge absorbing observed changes in behavior to the environment. But when we started working on lobotomized live animals to learn about different brain functions and changes in stimulation I could no longer attend classes.

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I respect surgeons in their efforts to heal and restore the body, and therefore the students working on cadavers, but any more brings out the animal rights activist in me. Documentaries about the CAFO farming has made it very difficult for me to buy meat in a supermarket wrapped up on plastic trays. I choose to seek out organic sources when I have to buy meat products.

Scuba diving is another of my passions so although I do eat fish, I feel bad about cooking them! My childhood was spent in a small fishing village so fresh fish was a staple food and my father taught me how to tell how long a fish was out of the water just by the smell of it. Shop bought fish just isn’t the same.

My choices in school moved towards a major in Botany which was what I had originally intended. If I had to do things over I would have specialized in horticulture since now I am a passionate gardener, flower arranger, sketcher and watercolorist! You could say my vegetarian inclination has very old roots!

The knowledge I gained from learning taxonomy, again it was science that fascinated me but in the end became too much bio-chemistry for me, has made me all too leary of the genetic manipulating that is going on in commercial agriculture these days. Being vegetarian may appease much of my abhorrence of animal treatment but there is a need also to become conscious of our plant choices. It seems a sad state of affairs that
organic farming is almost a boutique industry and prices are beyond mainstream affordability.

My mother was in the Land Army during WW2 and Victory Gardens were the norm when she was young. We grew up growing carrots and lettuces, digging up potatoes and picking the Brussel sprouts for dinner. My boys grew up in a mountain town with a very short growing season but we did manage tomatoes and strawberries! Now one son has an amazing vegetable garden and others shop local farmers markets and organic
grocery stores. They seem to have learned a respect for the earth and it’s bounty beyond what I could have imagined.

Example does speak louder than words and what little I did has moved on with my children. I am so glad that they are members of a generation and population that is more aware and concerned about what is happening to our world.

Meanwhile I am currently all about discovering new ways to use quinoa and tofu, and cooking up wonderfully tasty creative Savvy Vegetarian recipes!”

Marion L.

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