Why we don't eat (most) meat.

As I'm sitting here with S, watching BBQ Paradise on the Travel channel...I have to admit to myself....a big plate of barbecue sounds pretty good right about now. But then I have to remind myself it's only 9 in the morning and I've not eaten any beef, pork or chicken in almost 8 months (besides that one slip-up on Christmas Eve...).

A lot of our friends and most of our family are avid meat-eaters...so why would we choose to give up the meat? For goodness sake, my family raises cattle and we live in TEXAS. Some people "go veg" for political reasons, or for religious reason, and some give it up for social reasons. High cholesterol runs in my family. In fact, several members of my family have been told to consume red meat only once per week, if that. So how about health reasons? Studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower rate of coronary artery disease, hypertension, obesity, and cancer.

J was raised vegetarian. I gave up meat for Lent in college. J doesn't like handling red meat and I gag at the thought of handling chicken or any other birds. We noticed that the times we enjoyed cooking the most were usually when meat was not involved. Also, when we went on a vegetarian diet, we would feel lighter and have more energy. We had friends who were vegetarian or vegan, and of course, J's parents don't eat meat. So, when we would eat with these people, it was easier to cook meals that didn't involve meat.

Being vegetarian has led to some surprising benefits. We get a kick out of knowing that our knives have only been used for slicing veggies, tofu or Quorn. In the Austin area, it is a lot easier to live this lifestyle. There are vegetarian restaurants, bakers, and grocery stores (or at least large sections in certain grocery stores).

We do still eat fish occasionally, and still eat dairy products and eggs...because it is easier to eat at a restaurant that way. We don't want to completely inconvenience friends and family who do still eat meat. Being a vegetarian doesn't have to mean eating salads and side-items only. That's not to say that we don't still think meat looks good. Because at this stage, it still does have an appeal. The thing is, we can't bring ourselves to actually eat it. You're crazy if BBQ doesn't still look good on paper, or if you think we don't have cravings for hamburgers or tacos.

This has raised the question of "what about baby S? Will she be allowed to eat meat?" Our take on this is...there are still a lot of healthy options for vegetarian babies and as long as it makes sense for us to keep her on a veg diet, we are going to do that. Of course, if when she gets older and can form her own opinions...if she wants meat, she can have it...just probably not in our house. But who's to say we'll still feel that way in ten years. For now, this is what works for us.