Well, you have been extending that same clever line of thought in regards to bed time too.
Like tonight, for example.
After having already eaten your mac and cheese Mommy made for you especially, you waited until right before your “pre-bedtime playtime” was almost over until you decided that you wanted some more food… whatever Mommy and Daddy were having.
Tonight, it was veggie burritos. And honestly, they were a bit on the spicy side.
However, that didn’t stop you.
It was “Operation: Stall Dinner By Stuffing My Face” and you weren’t going to let anything get in your way… as long as Mommy and Daddy let you get away with it.
Which we did.
Since both of us are off of work for July 4th and you’re not having school, Mommy and I perhaps were a little bit in “whatever works” mode.
So we let you eat a semi-spicy burrito. Then, since you were still hungry/pretending to be, you took your time also downloading a Gogo Squeez applesauce pouch.
After that, I watched you drink a cup of water slower than I’ve ever seen you drink.
Actually, I was starting to wonder if you were pretending to be at the dentist, as you slothfully swished the water around in your mouth before finally swallowing it.
Son, I was quite impressed by your skills tonight. You did a great job making it look like you hadn’t already just eaten one dinner before having a second one.
Just be lucky we like you so much.
We could have sent you to bed without your 2nd dinner. Oh wait, that’s not how the saying goes…
You were born in an interesting age, to interesting parents, who happened to be part of the rapidly growing minority of Americans who choose to live a lifestyle in which animal products are shunned for the sake of strict veganism (like me) or strict vegetarianism (like Mommy.)
As for you, you’re the kid caught in the middle of it, not realizing that we are making an important decision for you; at least for now. (What an appropriate shirt for you to be wearing today: Pizza vs. Broccoli.)
It used to be that vegans and vegetarians were perceived as predictable stereotypes; hippies who didn’t bathe. Not to mention, they looked down on anyone who didn’t share the same lifestyle and beliefs as they did.
I think of those animal rights ads that use shock value to get the attention of carnivores, often using images of nearly nude women or the slaughter of animals.
That’s not me or what I stand for.
The truth is, I don’t want everyone to go vegan, like me. Just as important, I don’t think everyone should be vegan. It’s not for everybody.
I don’t believe in forcing or pressuring my beliefs upon anyone for any reason. If someone is influenced by a conversation of mine, then so be it- that happens everyday to everybody.
Part of the process of becoming an individual is by (ironically?) collecting the ideas of other people you respect. That process, which included several pivotal documentaries on Netflix, led me to my extreme (yet not-that-weird-anymore) lifestyle.
Really, though, the main reason I don’t want everyone to become a vegan is because it seems like that would drive up the demand for organic foods, causing a shortage in supply, causing a hike in the prices of our groceries.
I’m not convinced there’s enough organic kale and chia seeds for even half of America to live this way.
So I best stop talking about how happy I am to have found this lifestyle and the positive health benefits (as well as, peace of mind) it brings our family.
It’s funny to think how 5 years ago, no one could have paid me enough money to go vegan for the rest of my life. Now, I’m trying to think how much money would be enough for me to go back to my former lifestyle, permanently.
I best stop trying to make our family seem relatively normal and decent.
However, to not share helpful and relevant information to curious people; well, that just seems selfish.
Hmm… the classic vegan dilemma.
I’m stressing out a little bit now. I need some vegan chocolate cookies…
In theory, a family who buys no meat products should have a lower grocery bill each week. We don’t, though.
However, we still spend less money on food; it just depends on a person’s definition of groceries…
As you lifted up the “tailgate” (box flap) of your “pick-up truck” (Chobani yogurt box) and started to “drive it” (pinched the box with a pair of salad tongs) it somehow prompted me to discuss with Mommy how much our grocery bill has went up or down, compared to the days before we were aware of things like Yellow 5, sodium laurel sulfate, and Monsanto.
Our grocery bill is actually the same amount as it was when we were carnivores. This is because we make up for the cost of meat by buying higher quality (and more expensive) vegetables, fruits, and grains.
It’s not just about avoiding meat, it’s about avoiding toxic chemicals like artificial colors, flavors, MSG, and GMO’s.
Since our conversion, we have learned there are actually few food brands that we trust anymore. One of the few is Chobani.
While most brands try to disguise their ingredients, Chobani is very clear about what is and is not in their products.
They are one of the few exceptions we have found; as well as Annie’s Homegrown. We simply ignore most other brands, because we don’t trust them.
We are paying for quality and it’s worth it, to us.
So even though our grocery bill is the same, what has definitely changed is the amount of money we spend on eating at restaurants. It used to be between $100 and $200 a month, now it’s basically zero.
It’s not a moral issue; instead, it just seems pointless by now. Mommy has, by default, become a vegan/vegetarian chef for our family; thanks in part to the Oh She Glowsrecipe website.
Making delicious healthy meals is now becoming a sacred (and fun) thing for our family. It is difficult for us to trust random strangers at restaurants who we have to assume may be cooking our food in or with mysterious chemicals. Not to mention, a restaurant meal typically doesn’t ensure leftovers for lunch the next day, the way a home-cooked meal easily does.
To answer the question of whether it’s cheaper to go vegan/vegetarian, the answer is ultimately yes. We now save between at least $100 to $200 a month by simply avoiding restaurants alone.
I figure today is just as good as any for us to make a major change in our lives. Tonight, you will dine on meat for the first time!
As for Mommy and me, this will be the first time we’ve had a non-vegetarian meal in nearly a year and a half. In the least, this breaks my personal nearly-monthly long vegan lifestyle.
Not only have your parents kept you from meat, but we’ve also deprived you of soda, fruit juice, most candy, artificial colors, and fast food.
But that’s not fair to you and I realize that now.
What a hypocrite I am to say you can’t have the same foods I had growing up. The fact that some of your favorite toys are the Stomper monster trucks I got from McDonald’s Happy Meals from 1985 really started making me think.
To say that you can never know the joy and splendor of opening a hot steamy bag or box containing not only great tasting food, but also a cool toy, that’s just really not fair.
So today when I pick you up from daycare, I’m taking you straight to the drive-thru and buying you a chicken nugget kids meal.
I just sort of feel embarrassed by this whole hippy stage in my life. (I even endorsed Ron Paul in the 2012 Presidential election! Can we say overboard?)
Looking back, I made way too big of a deal about the pink slime controversy last year. I need to just stop asking where our food comes from and let you be normal.
You’re a kid, for goodness sake! Be a kid!
I realize that a recent University of Oxford study shows that vegetarians live longer, have a lower risk for heart disease, are less likely to develop diabetes, and have a lower height-weight ratio than meat eaters.
Okay, so maybe our family would live longer… but would we have as much fun?
As you are well aware by now, you have a health-obsessed, mountain-bike-riding-during-his-lunch-break vegetarian for a dad, who is attempting to make it taboo for food and drug companies to be shy about what they generically list as “natural” and/or “artificial” ingredients.
I’m still trying to figure out what in this world is not either natural or artificial…
Pretty sneaky, right? Well, the FDA approves this ridiculous behavior in regards to companies listing their products’ “ingredients of ingredients.”
So while I am so “one with nature” that I chose the wooded outdoors as the location for my head shot for The Dadabase, I also want our family to be aware of other subtle “health landmines” we encounter everyday without realizing it.
Today I want to focus on microwaves; as they are machines that convert even the healthiest foods into processed foods.
Neither Mommy nor I trust them. Yes, we have one at our house, but it’s something we subconsciously feel shameful about.
Fortunately, because we are so serious about avoiding processed foods, that prevents us from eating anything that would require its sole preparation in a microwave; like a frozen snack or meal, for example.
For the frozen vegetables we sometimes eat, like broccoli and okra, we heat them up in a pan on the stove, with olive oil.
As explained in this 2 minute video by Organic Liaison Health Director Deborah Klein, MS, RD, microwaving creates radiolytic compounds in food (not naturally produced in the body) that could be carcinogenic, or cancer-causing:
In other words, no matter how healthy or organic a food is before it enters a microwave, it always becomes a processed food by the time it leaves the microwave.
I wish I could say we never use microwave. It’s something to aspire towards. As for now, we only use our microwave to reheat leftovers, which unfortunately for me, is about once a daily since I eat leftovers basically everyday for lunch.
Something I do to reduce the amount of time my food goes in the microwave is I set it out on the counter for a while, so it’s not as cold.
Who knows? Maybe I’ll get so serious about this “Microwaves Are A Dangerous Science Experiment On Our Bodies” campaign that I will find a way to start using a toaster oven, despite our time-starved family schedule. Don’t put it past me.
My conscience really bothers me about our family using a microwave. It can’t be good for any of us; especially not you.