Allie, our 11 year old daughter has decided to become a vegetarian. We recently watched "Food, Inc." http://www.foodincmovie.com/ as a family. This film shows how terribly animals in our food supply are treated. Allie is an animal lover. It bothers her to think an animal suffered before becoming her dinner. So, she's made the change. No more meat.
A few people have asked me if she's now a vegan. The answer is no. She continues to eat eggs and cheese, and enjoys other dairy products. So far she's fine and hasn't looked back.
The other three of us are still carnivorous. We have made, and continue to make changes. We are more careful about what we buy and are striving to eat more organic, leaving behind the processed. I believe last week we ate three meat free meals. We are fortunate to receive a good portion of beef from my parents, who live in Oklahoma. My dad's cousin sells them beef from cows he raises - grass fed on the range.
I think I could go meat free. Husband Chip is happy being careful about his diet. Fifteen year old son Jamie doesn't have the desire to live meat free. I think if I could document that Jack White http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_White_%28musician%29, Jack Bauer and Dwight Schrute (Jamie's heroes, and yes, I realize 2 are mere fictional characters, but hey, he's 15) are all vegetarian, he might consider taking the plunge.
I'm reading "Fast Food Nation" http://www.amazon.com/Fast-Food-Nation-Dark-All-American/dp/0060938455, at the suggestion of a vegetarian friend. I've come to see an entire industry differently. I wonder what our society would be like without McDonald's and the like? Obviously healthier, and we'd waste less gas if we didn't wait in drive through lines. Not to mention time. And money. And I could go on and on about labor, greedy corporations, etc.
I think my biggest concern about Allie becoming a vegetarian is school lunch. Her vegetarian school cafeteria options are a peanut butter Uncrustable, or sometimes a salad. She can also eat the meal minus the entree, although that doesn't leave a lovely plate of fruit and vegetables. Today she chose the salad option, but had to remove deli meat from the top (slimy & gross!). Aren't there more vegetarian kids out there? I try to get her to take her lunch, but she dreads one more thing to carry. Her book filled backpack weighs a ton and her locker doesn't accommodate much. Excuses, I know, and we might have to push past them.
I checked out two library books of vegetarian recipes yesterday. So far, so good with all this. We're proud of Allie. She's made a good decision. We realize she's eleven, and might change her mind back. She might binge on a pepperoni pizza at a friend's house next month. But, we give her grace and we applaud her convictions. I surprised her with a bouquet of sunflowers last week, as opposed to a candy bar or some other unhealthy food treat. We're starting to think about our garden plots for the Spring. We're THINKING, not just eating, not just grocery shopping. We hoping it makes a difference.