Ten years ago, if you would have asked me if I could ever be vegetarian well, you wouldn't have asked me. It was pretty evident by my distaste for all things green that it would never happen. I didn't particularly like the idea of eating meat, especially if people started talking about what cut it was or the animal in general. I would so be vegetarian, I'd say, but I just don't like vegetables enough. Or, but burgers are sooo good. I still like burgers. And Jack in the Box tacos, but I'm not sure that itís really meat in those anyway.
So, how did I get here, with a growing identity as 'The Pregnant Vegetarian'?
First of all, let's get this straight- I'm not pregnant. I was, not long ago. Not long enough ago to be pregnant again yet. But for two of the last 4 years, I was, and I was mostly vegetarian. "TheOccasionallyPregnantMostlyVegetarian" was a bit much for a domain name, though, so I'll live with explaining it.
When I was pregnant with my oldest, who is about to turn five!, we were flat.broke. I had around $150 to spend on groceries for the whole month, and that was pushing it. I was also newly married and newly cooking. We ate a lot of potatoes, canned veggies (which translates to green beans and corn) and meat. Steaks, really, from the 5 for $25 deal at a local grocery store. My midwives gave me all kinds of
scoldings encouragement about eating better, and I worked on it. Slowly.
After he was born, I truly wanted to learn to do better, soI obsessed, like Brannans do best. I got 4 or 5 huge cookbooks, one of them being The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, wrote out my favorite meals from them, wrote out ingredient lists, then priced every single "staple" item at three different grocery stores. Yeah.
My conclusion was that we could either eat high quality meat and non-organic or not much produce, or we could eat lots of organic produce and low quality meat or no meat. It was slightly terrifying, but I opted for produce.
The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook became my handbook, not only for recipes but for nutritional information. We were enough into the 'mostly vegetarian' gig by the time I was pregnant with #2 that we rarely bought meat for the house.
Since then, I have settled in enough to consider us vegetarian by definition, but not so strict that I ignore our needs. If we are stuck out with only meat options available, that is what we eat. Recently, I went through an allergy elimination diet that consisted largely of meat. It sucked, but I got through it and learned that I'm not ready to give up this vegetarian gig yet, even if we could afford all-natural-grass-fed-free-range-organic-meat.
And that's really it in a nutshell- You do what you've gotta to keep your family healthy. Make your priorities. Make your food at home. For goodness sakes, make a meal plan. And make it work for you.