We are not Vegan! We are not Vegetarian! We are not Low Carbers or Paleo followers. We are not religious label followers, or unreasonable bandwagoners. We are a family that decided to think differently about food. We are unwrapping our food both literally and figuratively: we are [re]considering the politics of food, the ethics of food, and the nutritional benefits of food. Our first step has been to focus on food in its most basic form: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. We are learning to eat without relying on pre-packaged foods–no more store-bought baked goods, canned foods, jarred sauces, etc. For now, we buy our grains from a local bulk store. We are also focused on buying from local, organic farmers so that we can learn to rely on foods as they are in season.
Most, if not all, of my recipes are vegetarian. Some may even be vegan. But while this is not a coincidence or an accident, I do not consider myself vegetarian or vegan. As of now, we remain open to the consumption of animal products. We simply decided that vegetables and fruits deserved a bigger priority on our plates. We decided that a meal doesn’t have to center around a huge hunk of meat. The problem is that we have tried this before, and the priority we gave to meat was still so much higher that before long, the greens became an afterthought. So we decided to start by learning to appreciate just fruits, veggies, and grains. We have to work hard to keep protein in there, but it can be done. So far, without crazy weight loss or loss of strength or endurance. in fact, my endurance is up I think. Eventually, we may bring meat back into our diets, but for now we are working to find an ethical, local source that we can feel good about. We just need some time so that we don’t lapse back into our tendency to focus on the meat. A common sample dinner for us now is quinoa (complete protein source, 18g in a cup) with sauteed kale and red peppers–it’s now an awesome family favorite. But we’d never have considered that a complete meal before, because there is no meat. We aren’t ready to rule out animal products or posit that eating animals is wrong, but the way they are mass-produced and consumed certainly is.