Though you would never know it from watching me tuck into a plate of ribs, but I spent nearly ten years of my life as a vegetarian/pescatarian. The spark began in high school, after reading Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle.
The Jungle not only sheds light on the unsanitary and downright revolting practices of the US meat packing industry in the early 1900’s, but also, more importantly, on the inhumane conditions in which immigrants working in the slaughter houses and factories were kept, exploited and profited from.
Recently, I’ve decided to experiment once again with vegetarian and pescatarian eating practices at home, specifically during the upcoming summer holidays. Coincidentally (or not), as I began to recall all of my teenage-reasoning for vegetarianism, I couldn’t help but notice the correlation between rethinking what goes on my dinner plate, and my own sense of awareness of the unjust inhuman conditions of immigrants in the US and globally.
In tandum, our children have simultaneously developed hollow legs, and no matter how much food I put on the table, it all gets devoured in record time. Our five and seven year old are suddently eating grown-up sized portions and frankly, the grocery budget can’t keep up. The dizzying thought of feeding their little chirpy, greedy mouths three times a day every day, over the course of the pending six week summer holidays has me feeling overwhelming with the number crunching it will take for my wallet to keep up.
We make the deliberate choice to buy meat and fish that come from the happiest, most well-cared for animals as possible. With care comes cost, so over the course of the last few years it’s meant eating less meat and fish to be able to afford it. We’ve adjusted incrimentally to be able to keep up this practice without feeling deprived; more beans, more tofu, and a staggering number of eggs. What we choose to eat outside of the house is and will always be flexible to account for travel, cultural experiences, celebrations and special days out, but I’m curious how we might learn and adjust our ways of cooking and thinking about food at home by setting some more budget-friendly limitations.
What will we discover during this time? What will suprise us? I’m keen to give ourselves this challenge and discover something new, especially during a season where the garden’s produce is at its very finest; a better marketing tool than ‘Veganuary’ will ever be.
Any expert advice from vegetarians out there? Fancy joining us in our veggie experiment? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.