We are vegetarians.
I gave up meat during lent when I was seventeen years old. It wasn't hard, except when I smelled bacon. But over time I didn't notice or crave it. My parents thought it was a teenage craze, or a phase of mine. But as days turned into months they were concerned though after awhile, like my craving for bacon their concerns faded away.
When I met French Husband he was a vegetarian too. I didn't know then how odd that was for a French person. Though his not eating meat scored big "like" points in my heart book.
Later when we married and I moved to France to be with him, I realized that being a vegetarian in France wasn't as easy as being so in California. Grocery stores, restaurants, menus, dinner parties, French meals... circled far from the tofu section that I was use to at the whole food co-op. Pasta was the adopted fast food... and "Californian Salads" became my trademark with our French friends who usually ate only "green salad" after each meal.
When our children were born I breastfed them. What seemed natural to me was offensive to most French people. A million stares, heads shaking no and comments such as, "...only women from poor countries breastfeed their babies!" didn't derail me from what I believed in.
When our children went to school they were consider "different"... Their mom was an American, they didn't have a TV, their house was full of old stuff and they were vegetarians.
French Husband and I started to have fish when we would go out, or if we were invited over to friend's home for a meal. The comment, "...I don't know what to cook when we invite you over!" Became too difficult to ignore. Living in a culture were food, talking about food, sharing a meal with others was crucial to being connected to family and community. We made the choice to include fish in our diet.
When Chelsea and Sacha were in school they heard from their science/health teachers that being a vegetarian meant you could not be physically or mentally strong. The other children looked at them knowing that wasn't true, because Chelsea and Sacha did not fit that description. Neither of our children cared to correct the false statement. Instead they sat back and trusted who they were.
In the exact same class the students had to record what they ate and calculated their protein intake. Chelsea and Sacha were told they had too much protein in their diets. Considering they ate dairy products and eggs, plus from everything I had ever read about being a vegetarian, such as we were meatless but not vegan, I never doubted their protein intake.
Over the years my habits and reasons for being a vegetarian have changed and deepen. I am not on a bandwagon about why I don't eat meat... My children and French Husband share my thoughts... we are this way period. Will any of us ever eat meat? I don't think so, but life is full of surprises, and eating or not eating meat is not one of them.
Chelsea has been asked, "Don't you miss not eating meat?" In which she has said, "How can I miss something I have never had?"
Sacha has tried meat two or three times, much to my brother's triumph, but he does not eat meat, and considers himself a vegetarian.
This morning while Sacha was doing his daily pull ups he said, "No steroids, no vitamins, no protein drinks, mostly greens, rarely junk food... thanks mom for showing me a healthy way."
I looked at that muscled arm and was pleased to know that I had given him something to honor.