Living With Vegetarians

Originally uploaded by Cheryl Rollman.
Storm clouds, the smell of ozone from fireworks, sunlight that finally fades at 9 o'clock and a veggie dog hot off the grill.


My life with these vegetarians goes back to right at the turn of the century. (Still feels weird to say that.) You see, when I moved from Colorado to Texas, I never thought that the change of eating habits I'd be making was going to be toward the non-meat side of the Force. And it wasn't at first. Thanksgivings were much the same as with my family up north wherein we ate turkey and ham. BBQ still had the same choices of brisket, chicken or sausage (though admittedly it's MUCH better in Texas.) Fajitas still had chicken or steak and pizza still had peperoni.

What changed is about two years later, after Ms. A and I had moved farther into Houston and she stops eating meat. She doesn't make an announcement about it, coming out of the freezer - if you will, and I don't remember noticing it at first. I just thought it was a typical chick thing to eat a lot of salad.

Now, she says she's always been vegetarian - this is a point of contention - but it was truly hammered home after a carcass cleaning incident with a turkey. That was apparently before my time. However, I remember her eating peperoni, chicken fajitas, lasagna with sausage, bacon and eggs.

Regardless, in the here and now I'm surrounded by hippies. Recycling, non-meat eating hippies. But, to her credit, she never stopped buying chicken or hamburgers or real bacon. Our shopping trips have always been one pure white 2% milk for me, one slightly yellow soy milk for her. One package of delicious maple flavored breakfast sausage for me, one package of (to her) delicious Morning Star sausage patties for her.

And yes, the children are vegetarian as well. Aside from the occasional fish stick or popcorn shrimp or accidental mistaken Subway sandwich incident, G-man and LMA are total vegetarians. Techincally, they are pesca-vegetarians, meaning they'll eat fish. They don't like it, but they'll eat it. They eat all Morning Star products, bacon, sausage, chicken nuggets and patties, ground "beef." Those alone are enough to make a large variety of meals. Add that to the childhood staples of PB&Js, Mac n Cheese and cereal, it's not like they're going hungry.

We're also fully aware that at a certain age, they'll be able to make the choice as to what they eat. For LMA that's coming very soon. She seems curious as to my basket of chicken tenders with honey mustard, but once she finds out it's really chicken she has a Pavlovian reaction that only slightly edges out the mouth watering curiosity.

Ms. A, however, is starting to have food problems. Since G-man was born 4 years ago, she's dropped something like 4,000lbs. She's not yet to the "Hey, eat a frickin sandwich" phase. She is however running out of things she can eat without making herself sick. She may even start eating real meat again. Why? After all this time and all the available substitutes?

Well, she's got a thyroid issue the prohibits her from eating "white things." What that means is anything with starch or gluten. No pastas, no breads. She also has an aversion to milk, and while not completely lactose intolerant, I don't know what else to call it. So, no cheese, yogurts or milks. Soy milk even makes her sick.

A peperoni pizza at this point would probably kill her.

She's also developed a reaction to citrus fruits. No orange or tomato juice. Bananas maker her mouth and ears itch. Melons make her skin break out into a rash. She can't do artificial sugars because they make her gassy and she can't do too much real sugar because of her thyroid.

This means she can eat the following.

Hemp bread
Lima beans
Most vegetables

That's about it. At least that's all I see her eat. She never has a bowl of oatmeal, or a BLT. She loves smelling the food I eat (BBQ, Schlotzsky's sandwiches, chicken fajita burritos.) She's not a terribly big eater anyway, but the limited choices I do believe are going to kill her eventually. Either than or she'll live in the low calorie starvation zone and out live all of us.

I just can't wait for the day I take G-man out for a cheeseburger and not have to ask for the bean patty.

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