Have you ever thought, “I would try vegetarianism, but I could never give up_______”? I have! Many times. I see the benefits of being vegetarian, but I also see the benefits of eating meat (bacon, anyone?). 

Seven years ago, my husband and I were living in Cambridge, MA while he was going to law school, which is to say, we were broke. We decided that we needed to lower our monthly grocery budget, so in our next meal planning session, we agreed that we should try eating one vegetarian dinner each week. ONE! No big deal, right? Wrong! We were STARVING, or so we thought, an hour after dinner. We were committed to our new budget though, so we stuck to it. Within a couple of weeks, our bodies had adjusted, and we enjoyed the new recipes we were incorporating into our rotation. Fast forward to being recently graduated, and somehow needing to cut down the grocery budget once again. We knew what worked, so we added another “meatless meal” night each week, and then another.

We really liked how we felt physically, having eliminated some meat from our diets. We continued with this schedule of meals for several years, until one night at dinner, our sensitive little 4-year-old asked the innocent question, “what is beef?” Well, she got the truth. She spent the remainder of the meal in tears, and couldn’t take another bite without gagging. From that point on, she refused to eat meat. The following week I found some age appropriate videos and books, explaining where various meats come from to further explain to my daughter. We talked about food groups, and I explained that there are humanely raised animals, and that we could only eat those meats, but they cost more so we will just be eating it less often. And there we found our compromise.

So here we are, seven years later, two kids, and instead of only Meatless Mondays, we have meat once a week, and are healthier and happier for it! Do I think you should do the same as us? Not necessarily. This is what works for ME and my family. Our bodies are all different (thank goodness!), and therefore, have different needs. My oldest daughter could eat meat once every couple of weeks and be perfectly happy (and healthy), but my youngest absolutely craves meat, and needs it more frequently.  A few weeks ago while eating a hot dog, she handed the bun to me and said, “Here mom, this bread is getting in the way of my MEAT!”

I learned through that experience with my daughter, two years ago, that I needed to be more aware of what I was putting into my body, and where it comes from. How processed are the foods we’re consuming? What side effects are they having on us? How do we learn the best foods for ourselves and our families? We are all born with an innate wisdom when it comes to taking care of ourselves, and over the past few years, especially since that experience with my oldest daughter, I’ve learned to tune in to what my body needs, and to trust my intuition and nutritional knowledge when it comes to food and nourishment.

Are you looking to make similar changes in your diet, but don’t know where to start? I’ll be sharing some of our tried and true meatless meals that made the transition easier on us, right here on our blog! Stay tuned!

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