Every once in awhile, it’s nice to be reassured that we’re not alone in the things we deal with as parents of teenagers. That’s how I felt while reading a new study that says 1 in 200 American kids is now vegetarian because, like my daughter, they’re appalled at the thought of killing a living being to eat it.
I wish I’d thought of this when my mother forced my brother and me to eat liver.
We got the vegetarian announcement from my daughter a couple of years ago. This meant no more dinner table arguments about eating pieces of chicken or steak or turkey that she didn’t like anyway. Unfortunately, she didn’t substitute a slew of vegetarian options — her range of food choices didn’t expand to include more fruits, vegetables, and grains. She just told us that she wasn’t going to eat food like hot dogs anymore. That reduced the number of different food items in her daily diet to approximately 9.
Now she complains that she’s always eating the same things and wants more variety in her meals. I suppose this means she wants a choice of either homestyle or buttermilk frozen waffles for breakfast. The good news is she hasn’t gone vegan on us, as that would mean giving up chocolate milk and things made with eggs like pancakes, french toast, and, well, scrambled eggs.
Don’t get me wrong. My daughter is a beautiful, normal, healthy teenager with no weight problem, doesn’t stuff her face with french fries and candy, and may be single-handedly responsible for keeping the apple industry in business. She seems resigned to the fact that my wife and I aren’t going to change our carnivorous eating habits, and she occasionally manages to suppress the look of extreme disgust when we’re making meat sauce for our pasta dinner. So it’s not like I’m living with a PETA activist under my roof. But god forbid that my slice of pepperoni pizza touches her cheese slice, or that I put my arm around her while wearing leather gloves.
It could be worse. She could have insisted that we serve tofurkey at Thanksgiving.