Un-becoming vegetarians: why meal planning is a beating

Our family of four is an insane mix of vegan, vegetarian, and omnivore. This is how it breaks down:

Me: I’ve been a lacto-ovo-pescatarian since 2003. I did it initially because I realized that when I ate meat, my stomach issues got much worse. When I stopped eating meat, I felt SO much better. I eat dairy, eggs, and fish but no meat from mammals.

My son, LS: Has consistently refused to eat meat or beans of any kind since he was about 9 months old. Yes, this includes hummus. And no, he has never actually tasted red meat or most beans, so it isn’t a taste thing. He can somehow magically tell if there is red meat or beans in something and will not even put it in his mouth. Recently he has also stopped eating eggs, so we lost that source of protein. We also found out in the last few months that he is dairy and soy intolerant. Not allergic, but cow’s dairy or soy products (including soy lecithin, which is in everything) make him sick to his stomach and cause him to have chronic diarrhea. He will, however, eat turkey hot dogs. Occasionally, since we took him off dairy and soy, I have been able to convince him to try chicken and some fish. Victory! Otherwise, he is basically vegan without the soy and beans. Thank God he’s not allergic to nuts.

My daughter, LL: Eats nearly everything except soup. I can only get her to eat meat about every other day, though.

My husband: Eats everything except white things. For instance, will not eat anything that contains sour cream, yogurt, mayonaise, and completely forget Alfredo sauce. He will not eat leftovers of any kind, ever. The first time the meal is cooked is the only time he will be helping consume it. Anything that is not eaten might as well be thrown away. I have lived with the man for 7 years now and I can assure you that this is not going to change.

Let’s review the things that my family will not or cannot eat:

  • meat
  • beans
  • eggs
  • dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • soy (tofu, seitan, most Asian foods because of the soy sauce, most baked goods because of the soybean oil)
  • soup
  • anything with a white sauce or filling or topping
  • leftovers
  • fast food (well, at least we have that positive)

Do you see why meal planning is a beating for me?

What can I actually feed these people?

Lately I have been considering something along the lines of meat and veggies, actually. Which means I’ll be completely disregarding myself because meat makes me feel sick. This week, with the help of Greenling and Pinterest, I cooked two separate meat dishes.

Greenling pork meal - YUM!
Meal #1 from Greenling meal kit – pork with roasted veggies and salad, I added the rice

The kids ate a few bites. I consumed both pork and chicken that first day. I immediately regretted it both times. Within 30 minutes of eating, the old heavy-stomach feeling of indigestion and bloating started up with my stomach. I will leave the rest to your imagination, but needless to say, my stomach is still not OK with meat.

Another disadvantage of the meat and veggies approach is that meat is expensive. We are pretty firmly committed to buying only meat that was raised responsibly — no factory farming — grass-fed or vegetarian-fed only, and organic whenever possible. Even going through local CSA’s or buying directly from the farmer, this can be expensive, especially since we can’t buy in bulk. We just don’t have the storage space and only 2 of the 4 of us will even eat meat. Remember that my husband is the only person who actually consistently eats meat, and that he will only eat that first meal. Anything not eaten in that first plate is wasted. That is a LOT of waste. I would say that any time we eat meat, only about 1/3 of it is consumed. The rest is served and re-served to the meat eaters but they reject it repeatedly and it gets thrown out.

I don’t have a great conclusion to this post about the challenges we’re facing when it comes to meal planning and eating. I guess it’s more of a venting. It’s good to see the restrictions written out. I’m trying to really look at this from all angles and try to determine the best solution for our family.

Has anyone else faced these same challenges? What did you do?

NOTE: I was not compensated in any way by Greenling for any of my discussion of their products/service. They were kind enough to retweet a picture I put on Instagram and Facebook of their meal kits, but otherwise they don’t really know who I am. I’m just a fan!

3 thoughts on “Un-becoming vegetarians: why meal planning is a beating

  1. Anonymous says:

    I can relate quite well actually, I have cut all red meat, and all wheat flour products from my diet as well as refined sugars. I love flour so i have been working to find substitutes and I have found quite a few “super foods” in the process. I have had to make all these changes in order to end my acne problem, I have gone gluten free which was difficult at first, and I have been having good success. I have noticed more energy and I am in better spirits now. Look into the Paleo diet as this may help your families eccentric dietary needs

    Hemp anything (seeds, oil, flour, whey protein)
    This is the single most nutritious foods on the planet. Hemp protein contains all 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential ones adult bodies cannot produce.
    Quinoa is a rice like grain similar to hemp but contains a nutty flavor, also extremely nutrient rich.
    Fish, fish and more fish (At least 2 servings of fish a day)
    Plenty of nuts and fruits
    Salads (kale, lettuce, spinach)
    Mushrooms have been a great meat substitute

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