Yesterday Emily and I were watching Oprah. This particular episode she and her staff decided to try and be Vegan for the whole week. Emily was the first to admit that there was no way that she could ever be a Vegan. No eggs, milk, cheese? NO STEAK?? She was out.
At one point in the show one of the guests gave the opinion that eating meat is not really a bad thing. He also said that if we choose to eat meat it is important to understand where the meat comes from. Oprah agreeing with this point of view sent cameras into a meat packing plant for real look at what happens there. At this point in the show I started to see cautions about graphic material, etc and I told Emily we should probably change the channel. Her response was that she wanted to see. Bret and I have always tried to be pretty honest with our kids about where food comes from. Any assumptions that she may have thought that beef came from cows the way milk came from cows was soon to change for better or worse. So I started in my head to plan how we were going to keep enough protein and iron in her diet when she quickly converted after seeing the next 10 minutes of the show while we continued to watch.
I won't lie it was graphic. Except for showing the cows actually dying we saw everything else (the skin coming off, a head being chopped, and the cow being gutted). I look over at Emily when they start to cut the cow apart and package the meat and she replies "so where is the steak"?
It was all I could do not to laugh.
Truth be told Bret and I both grew up with conscious understandings about meat. Our families raised cows in our backyard that eventually ended up in our freezer. When I was Emily's age my family used to tease me about an episode when I was outside with my grandfather as he put chicken heads in a bucket and started plucking the chicken for dinner. When I came inside I proceeded to tell my family that I only ate KFC chicken. That was until my grandmother fried it up and put it on the plate and at that point I fought my father for the legs forgetting all about the jumping heads.
To me one of more interesting parts of the show had to do with how the diet made people feel. It was great to hear that everyone's bowels were doing better than ever and that a lot of people had lost weight. Most agreed that it less to do with them not eating the animal products and more to do with eating more vegetables and less fast food and junk food. Bret and I believe in moderation. We try and feed our kids a balanced diet of vegetables, fruit, dairy, and meat. Sometimes at dinner all I can get Palmer to eat is the salad. Other times he only wants to eat the chicken and not the veggies. We continue to encourage that they try everything and that what we serve is what is for dinner. Some days they eat better than others but it is a constant work in progress. As Emily gets older we are happy to say that she is a great eater. Some things we struggle to get her to eat (beans, tomatoes, some casseroles) but a lot of times she surprises us (what six year old loves steak, scallops, salad with Italian dressing, anything Chinese). Of course adding more veggies is an ongoing battle but there are no plans to cut out everything else.