This is me (on the right).
The angst teenager just about the make a huge decision that continues to shape my life.
How ironic that we're in the midst of BBQ season and today it's the beginning of Vegetarian Week 2010.
Now, anyone who really knows me, knows I don't usually do this, go on about being Veggie and my reasons for it, but since I'm celebrating 22 years this year of not eating meat, fish or animal by-products, I wanted to give National Vegetarian Week 2010 a huge nod.
OK, I've heard all the jokes; all the reasons why it's bad for you, and even worse for your kids, and I'm not writing this to preach, because I never have, I simply want to raise awareness to something so wonderful.
See, my boys are veggie too. They've never tasted meat or fish. Health Visitors have frowned at me for this, and some nurseries have almost got it wrong (no, Vegetarians do not eat fish fingers!). When P was born, I wasn't working and so I baked everything from scratch to ensure he had everything he needed. When J came along I was working, and so things got a little more difficult, but with the introduction of some amazing Veggie products and the fantastic education from the Vegetarian Society's Young Veggie, we're doing alright thanks - so much so, Health Profs. have told me and C our boys are going to push 6ft (yikes!)
As P gets older I am having to answer alot of questions- and giving an honest and unprejudiced reply is difficult, but I have always been clear that I will bring my children up without meat and fish until they are old enough to decide. I want them to stay Veggie; but I will not force it.
Haribo jellies are my only headache at the moment! (but they've just bought out gelatine free ones and they're divine!)
I'm sure if my mum's reading this she'll be shaking her head with a sigh as she remembers many Sunday lunches of me playing with my food until THE day I finally said,
"I don't want to eat this anymore."
And do you know, never once did she question it, never once did she say "it's a phase", and never once did she discourage me. Her frustration was more about what to give a young teenager to eat in the late 1980's!
We got by.
Today, being a Veggie is easy. Supermarkets, cafes, tea shops, and restaurants in the UK are pretty damned great when it comes to catering for us Veggie folk - and there's a fair few of us you know - about 5 million just in the UK.
And just incase you have considered it, but didn't know enough, the Veg Society have produced a brilliant fact sheet about all the myths about giving up meat right here - it's worth a glance.
Oh, and here's my fav cafe to hang out and enjoy damned good food my way,
Thanks for Reading (and humouring!),
enjoy the sun