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Thursday, June 25, 2009


Several decades ago, in about the fourth grade, I was clobbered to the ground by a peer who was offended that I would not eat her chicken. It really started bugging her that I normally ate peanut butter-and-jelley sandwiches.

A while back, during a lunch break, a coworker and I were confronted by a dogmatic roadside evangelist prostituting his current religion. I calmly expressed my preference for privacy and moved on. He yelled something about worshipping blue gods, when my co-worker leaned over to me and asked, “Is that why you’re a vegetarian?” I looked at her a little puzzled, when she continued, a little uneasy. “You know, because you worship cows.” I laughed at the oversimplification of my faith, but went on to explain that my choice to be vegetarian was due to more reasons than being a default from the culture I grew up with in India.

I know that my son, being raised as a vegetarian, may have to endure names like “Grass Grazer” and the dreaded “Twig Boy.” Fortunately, I have seen great strides in views towards vegetarians which will benefit my son’s journey through vegetarianism. An evidence of progress, I have noticed, is that I have been asked the question, “so what do you eat, lettuce?” (along with whether I lived in a teepee as an “Indian.”) less and less over the years.

Of course there is not much I can do about the probability that he will end up with beef burritos instead of bean at Taco Bell. He will learn the important lesson of checking his food in the drive-through and avoiding restaurants that never seem to get it right. Or better yet, maybe he will be saavy enough to sue and get a trip to India out of it at least. A mother can only dream…

Raising a vegetarian baby sounds synonymous to child abuse to some people born and raised to value the protein of only slaughtered animals. To me, it was an assumption that I would raise my child as I was living. If vegetarianism is important to my way of life, then why wouldn’t I consider it for the most important person in my life? There is no greater blessing than good health, and what more could one want for their child? Vegetarianism is a daily gift I give to my son. At the very least, I have given him a character builder as he handles kids calling him names on the playground. Or possibly I have made a future psychiatrist rich when my son someday struggles to overcome the stereotype of being “Twig Boy.”