When I was 4, I found out that tuna fish was actually fish and it devastated me. I remember crying over and over thinking (how could my parents serve me something that used to be alive?) My parents said the fish died so that we could have food. That never sat well with me. I get that there is a circle of life and all, but if I can survive and have a healthy diet without harming any animals, why wouldn't I?
I started my vegetarian journey about 14 years ago and later became a vegan. It was so hard. It still is. Not the giving up meat part, but the eating out part. I find that ordering a simple lunch or dinner while out with non-vegans almost always ends in me telling the waiter "Can you please check again. I'm sorry, I know that I'm weird." That phrase is usually uttered after asking the unsure waiter to double check the ingredients in the sauce or bread.
Recently, after the millionth time of justifying my questions with "I'm weird" I started thinking. Why should I be made to feel like the weird one for not wanting to consume any part of an animal. The weird thing, is that society has made us look at chicken, beef, or pork as food and not animals. There's a reason why raw, red meat grosses people out. There's a reason why you don't want to click on videos that show what really happens to these creatures. The reason is that part of you knows it's wrong and would be disturbed. There's also a reason why parents lie to their children about what they're feeding them and the reason is because a child's instinct tells them it's not ok.
There's a reason I take so much flack from my family about wanting to raise my baby vegan. They say things like "She will be missing out" or "You're going to deprive her of the taste of meat?" The reason is because the animals she would be eating are worth sparing. If there's a chance she will want to forgo eating animals when she's older, then I've already done some good in the world.
I want to be honest with her about food; not take the easy route and stick chicken nuggets or a burger in front of her. I want her to know and love animals and think of them as beautiful creatures and not just a meal. I want her to understand that pigs have the intelligence of a 7 year old and know what is going on just before they are slaughtered. I want her to know how terrible dairy farms are, even the organic ones who claim they aren't cruel to cows. I want her to understand exactly what is being done to the animals who are used for food. If she is old enough to understand where meat comes from and still choses that she wants to eat it, then that is her choice, but at least I'm not forcing it on her at an early age.
There is an alternative to feeding your child meat. Don't be afraid to do something different.. Even if it means getting weird looks, or having to think outside the box during mealtime.