Tag Archives: vegetarianism

30 by 30 – No. 24 Stop Eating Fish

Posted by: Maggie

I’m doing 29 up big! I plan to accomplish a number of things, better define the kind of person that I am and want to be, and have a fun year doing it! Follow along as I check things off my 30 by 30 list!

I think some people were confused by this one on my list. No. 23 is Focus on Healthy Eating, so stop eating fish seemed a little contradictory. Fish is supposed to be a super healthy food, right? Well, yes and no. The “No” part is just one of the reasons I decided to stop eating fish. I’ll get to that in a minute. There are three big reasons this made my list.

1. I’m a Vegetarian (and in case you’re new here, so are Josh & Eleanor, we’re an adorable family of vegetarians). I know some vegetarians aren’t strict about abstaining from fish, but eating fish has always made me feel like a hypocrite. I’ve been a Vegetarian for almost 17 years, and I’ve attempted to give up fish just about once a year for those 17 years. These days I really only eat fish once a month at the most, but I know I shouldn’t be eating it at all. Fish are animals too and I don’t eat animals. Somehow, because I love Sushi I’ve managed to rationalize my fish consumption with various ideas that I no longer feel have any merit. No more rationalizing for me! I plan to be a good Vegetarian from now on!

2. Fish Isn’t Safe to Eat. Oooooh controversial statement right? People think fish is a healthy food, and it’s true that fish can be safe and healthy and it’s sorta possible to get some of that safe & healthy fish, but for the most part it’s not. And it’s not worth the risk for me. Last year I read What to Eat by Marion Nestle. It is an incredibly thorough and entertaining guide to food, it’s healthfulness and safety. I highly recommend it, in fact, I’m planning a whole post on it soon. In the Fish section of the book, Nestle explores the health claims regarding fish and the safety of eating fish. She explains that while fish are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats and excellent sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, the safety risks may outweigh the health benefits. In short, most fish have safety issues ranging from high levels of Methylmercury, PCBs and related toxic chemicals in wild and farmed fish to antibiotics, disinfectants, and pesticides in farmed fish. Additionally, there are problems with labeling that makes it difficult to know which fish is okay to purchase and which is not.

As for health, protein and healthy fats are abundant in non-animal foods, and Omega-3s while less common, can be obtained from plant sources, like beans, nuts and seeds, and flax seed and canola oils. If you must eat fish, there are lists you can use that will tell you which fish is safe to eat. For me, it’s not worth the risk.

3. Fishing and Fish Farming is Cruel to Fish and Destructive to the Environment. I just read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. Over the years, I’ve read a lot about the horrors of factory farming, the human rights abuses and animal abuse, terrible things that make your stomach turn and bring tears to your eyes. But I’ve never read much about fishing or fish farming until Eating Animals. I’m not going to go into details about it, but I will say that Foer described enough cruelty and environmental destruction to make me never want to eat Sushi again. I urge you all to read this book.

It’s been a little more than 6 months since I’ve had any fish and I don’t intend to have any ever again. So, I’m crossing this one off the list! Goal accomplished!

You can check out my 30 by 30 list HERE and let me know if you’ve got a list of your own that you’re working on.

Why Won’t We Let Our Poor Little Girl Eat Sweets?
Because We Are Cruel, Cruel Parents, Obviously!

Posted by: Maggie

We get a lot of raised eyebrows and and disdainful looks whenever we tell people that we don’t let Eleanor eat sweets. No cookies, no candy, no cake, no ice cream. The same when we say no meat, no processed snacks foods, no fast food, no junk food of any kind.

People think that we are a little crazy and overprotective about food. But we have food rules in our house that are specifically designed to teach good eating habits and battle the poor eating habits that Josh and I both grew up with. There are food related health issues in both of our families and we would like to avoid that with our children. So we try to eat as healthfully as we can, within reason and within my own not so great powers of self-control when it comes to food.

We generally limit any kind processed foods and opt for fresh fruits and veggies whenever possible. I cook all of our breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and we generally limit any kind of take out or fast food to one meal a week. We are also vegetarians, so absolutely no meat, ever (I’ve been a vegetarian for 14 years, Josh for 5 years, Eleanor since birth). Josh and I still eat fish (because we are weak) though I try to avoid it most of the time and only eat it very rarely, but we will not let Eleanor eat fish. We also avoid eggs as much as possible. And I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Eleanor is allergic to dairy, so she is basically a vegan.

I know that there are people out there who will question the healthfulness of veganism for a toddler, but I can tell you that she is perfectly healthy and her pediatrician agrees. He even said “Good for you!” when we told him that we planned to raise her vegetarian. We are able to feed her excellent protein alternatives at every meal without a problem.

More than the veganism, it’s the lack of sweets and snack foods that people seem to take issue with. Now, it’s not that we never ever allow her to have any sweets or snacks. She gets the very occasional cookie, piece of cake or candy, or potato chip. But only on special occasions. Mostly on the occasions that we can’t really control it like a birthday party or family event where everyone else is eating it. In those situations we do think that it would be cruel to deny her what everyone else is having. But that is basically the only time we allow her to have those things. And they are enough to already have her asking for cake or chips long after the event has ended! We don’t keep unhealthy snack foods or any kinds of sweets in the house. We do not like the idea of developing a habit of having unhealthy snacks or sweets so we don’t give them to her.

All of this leads us to Halloween. Oh Halloween! The holiday made for candy consumption! We, of course, did not want to deny Eleanor the joys of Halloween so we decided to let her have candy only on Halloween day. So we let her have a couple of those bite size candy bars during the day as part of our day long festivities and then we let her have a few more pieces after trick-or-treating while waiting for dinner.  I think her total was six pieces. Which really in my opinion is way too much. But it was a holiday and she was having fun! It did, of course, lead to a sugar crazed baby running around the house like a mad woman 45 minutes after her bedtime. We then hid the rest of the candy, although we missed one piece which of course Eleanor found Sunday morning, so we decided to let her have it. And then we lied and told her that Halloween was over so all the candy was gone. This did not stop her from repeatedly asking for it. “Cahhhhndy Mommy! I want Caaaahhhhnnndy! I need it!”

But I’m not giving in! Halloween is over and we are not going let our little one turn into a sugar crazed maniac anymore! It’s apples and grapes from here on out for you young lady! Luckily, when I offer her an apple instead she happily takes it and forgets about the candy she thought she wanted. That’s how I know we’re doing things right!