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My 8yr old vegetarian

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Do you have problems getting your kids to eat vegetables? Well so have I/we for as long as they have been on this earth. Hiding them in stewy dishes, giving them fun names or making crap pictures on their plates was an every meal necessity for even the most cursory consideration.

And then at the ripe old age of 8, my little princess decided she was vegetarian (well pescatarian to be truthful) . For ethical reasons of course. Bless her cotton socks.

Hip-hip-hoo-fucking-ray.

Now at first I was all like “this is going to be bloody hilarious” as she slowly relented after starving herself from lack of calorific intake. Then I was worried sick (quick Dad pun injection) about her doing the same thing. Because, true to her stubborn AF nature, she has remained stoic in her decision. She did the same thing at aged 2 when I suggested that the raw onion I was dicing for dinner would indeed not be an appealing pre-dinner snack. As I laughed at her obvious disgust and weeping eyes while she chewed her response, she looked me dead in the eyes…and took another bite. Class. All. The. Way.

So unlike most things in an 8yr old’s whirlwind life, this seems to be more than a fleeting thought. And I’m proud as punch with her resolve and compassion.

By proxy, or maybe just from laziness on my behalf, this pretty much makes Albi and I vegetarian too. I mean who can be fucked cooking two meals every night?

Seriously though, the only meats my two really ever ate were mince and chicken anyway, so I wasn’t very perturbed when my thoughts turned to cooking and providing sustenance. (quick tip: just replace mince with a variety of beans and lentils and chicken with anything. Everything tastes like chicken anyway)

The most important reason, however, that I choose for Albi and I to follow suit with the boss, I mean Grace, is purely to show support. I think it is vital to not only allow, but to positively support our cherubs through these formative years, when they are exploring the impact their decisions have on themselves and those around them. And let’s face it, more plant based foods in our lives is hardly a negative.

Another positive outcome from this change in our diets so far has been my ability to brute force new and exciting ingredients and meals on the little fusspots. Nothing like the threat of a chunk of dripping steak to get an ethical vegetarian to eat her greens! I think I only have mushrooms and zucchini to go and I’ll be happy with the weekly spectrum we eat.

It has also inspired the inner chef in Grace, who now routinely cooks, bakes and sous-chefs on a regular basis. I still do the oven though; not ready to move house again just yet if this one explodes. And I have enough fun playing nurse to barely perceptible scratches and phantom sprains without a nasty burn thrown in thank you very much.

So as mindbendingly fucked as I thought this journey with vegetarianism would be, I find myself pleasantly surprised at the current state of play.

More importantly, Grace is feeling very supported, loved, understood and encouraged. And just a little bit more grown up 😉

And when I go out for dinner, I’m all over that steak like Oprah on a baked ham. Old habits 🙂

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35 comments

Suzi Qu August 22, 2017 - 11:53 am

You’re raising a very strong independent young woman there, I commend you and Grace

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 11:55 am

Thanks Suz x

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Virginia Tucker August 22, 2017 - 12:11 pm

Yesss to plant based diets !! Everyone wins when you eat this way. I haven’t eat red meat since I turned 12 & only occasionally eat birds or fish. Prefer not to. You’re lucky you live in a place where being vego & vegan is common. I love Graces determination.

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:56 pm

Thanks Gin x

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Rhonda Daly August 22, 2017 - 12:40 pm

Ohh dear . I had food put on table. If i did not eat it i went hungry end of story.

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Rhonda Daly August 22, 2017 - 12:41 pm

A parent is not a chef. Someone is filling childs head with eat this and dont eat that!!!

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Rhonda Daly August 22, 2017 - 12:43 pm

Sorry im a great loving mum. What gets put out for tea is it! If you dont eat go hungry . Sick of cotton wool society

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Rhonda Daly August 22, 2017 - 12:44 pm

Thats why kids are growing up so enabled these days . Sickening

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Rhonda Daly August 22, 2017 - 12:45 pm

Whos wagging the tail of the dog! The parent or the child. Be a parent and say this is whats for tea ffs

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Jamie Leah Peterson August 22, 2017 - 1:15 pm

Peace, love and mungbeans!

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:55 pm

Haven’t introduced mungbeans beans yet but we’ll get there! 😉

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Angel Yaffa August 22, 2017 - 1:30 pm

Great article!
You are awesome Chris, and I’m super proud of you and Miss Grace xx
I also made this decision when I was young and my parents fully supported me. I felt so accepted and loved. I’m so glad my parents understood that I really didn’t want to eat animals, it hurt my heart. Now 26 years later I’m still plant munching and truely grateful to them. A plant based diet is win win for your health, the planet and the animals. You are a super Dad xx

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:54 pm

Why thanks super mum! X

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Gopala Amir Yaffa August 22, 2017 - 1:34 pm

I love you Chris! I think you are doing an awesome job being a dad! We shouldn’t treat children as a second degree citizens… just like we would like to be empowered when we make choices and positive changes in our lives, so we should empower our children when they make choices from their hearts. And this is a moral choice, who are we to prevent any child from answering the call of the heart? Good on you Chris for raising such an amazing daughter like grace

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:54 pm

Well put Gopala, and thanks!

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Siobhan Kinsella August 22, 2017 - 3:04 pm

I think Rhonda is missing the point . Go Chris Martin. Xxxoo

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Anita Coldrey August 22, 2017 - 5:19 pm

Yeah I think so too!

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Anita Coldrey August 22, 2017 - 5:20 pm

Go Chris Martin, you’re raising beautifully grounded and educated kids. Xx

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Samantha Bailey Mcfarland August 22, 2017 - 6:27 pm

Renee Bailey

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Andy Day August 22, 2017 - 6:53 pm

Ha. Building a rod for your own back there chief. I’ve allowed my son to not like one thing. Mushrooms. If he doesn’t want to eat anything else then I tell him he has to now start eating them and any refusal without trying something first is a straight to the naughty spot offence. Yep have dealt with occasional melt down but can honestly say my kids eat basically everything.

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:11 pm

Oh don’t worry Andy – what I cook is what’s for dinner; no alternatives. A bit different to supporting a choice to not eat meat on ethical grounds.

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Angelique Hopkins August 22, 2017 - 7:06 pm

I am forever grateful to my parents who, when I announced that I was a vegetarian at age 7, were nothing but encouraging and supportive. You are to be commended Marty. You are a superb Dad who is raising strong minded, well adjusted, caring individuals.

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:53 pm

Thanks lovely x

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Rena Bean August 22, 2017 - 8:41 pm

And that is why you are a great dad.*mike drop*

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 8:57 pm

Thanks everyone! Rhonda Daly: There are so many ways that I could respond to your very passionate comments, but I shall refrain from aggression. Suffice to say that I believe my family is a cohesive unit and not a dictatorship. I am educating my children to grow up empowered not enabled, I prefer a light wrapping of tissue paper to cotton wool, my children are filling there own heads with knowledge attained, the only thing wagging it’s tail in our house is our new puppy, and I would like to think my cooking is not far off chef quality on most days!

Thanks for your input though 🙂

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Rena Bean August 22, 2017 - 9:09 pm

I spent a few of my teenage yrs (13-15)as a vegetarian. I was gagging if made to eat meat. My nan supported my choice and guess what. By age 16 i was back eating some meat. Good on toy for supporting her choice. A bad choice would be if she only wanted to eat mcdonalds chicken mcnuggets. She has made a hugely healthy choice.

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:52 pm

Thanks Rena 🙂

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Amanda Moor August 22, 2017 - 9:12 pm

You have your first troll. Congratulations. You know you’ve made it as a blogger when that happens

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 9:52 pm

Ha! Thanks, I think?

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Anita Coldrey August 22, 2017 - 10:18 pm

Just A Dad “block” (lol)

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 10:19 pm

Nah. Not exactly offensive, and everyone is entitled to their opinion 😉

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Andy Day August 22, 2017 - 10:57 pm

Ho ho. Obviously a very controversial topic. Sure you are doing a great job and kids will be fine. I guess just to watch for iron levels in diet as I know 2 or 3 women who have to be on iron supplements, never any men though. I would flat out refused that request though…..for time being anyway. Don’t know where I heard or read it but picked this up years ago. Be harder and more disciplined and give them less freedom than you want when they are younger and give them more freedom than you want when they are older. I guess around 16 onwards. My interpretation of that is up until they are 16 it’s pure training in how to be a good productive person. From 16 onwards they get 2 years with a safety net in the background to try and put all the training into practice. Obviously this is still all theory for me so far but that’s how I intend to try and get through this single parent lark.

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Just A Dad August 22, 2017 - 11:57 pm

Thanks for the advice mate. I prefer to make the decision process an inclusive one and have the kids learn the consequences of choices they have made. Sure, I provide boundaries and when necessary put the foot down (when it is a case of safety etc), but my two seem to grow and prosper under this style of parenting. I guess it comes down to what works for you in the end – after all, we are all unique individuals with our own ways of learning. Cheers to you Andy, you sound like a great parent!

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Douglas Honeywill August 24, 2017 - 9:57 am

Empowering kids also empowers you as a Dad. It places everyone on the same page and creates a united front. You are simply an amazing Dad . . . Thank you for the blogs and the inspiration

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Just A Dad August 24, 2017 - 10:07 am

Thanks for the kind words mate and totally agree. We are a team 🙂

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