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Wanna-be vegetarian in a house full of carnivores

Posted by on May. 27, 2013 at 7:36 AM
  • 44 Replies
We've had so many major issues lately, that I'm trying to find answers to the smaller, easier ones!

SD16 is currently in her fifth mental health placement in six months (heading to her sixth next week). She is making zero progress and has been pulling out more and more manipulative behaviors to try and get what she wants. Fortunately, her main therapist is aware of this.

The latest issue is that SD has become a vegetarian. She wanted to before but was told she would have to research a healthy, balanced diet and what kinds of additions would have to be made to our food budget. We are a large family - five kids - so one person eating an extremely different diet makes a difference. SD was unwilling to even pull up on page on Google for this and dropped it. Now that she has hospitals and cafeterias cooking for her, she is 'living the vegetarian life'. SD is always willing to work on anything when someone else does all the work. I feel that this is another way that SD chooses to pull away from the family while still being the 'poor, poor victim who no one will work with' - this is how therapists have categorized her behavior.

We will not cater to this when she gets home. I was willing to cook 1-2 meat-free meals per week, but am not willing to exclude eggs, cheese, or milk from those. The rest of the tine, she will have to eat meat. When she is able to hold a job and shop for her own foods, she can eat how she likes. Right now, cooking is not even a remote option for her because she is not allowed access to knives. Our house is always well stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables for snacking or adding to meals.

Are we right or wrong? I will add that SD has a history of food rituals and really poor eating habits that were mostly resolved before all the hospitalizations started. They would just flare up during times of stress.
by on May. 27, 2013 at 7:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Birdseed
by Platinum Member on May. 27, 2013 at 9:35 AM
1 mom liked this

You might talk to a professional about this as I am not one...but to me, this dietary thing is a way for SD to try to control something in her world that she otherwise does not have a lot of control over.  You might do a little research on anorexia which (based on my limited knowledge) has roots in the same.

Personally, I think I'd support it.  Let her do some of her own food prep. Oftentimes, working side by side with a kid is a much better way to talk to them than trying to do a face to face.  It might be a great opportunity to get her more involved.

She can help make a salad or prepare a veggie--you don't need a knife to tear up lettuce or wash spinach.  She can prep her own meat replacements.  They're not expensive and they're not hard to find.  Boca Burgers or Morningstar Burgers are actually pretty yummy (We eat them often--they're not just for vegetarians).  

I wouldn't force her to eat meat.  That just gives her something to resist against.  It's not going to kill her to eat the veggies, pasta, etc at a meal and then make a boca burger or have some beans for protein.  She can take a multivitamin as well.

Soy milk is great on cereal (we usually use soy milk...) and it sure wouldn't hurt anyone else.

My husband gets gout so I am already in the habit of at least two meatless dishes per week, usually one stir fry with egg (you could always hold the egg out if she's going that route).  You could also do fish if she's cool with fish. 

I guess I'd just try to kill her with kindness on this one.  She wants to play "no one helps me"? help her.  Then what will she move on to?  I'm sure she'll drop the vegetarian thing once it's no longer met with resistance.



Given_to_Fly
by Member on May. 27, 2013 at 10:15 AM
1 mom liked this
I went vegetarian when I was 12 and my parents supported it. I just ate what my mom cooked minus the meat. I now eat chicken and fish in limited quantities, but really, it isn't hard to accommodate the change in your SD.
JacyB
by Bronze Member on May. 27, 2013 at 10:51 AM
3 moms liked this

It's fine to refuse to cook an "extra" meal for her but forcing her to eat meat is wrong. There's no excuse for you to do so. She's capable of making her own meals on those days.

amonkeymom
by Amy on May. 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM
1 mom liked this

I agree with this and think you need to be more supportive of her choice.

You mention not excluding eggs & dairy from her meals.  If she's vegetarian, she can still eat these things, though if she's vegan she will not want to do so.  You might also discuss with her about eating fish (being a pescatarian instead of vegetarian) so that she's getting a little bit of animal protein.  Also, there are nuts, immitation meat products, etc that she can substitude for meat in her portions of meals.

Quoting JacyB:

It's fine to refuse to cook an "extra" meal for her but forcing her to eat meat is wrong. There's no excuse for you to do so. She's capable of making her own meals on those days.


Si_si
by on May. 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM
I'd give her all the tools to support herself in this.

I wouldn't make separate meals out. I don't do that with my kids. I do cook in a way that there are options. We have main dish or two, vegetable or two, fruit, carb, etc. The kids can pick and choose.

So, I would allow her the opportunity to choose herself. It's pretty easy for her to go meatless and get other proteins. I couldn't do it. I don't get enough protein as it is. I am working really hard at that right now.
HopesNDreams
by Silver Member on May. 27, 2013 at 12:12 PM
1 mom liked this
The protein issue is the main thing. She is unwilling to prepare anything for herself. She feels 'vegetarian' mean skip the meat or Hopes cooks something else. I cook in the same way you do - the kids have options. I am just unwilling to prepare more than one main item per meal.

Quoting Si_si:

I'd give her all the tools to support herself in this.



I wouldn't make separate meals out. I don't do that with my kids. I do cook in a way that there are options. We have main dish or two, vegetable or two, fruit, carb, etc. The kids can pick and choose.



So, I would allow her the opportunity to choose herself. It's pretty easy for her to go meatless and get other proteins. I couldn't do it. I don't get enough protein as it is. I am working really hard at that right now.
HopesNDreams
by Silver Member on May. 27, 2013 at 12:15 PM
Your first paragraph hits my biggest concern. As SD has 'lost' her other ways of hurting herself or maintaining control, she replaces them. I feel this is a replacement. I'm not sure whether it would qualify as an eating disorder, though. I do feel if she is allowed to maintain a separate diet in thus way, she will become more and more controlling of it to the point of regular conflict over groceries and nutrional issues.


Quoting Birdseed:

You might talk to a professional about this as I am not one...but to me, this dietary thing is a way for SD to try to control something in her world that she otherwise does not have a lot of control over.  You might do a little research on anorexia which (based on my limited knowledge) has roots in the same.

Personally, I think I'd support it.  Let her do some of her own food prep. Oftentimes, working side by side with a kid is a much better way to talk to them than trying to do a face to face.  It might be a great opportunity to get her more involved.

She can help make a salad or prepare a veggie--you don't need a knife to tear up lettuce or wash spinach.  She can prep her own meat replacements.  They're not expensive and they're not hard to find.  Boca Burgers or Morningstar Burgers are actually pretty yummy (We eat them often--they're not just for vegetarians).  

I wouldn't force her to eat meat.  That just gives her something to resist against.  It's not going to kill her to eat the veggies, pasta, etc at a meal and then make a boca burger or have some beans for protein.  She can take a multivitamin as well.

Soy milk is great on cereal (we usually use soy milk...) and it sure wouldn't hurt anyone else.

My husband gets gout so I am already in the habit of at least two meatless dishes per week, usually one stir fry with egg (you could always hold the egg out if she's going that route).  You could also do fish if she's cool with fish. 

I guess I'd just try to kill her with kindness on this one.  She wants to play "no one helps me"? help her.  Then what will she move on to?  I'm sure she'll drop the vegetarian thing once it's no longer met with resistance.



wanderingmuse
by on May. 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Why not cook one meat/egg/dairy free side dish per meal? I'm mostly veggie in a house of carnivores and that's how I do it. My son barely notices. When they have bugers I have a bun toasted with cheese and macaroni or potato salad. I do eat dairy which makes it easier but... With thought you could do it. As for a balanced diet, that should be her responsibility. But I would suggest trying to be open to any ideas or concerns she brings to the table.
sandeeyo
by Le Bonjour Chat on May. 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM
1 mom liked this

This, it isn't that difficult to make her something with no meat.  Just leave the meat out in her portion and have something that's a meat substitute on hand.  Like buy her a giant block of tofu or a tofurkey.  There are veggie hot dogs and also plenty of no-cook alternatives.

Really, it's not that hard to cut up a block of tofu and throw it in with a stir fry.  Or heat up a veggie hot dog and give it to her with a plate of mashed potatoes and a salad.

For a long time when my son was younger, I had to cook 2 different meals because he had food aversions (he's autistic).  Maybe we weren't a family of 5, but still it was a pain to have to cook stuff that he'd eat and then something for myself...or just eat what he was eating.

Like you said, you had a lot of major issues lately and you're trying to find answers for the smaller ones.  I'm of the mind to pick your battles.  Maybe one of the other kids or DH could help prepare SD15's meal.  Or you can make her help you by preparing the evening salad.  Not too hard to tear up lettuce (someone else can cut up the harder veggies).  Give her a butter knife to cut the tofu or a piece of string to cut it up with.  And then buy her a  nice big bottle of multi-vitamins too.


Quoting Given_to_Fly:

I went vegetarian when I was 12 and my parents supported it. I just ate what my mom cooked minus the meat. I now eat chicken and fish in limited quantities, but really, it isn't hard to accommodate the change in your SD.



HopesNDreams
by Silver Member on May. 27, 2013 at 12:49 PM
I did the specialized diet for my son with autism when he was younger too. The memory of it is one of my main motivatirs for not doing it again. It's a nuisance, it's expensive, and (in this case) it is unnecessary.

My main issue is the control factor she is imposing. It is one of her main issues. When we mentioned at one point buying some vegetarian items, she jumped to wanting to be vegan - it's not about what she eats, it's about making us jump through hoops and keep her the center of all attention. No one in the house needs to have that inflicted on them any longer. I think if she came to this when she was more balanced, I'd feel differently. As it is, she screams that she hates us, then I forms us of what she will and will not eat.

While she certainly could help prepare food, her history is that she won't.


Quoting sandeeyo:

This, it isn't that difficult to make her something with no meat.  Just leave the meat out in her portion and have something that's a meat substitute on hand.  Like buy her a giant block of tofu or a tofurkey.  There are veggie hot dogs and also plenty of no-cook alternatives.

Really, it's not that hard to cut up a block of tofu and throw it in with a stir fry.  Or heat up a veggie hot dog and give it to her with a plate of mashed potatoes and a salad.

For a long time when my son was younger, I had to cook 2 different meals because he had food aversions (he's autistic).  Maybe we weren't a family of 5, but still it was a pain to have to cook stuff that he'd eat and then something for myself...or just eat what he was eating.

Like you said, you had a lot of major issues lately and you're trying to find answers for the smaller ones.  I'm of the mind to pick your battles.  Maybe one of the other kids or DH could help prepare SD15's meal.  Or you can make her help you by preparing the evening salad.  Not too hard to tear up lettuce (someone else can cut up the harder veggies).  Give her a butter knife to cut the tofu or a piece of string to cut it up with.  And then buy her a  nice big bottle of multi-vitamins too.



Quoting Given_to_Fly:

I went vegetarian when I was 12 and my parents supported it. I just ate what my mom cooked minus the meat. I now eat chicken and fish in limited quantities, but really, it isn't hard to accommodate the change in your SD.




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