Monday, April 5, 2010

Interviews: Mama-to-be: Meat Miminalism During Pregnancy

CYoFC:  Describe your current diet/lifestyle (vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescetarian, freegan, flexitarian, omnivore with vegan tendencies...etc.).

MTB:  My current diet would best be described as pescetarian with chicken tendencies (but I don’t eat shellfish due to Jewish tendencies).

CYoFC:  For how long have you been eating this way?

MTB:  Over the past ten or so years, I have vacillated between a standard lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and a pescetarian diet.  Within the past couple of months I have reintroduced chicken into my diet.  This has correlated with my pregnancy (I am 5 ½ months).  Not only did I choose to eat chicken for an easy source of protein, but also because I began to feel very limited by the many pregnancy-related diet restrictions (e.g. no tuna, feta cheese, sushi).   

CYoFC:  What prompted you to first become vegetarian?

MTB:  My vegetarianism initially began at about the age of 10 when I first was introduced to the inner workings of the meat industry through my social studies class (one of the few units that actually grabbed my attention).  My fourth grade mind was disgusted by the idea that so many animals were bred just to be slaughtered and I very quickly lost my appetite for meat.  After about a year, I gave in to pressure from my parents who convinced me that my growth would be stunted (how lame)!  Then about 8 or so years later I was suddenly staring at a chicken sandwich, unable to eat it.  I reconnected with my earlier disgust with the meat industry and also my growing awareness of how it was impacting the environment.  In addition, I was no longer convinced that the only way to maintain a healthy diet was by including meat in my diet.   

CYoFC:  Were there any challenges to becoming vegetarian? What about challenges of your current vegetarian-esque diet?

MTB:  Initially, there was a learning curve, i.e. I would mistakenly order (and sometimes begin eating) a meal that included meat before remembering my new commitment to being a vegetarian.  Eating meat was such a long-standing behavior that it just took some time for the change to become second nature.  The only real challenge that I’ve encountered since then is getting the third degree from well-meaning (okay, maybe not all have been well meaning, but more judgmental) friends, family, and relatives.  Although, this has gotten easier over the years, which I think is partly due to the fact that it has become more of a social norm. 

CYoFC:  Do you plan on maintaining vegetarian leanings in your diet? If so, what motivates you? If not, why not?

MTB:  I would like to remain a meat minimalist for the time being.  My plan is to return to a pescetarian diet, likely after my little one has arrived.  I try to do what I can in leaving as little a footprint as possible (through diet, recycling, public transportation, etc.), short of it becoming a rigid, compulsive part of my lifestyle, i.e. I try to find a reasonable balance between doing my part to lesson my impact on the planet and being able to relax and enjoy the time that I have in this life!   

CYoFC:  "Meat minimalist" - I like that. Why should other people go vegetarian, or at least become meat minimalists?

MTB:  If more people ate less meat, it would (in theory) reduce the tremendous impact that the meat industry has on the environment. 

CYoFC:  Do you have any tips or advice for new vegetarians?

MTB: Have something short and sweet prepared to say when people ask you why you are vegetarian to a) shut them up and maybe educate them a little, and b) so you can get to your meal more quickly!

CYoFC:  Right on. Favorite foods?

MTB:  Dessert, all kinds of fruit, and Morningstar sausage patties.

Thanks, MTB!

At 25 weeks!
MTB, 27, lives in Manhattan with her husband, 30. They moved to NYC about 9 months ago after he finished his doctorate in math and got a job there.  MTB is pursuing a doctorate in clinical-developmental psychology, and is currently completing a practicum where she works as a school psychologist conducting psychoeducational evaluations, therapy, and remediation with children K-12 in the Bronx. MTB and her husband are expecting their first child in July. 

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