Yummy Chickpea and Quinoa Salad from here.
Over the last couple of years Keith and I have made half-hearted attempts to eat lower on the food chain (i.e. more vegetarian). We aren't opposed to killing animals for food (I was raised on a sheep farm) but have been motivated to eat less meat for other reasons. One, because the less meat we all eat the more food there is to go around (it takes a lot less land to produce a pound of non-meat protein than meat protein). Two, because it is healthier. And three, because we are commanded to do so.
We made efforts now and again to create vegetarian meals but laziness always over came me and eventually I would resort to the old chicken stand-by. Coming up with non-boring vegetarian meals took more effort and creativity than I previously thought. It also required buying ingredients that I wasn't used to having on hand. I would rationalize by telling myself that we didn't eat meat every meal so it was okay.
The closer Charlie comes to eating "grown-up food" the more I realize that I need to learn a new way of cooking. His diet will be way more restrictive than a vegetarian diet (no dairy, beans, eggs, tofu, whole grains, etc) but if I can become comfortable with planning vegetarian meals it will make it easier on Charlie and me.
So lately I have been expanding my culinary horizons. I have cracked open and explored some new (an old but rarely used) cook books and have done some digging on the internet. I am experimenting with quinoa salads, roasted vegetable dishes, vegetarian soups, bean salads, and more. I try to make at least one (hopefully a few) really low protein dishes and then one protein rich dish. That way when Charlie is older he can eat all but one thing on the table and Keith and I will still be getting the protein we need.
I have a long way to go but I am finding that the switch isn't as hard as I thought. Yes it is taking more planning and effort but that is okay. All of those ingredients that I didn't have before, I am slowly accumulating and they will become the staples of my pantry.
It feels good to know that our meals are becoming a bit healthier for us and a bit better for the world but I am humbled that it took Charlie to motivate me to change. In so many ways, he has made our lives better than we ever could have imagined.