I grew up on meat and potatoes. And for a long time, I kept that tradition—quite literally—at my own table. Every evening I'd serve my husband hamburgers, chicken, pork chops, or steak . . . and potatoes. My idea of gourmet cooking was to add some rice or mix in a little salt. Sometimes I even used butter.
Then, abruptly, the tradition ended. My father-in-law suffered a heart attack; and, shaken with fear, I modified my menu. No more hamburgers or steak.
I now served chicken, potatoes, salad, and no butter.
Soon after starting this new meal plan, however, I became pregnant. And with great gumption, my doctor asked me to eat green things. I rose to the challenge. "You mean salad?" I asked.
"I mean broccoli or spinach," my doctor replied.
"Broccoli?" I whimpered. "Do I have to?" It seemed a little beyond my kitchen skills—and my taste. But love for my unborn child eventually changed my plate's contents: chicken, potatoes, salad . . . and broccoli.
I thought I was good for life.
A Fork in the Road
Then in my early thirties, life changed. A dear friend, 15 years my senior, unexpectedly became a vegetarian. She'd struggled with severe allergies and chronic fatigue, had researched her treatment options, and had finally decided vegetarianism could help. I was doubtful about her choice and still pleased with my own eating approach. Secretly, I wondered, Why would anyone add more broccoli to her diet?1