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Family Challenges



Asado Ossabaw pork at the Choptico Piscataway Spring Festival

The biggest challenge we're facing so far in sticking to EAT-Lancet recommendations is social pressure to eat meat when we're outside of our own homes, or when family comes over and wants to treat everyone to dinner out. It's hard to be an example that people want to follow when you've become one of "those people" - the kind that broadcasts their food values in public social settings in a way that comes off as judgmental or self-righteous. Nobody likes those people, and nobody wants to do what they do.


This Saturday we had a tribal festival celebrating the vernal equinox, and about two-dozen people were on hand to split an entire leg of venison, ten pounds of pork shoulder, another five pounds of sausage, and at least a half dozen fried chickens. Festivals and celebrations are (to us) the most appropriate time to gorge on meat, and so we did. There was an overwhelming amount of leftovers remaining after the festival; a solid two pounds of meat per person will do that. There's an unspoken tradition at family/tribal gatherings to send leftovers home with families with young children... so Annie and I got sent home with almost all of it. We did not refuse, because to do so would be regarded as rude in the extreme.


Throwing away that food would be a near-criminal act of elitism and thoughtlessness; so we spent the next several days eating almost nothing BUT chicken and deer (the pork, which was from our farm, was devoured in its entirety at the festival) and funneling as much of it to the kids as possible, since we're not subjecting their growing brains and bodies to any limitations on meat. Just when we'd mowed through all of it and were prepared to get back to our meal plan, Annie's side of the family visited, and offered to treat us and Annie's cousin (who was visiting from NYC) to dinner at the only restaurant in our tiny town.


Angelo's of Montross is not a place with light meat or vegetarian options. It's an Italian-cum-seafood restaurant reflecting the affinity of the small town's locals for pizza and the abundant seafood of the nearby Chesapeake Bay. And I'll be damned if I'm going to be that fella who goes out to a restaurant and orders a salad. EAT-Lancet has a very generous allowance for fish and shellfish, so I ordered that (Annie ordered an oyster po'boy) and a salad the size of a human head; managing with some surprise to remain within the diet's guidelines without anyone really noticing.


All in all, last week(end) was a fun and interesting challenge - attempting to remain within the limits of the HRD while adhering to age-old cultural norms and enjoying our families' generosity... and simultaneously remaining mostly silent about it, lest our EAT-Lancet challenge be regarded as some kind of eco-dietary fanaticism. We mostly succeeded, and are back on track with our meal planning as of this week.

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