by Abelardo de la Pena Jr.
Like many parents, I’ve dreaded the teen years, when sons and daughters start their experimental phases. My wife and I learned a lot of lessons with our older kids, so throughout 17-year-old Alicia’s life, we’ve encouraged openness. Let’s talk about it first. Please.
The moment of reckoning finally came this spring when she said she wanted to try … vegetarianism.
We weren’t too surprised. She’s never liked steak, pork or even eggs. She was going to have to give up her beloved In-N-Out cheeseburgers, though. Yet, sensing she was up to the challenge, we not only OK’d it, we agreed that the three of us wouldn’t eat meat or fish at home.
As an on-the-go family, we’ve always prepared plenty of easy-to-make dishes featuring verduras (vegetables), frijoles (beans) and granos (grains). This project has been a little harder for me. I miss my carne asada.
But it couldn’t hurt for me to limit my meat (and therefore, most likely, my calorie) intake. It also couldn’t hurt U.S. Latino high school students: 16.6% of them are obese, and 18.1% are overweight (CNN.com 10.24.09). Alicia’s not one of them. She just likes the ethics of meat-free eating and the authentic taste of products like Soyrizo. And to my surprise, so do I. More Latino consumers are now looking for flavorful stand-ins for traditional favorites like chorizo; getting healthy is all in the family.