Vegetarian Kids Need Summer Child Care, Too

Until last summer, my vegetarianism has never really made me feel marginalized, even though we live in a community without vegetarian restaurants, and I do not know any other vegetarian families in town. I admit that I have even found stories about how persecuted other vegetarian parents felt to be a little maudlin at times. Sure, my relatives have handed sausage to my toddler (she fed it to the dog), teachers have tried to get her to make lunchmeat snowflakes, and I’ve faced pressures of various kinds. But I have never seen this as a big problem. I have always felt pretty free to live our lives by our values and have not worried too much about the way that other people eat or wish that we ate. Last summer, however, I encountered some real barriers, and I am feeling a lot more sympathetic to the concerns that I have heard fellow vegetarian parents express over the years.

My daughter has always been in child-care due to my need to earn our living, but combining vegetarianism and child-care had never been difficult for me until my child reached elementary school age. Was I ever surprised at what I discovered! What I have found is that almost all of the summer child-care providers for school-aged kids in our community use the USDA Food Program, a federal program that reimburses child-care providers for the cost of the meals that they provide to the children. I knew this; many other child-care settings use the program, too, and I am a social worker and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about these things. I did not, however, know it would cause my family problems.

Upon approaching potential child-care providers and mentioning that my daughter was vegetarian and would need a vegetarian lunch or for me to pack her lunch from home, I was told that I would need a note from a doctor for her to be allowed a “special diet.” I explained that being a vegetarian was not a medical condition so I would not be able to produce a note saying that it was. They said that only medical and religious exemptions were allowed. Could I get a note from my church? Well, my belief in vegetarianism certainly coincides with the simplicity testimony of the Religious Society of Friends but not all Quakers, by any means, express the simplicity testimony by becoming vegetarians as I have done. My clerk might have written me a note discussing that connection, but it seemed a shaky sort of religious ground to me. What we really needed was a philosophical exemption, and these are not allowed according to the federal regulations that govern the program.

Under the USDA Food Program, child-care providers can serve a vegetarian diet to all of their children; they just can’t serve a meat-diet to some and a different diet to others without a medical or religious exemption, because it is considered discrimination. I spoke to a state level administrator in the program and she confirmed that this is true. It was clear from our conversation that she was aware of the problem I would face and unhappy about it. She talked about the program being behind the times and the need for change. I felt sure that the child-care providers and I could come up with something workable, but this official knew better. She had obviously seen this unfold before.

I certainly did not feel that they were obligated to fix something different for my daughter, and I have always been willing to fix her food myself, but most of the summer programs were not open to the idea of my packing my own child’s lunch. They would not be reimbursed from the food program for my child if she did not eat their lunch, and it would interfere with their reports and their finances to a small extent. Most programs count on the meal reimbursements to help pay for their programs and figure the meal reimbursement into the equation. Just taking the meat out of their lunch and letting me provide them with a substitute for that part was also frowned upon. They worried that such shenanigans would get them in trouble. Also, it would mean more work for them. That sounds awful, but it must be understood that most child-care providers are underpaid for the cost of the service they provide, understaffed due to these funding issues and very heavily regulated. While I badly needed them to try to be more flexible, I also could understand their point of view, given the regulations of the Food Program.

This left me with a very big problem, indeed. We needed summer child-care and my daughter needed a healthy, vegetarian lunch every day, but I found the regulations made that nearly impossible. Thankfully, I eventually did find a program that was not hung up on their reimbursement numbers and was willing to let my daughter bring a lunch from home to circumvent the lack of a philosophical exemption from the menu…only one, though. This adventure has made me aware of the need for a little social action on this issue. We were very lucky to find a program that could afford to be flexible and not everyone in our situation will be so fortunate.

Most summer child-care programs for school-aged children are dependent on the reimbursements they receive and cannot afford to go without very many of them. The high expense of providing child-care is why programs like the USDA Food Program exist in the first place. Not being reimbursed for one child might not be a heavy burden to them, but they do have to think about the big picture. If lots of children started requesting “special diets” for which they would not receive reimbursement, the child-care providers might be in real financial trouble. Child-care providers receiving government subsidies also face real concerns about perceived discrimination issues … what constitutes a good reason to allow a child to eat a non-reimbursable lunch and what doesn’t? They are between a rock and a hard place, too, just as my family is, unless the USDA changes its reimbursement rules.

There is a need for the USDA Food Program to institute a philosophical exemption for menu changes in child-care settings so that vegetarian schoolchildren do not end up being excluded from summer child-care placements due to this snarl of regulations and reimbursement needs. A child should not have to violate her principles or go hungry because she needs child-care, but, unfortunately, that is how the system is currently arranged under the USDA Food Program. I believe that we can fix this. Please write to your Congressional Representative and Senator and encourage them to legislate that the program include a philosophical exemption in childcare settings so that vegetarian meals can be provided to vegetarian children. Such a change would allow child-care providers to be reimbursed for providing those meals without fear of repercussions. This is not, of course, the sort of issue that many members of Congress are going to embrace as a cause, but they should be willing to make a regulatory change that increases the convenience with which their own constituents interact with the Food Program if their own constituents ask them to do so. Please ask them. Vegetarian families like mine, who need summer child-care, will thank you.

Local Cuisine Restaurants From Coorg Tourism

Coorg tourism is incomplete without the various local cuisine restaurants because food is always a great attraction for tourists and when on holiday, tourists love to experience and try the local dishes. The dishes of Coorg are quite different from the common Indian food and hence it gives a new and different experience to tourists. Through the local dishes the tourists get to enjoy the authentic spices and tastes of Coorg. The likes of East End Hotel, Kodava Cuisine and Athithi are the famous local cuisine restaurants in Coorg.

Kodava Cuisine:-

Kodava Cuisine by its name only indicates that it is a local cuisine restaurant as the name means Coorg Cuisine. It does not have a fancy location or a striking ambience, and it is only and only known for its delicious food. It is a small and easy to locate restaurant, situated on the first floor of a nondescript building. The food here is made in the authentic and natural style of Coorg with the local flavours and spices and gives the tourists the real essence of the Coorg food. It is one of the most famous restaurants in Coorg among the locals. Kodava Cuisine restaurant serves the best Pandhi Curry (pork curry) in the whole of Coorg along with Idiyappam. It is an important part of one’s Coorg trip as it gives the tourists the opportunity to experience the authentic and proper food of Coorg.

East End Hotel:-

The East End Hotel has a better ambience than that of the Kodavi Cuisine restaurant, but it is too well known majorly because of its food. The East End hotel is also one of the few local cuisine restaurants in Coorg. The dishes in this restaurant are on the spicier side as they are made with the authentic local spices of Coorg. The popular dishes of this restaurant are the non-vegetarian ones and they should be accompanied with the large variety of chutneys offered by this restaurant and preferably a cool glass of buttermilk. This restaurant adds to the attraction of Coorg Tourism as it gives the tourists a chance to experience and enjoy the local dishes and get a sense of the taste and spices of Coorg.

Athithi:-

Atithi is not typically a restaurant serving only the local cuisine of Coorg, but is a South Indian restaurant serving delicious dishes with recipes from the whole of South India. It is a vegetarian restaurant and the food is served on banana leaves to give the natural essence of South India as most locals in the southern part of India eat on banana leaves rather than plates. This makes for an exciting value add for visitors looking for different experiences of Coorg Tourism. This is not a very expensive restaurant and is value for money, which helps it to attract a larger portion of the tourists making it a popular restaurant in Coorg. The specialties of this restaurant are rava dosa, masala dosa, idli and vada. The tourists get the true essence of South India with the delicious filter coffee served at this restaurant.

Vegetarian Times Magazine

The vegetarian times magazine contains all the information you require on vegetarianism. This includes dieting, food calories, how to become a vegetarian and much more. The vegetarian items magazine is priceless especially for the newbie in the world of vegetarianism. You will find articles on how to cook your vegetarian meal, how to save or the nutrients in these meals and how to combine these meals with exercises.

If you want to advertise that great vegetarian recipe, the place to do it is in the vegetarian times magazine. Also, if you are looking for great recipes, this is the place to start from. If you have no idea of how to prepare any vegetarian meal, this is a great platform for you.For information regarding vegetarianism, this is the place to look for. You will find contact details of vegetarian nutrition lists here. For frequently asked questions, the answers are found in the section where they are answered by the magazines expert nutritionists. You can also write to them and the answers will be in their questions and answers sections.

Different companies also advertise their vegetarian products here. Where to get a vegetarian restaurant, is in the vegetarian times magazine. Advice on best foods for different ages, gender, occupation type and health condition is also here. If you have a health condition and you want advice or the best foods for your condition, you will find the advice in the vegetarian times magazine. It is however, recommended that you seek a doctor’s advice on the best foods for your condition.