Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Why are you vegetarian?"

A couple of you may know that this isn't my first attempt at blogging. The first time was back in high school. Then in college. Again a few years ago, but I quasi-accidentally deleted that Google account and lost everything.

In trying to think of what to write about, I thought maybe I'd explain my vegetarianism again. Not that I feel a need to explain myself, but people do ask fairly frequently. So I dug through the file of old posts on my computer to see what I wrote before.

September 19, 2008
There's no religious reason. I don't have ethical concerns. No cultural or family backgrounds preceded my recent change of habits.

Internet research has been surprisingly unhelpful in trying to make sense of this. Then I found this from Wikipedia, the holy source of all things (often inaccurate):

"Some vegetarians choose to be so in part because they find meat and meat products aesthetically unappetizing. The Whole Earth Vegetarian Catalogue's '49 good reasons for being a vegetarian' says that one reason for being a vegetarian is that 'Decaying animal parts, whether in a freezer case or served in restaurants, can never be as aesthetically pleasing to the senses as the same foods made from wholesome vegetable sources. Only habit can allow one not to perceive this: a change in diet makes this self evident.'"

Well there's something that actually makes sense. As much sense as anything right now. My boyfriend's mom asked me last night if I was "going vegetarian" on her. As it turns out, a couple appropriate terms would be "Semi-vegetarian," or "Flexitarian.", although vegan, could replace for me. I'll just use real eggs instead of substitute, butter instead of whatever-the-hell, regular sugar and flour. Basically I'm going to pour animal by-products all throughout their cleansed recipes. It'll all be so tasty, though. I think first up is going to be pumpkin cookies. I'll always love allrecipes for giving me the world's best chocolate chip cookies, though.

I'm finding that it is difficult to eat vegetarian at restaurants. Most places are seeing the need for veggie foods, so they have one option. Maybe two. Geez.

Now I'm starting to see this cultural idea of "must have meat." Maybe it's really "we have the money for meat, so we have to eat it at every meal." Seriously, every meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Possibly even a meaty snack. Yes, I've eaten that way in the past. I think I may have already eaten half a life's worth of meat already. I need to slow down or I’m going to be all out of meat before I turn 50. Gack!

This seems hilarious to me in a lot of ways, almost three years later. I'm now ovo-lacto vegetarian and never eat meat or meat-based broth if I can help it. My now-mother-in-law makes me delicious veggie alternatives at family gatherings. For the most part, my family and friends tease me less about it than they used to.

Honestly, I figured that not eating meat was just a phase, and that I'd "go back" before too long. At first, I gained weight because I didn't know how to healthfully eat meatlessly. Now I feel better and healthier than ever, and even try to incorporate some vegan foods into my diet. But 99% of the time, other people's meat consumption doesn't bother me. It's a personal choice I feel good about, but not one that I think everyone should necessarily make.

I do use eggs, butter and non-vegan sugar. But food has become increasingly about ethics for me, so I buy local and organic when possible. Now that I know how to modify recipes to make them vegetarian without tasting like they're lacking something, I get recipes and ideas from anywhere and everywhere.

And those cookies I mentioned nearly three years ago? Funny story. Chocolate chip. Vegan pumpkin.

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