Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Look ma, no meat

Cold bean salad + refried potatoes tossed with pesto
At the beginning of this year I made a change. It's not a huge change, but it feels important anyway: I'm now officially a vegetarian.

For years I've not eaten pork or fish and very little of any other meat. Not for any particular reason, other than I didn't enjoy it. Before I made the decision to become a vegetarian, I would eat a bit of chicken or turkey, maybe once a month. But only if, say we were having a curry or something at the inlaws' house. I wouldn't cook it myself. I'd have a burger at Burger King or McDonald's, but we don't go there very often and it's not exactly the height of cooking, eh? And certainly not terribly good for the planet (or humans).

That was pretty much it for my meat consumption. I don't enjoy meat, so being a vegetarian seems the obvious choice. It's better for you anyway. And it's better for the animals (obviously) and for the planet. Don't worry, I'm not going to start preaching vegetarianism to you! ;-)

The change to becoming a vegetarian hasn't been that big, in practice. I haven't changed a lot of what I eat since it was mostly vegetarian before anyway. But what has changed is what goes on in my head. I can't really explain it other than it feels like such a big relief! Instead of getting weird looks when saying that I don't like bacon or steak or whatever, now I can just say "no thank you, I'm vegetarian" and that's the end of it.

Apart from *those* people who have a hard time understanding how anyone can possibly live without meat and find it even harder to keep this disbelief to themselves. Which is a bit rude. I'm not telling them to become vegetarians.

It doesn't end with vegetarian, actually. I'd like to be a vegan, but that will be a longer transition. When I originally started this post in early January, I wrote this: "I'd like to be a vegan, but that will be a longer transition. Mainly because I *really* like chocolate milk! And what about butter? And sour cream? Pretty into sour cream as well. Not so much cheese; I pretty much only eat Parmesan and Mozzarella. And the occasional bit of cheddar. Seriously, a pizza without Mozzarella?"

Since I wrote that, I've found solutions to most of those!
I've made my own very delicious cheese-less pizza. Other than pizza and a bit on pasta, I don't really eat that much cheese, so this is not that big a deal for me. Although, any suggestions for making vegan quesadillas are very welcome!
Found an ok replacement for butter (this one) - because it doesn't have a lot of flavour on its own I sometimes mix it with garlic and a bit of salt, which makes it really nice on a slice of bread or in a roll.
I've been trying different milk replacements so I can indulge in my chocolate milk obsession, I've tried almond, hazelnut and coconut milk. So far coconut milk is the winner by far. I think it'll be nice with cereal as well!
I cut out sour cream completely and I don't actually miss it.
Oh and Burger King do a Veggie Bean Burger, which is quite nice, so we can still go and have junk food! ;-) The bean burger is actually a lot more filling than the beef one I'd have before! And a lot tastier!

I'm not vegan yet, but I'm cutting out or replacing the un-vegan things whenever I can. The things I eat have not become more boring because of my choice to become vegetarian/vegan. In fact, I think it may be less boring now, because I make more of an effort. If you make a conscious decision about what you eat (whatever that choice might be), then you should honour that choice and put that extra effort into the food too.

Here's a funny thing. When I was talking to Tony about my decision, he said that he wouldn't mind being a vegetarian too. Except for the fact that he doesn't like vegetables! ;-) And I think he'd miss his steaks and his bacon sarnies..

If you're a vegetarian (or vegan) and have some advice, tips or suggestions for me, I'd love to hear from you. :-)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1 comment:

Marguerite said...

I didn't discover my favorite chocolate milk until becoming a vegetarian last year: Silk Almond Milk, Dark Chocolate. It's available at most grocery stores here in the US, and I'm crossing my fingers you find it in your neck of the woods because it is marvelous!

I've thought about going vegan, but I really like cheese too. :D