I like food. All kinds. Veggies, fruit, seafood, and yes, meat, especially salami (except liver.. I will never understand how that can be classified as food) and I firmly believe that a diet comprised of all food groups, in moderation, is the recipe for a healthy, happy life. I do not understand how any diet that completely eliminates any one food group can be beneficial. At best, it’s just not fun. Good food, good wine is one of life’s few pleasures and I would sooner enjoy pairing a nice merlot with a medium rare steak, than with a shriveled portobello mushroom doused with bbq sauce and an eggplant slaw, yum.

Eating a balance from every food group ensures the body gets all nutrients, whereas a diet excluding meats, seafoods, etc  requires a very careful review of what proteins and vitamins one gets from veggies and legumes. (you can only eat so much humus) Tofu is common to most vegan/vegetarian diets because it’s high in protein and takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it in, often appearing as a meat substitute because it has a slightly dense chewy texture. (Personally I’d rather chew on the soles of my sneakers)

I have 3 children, one of which became a vegetarian several years ago. I thought it would just be a passing phase but no, she is quite adamant that no meat will ever touch her lips again. In fact, she since had a child and has agreed (reluctantly) with her husband, who is a voracious meat eater, to raise their child as a Pescetarian. (sounds like something that should hurt, doesn’t it?) That was their compromise and it didn’t come without repercussions. Cooking three different meals every day is a challenge. A vegetarian diet is very labour intensive – ya gotta peel and chop a lot of veggies to make a meal! And fresh produce, like seafood, is costly and perishable. So the choice of going vegetarian is not one to take lightly. You have to be committed to accepting limited food options (and a life without a decent meal) and you can never ever give up wine. It’s the only way to wash down yet another mushroom meal.

I’ve scoured the grocery stores for vegetarian friendly foods because I struggle with finding new and interesting meals to make when my daughter comes to visit. Her husband is easy – carnivore that he is, I just toss him a slab of meat, any meat, and he’s happy. Their daughter, the Pescetarian, eats most fish luckily, which opens up a whole bunch of options for a good meal. (I still maintain a nice European  salami not only provides good flavor but it also makes a great teething device)  It’s the strictly vegetarian menu I find hard to satisfy. You can buy vegetarian sausages, burgers and meat flavoured meals that boast they look and taste like meat, which begs the question,,,’if you want it to look like and taste like meat, why don’t you just eat meat?’ What’s the point in simulating the flavor – just eat it. (have they come up with a vegetarian substitute for salami?)

I wonder…do vegetarians not crave bacon when they smell it cooking? How about the turkey or roast beef aroma that fills the house…doesn’t it make their mouth water? And when they sit down to dinner and those around them are slathering their meat and potatoes with gravy, are they really content with yet another stuffed pepper poached in vegetable stock? How many new ways are there to cook an egg plant? (I find a nice thick slab of German salami fixes everything…in fact, if you dice it up nice and fine and stash it in that pepper it might even make that palatable)

I suppose I’m lucky that she’s only a vegetarian. The vegan or gluten free diet is painfully restrictive – how is it possible that we bred an entire population of kids intolerant to gluten?  I think they should just give up eating altogether, drink some vitamin supplement and be done with it cause I haven’t tasted a vegan dish yet that was worth swallowing.

I suppose at the end of the day, the choice to give up meat is a personal one. My daughter read a book called Skinny Bitch and it was the feeding and treatment of animals that turned her off. For some it might be that they don’t like the taste, and if that’s the case, you’re just not cooking it right. I respect your right to eat what you like but I feel sorry anyone who can’t enjoy a turkey dinner at Christmas, or roast beef Sundays, and by the way, you’re getting socks for your birthday….I returned the International Foods 5 Continent Salami basket I bought you (ok, I ate it)

vegetarian                                       man-eats-drumstick

2 thoughts on “Vegetarians, Vegans and Meat Eaters, oh my!

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