Monday, July 24, 2017

Accidental Vegetarian


I had a friend once many, many years ago who was a vegetarian.  She didn't make any attempt to eat healthy, however.  She joked about how she didn't really like vegetables and lived on junk food.
I wonder if there is a different term for someone who just doesn't eat meat, but doesn't necessarily eat a lot of vegetables.

I have always been a big meat eater.  I love my prime rib, my leg of lamb and stuff like that.
One of my favorite restaurant meals was veal scaloppini or veal parmesan.  Whenever we went to an Italian restaurant that was my standard order.

But one day when our kids were in nursery school, we took a field trip to the UCD cattle area, where the mothers were hooked up to milking machines and the babies were kept in little "dog houses" and bottle fed.  It never occurred to me before that the way you get milk is to take lactating mother and milk her, while her baby gets bottle fed.  

This offended the La Leche League mother in me from the get go.

But I also took a look at those little faces and realized that the cute little calf I was oohing and aahing over could very possibly be the veal dish on my next Italian dinner.  I stopped eating veal then and there.  It had nothing to do with nutrition, and everything to do with "cute animal syndrome."

We had a friend who became a vegetarian after she saw Bambi and was served venison for dinner.
Everybody has their own reasons for becoming vegetarian.

I am not a vegetarian and still eat meat most nights, but my taste for it has significantly decreased.  I kind of choke down half of whatever the meat entree from Home Chef is for that night, and Walt usually gets the other half.

But I am aware that my feeling toward meat is changing.  I no longer pop in for a quick fast-food hamburger any more, my thoughts about ads for Outback Steakhouse are that I sure would like that bloomin' onion and that there is no way whatever that I could ever finish the steak--or that it even looked appealing.  I went to the store the other day and could not bring myself to buy hamburger.  It just looked gross.

I have watched with horror as lobsters are thrown into boiling water, screaming, or torn apart while alive on chef shows.  But then I don't like lobster.  I try not to think that the same thing happens to crab, because I like crab!

I am happy when lamb season comes around and you can get lamb without mortgaging your house.  I try not to think about the happy little milk-fed lambs romping about in the fields, who may become an entree on my plate, as I poke cloves of garlic into their flesh.

I am a hypocritical wanna be vegetarian.

And I don't even much like vegetables, which is an impediment to becoming a vegetarian. I have to admit, though, that Home Chef, and Blue Apron before it, has ways of helping me cook some vegetables that I am starting to like them ... and eating more vegetables on my plate than meat (I just discovered mashed cauliflower!)

I'm more wishy-washy about fish (pun intended).

I have always liked cod, ever since I was a kid, but I've never seen a cod that wasn't just a fleshy white rectangle.  I'm not fond of salmon, unless its lox on a bagel.  But again, there is nothing cute about a salmon.
The new "in" fish is tilapia, but I don't much like it in the first place, and when I read about the garbage in the fish ("Farmers commonly feed the fish chicken and pig poop.") it was no sacrifice to stop eating tilapia.  Also they say that "Tilapia contains a TON of omega-6 fatty acids, which are terrible for you. The quantity of omega-6 in tilapia is higher than a hamburger or bacon."

I can go either way with pork.  

Cute little piglets aside, I don't know of things that are made with "piglets" and my luck with cooking pork has not been good over the years.  Always too dry, though again, Home Chef and Blue Apron have helped me do better with that.

But pork has never been a big favorite of mine, unless it is bacon or sausage.  My scruples about meat don't extend to those two products.

Somehow I don't think of "chicken" in the meat field and I do cook and eat some chicken, mostly chicken thighs.


So I don't know if I have a label.  All I know is that I am slowly weaning myself off of (some) meats and trying to eat more vegetables, filling in, where there are gaps, with things like crackers and ice cream.  It's probably not the ideal diet.


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