Friday, 20 May 2016

A Newly Vegetarian Meat Lover: Some Thoughts & Feelings

Linda Mccartney Meat Substitutes
Well, here's a blog post I never thought I'd be writing! You guys: I'm a vegetarian. An actual real life vegetarian. Like, I'm a herbivore. I haven't touched meat in five whole months* and I'm pretty proud of myself, honestly. I never thought I'd be able to do it for so long.

But wait, before you close the tab, this post isn't gonna be all about convincing you to go veggie too; I just want to note down a few of my thoughts, feelings and observations, as much for my own retrospective benefit as yours.

*alright so I forgot to change my plane food on the way home from Indonesia and also I ate a chicken pie my friend cooked for me the day I got home out of politeness, but these instances were still almost 4 months ago and I was an emotional wreck/jet-lagged respectively so we can just sweep that under the rug and carry on...

  1. I've made quite a few jokes about the fact that I'll probably "give up" vegetarianism at some point, but I actually might not. I might, but also, I might not; I'm an adult and I made a choice, a choice which is not a big red button somebody's banned me from pressing.

    If I do go back to eating meat, it won't be "giving up", because vegetarianism isn't a competition, with myself or anyone else, it's simply a more conscientious and responsible lifestyle (one where I'm not deliberately and blissfully ignorant about the atrocities that happens to animals and the environment for the sake of a burger). I may not be vegetarian forever, but I will never not be conscious of what I'm buying/eating now, and that's a big difference, at least.

  2. Linda McCartney got it. She just got it. There are some genuinely delicious meat alternatives that don't comprise of beans and beans only, and LM sausages are probably one of my top five favourite things now - edible and non-edible. Her burgers, though aesthetically grotesque, actually taste like beef. Guys: I'm not lying to you. This isn't one big ploy to convert you. Linda McCartney makes soya proteins and things TASTE. LIKE. MEAT.

    I had my first LM "beef" burger a couple of weeks ago while my friend gorged on his (real) meatballs and I kid you not, I cried. Actual tears of joy. That was the moment I realised I actually wanted to give this whole vegetarian thing a go long-term. That said...

  3. It is still so, so hard. Like it's so hard. I still crave meat all the time. My sister just said that she thinks it's easy, but she's been veggie for almost two years and didn't exactly live for meat beforehand so, I'm gently disregarding her opinion here. It's hard. At least at first. That said...

  4. Those people who say "I couldn't do it" - you could, I'm in that very boat. Some people have said things like "no you wouldn't understand, I REALLY love meat". Bro, I love meat too. I really do. Everyone CAN eat vegetarian, so don't give me that. The only thing stopping me eating a burger right now is the fact that I've actually, properly allowed myself to think about the horrors of the meat industry for the first time (see #12). When you do that, there's pretty much no going back. Things lose their appeal. And yes, that's as surprising to me as it is to you.

  5. I cannot lie to you: eating out is considerably less enjoyable, particularly in a small, not-very-cultured city like Chester (bring on my move to Manchester. I hear restaurants there serve vegetarian options that don't - shock horror - involve goats cheese. Not that goats cheese isn't delicious, because it is). This is probably the hardest part of being vegetarian, if I'm honest, because I love eating out more than most things in life and it's just lost it's... pizazz.

  6. Also, what's up with so many places charging the same for vegetarian meals as they do meaty ones?! Last month my friends and I went to an Istanbul BBQ place (torture. Actual torture.) and they charged the same for a stuffed bloody aubergine as they did for a chicken kebab. Nah.

  7. Post-night out McDonald's will never be the same, either (and let me just tell you something: it takes SERIOUS willpower not to order a McChicken Sandwich meal after multiple tequilas and whiskey & cokes... I am a champ). Long drives are also ruined forever... because what is a service station stop without a Quarter Pounder?
  8. Thank heaven and its angels for Pinterest. Coming up with meat-free meals is really fun, but not always easy. I used to eat chicken breast with veg and grains maybe twice a week, and then I'd cook casseroles and lasagne and chilli etc etc etc too; basically, I ate meat about five times a week. It's a real change.

  9. Quorn is a v v interesting brand; they sell Quorn "chorizo" (AND "pepperoni") and "pork" pies and LARDONS for goodness sake. The scotch eggs and cocktail sausages are deeeelicious (all future picnics sorted, buzzin) and the ham and chicken is fine. I'm yet to stray into more adventurous territory with Quorn, yet, but just know that I will.

  10. Fake bacon (read: facon) - give it a chance. Yes, it looks like an insole for your shoe, yes, it smells kinda like ass, and yes, it's the consistency of old, worn-out rubber, but chuck it in a toasted granary bread BLT with mayo and girl, you are in for a good time.

  11. I probably should've eased myself in gently. Y'know, Meat-Free Mondays etc etc, but here we are. If at any stage I do slip up, though, I'm gonna remember Lisa's advice: don't punish yourself; "there isn’t an all-seeing veggie god who’s going to strike you down if you accidentally (or accidentally on purpose) eat meat".

  12. Reading/watching videos about the meat industry really. Helps. I've definitely developed a bit of a conscience now and sometimes that is so necessary for willpower. Humans are awful.

  13. You can't really be a vegetarian and still buy leather shoes and bags, or cosmetics which have been tested on animals without a guilty conscience. This has been a bit of a smack in the face, but is a manageable change nonetheless (mostly because I'm too skint for bags, shoes and makeup lately anyway). That said, if anybody knows a cruelty free lipstick brand that rivals MAC (particularly their satin finish), PLEASE holla. This is important.

  14. Turns out you can't eat meat and be an animal lover, but it's only now that I realise that. Hypocrisy is everywhere; meat-eating "animal lovers" (like my former self) are everywhere. I suppose it's so easy not to think about what was done to the pig that provided bacon for that sandwich you're tucking into, because ignorance really is bliss.

  15. Some people get really mad at you for being vegetarian, even if you'd never lecture a soul. Don't ask me why, but they do.

  16. Having a partner in veggie crime is pretty important. My sister went vegetarian almost two years ago and she's one of the main reasons I decided to give it a go, too. It helps to have her around to cook with, bounce recipe ideas off and for general encouragement. After all, I'm much less likely to eat meat again under Hanna's watchful, judging eye.

  17. Protein is not an issue. Protein is abundant in so much of what I eat as a vegetarian, I really don't know why there's so much emphasis on this being a worry?

  18. It is possible to be a vegetarian and not be miserable. Who knew?

If you're vegetarian, what do you love/hate about it? Thinking of phasing meat out of your diet? Do you have any reservations?

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