Tag Archives: vegetarianism

The One Where I Decide To Give Up Vegetarianism Forever…

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Oh, yes. You read the title right. Unless you didn’t… in which case, do that real quick and meet me back here.

Oh, yes. You read the title right.  I’m giving up vegetarianism forever.  With Thanksgiving having just passed and Christmas quickly approaching, a few things occur to me. One is that I just missed out on mostly everything on the dinner table on Thanksgiving. Again. Just like last year.  My aunt made some yams which smelled like what amazing might smell like if it had the inclination to smell like anything.  I was pretty excited about that until, of course, she poured an obscenely sized bag of mini marshmallows on top of them.  I watched as my beautiful orange dreams disappeared under a mountain of harsh white reality.

Now, if you’re not a vegetarian, you might not understand why those marshmallows had ruined my life.  It’s because they’re filled with animals.  Specifically, gelatin.  Gelatin, as we all know, is hydrolyzed animal collagen. Putting aside the food holidays for a moment, let’s consider ALL the other things that are rendered inedible to me because of that cheap and readily available product: gummy bears, gummy anything, starbursts, cheesecake, yogurt, pop tarts, jello (duh), and basically everything else ever made that I want to put in my mouth when I’m angry, PMSing, or sitting on the bed watching Boyfriend Scott play League of Legends when it’s cold and I want to cuddle the heat out of him.  Don’t get me wrong; I like watching him play, and if I was able to power down some pop tarts, maybe my body could manage the energy to make its own damn heat.

But that’s just gelatin. There are also the enzymes. Oh, the dreaded enzymes.

Now, I always knew cheese was not vegan. That only stands to reason seeing as how it is made with a substance that you have to coax out from a cow by rather unseemly means, but I didn’t know until two years ago that cheese was not even vegetarian.  You can credit a very special episode of Jeff Corwin’s “Extreme Cuisine”, wherein he was describing the ingredients of cheese, for my realization of this one.  I believe his exact words were “enzymes from the lining of a cow’s stomach”.  It makes sense, of course.  Enzymes catalyze chemical reactions, and in this case the product is cheese.  Which, thanks to Jeff “has no business being on the food channel” Corwin, I can no longer eat.  Milk bothers me enough as it is, but I’ve always been able to muscle through the knowledge of what it is and where it comes from.  As a vegetarian, however, I can’t actually go around consuming cow parts, no matter how small they may be.  That meant that cheese was out.  It’s only after you can’t eat cheese that you realize it’s in everything.  It’s in your bread, it’s in your crackers, it’s in chips, it’s in your toothpaste*, it’s in your dreams, and more importantly, it’s in your nightmares.  It’s everywhere, and once you know something, you can’t un-know it.

Enzymes showed up one  fateful day on my TV, and have haunted me from then on… because, as it turns out, they are also used in the production of countless other tasty things that I had to resign myself to an empty life without.

Until now. This Christmas, I am headed out of my little corner of the planet and off to Boyfriend Scott’s corner in Iowa, and I know everyone he’s ever met in his life is going to offer me food. The prospect of having to turn everything down, and worse – having to to explain to a brand new batch of people my vegetarianism, makes me sad and tired. I want to say, “yes!”. I’m eating pie and cookies, and I’m not asking what’s in them. By God, I’m eating everything.

Why, yes, Boyfriend Scott’s Mom, I would like a piece of that honey glazed meat-stuffed animal piece of art. What’s that, Boyfriend Scott? Would I like some of that macaroni and cheese? Yes, I would. Thank you for asking. Oh, hot chocolate with marshmallows? Of course!

And while I’m at it, I’m going to eat a cheeseburger, chilli fries, a burrito, a meat sandwich with EXTRA meat, every starburst on the face of this world (and other worlds if I can get my hands on them), teriyaki chicken bowls (SEVERAL BOWLS), a horse (I hear they’re good for when you’re hungry), and, I don’t know… some orange juice or something. BACON orange juice.  Then I’ll sit back and enjoy the inevitable psychological torment, the first time I’ve been full since I was a little girl, and Boyfriend Scott’s arms as he gently carries me off to the hospital.

Which is an interesting segue to the actual point of this blog post. I’m going to quickly debunk a common myth: that vegetarianism is always better for you. Vegetarianism is not necessarily a healthy choice for some people because most people don’t know how to be a vegetarian.  As I’ve exhibited rather theatrically above, it’s difficult to find things to eat. I was once told by a doctor that he considers vegetarianism an eating disorder, because it is about restriction to a certain extent. Either people will restrict too much, or they won’t be able to find ways to make up for the lack of protein, iron, vitamins, and various etceteras in their diet. It can be a little on the unsafe side.  I’ve been a vegetarian for decades (sounds so much more official than “20 years”), and I still suck at this sometimes. Boyfriend Scott routinely hides walnuts in my food to aid in the matter.

Sigh. Vegetarianism, you cruel and beautiful mistress. I owe it to you to keep trying.

Aw, you didn’t really think I was going to give up being a vegetarian, did you? Hell no. I’d have to change the name of my blog. I’m much too lazy for that.  I just like to fantasize about being a normal person sometimes.  Which brings me to the second point of this post… Meat eaters, go easy on your vegetarian friends during the holidays. Especially if they seem extra angry, because what you’re mistaking for grumpiness is actually just jealousy and hunger.  I’m just glad I won’t be home this year to be asked, yet again, if I want every meat product on the table by my father, and be forced to do that thing where I’m half playfully annoyed and half actually annoyed. Anyhow, if you want to be a vegetarian, do the research and be safe. Which hipster-vegans aren’t, because they’re still doing everything exactly wrong.  It’s definitely a healthy life style choice if you’re doing it right.

Or just eat meat like a normal person.

*There’s no cheese in toothpaste. As far as I know.

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Wherein I Apologize To A Chicken For Being A Vegetarian

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During my tenure as a human being, I discovered rather early on that people don’t seem to like people who are different from them.  Even when they accept your differences, well, they still have to make it known that they accept you even though you’re different.  In fact, you’re not just yourself, you’re actually just a sub-classification of what everyone else is.

I recently witnessed an internet argument wherein someone decided it’d be a barrel of laughs to bash vegetarianism publicly.  The argument had started when a man had posted a link to a captioned picture that basically called any vegetarian who wouldn’t eat a piece of chicken that accidentally ended up on their plate an “asshole”.  Now, I’m not one to get easily offended or back off from things so quickly, so I kind of chuckled to myself and decided to read on to find out why, exactly, I was being called an “asshole” by  someone who’d never met me or most of the people he was insulting.  You see, I would not eat that piece of chicken.

Well, internet, it turns out I am being termed as an expletive, because that chicken would have died in vain because of me.  I preach for the animals, and then I let them go to waste. Apparently.

Firstly, no. No, I don’t preach for the animals.  I keep my thoughts mostly to myself, especially lately in this weird hipster-vegan vegetarian climate.  I don’t want to force my views on anyone, but here I am being called an “asshole” by someone who wants to label my sense of conviction as “hypocritical”.  If I were to eat every single piece of animal that ended up on my plate, I wouldn’t be a vegetarian. I’d be a meat-eater who ate meat very selectively.  Your argument, whoever you are, that it’s my fault that chicken is going to waste is just your way of forcing the issue that, for some reason, you don’t like vegetarians.  We can’t do anything right because you don’t like what we believe, and since you can’t understand why we wouldn’t eat that piece of chicken on our plate… we’re hypocritical assholes.  It’s not my fault that there’s a farm out in the middle of nowhere slaughtering animals, nor is it my fault if some waiter accidentally slips me a piece of chicken or even the completely wrong order filled with meat. I don’t eat meat for an array of reasons, and some of the less important reasons include the fact that the idea of putting that in my mouth makes me want to gag.  So, no.  I wouldn’t eat it.  That doesn’t make me an asshole, that makes me a vegetarian.

Or, you know, just an omnivore who’s choosing not to eat meat… according to some people.

So, after having been called names for sticking to my belief system in times of trial, I went on to read the comments to the aforementioned post.  A woman who seemed to agree wholeheartedly with it, remarked that vegetarians are all ridiculous.  We’re not born vegetarians, we choose to be. Remember how I said that “you’re not yourself, you’re just a sub-classification” of what everyone else is? Yeah, that gem belongs to her.  Apparently, there’s no such thing as “vegetarians”.  Humans are omnivores by nature, and “choosing” not to eat meat doesn’t change that fact.  I would like to address my next paragraph to this woman.

Darling, you see… “choosing” does, indeed, change the fact.  Just having a choice changes the fact.  I have a mind of my own, and I have free will, and I will never eat meat again. You cannot call me an omnivore, because you would be incorrect.  My body may be built to process meat, but I, as a person, am not.  I’m myself, and not a sub-classification of what you are, just because you think what you are is right or better, or the way people are “supposed” to be.  I can think of quite a few other things that would help me along in this argument, but I’ll keep them to myself seeing as how the majority of this rant has been about vegetarianism.  I’ll just leave it at: it must be hard being your friend if that’s how you think.  Let’s hope it doesn’t translate in to every facet of your life, or you must be a very closed-minded and bigoted person.

I am a vegetarian because I choose to be, but that doesn’t make it any less valid… and since I choose to be, I choose to stick with it even if, every so often, it means a chicken has to die in vain because I refuse to eat it.

By the way, I’m sorry about that, Chicken.

Being A Vegetarian In a Hipster-Vegan World

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So, as a vegetarian, there are certain things I have become wearily accustomed to.  I am used to being offered various meat products by everyone which, when it’s someone I’m hanging out with for the first time seems like a nice gesture, but when it’s my dad whom I’m relatively certain has known me my whole life, it’s just redundant.  That stopped being funny when I was ten.  I say ten because that’s when my memories really start coming in to focus, and if this was ever funny, it definitely wasn’t by then.  I am also used to being asked by every new person who happens to discover that I’m a vegetarian if I eat fish. When I say no, the question is almost invariably followed up by asking me if I eat chicken.

No, Internet.  No, I don’t.

However, while those things are admittedly pet peeves of mine, I can usually just smile and shrug.  This is my lot in life.  No one is forcing me to be a vegetarian.  I can deal with these examples of lameness.  Recently, though, my father repeated a joke that he had heard on the radio back to me: “The difference between vegetarians and vegans is that vegetarians are annoying.  Vegans are really annoying.”

You can’t hear it, but I am sighing audibly.  Jokes like this? They’re harder to shrug off.  The truth is, I know there is a stereotype.  I know there is a stigma.  It seems like whenever a group of people do anything remotely different from the majority, it’s got to be bashed by someone, somewhere. The sad part, though, is that I understand why vegetarians are made fun of. I understand it so much, that I am recently reluctant to tell new people that I even am a vegetarian. It’s all these new hipster-vegans coming out of the woodwork, driving their Priuses and giving all their meat-eating friends that icily pretentious stare that clearly says, “I’m better than you because of my DIET”.

Hipster-vegans, you are DOING IT WRONG.

Just as I learned a long time ago that I don’t like being poked and prodded about what and how I eat, I know that meat-eaters don’t like that either.  You’re not scoring yourself any points with anyone when you stare at your friend’s food and judge them based on the amount of animal they are about to consume. For my part, I figure it’s one of those “live and let live” type deals.  You want to eat cow? Please, eat cow! Eat cow all day, every day.  Enjoy it, dammit. I may not like it; it might even make me sad if I think about it too long… but hell if I will ever mention that aloud to a friend who is about to tuck happily in to dinner.  Hell if I will ever mention it to a friend at all.  It’s not my business, and it’s not my place.  As long as they’re not giving me crap about my heaping plate of broccoli florets and carrot sticks, why should I even care?

Now, the epic level of irony in this post has not escaped me.  I realize that I am more or less stating that I was a vegetarian before it was cool and that I’m better at it than everyone else, which in turn makes me seem like a hipster vegetarian myself.  I won’t deny it. I won’t even argue the point.  What I will say is that I was a vegetarian before it was cool.  I became a vegetarian when I was 5, and that was before anything was cool.  At some point there has to be some kind of line between when saying that is irritating, and when saying that is just true.  I remember when being a vegetarian just meant I didn’t eat meat.  Now, apparently, it means I’m a tree-hugging animal rights activist.  True, the stigma’s always been there, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s significantly worse these days. I partially blame Alicia Silverstone, I partially blame the democratic party. I mostly blame animals.

My point, anyhow, is never get in involved in a land war in Asia. My other point is this: It’s good to have ideals and to stand by your convictions, but it’s less good to constantly throw them in other peoples’ faces.  You extremists are giving the rest of us a bad name.  I don’t want to have to add in my little, “But I’m not crazy” disclaimer every time I tell someone I don’t eat meat.

I’m talking to you, PETA.