Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vegetarian... Maybe

On Monday I made sausage lasagna for dinner.

On Tuesday I decided to be a vegetarian.

That makes it sound like a whim, but in actuality, it was all quite a process. I just haven't felt good about eating meat for a while now. I grew up in a family that ate meat, but certainly not as our primary source of protein or sustenance. We might have a couple of grilled chicken breasts for the whole family, tossed in a Caesar salad, or even eat hamburgers once in a while, but having meat-free meals was very common when I was young. Now I'm married to a carnivore, and while I love cooking for him, he really would have trouble if I tried to make him adapt to my eating habits.

What I've come to realize is that I've been equally unhappy adapting to his! I don't want to eat meat as a main course every night for dinner. In fact, I'm not sure I want to eat meat at all. I don't even really like most forms of meat! Add to that horrifying slaughterhouse practices, known hormones present in non-organic meats, and a general discomfort with making animals a prevalent source of protein in my life; all these things contribute to my current decision to give vegetarianism a try. It's not that I think eating meat is a sin, it's just that my conscience has bothered me enough about it lately to make me wonder if for me, it might just be the wrong thing right now. God gave us so many wonderful plant sources of protein, and when he gave mankind dominion over animals, it's hard to imagine that his plan was animals raised solely to provide massive quantities of food - animals that never see the light of day, never roam their natural habitats, never scratch for food or run free.

I've been a vegetarian for two and a half days now and I think I love it. I've eaten hummus spread on warm pita bread, roasted cauliflower, pear slices dipped in cashew butter, spicy lentil chili, roasted salted chickpeas, crunchy sweet apples, the best pizza ever, and other such deliciousness.

Since I'm excited about this new horizon before me, I figured I might as well share the decision with my faithful readers. Go ahead and chime in with your thoughts - I've already heard a few people exclaim how ridiculous I'm being, or that I'm adding further complexity to what is already a dietarily complex marriage (my husband doesn't eat fruits or vegetables) by creating additional divisiveness at the dinner table.

And sure enough, the New York Times doesn't bode well for our marriage: I Love You, but You Love Meat states, an age when many people define themselves by what they will eat and what they won’t, dietary differences can put a strain on a romantic relationship. The culinary camps have become so balkanized that some factions consider interdietary dating taboo.

But then again, there are plenty of couples who compromise in the kitchen every day for years, and are quite happy!

For now, being a vegetarian is temporary and I'm certainly open to changing my mind in the future. The important thing for me right now is that after contemplation, reading, and prayer, I feel good about this decision.


  1. When I'm not pregnant I'd be perfectly content to be a vegetarian. I tend to cook more that direction anyways, but I don't turn away from meat entirely because Matt would protest. And I'd really rather not add more complexity to my menu planning by having to do meat and no-meat options with some of my meals. But as it stands, I very seldom do a hunk of meat with a vegetable and starch sort of meal as seems common on many tables. When I'm not pregnant, I really don't care much for meat anyway.

    However, when I'm pregnant I start craving steak and roasts and beef stews and meaty things like that. I guess my body needs the additional protein... but I don't know why I can't crave more chickpeas or something!

  2. Honestly, vegetarianism can be a very sensible, well-rounded diet . . . veganism on the other hand . . . :) Honestly, the more I read about it, the less healthy being a vegan sounds. (Not that the occasional vegan meal is bad - my favorite curry recipe is vegan!) If you absolutely need a special pill substitute for vital nutrients, your diet might not be that healthy! (I think it's B12 that vegans miss out on?) But vegetarianism can give you everything you need, if you do it right.

    I have heard that it's good to stay away from too much soy, because of the plant estrogens.

    We aren't vegetarian, but our main courses are about 1/2 to 1/3 of the time, and our breakfasts and lunches are most of the time. It's not a bad way to eat at all. Discvered that we liked it once upon a Lent. :)

    Have you ever picked up an issue of Vegetarian Times? I subscribed to it for several years and got a lot of good recipes that way. They lean a little too much towards meat substitutes, I think (tofu, TVP, morningstar sausage), but also have lots of good ideas involving cheese, eggs and legumes as protein sources. Love, love, love their pesto skillet pizza. And picnic cavier. Mmmmmm. They have a lot of their recipes on their website.