Thursday, December 2, 2010

a post about what I made for dinner turns into a rant about vegetarianism

I just made a pretty damn good dinner if I do say so myself. There are so many times where I go to look up a recipe on the web and then get sucked in looking at pictures of delicious things to eat until my blood sugar sinks so low that I'm ready to eat hummus with my fingers and call it a night. I really can cook a good meal, I swear I can! And I've successfully followed recipes from smitten kitchen, fatfree vegan (um...I usually add a handful of cheese to these recipes. Shh! Don't tell!), and 101 cookbooks. Trench is definitely the chef of the family and I've been bugging him for about three years to start a cooking blog, but like a true philosopher, he hasn't gotten past pontificating about the blog in order to start one.

Usually when I get home from work, I just can't handle making a full on meal, and so I rely on a one-pot recipe instead. For a long time, this meant pasta. Farfalle with olive oil, diced cherry tomatoes and feta cheese, or fusilli with butter sauce and shrimp. All delicious, but probably not the most nutritious on a nightly basis. Finally I've discovered that 1 Grain + chopped up veggies + 1 protein = healthy, delicious and quick to make dinner. Tonight it was quinoa with chopped up swiss chard, pre-cooked and marinated tofu (thank you Trader Joe!), can of diced tomatoes, and a can of chickpeas. Really good, and just one dish was more than filling.

I don't think I've written about it before, but I'm a vegequarian, meaning I eat mostly vegetarian with an exception for fish. Yes, I know the technical term is "pescatarian", but I like "vegequarian" better. Giving up meat was a very gradual process for me. We didn't eat very much of it to begin with because meat is annoying to cook, with the thawing and meat juice that gets everywhere. My mom once gave me a George Foreman grill because she was worried we'd become anemic, and we mostly used it to make grilled cheese sandwiches. About six years ago I was feeling slightly ill from Thanksgiving turkey and realized I was feeling that way whenever I ate lunch meat, so I decided to take a break from eating meat. I didn't miss it, so I never went back to it.

I'm starting to feel guilty about the fish. The more I read about the modern methods of fishing, the less I want to support that industry. I don't want to give up fish though. Yes, I could finally take that step and become vegan, but there's such a rabbit hole when it comes to healthy eating. A 100% meat-free vegetarian might look down on my diet, but a vegan would snub them. (The authors of How It All Vegan refers to them as "lazy vegetarians".) The vegan might feel pretty good about him/herself until a raw foodist comes along and points out all the enzymes they're destroying by cooking perfectly healthy vegetables. Then a fruitarian who lives off fruit that falls from the tree might snap that vegetables don't want to be eaten and it's just as much murder as eating a lamb. (I'm imagining fruitarians as being very snappish and pissed off all the time because they're so hungry, but I'm sure if you asked them they would talk about how much energy they have during the day and how much sleep they get at night and that really the human body doesn't need much more than an apple and a handful of grapes to be healthy.)

Honestly, I have absolutely no problem with people eating meat, I just don't like the idea of supporting factory farms, I think they're a holocaust for animals. I'm jealous of people who live on the west coast because it's so easy to support local farms. Or perhaps you could do it the way a couple friends of mine did and buy your own farm where you raise and slaughter your own meat, knowing that the animal had a good life and was killed as humanely as possible by your own hands. As for me, I'm considering sticking with fish that's local. I live in Illinois. This probably means eating a lot of cod. However, next week I'll be visiting New Orleans. Bring on the crawfish!


  1. See I always get a little cranky with how many labels there are when it comes to food, your second last paragraph describes my thoughts perfectly. Did you ever read that post by the (no longer) voraciously vegan? Thought provoking in how she went back to meat, but maaaan she got some amount of hate mail...

  2. No, I never saw that. I think the fierce labeling is what turns so many people off from being veggie. They think that if you fall of the wagon once, like eating turkey on Thanksgiving, suddenly you're a hypocrite, or that there isn't a point in cutting down on eating meat because every now and then you hit McDonalds so what's the point? It doesn't have to be all or nothing.