Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vegetarian for February


We'll see.

Normally, when I commit to something, I commit to something. I don't say "maybe, we'll see" because I usually consider that a spineless way of saying "I have no intention of following through, but I lack the conviction to just say no for now." The only reason I'm not 100% confident in this attempt to eat no meat for a month is because Jaime said she didn't want to try it with me. So our diets are bound to clash. And Jaime knows that if there's one thing I hate doing, it's wasting food. I'd rather break my vegetarian commitment than see some chicken curry leftovers go bad in the fridge, untouched, while kids are starving in St. Anthony, ID.

So, we'll see. Besides the above mentioned anticipated challenge, I don't see any serious challenge. The idea of doing this started because I would occasionally find myself remarking at the end of the day how I was accidentally vegetarian that day. I hadn't tried to avoid meat, it just happened. I love cheese and salads and good bread and olive oil and...stuff. I'm trying hard to avoid saying chicken and bacon, because i love those too, but I'll survive without them. The point is, I haven't been a big red meat eater in the last several years, and I've never been a big "steak" guy, so excluding the challenge of avoiding fried chicken and chicken salad sandwiches and stir fries and Asian meat dishes, i'm not worried. Central London makes it super easy to be vegetarian. Lots of vegetrian sandwiches and soups and salads to pick from. Breakfast and lunch will be relatively easy.

The reason? I don't really have a reason beyond I want to be able to say I've done it. I want to have empathy for those who feel stronger about this stuff than I do. And I know that most meat you buy in the normal supermarket and average restaurants probably isn't very good for you, so I want to see if I feel better when avoiding it completely for an entire month. If I do feel a lot better, I'll probably avoid it more in the future, and it won't feel like a sacrifice, rather a treat to avoid it. That said, I have no intention of total meat abstinence after this month.

Yes, I picked the shortest month of the year. But I may have also picked the coldest month of the year, when my traditionally carnivorous body subconciously craves hearty meat dishes, so I figure they even each other out.

I'll try to keep a food log here of what I'm eating for two reasons:

  1. Keep me honest
  2. I want to be able to look back at it myself and see what the reality is for someone who doesn't eat meat for that long. It may serve as a good recipe book for the future.
  3. Okay, three reasons. I also want to have a record of how much other animal product (dairy/eggs) is in my vegetarian diet, so I can have real cause behind my current opinion that vegans are masochistic nuts who are missing out on happiness. For example: Jaime's Chocolate Chip cookies (with eggs and milk chocolate chips), or ANY cheese on ANY pizza or sandwich. I can't even fathom life without it.
And, go.

Posted via email from eric forsyth's posting place


Keegan said...

I wish you the courage to face that meat-lovers pizza and just say "Wait." "until next month."

I was vegetarian for a year. It was alright but I had some problems around any holiday, because family gatherings mean limited food choices. There's no meat in chocolate so you should be safe for St. Valentine's day.

Molly Houx said...

My first thought was, "In London? Really? When there's so many amazing things to try?" then I said, "I hope Jaime eats an amazing juicy burger right in front of him." sorry.

But after reading your blog, I can say I admire your efforts and am curious to see your take on anti-meat people. Also, E: AMEN to the vegan thoughts.

eric said...

@Keegan, yeah, Christmas and Thanksgiving would be painful unless I was already an established vegetarian, which I don't ever plan on being.

@Molly, I've already been here a month, and tried A LOT of meaty things, including British meat pies, British meat-filled sandwiches, Italian Pasta Carbonara with bacon, and pizza with sausage, steamed pork and chicken buns from chinatown, lots of meaty Indian food, German sausages, Thai beef salad, Turkish Lamb Doner kebabs...and the list goes on and on. I'll still be here in March, and it will continue then. This is not a hiatus from good food in London, this is a hiatus from meat in London. I anticipate that it will actually open doors to great food I otherwise would not have enjoyed, since there are so many vegetarians here, those options are many. Close doors are only closed for a month. But open doors will be open forever afterward.

Anna M said...

you know, cookies can be made with ground flax seed and water en lieu of eggs and they taste just as delicious.

and pizza without cheese is underrated.

YOU CAN DO IT, Eric! Or you could be like all of us cool kids and call yourself a flexitarian and only eat meat sparingly. It's a novel idea, to be sure. (I try to not eat meat more than twice a week and never red, but that's because I am awesome.)

bon chance

eric said...

Thanks, AHHna. I think Jaime has made cookies like that before. She's definitely stuck in flax seed and the like. Her cookies are always good, it's just not her favorite normal go-to recipe. And Pizza without cheese is good too, I just don't call it pizza. I call it "seasoned bread for dipping", or "bruscheta medium" or "something's missing."

i digress. you inspire me. I'm on my way to some self-caveated version of flexitarian, i believe.

Mom said...

You were raised by a mother who was frequently accidentally vegetarian in her cooking. You still grew.

Sassy Sarah said...

Love it... I was a vegetarian for a while and it wasn't too bad. I, like you, find myself not eating meat too often anyway. Meanwhile, I could NEVER go vegan! I love cheese, butter, yogurt, eggs, etc.

P.S. I love the things you've been eating in London! I've never thought of some of those food combinations. Looks like I'll have to branch out a bit.