Monday, July 8, 2013

On the Hardships of Being a Vegetarian When You Don't Like Vegetables

As of the first of July and for the rest of the month, I have committed to being a vegetarian again. One may easily wonder why I would do that to myself as I have tried becoming a full time vegetarian before and have failed.  Well, this time I have a very good reason. Dottie decided that she wanted to go vegetarian for a month and I decided to tag along. Why is this a very good reason to become a vegetarian? Well, it's the best reason I have had so far. Allow me to go into detail.

The first time I went vegetarian was a few years back, probably around 2008. I had been watching many documentaries, which I do from time to time, and was appalled by the way the meat industries conduct their business. Not only is the treatment of the animals horrific, but the quality of the meat and the many chemicals involved is revolting. I also learned about the benefits of a vegetarian, or at least meat-lite, diet and was pretty convinced that it was definitely a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately, none of that was taken into account when I decided to try my hand at vegetarianism. One morning I woke up more sullen than usual and decided my life was too monotonous. I decided I needed to make a change to get myself out of that rut. That was my sole reason for becoming a vegetarian. Of course, when people asked I told them that I was doing it for health reasons or for the animals because I did not want people to think I was weird. I have come a long way since then. Regardless, or irregardless if you wish, I was doing it purely out of boredom. I do a lot of stupid stuff because I'm bored. Fortunately, this one turned out to be one of the "not-so-bad" ones.

That year, my former uncle was going through a divorce. What do I mean by former uncle? I mean that I don't claim him as my uncle anymore. I guess he is also my former godfather but I never thought of him in that way so I guess that's not relevant. The point is that, although he is out of my life now, he was still considered family then and he was going through a rough patch. I have never been a sensitive person, but I felt bad for him and asked my parents to go to Albuquerque with me to spend thanksgiving with the former uncle. Why do I bring this up? I bring this up because, although my first experience with vegetarianism was a good one, that was the worst thanksgiving of my life. To be honest, I have never really been much into the whole thanksgiving celebration. To be even more honest, I absolutely love thanksgiving food. I love turkey. I love ham. I love stuffing and dressing. I love mashed potatoes and gravy. I love macaroni & cheese. I love pasta salad. I love rolls. I hate cranberry sauce, and I don't totally understand why it is paired with turkey, but I don't often have to worry about that since Mexicans don't use cranberry sauce with their turkey. That thanksgiving, my mom went all out. We even had dessert and we don't often have dessert. We sat down to a great feast and I did not enjoy watching everyone stuff their mouth-holes with happy turkey and delicious ham while I shoveled sad spoonful of bland mashed potatoes down my gullet. That's all I could eat. Everything else had some sort of meat in it except for the mashed potatoes which I made sure were vegetarian. In fact, I made those sad tasteless mashed potatoes myself and I am sure they would have tasted a lot better as a side dish than as a main course. It does not matter how much butter and cheese you add to them, they are not gonna compare to a full meal. I learned that the hard way. There are just not enough seasonings in the world to turn mashed potatoes into an entree. I must say that I am very proud that I made it through without caving in. I wanted to, but I didn't. I held steadfast and the one reason I stopped being a vegetarian that time was because of Medea.

Now, I give Medea a lot of grief in this blog. I don't feel bad about that because, in accordance with Karmic law, she has it coming. But, there are some things in which I have no reason to reproach her. She may not be understanding, or because of denial even aware, of me being gay, but she was one hundred percent supportive about me being a vegetarian. Throughout most of my life, she has held a job because she gets bored at home. However, at that time she was not working. I don't remember exactly why, but I think it was due to a work injury she sustained. The point being, she was at home and would cook two dinners every day. She would cook one with meat for her and Dad and one without for me. I kept asking her not to and telling her that I would cook my own dinners so she wouldn't have to overexert herself but she would not listen. It got to the point that she cooked three different lunches for our trip to Albuquerque. She made regular picadillo, a Mexican ground beef dish, for Dad. She made meatless picadillo for me. And, she made onion-less picadillo for her as she does not like onions. I kind of felt bad that she had to do all that extra work for me. The breaking point came one day when I came home and she told me what she had made for dinner. I don't remember what it was but it was something with meat in it. When I told her that, she said that she had not forgotten about me and that she had made hot dogs for me. I felt really bad when I told her that hot dogs are made of meat products. It honestly slipped her mind that I could not eat them and she had already cooked them. That was the end of my first venture into vegetarianism. Word to the wise, though, if you haven't eaten meat in six weeks, hot dogs are not the best choice for a first meat meal. Just sayin'.

My second and third attempts were more halfhearted, it was during these that I instituted my steadfast rule about not giving up jello, and lasted less time than the first. Let's just say that I would love to be a vegetarian for life, but I lack the motivation and drive to do it. Also, I am not fully sure how people who become vegetarians because they say the respect life can eat vegetables since they were alive too at one point. In a way, I guess humans are just parasites because we have to consume other living things to survive. Anyway, this brings us to this, my fourth, attempt at vegetarianism.

This time I was not even thinking about it. One day we were having lunch and Dottie, completely out of the blue, announces that she is going vegetarian for a month at the beginning of the week. I asked her why she was doing that as it was uncharacteristic of her. She responded that she was going to try it for health reasons. I don't know why, I am thinking it was mainly because she and Connie are my main lunch companions, but I told her that if she waited til July first I would do it with her. And so, here we are. As of this writing, it has only been two days, today is the third. How's it going? Not bad. Connie, although she initially said she would at least do vegetarian lunches with us, has not had lunch with us this week so far. That was expected though. As for me and Dottie, we're trying to do it. It's sad to say we're struggling because it has only been two days, today is the third, but you don't realize how much you like meat and are addicted to it until you can't have it. We are trying though. We had Subway veggie subs on Monday and we made our own salad yesterday. Here's a picture of my salad which, I must say, tasted as good as it looks,
If you were wondering how it looks, it looks delicious. Delicious and satisfying. Also, yes, those are potato chips on top. Don't judge.
I know, that salad is a bit unorthodox, but the potato chips completely changed the flavor of the salad and made it bearable. Also, that's ranch dressing you see in there and I will give you one guess as to who does not like ranch dressing. Me. I don't like ranch dressing. I still ate it though. Besides, if you think that salad looks bad, I should show you the picture of the omelet I tried to make Monday night. I won't show you a picture, because I am a merciful blogger, but it was disastrous. See, I meant to make spaghetti for dinner Monday night because Mexican spaghetti, and yes I know that sounds weird what with spaghetti being Italian and all, does not have meat in it. I bought everything I needed to make spaghetti just the way I like it. I got some tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, crushed peppers and oregano. I did not buy tortillas, even though I was completely out, because even I know spaghetti is not eaten with tortillas. I get home from work Monday night to find that I did not have any spaghetti noodles. I was sure I had some so I hadn't bought any and now I found myself noodle-less. I decided to make something else but the only thing I had that did not involve meat was eggs. I like eggs okay and, after being a vegetarian for a while, I usually crave them. However, I like eggs with tortillas and I did not have any. My solution to that little problem was to try and make an omelet. Now I did not have many ingredients but here is the list of what I did have and ended up being added to the omelet,
  1. Jalapeno peppers
  2. Cayenne pepper
  3. Salt
  4. Three eggs
  5. Parmesan cheese
  6. Mozzarella cheese
  7. Corn flour
  8. Baking powder
I think the list is pretty normal. Well, maybe except for the last two items. I just figured that if I added the baking powder and corn flour to the mix, it would be like eating it with a tortilla. It wasn't. The omelet ended up having a pancake like consistency but it still was not what I was expecting. I ate it though and I have never been more thankful for having an iron stomach due to being raised in Mexico and drinking its water for twelve years.

Now, it is almost time for lunch again and I think I will have the same salad I had yesterday, the picture above, sans the ranch dressing. I am pretty sure I will make it to the end of the month. Ideally, I would love to be a vegetarian for longer than that but I will just have to wait and see how everything plays out. Don't worry though. I will keep you posted.

P.S. If you know any simple recipes for vegetarian salads, please share them with me as we are attempting to eat salads at lunch and I can only eat so many potato chips before I get tired of them.

P.P.S. Please do not suggest a blue cheese salad as the BF already suggested that. I did not mean to laugh at him when he did but he was talking about two Mexicans and a black lady eating blue cheese and that was just too funny. In my defense, Connie and Dottie laughed too when I suggested it. We know what we like.

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