My First Six Months as a Vegetarian

I became a vegetarian on 23rd May 2018, a spur-of-the-moment decision prompted by a lobster. It's been interesting, and I have to say that I don't miss meat, and I wouldn't ever go back to eating it. There are many things I thought I'd miss, but don't - McDonald's burgers, roast dinners, bacon.

Having said that, there are a couple of things I'm a little wistful about:
  1. Anchovies. I loved anchovies on my pizza or stuffed into olives
  2. Chinese food. Almost nothing available in a Chinese restaurant or takeaway is vegetarian.
    Prawn crackers have prawns in them (who knew?) and even seaweed has powdered fish sprinkled over the top. I really miss sweet and sour chicken balls, chicken with chilli and salt, and crispy shredded beef. I wish they would do these recipes with beancurd (which is, after all, a Chinese staple) so that I could enjoy them again, but I've yet to find a restaurant locally which does. (One of them explained why: apparently fresh beancurd has a really short shelf-life of only about 24 hours, and there just aren't enough people ordering it to make it worth their while.) I used to love Chinese food, but these days when it's suggested I tend to steer the decision towards Indian instead - there's a great deal of choice when it comes to vegetarian curries.
And a few things I've observed:
  1. My life seems to be made of chickpeas. Seriously, they're in everything vegetarian. But that's okay because I love them.
  2. Many places doing prepacked sandwiches colour-code them. Green packaging means vegetarian. I hadn't realised, in the days when the entire range of sandwiches was open to me, that this was the case.
  3. Many meat substitute products taste better than the meat version. Especially anything by Linda McCartney. She's my hero (RIP).
  4. People ask weird (and sometimes slightly offensive) questions. Like, "How long are you going to keep it up?", "Do you eat fish?", "Isn't that really unhealthy - where are you getting your protein from?", and "Why?" They also get hung up on the meat substitutes and think that a meal must have Quorn, or Seitan, or some other high-protein meat replacement to be a real meal. Seriously, I'm happy to have my stir-fry be just like your stir fry, but without the chicken.
  5. There's a whole grey area to explore regarding what I will and won't eat. I've established that I will eat Taco Bell fries even if they are cooked in the same oil as the chicken, because I don't see that as the same as eating the chicken. Scientists are currently growing meat cells in a laboratory, creating meat which doesn't involve killing an animal. Would I eat that? (Yes, I think so.) Then would I eat meat from an animal which had died of natural causes, given that my primary reason for being vegetarian is that I don't want any animal to die on my behalf? (Really not sure. Maybe if it was deep fried in batter and served with sweet and sour sauce...)
  6. If the ingredients include butternut squash, avocado, sweet potato, falafel, pomegranate seeds, beetroot, brie, or caramelised anything, I'm all over it. 
  7. One of the best presents I ever got (thanks Gwen!) is my little mini slow cooker, which makes just about 2 portions. When I'm cooking for the family the meat version goes in the big family crockpot, and the veggie version is in my cute little one. 

It's been an interesting six months, and I am quite happy with the idea of never eating meat again for the rest of my life. So please, stop asking me whether I'm "still" vegetarian.


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