Thoughts on Vegetarianism   Leave a comment

Well, I put in my time, and am once again a free man from a dietary standpoint. My burst of inspiration from Gandhi ran its course, and after a year of practice, I can now offer a few thoughts on the lessons learned.

First off, I was surprised how easy it was. Granted, when I first began the practice it was anything but easy; my meals always lacked a centerpiece, and they never felt complete even when I finished them. But, once I got used to it, it really wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I learned some better ways to stir-fry (the addition of nuts, if done correctly, adds an excellent texture), learned that tater tots can become an acceptable substitute for meat balls in spaghetti, and also learned that Ramen noodles are the most cheap and versatile source of carbohydrates money can buy (with the possible exception of plain rice or potatoes). Despite my own picky tastes when it comes to vegetables, I was able expand my palette to include mushrooms and gain a healthy respect for beans as well.

It’s interesting to note, but when you’re a vegetarian, people have absolutely no qualms about immediately weighing in with their opinions on the topic of vegetarianism and animal rights. I know I’ve spoken about this point in the past, but I can’t tell you how many times people would hear of my vegetarianism and opine on how foolish it is, how impossible it would be for them to do, how impractical and needless, etc. Granted, I probably have an unusual perspective on this, as I myself am an avowed meat-eater and adopted this more as a tribute to a man rather than some personal revelation, but I cannot imagine another topic where people would so flippantly accuse someone of idiocy based on choice. Announce to a co-worker that you’re a Catholic, nothing. Announce to a co-worker that you’re a blood donor, nothing. Announce to a co-worker you’re a Redskins fan, you might get some good-natured jabs about the laughable talents of Rex Grossman, but still be treated with the modicum of respect due a retard. Announce to a co-worker you’re a vegetarian, and prepare for the wild card reaction! I got everything from the expected, “Oh, that’s nice…” to the more visceral, “FUCK THAT!!!” Granted, no harm done because it wasn’t something I myself believed in, but I was still surprised how people reacted. I should take this opportunity to note, one great reaction, which I discovered at the end of my experiment’s tenure, was to ask waitresses what vegetarian options their place offered. Their reaction tended to be one of unmitigated surprise and new-found interest. The best example came at a Mexican joint, when my asking resulted in the hostess spending the next ten minutes talking to me while hunched over, exposing her generous cleavage to as much study as the rules of eyesight and politeness would permit. 

It’s something that’s never happened as a result of ordering a cheeseburger.

Now, while I would never describe myself as malnourished during this past year, I have to wonder if I didn’t incur some sort of energy shortfall related to the vegetarianism. One day, while I was at the gym, I ran into one of the girls I worked with. As we were bullshitting she found out I was a vegetarian, she told me I should stop it immediately: type O blood types require meat in their diet to maintain their energy levels more than other types, and as a result I might be risking my health. (As a side note here, she and I used to give blood at work, and while we did so we found out we were both O) I waved her off, but now that I’m back to my normal eating habits I’m wondering if maybe there wasn’t something to it. There was things at the gym that I would do when I was a meat-eater which, looking back on it, almost never happened during the non-meat interim. For example, the benchmark of my elliptical exercise was to do seven miles in forty-two minutes. While I did manage to do that on some occasions during the veggie year, the last time it had happened was March 19th, this despite regular gym sessions going into July. A period of intervening sloth prohibits me from doing the same today, but I can tell you that the energy to do it has returned, in a way that wasn’t equal to the task prior.

I still have no idea if there’s any truth to her our-blood-type-requires-meat theory, but there might be something to it.

So, in looking back on the experiment, I can say that I don’t think I wasted a year in its pursuit. Moving forward, I can forever say, “Yeah, I was vegetarian for a year.” I’ve been able to learn some things about its practice, which will help me relate to people on a more personal level, should it ever come up. I expanded my cooking skills to include things like stir-fries, pasta salad, vegetable soups, and even going so far as to learn how to make some cheesecake for desserts. I’m certainly no worse for the wear as a result of the dietary change, and while there were certainly moments of hunger which would have been best satisfied by deep-fried chicken flesh, I’m pretty sure I still gained more than I lost by foregoing their indulgence.

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Posted January 30, 2012 by fatmoron in Uncategorized

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