Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Confessions of a Meat Junkie

After a record-setting three months, my proud new vegetarian lifestyle has fallen apart. On a recent trip to Florida, vegetarian choices were few and dull. By the end of the week, my vegetarian resolve was sufficiently weakened to permit chicken. Faced with the post vacation stress of changing jobs, I reverted to old eating habits and the comfort they provide. One night my husband and I shared an order of Ta-Chien Chicken, a longstanding favorite Chinese dish. Last week we shared a plate of lovely German sausages at Zum Schneider. Sausages! It’s hard to call yourself a vegetarian when you eat sausages.

What were my original reasons for wanting to adopt vegetarian eating habits?
  • To avoid the unhealthiness of meat caused by the farming industry which has more regard for profits than for the animals’ quality of life and death
  • To eat a low-fat diet
  • To see if vegetarian eating would improve my digestion

My recent vegetarian stint was interesting, there’s no denying it. I felt generally less heavy and sluggish after eating, and my digestive system functioned better. However, I consumed significantly more cheese and drank a daily glass of soy milk which has the same fat content as whole milk. Hardly a low-fat diet! Consequently, I gained weight, which was not part of the plan. I found it more difficult to maintain vegetarian eating habits outside NYC and when life became stressful. Finally, I realized that, just like being on a Weight Watchers diet, sticking to a vegetarian diet means planning ahead and spending more time in food preparation.

Planning and food prep – without those, any type of diet is doomed. Unfortunately, I would rather spend my time doing most anything else. While my son was growing up, I felt it my motherly duty to put meals on the table. Now that he’s a college student, however, I feel less family responsibility around food. When my son is home during vacations, he eats with his friends in Brooklyn more often than not. My husband frequently eats on a different schedule than I do. So now the planning (or lack thereof) is all about me. It looks like I'm going to be forced to deal with the fact that planning and food prep are necessary if I want to be a vegetarian.

OK... taking a deep breath now, looking determined... OK then. Nothing left but to make a fresh start of it. Rather than make an elaborate plan for a whole week’s worth of meals, grocery shopping and cooking, maybe I should just plan one day at a time. Just commit to one day at a time, like a person who is trying to break an addiction. Hmmm… I wonder if there are any AA-type meetings for meat-eaters?

© 2006, Linda Mason Hood
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woolf said...

Tom and I have talked about, at least, being "more vegetarian" then usual--mainly for health issues. I think it would be hard for me to totally cut meat out. Sometimes I get a hankering for a hamburger. There was a Lent a couple of years ago where I went strictly vegetarian, hoping it would stick after six weeks, but you know what I went for as soon as Easter rolled around? You guessed it!

mbg said...

One day at a time sounds like a plan. A few tips for round two: Ethnic food is key for take out and eating out options. And self-forgiveness for the occasional sausage. maybe going cold "no-turkey" was too much. I admire you for trying, no matter what the outcome. Melissa