Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Lone Veggie

"Meat, and the world meats with you. Veg, and you veg alone."

More than one bloggy sister has mentioned that she's thought about becoming a vegetarian, or cutting out most meat, but hasn't because her husband or family won't. What to do?

Try it by yourself first.

To some people, going veggie seems to be a black-or-white, all-or-nothing, cut-all-ties-with-normal-life proposition. The new vegetarian must throw out beloved family recipes and buy cookbooks with weird ingredients and shop at gross-smelling health food stores and learn to cook new foods (or learn to cook, period) and force-feed her children and start obsessing over tofu and TVP and EVOO, and buy robes and oils and get new veggie friends. I'm here to tell you that I am way too lazy and cheap to take on anything like this.

The trick, as with anything else in life, is to stop worrying and start doing.

The other trick, as with genealogy (you like how I snuck that in there?), is to start with yourself.

For me, it started at the drive-through. It was a busy Wednesday night - Cub Scouts, soccer, Mutual - and we ran to KFC for a quick dinner. From my son Brennan's example, I knew that if I really looked at the drive-through menu, I could find plenty of veggie-friendly food: cole slaw, baked beans, mac & cheese, corn on the cob, biscuits, and my personal favorite, mashed potatoes and gravy. Lots of choices there, all of which would make me happy and full without involving meat (is it actually possible?). I had the potatoes and the cole slaw and enjoyed them. It was weird and new, but I loved how I felt afterward.

The rest of my family had chicken meals, and while I did ogle those lovely golden nuggets of chickeny joy once or twice, my lack-of-chicken status didn't make me feel deprived. Avoiding meat from this day forward was my choice, and I knew why I made it. It's important to know the "whys" of your decision. Otherwise, sticking to your plan will seem silly when faced with tempation. "Now, WHY am I not eating bacon again?"

If you've decided that going veggie is your course, take it one small step at a time. Buy a new veggie cookbook, research vegetarianism and nutrition online, read that nasty but very effective article Elizabeth-W posted about mad cow disease, stock your kitchen with more fruit and vegetables, check food labels for protein grams (you'll need to know how much you're getting from non-meat foods), hard-boil some eggs... many, many ways to start. Cut out the meat a little at a time, or jump in and go for it all at once - but give yourself room for messing up.

A word of caution: If you're going to go veggie alone, it's best to do it sweetly and peacefully. The goal is to keep your husband happy enough that maybe someday, he'll want to try your new lifestyle with you. Believe that as much crap as you give your husband about his meat-eating, it will come back to you in dump truck loads. When you're on a date with your sweet darling spouse and he orders a wonderful meaty entree, make no snide remarks. Give no raunchy statistics about "what's probably in that burger." Accept his freedom to choose, and be sweet about it.


Heffalump said...

I love KFC mashed potatoes and gravy...its a weakness!
For me, the biggest deterrent to cutting back on the meat is having recipes that I know my kids will eat, and that I will enjoy. I get a lot of comfort from food, and I would like to enjoy the food and find comfort in it being better for me.
I have a friend who went veggie a while ago, and she looks great. Meaning, she lost a lot of weight, is healthy and just has a glow. She recently started blogging too, so I'll have to steer her in this direction.

Klin said...

I just make more of the meatless stuff and eventually they find themselves eating more of the good stuff with their meat.

It's all about balance right?

nikko said...

I agree with Heff and Klin -- for me it's going to be gradual change to find recipes that everyone likes and are filling.

Luckily my DH is just as for it -- he's always saying we need less meat. Yay. I don't think we'll turn totally veggie, but I do plan on curbing our meat intake.