Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 72- Happy (belated) veggie-versary to me

I *was* going to talk about making the Baba today, or eating (perfect) oven fries. Or even the horrors of the exact same left over 4 days in a row, and how to change it up.

But then I realized that my 7th veggie-versary had been and gone, and I had totally missed it.

April 17, 2003 was my first official day as a vegetarian. I know, it sounds kinda weird to know what day something like that happened. It might really have been the 19th, but I don't think so. For a year or so before that I hadn't been eating red meat or game animals (game hens, for some reason, excluded...). Then one day the week before our oldest dog died, and I realized that if I didn't think dogs or people or cows were food, chickens and fish probably weren't food either.

Considering my rather black and while view of the world, this is much better than me deciding to eat people. Even my father is willing to agree with that one. (Plus, they'd be so gamy, I'd imagine.)

I tried to keep being "reasonable" and doing the chicken, turkey, fish thing. Then one day, out doing the golf thing with my dad, I was just done with it. I finished my chicken fingers, and I don't think I've knowingly eaten animal since then. I remember there was even a cooked turkey burger in the fridge that I couldn't bring myself to eat. I have huge respect for anyone who, after deciding to be veggie, finishes out the meat from their fridge that they can't give away. I couldn't do it.

Dad was convinced it was just a phase, and that I'd get over it (they'd lured me back 2 or 3 times before with tacos), but this time I was armed with research. Did they know there was gelatin in some ice cream? And in most sour cream? Mom gave me a "as long as you cook your own food" deal, which still kinda stands up today. Dad still wonders (sometimes) when I'll go back to the good old days of raw steak. He's coming around, though. Slowly.

Someday he might even get used to the idea of "call the fancy restaurant a day or two in advance, instead of just springing the super 'picky' eater on them during Saturday dinner rush". It's a work in progress.

This is kinda important, because, with more than 7 years under my belt, it's a bit more than a habit now. Sure, I still miss bacon. If I'm travelling I don't check *quite* as carefully about the ingredients- some ideas just don't cross languages or cultures very well. But I've been doing the veggie thing long enough that I have, for the most part, got it down. Not so good with the vegan thing- really it's not that involved, just don't use animal products, but there's a lot of them out there, and the learning curve and potential for messing up or having to explain very carefully is pretty big.

Really though, the important point about 7 years is that... well... it's time for me to start keeping closer track on my b12. Normal omni-types will know b12 as the stuff in all the energy drinks and sprays and stuff- most people are short on it a bit, so the extra in the drink gives you a boost. Veggies and vegans know it as the "gotcha" pulled out by people who have done a lot of research just to argue with us (I don't get that...).

It's in nutritional yeast, multi vitamins, most people make some in their intestines (I think), there are tablets, capsules, drops, and shots for it. I'm bad at remembering to nooch foods, I'm horrible with vitamins, and I hate shots. But I don't eat meat (which isn't always the best source anyway), and over time the body uses up the stored stuff. So I need to make sure I'm getting enough. Or any.

Bonus to remembering to take my b12- it makes pee day-glo yellow/ green. Is there anything cooler than that?

Food wise, I made the baba, but it needs tweaking, fixed my fry "recipe", and am down (finally) to one more serving of split pea "dahl"- which I'm sure has another name, but I don't feel like looking it up.

So, happy veggie-versary to me.


  1. happy veggiversary!!! I was a vegetarian for 7 years also. I was 11 when I started (the only one in my family so I mostly cooked for myself). I wouldn't eat eggs either and to this day rarely do. I prefer the fake eggs and my kids eat mostly Morningstar Farms breakfast "meats". I must say my downfall was bacon. And jerky. That is what brought me back. Two years ago for lent I gave up meat. I don't eat it that much so I figured I'd be set. Not two days later I started CRAVING it. I know it was more of a mental thing but seriously, those 40 days were harder than I thought. My parents gave up white flour and my sister gave up alcohol. For Easter we went to Chevy's (Mexican restaurant) where my parents ate only flour tortillas (true!), my sister had a margarita (or three) and I had the chicken flautas.

  2. Congrats on the anniversary. I am no veggie but have been tried some of your recipes and some are really good. Those oven fries look so
    good(perfect). You must give us the recipe.

  3. I'm so glad you talked about this on your blog. I was really curious about how you choose to become a vegetarian. As you know, i'm an omnivore, but well as someone who values animal rights and the enviroment I do wrestle with it at times. Probably will never convert, but I am trying to learn more about vegetarian proteins and try them more often. My husband the carnivore actually ate beans as the main part of his meal last night... and after a bit of a tussle "are you trying to starve me out?!" responded rather maturly to the idea that I won't immeadiatly be replacing the lunch meat.

  4. Cameo- I've learned to just not think about bacon... They actually make vegan jerky now- most of it seems to have mushrooms (no good), and it's expensive, but the few flavors I *can* eat are pretty good. WRT giving stuff up and then craving it- I think it's the "I want" that kills me when the thing I "can't" have is around all the time. So I don't go to the mall or read fashion magazines, and I don't hang out in the pre-cooked bacon aisle. The temptation might be too much ;) Chevy's is the "fresh mex" place, right? I remember some amazing chicken nachos- you got like 8 chips, and the meat was sooo flavorful. I need to make that veg...

    Leonard- I'm working on getting all the recipes together on a page, so they aren't spread from here to wednesday. Until I get that organized, the fries should go up tomorrow. The trick, I think, is a higher temperature for baking than I'd been using.

    Ruby- there's a book called "living among the meat-eaters" or something like that, that has a bunch of ideas for single meals that can be veggie or meaty. It's been a while since I read it, but I think it was pretty open- not quite meatless mondays, but not cooking with PeTA, either. Gotta be careful with the man-types. Somewhere a bunch of them seemed to pick up this idea that if they don't get meat and exactly 2 veg (usually potatoes and corn...) their boy parts fall off and they DIE! Lunch meat's super expensive, anyway- leftovers sliced into a sammich would probably be better, looking *and* tasting.

    I wasn't sure how this post would go, honestly- and I admit I spent some serious time editing it to be more omni-friendly. "Conversion" stories, I find, have to be handled carefully or they're really off-putting. Metric, for example... :)

  5. My best friend is a vegetarian, and some of our biggest fights have been over why some people choose vegetarian or vegan lifestyles over other options. I have a LOT of strong opinions on the matter, but the thing that bugs me more than anything are people who make the choice out of ignorance. Ultimately, I don't give a cr*p what people do with their lives, as long as they make an effort to be well-informed. I find that as the vegan lifestyle becomes more trendy, a lot of misinformation, propaganda, and emotional background gets tossed around, and too many people are just ignorant of any actual facts. I think the fact that you're willing to speak intelligently and honestly about why you eat (or don't) what you do (or don't) is great.

    Oh, and those fries look AMAZING.

  6. Yes, I would also like the recipe for those fries! And congrats on your anniversary. I'm trying my hardest to be a vegetarian.

  7. Happy anniversary!! That is a long time and if i were you i would be very proud of myself. I know I could never do it even though I am an animal lover,but i love that you don't look down on people who aren't vegetarian. I also appreciate that fact that you have a good reason to do what you do. And thank you by the way. You have inspired me to write my own blog. Its about my Dad going through treatment for his hepatitas.

  8. I have pernicious anemia (which means my body does not absorb b12 from foods. and, no, your body doesn't *make* b12.. it absorbs it from food/tablets/injections/etc.)

    I testify that b12 is oh so important and make sure you're getting enough!

  9. Kim- don't get me wrong, there's a lot of emotional stuff for me in there too. But that's not what *keeps* me veggie, and it's tough to argue "but pigs are so cute!" at all seriously.

    Lori-Bee- Don't force it, and don't feel bad if you slip. I probably tried half a dozen times between 6th grade and when it finally stuck. My best tip? Find a real-live, for real vegetarian to hang out with, or go to a veggie restaurant (one with good ratings in happycow). For some reason it's easier when you know other *real* people who do it too.

    K- that's some tough stuff to deal with, I hope blogging it helps you. There's a lot of awesome people on teh intarwebz. I'm working on overall acceptance of other people's beliefs. I'm doing ok with food (ok, the animal part...), not so good with religion, science, and politics. Like most things in life, it's a process.

    Brandilynn- I thought I'd read somewhere that it was produced (in some people) by helpful bacteria in the intestines, but it's possible I'm thinking of something else. Or of horses, though I can't picture anything good happening in the intestines of horses... But yes, making sure I get enough B12 is important. I'm really not interested in B12 shots for the rest of my life.

    Ok, Fry lovers, it'll be in there today. It's really easy, too.