First World (Vegetarian) Problems

A few months ago, this carnivore turned veggie, in an effort to subdue the guilty feeling growing in her heart. Life has been interesting since then – living in quite a conservative town means there are no cosmopolitan, veggie/vegan restaurants close at hand. Vegetarians are scarce in Dorset, and it almost feels like living as part of a minority group. That being said, many cannot eat the conventional meat in restaurants and supermarkets for religious reasons, so vegetarian problems are not as uncommon as they sound.

I decided to go meat-free because I am a big softie for animals. I felt it was hypocritical to love and help some animals, but support the killing of others, especially as it’s difficult to know if it’s ‘humanely’ killed or not. It is definitely a first-world problem, and probably a young and liberal student one at that – the fact I am able to do this without fearing for my health really does highlight how secure our lives are. I had my doubts, though – my family are all meat-eaters and I didn’t want to inconvenience them too much, and also I had a bit of a weakness for a juicy steak.

On occasion, it feels like that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the aunt says to Toula’s vegetarian fiancée “What do you mean you don’t eat no meat?” *Everyone gasps* “Oh, it’s okay, I’ll make lamb”. Explaining it to other Europeans is genuinely a nightmare – I have been to French, Italian and Greek restaurants that have little or no vegetarian options, because they don’t see the point. But, then again, rustic country peasants don’t have the choice to exclude a key part of their diet for ethical reasons, so I can sympathise. It’s like my mum always says – “we’re too poor to have principles”.

However, like most things in life, there are ways around it. People laugh and joke about Quorn (mostly meat eaters), but they really have made an effort to make it taste like meat without actually being meat. It weans you off meat, in a way, making life easier for vegetarians because they can still use recipes that containing it. It’s also lower fat so that’s good too! Tofu is another laughing stock in the meat-eating community, but if you marinate it in sauce for a while it blends in very well with most recipes, and is high in protein.

The more general point of this rambling is to encourage anyone considering doing something to go ahead and do what they think is right, without fear of the consequences. If what you do doesn’t harm others then why should you be afraid?

My family think it’s a phase, but I think my cat is happy because it means more meat for her.