Why I’m Thinking about Going Back to the Dark Side

Because the coconut bacon at Cafe Gratitude only left me wanting a REAL BLT.  Badly.

Because I then tried the Vegetarian BLT at a different local restaurant, and it turned out to be made with the Morningstar Farms Veggie Bacon Strips.  Have you ever SEEN those?  Let alone tasted them?  They’re horrific.  They’re like artificially flavored cardboard.  Worse, have you seen the ingredient list?:

EGG WHITES, SOYBEAN OIL WITH TBHQ FOR FRESHNESS, TEXTURED SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, WHEAT GLUTEN, HYDROLYZED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (CORN GLUTEN, WHEAT GLUTEN, SOY), CONTAINS TWO PERCENT OR LESS OF GLYCERIN, SALT, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, SODIUM CITRATE, SODIUM PHOSPHATE, SUGAR, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS FROM NON-MEAT SOURCES, TORULA YEAST, CARAMEL COLOR, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SODIUM TRIPOLYPHOSPHATE, NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR, MALIC ACID, GUAR GUM, YEAST EXTRACT, LOCUST BEAN AND GUAR GUM, SODIUM SULFITE, CARRAGEENAN, RED #3, DISODIUM INOSINATE, DISODIUM GUANYLATE, NIACINAMIDE, IRON [FERROUS SULFATE], AUTOLYZED YEAST EXTRACT, NONFAT DRY MILK, YELLOW #6, VITAMIN B1 [THIAMIN MONONITRATE], VITAMIN B6 [PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE], VITAMIN B2 [RIBOFLAVIN], CITRIC ACID, CYANOCOBALAMIN.

Yeah, I think I’ve had enough of that.

And when I Googled “vegetarian bacon,” I came up with this article, and thought, “yep, that’s me right now.”

Because I’m tired of what I eat…or don’t eat…being tied to my identity.

Because I’m tired of saying no.

Because I miss certain family traditions and recipes.

Because I’m tired of suffering symptoms of anemia, despite taking supplements.  And I just figured out that I would have to eat 3 whole bags of baby spinach to get my daily value of iron, not to mention that there is no plant source of vitamin B12.

Because I’m tired of tofu.

Because I’m tired of not having any good, easy sandwich ideas.

Because at camp this summer I won’t be allowed to have nuts or nut butters.

Because my blood sugar crashes when I don’t eat protein with my carbs…not a problem at home usually, but sometimes the vegan option in a restaurant or at somebody else’s house is nothing but carbs.

Because I’m tired of worrying what other people will think when I “cheat” by eating eggs or a little bit of seafood, which I’ve found myself doing more and more lately.

Because I found out that the “cellulose” in my faux chicken nuggets is actually wood pulp.

Because the long list of processed ingredients on my faux chicken nuggets or faux bacon are probably not good for me or the environment.  A little bit of ethically sourced meat might be better.

Because it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Because I want to actually support farmers who raise animals sustainably and humanely.  As this guy points out, “As a vegetarian, you are suddenly checked out of the system.”

I haven’t forgotten why I rejected meat in the first place.  Do I want to eat meat every day?  Hell, no.  But I’m starting to think that once or twice a week would be reasonable.  I’m just as disappointed now as I was five years ago when I first learned that words like “natural” and “free range” are essentially meaningless, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t seek out and find humane sources of eggs and meat.  I’m still lactose intolerant and still planning to avoid dairy altogether.  I’m still planning to eat vegetarian most days and to keep the blog up.  And I could always change my mind again and go back to not eating meat at all.  But I feel the need to at least recalibrate and remind myself why I started doing this in the first place and continue to make my food decisions as consciously as I can.

 

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4 responses to “Why I’m Thinking about Going Back to the Dark Side

  1. When my niece was a toddler, she said, “I’m a vegetarian… Except for bacon.”

  2. I haven’t eaten meat but one time since January 6th, yet I don’t consider myself a vegetarian. I find that labeling yourself one, and committing to the restriction is like quitting smoking, you’ll mentally feel that restriction and it will make the desire to break much more. If I decide to have a piece of meat, I will, but I’m not tracking my every meal. I was a vegetarian for nearly a year about a decade ago, and it was a struggle, now, I just live day to day, making as healthy of choices as I can at the moment, and I feel much better about things. If you’re really craving some bacon, have a piece. It won’t kill you to eat something indulgent every once in a while, and you’ll be less consumed by the desire if you can lift the hard restriction.

    • Good advice, James! Thank you. FYI: I DID eat a BLT, and it was glorious! This was after 5 years of being vegetarian without any real urge to eat meat. I think my body was trying to tell me something. My friend Brandon this week shared a quote from Julia Child with me: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

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