February 20, 2010

To remain a vegetarian or not, that is the question

This post is not beer related. Well, it's somewhat related to beer. You'll see what I mean.

I've been a vegetarian for almost 6 years. I guess pescatarian, or vegaquarian, since I do eat fish. Lots of fish. I don't eat meat - no chicken, no turkey, no pork, beef, duck, rabbit. I don't drink milk, but I do eat cheese and on occasion, ice cream. I'm a selective vegetarian, I guess.

I choose to eat this way because I've never been a huge fan of meat. One of my earliest memories is of me spitting my meat in to my napkin at dinner because I didn't want to eat it. When I finally was old enough to make decisions about what I was going to eat, I stopped eating red meat and pork, but continued with chicken and turkey. Then a few years back I decided to do the Atkins diet and jumped back on the meat wagon in a big way. I ate meat at every meal and little to no carbs. That didn't last very long. I read a book - Skinny Bitch - that opened my eyes to the way animals were treated prior to being slaughtered, and that was it. I was back to not eating meat, only this time I threw turkey and chicken in there with pork and beef.

Here I am 6 years later. Over the years I've eaten a piece (bite) of steak here and there. But lately I've been feeling this urge for a burger. Or a whole steak. I feel like as I'm expanding my palette through my love of craft beers and good wines, I'm missing out on some really wonderful tastes. I'm not talking about things like McDonald's hamburgers (which I can say I've never eaten) or Kentucky Fried Chicken. I'm talking about delicacies. Great burgers (which there is no lack of in Philly). Rare steaks. Maybe try some pork belly. Or quail. Even rabbit. The other day at lunch I had half a trotter - yes, a deep fried pig foot. It was good, even though I felt a bit guilty as I ate it. I also had some braised short rib that I thought was fantastic.

My resolve is wavering. I've felt good over the past few years proclaiming myself a vegaquarian. But now I think I'm ready to proclaim myself a food adventurer, willing and wanting to try new things. At least in small portions.


  1. I went veggie (pesc) in 2009. You might find my story interesting. I posted about it on my wife's site.


    I think you should feel free to have occasional meat. If you're concerned with animal's rights, you should just be selective about what you eat. I argue that if everyone ate locally grown, grass fed, free roaming beef...then the food world would be darned near perfect.

    Some uber-veggies might look down upon "cheating", but I'm the opposite. Be conscious of what you eat and where it came from...and then with that understanding, eat what you like! :)


  2. Thanks! I'm definitely not going to go out and start eating any/all kinds of meat. First, I just don't like it enough to do that. But like I said - I feel like I'm denying myself sometimes when I really just want a piece of meat. As with anything else, maybe it doesn't have to be all black and white.
    Going to read your blog on your journey to veggie now. :)

  3. I noticed (via twitter) that you had steak tacos and enjoyed them. Out of curiosity...did your body process it OK? Any reflections to share after the fact? :)


  4. I did enjoy them! The steak was really good - cooked perfectly (which believe it or not, to me is medium rare. Maybe it's not that surprising, but after not eating meat for so long I'm surprised how much I like rare-medium rare meat) and juicy. I kept saying how great it was, and my friend was like "see what you've been missing all these years?" I had to agree with her. Also it was a smallish portion, which I didn't even eat all of. I don't think I had any problems with it. My stomach hurt a little, but I think it may have been psychosomatic. No reflections - I don't feel guilty, if that's what you mean. I really don't. It was just too good. :)

  5. Being a guy, I haven't read Skinny Bitch, but I did watch Food Inc. a couple months ago. Needless to say it was eye opening seeing the way that our industrial food system handles animals. I'm not talking handling in an "aw, the cute little piggie" way, I mean it's just disgusting the way they raise and handle these animals before we eat them. Anyway, I digress.

    I've been a meat eater my whole life, but my wife and I have been cutting down on the amount we eat, to around once or twice a week. Like you, we're also more conscious about where our meat comes from. As Lost said, we all should be more selective.

    Welcome back to the meat side. I hope you enjoy!

  6. I'm the same way... I've never cut meat from my diet for 6 years, but I have gone long periods of time without meat (it started as a Lenten sacrifice one year and picks up every time I re-read the Jungle or something similar). If you're craving it, chances are you're body is missing something - perhaps the protein or iron. Just make sure you reintroduce it slowly so you don't get sick!

    Good luck and go ahead and enjoy a giant steak :)

  7. Thanks for the comments. It's funny - I went to breakfast the other day and ordered the vegan bacon. This was after a French dinner that I went to where I ate (are you ready?): foie gras, veal, oxtail, and bone marrow. I have to admit, I was a little bit worried about how my stomach was going to react to my eating all that, but I was totally fine. And that's the thing - I'm going to eat those types of things when I want but will stick to the vegan/vegetarian foods on other occasions. I'm going to a French dinner again tonight - at what is the best French restaurant in Philly, and probably beyond, and can't wait to try some new foods!