Well, that was fun.
Context: I decided back in March that I was going to be vegetarian for a while.
Well, the summer is now officially over– which is convenient, given my original pledge to stick it out until then– because I decided tonight that there is a void in my life. A great and Southern void for chicken, that no amount of Sabra hummus can fill. Do I regret it? Not in the slightest. It was great, and now we're moving forward.
Some things I have learned:
1. Eggplant is edible. So are soy products and mushrooms and other things that I would not have gone for had I the option of a safe turkey sandwich. But you know what? Butternut squash soup is the BOMB. Pear pizza is my absolute favorite. The most fun part about living the veg life is trying new foods– particularly ethnic foods– that you would not have experienced otherwise.
2. You get enough protein. Beans, people. Greek yogurt. Milk. Peanut butter. Whey powder! Take your vitamins and you will never be deprived of anything by forgoing the animal protein. You don't shrivel up. Actually, I gained weight this summer not eating meat! I promise, it does not kill you.
3. Everyone expects you to have a platform. The moment you order a veggie burger, people will pull out a soapbox and wait for you to hop up like a yappy little finalist at some dog and pony show. Nothing made me want to be a vegetarian.
"No, I never got sick after Outback." "No, I wasn't raised that way." "No, I really don't love animals." (We all know how I feel about War Horse.) It was just something I felt like doing. No one had to persuade me. It was bizarre having to repeatedly defend my personal decision with the phrase, "Because I do what I want."
When I decided I wasn't going to eat meat, I felt a little judged by the omnivore community. My own lovely sister bemoaned this conversion to Oregon liberalism with an exasperated "Ughh, you WOULD be a vegetarian." (Don't worry, she used the same tone about the studded black belt I wore in ninth grade. With pride. I grew out of that, too.)
And now, deciding to eat meat again, I also feel a little judged by Alec Baldwin and his crew. But I'm all about giving your body what it craves. And when it gets cold, I crave meat. Kind of cool, huh?
I probably won't be hitting up Tucano's anytime soon. Or, you know, ever. And I still love the healthy, earthy taste of the treats my talented vegan friends make WITHOUT EGGS OR BUTTER. [What?! I know.] But I can baby step this to the door and down the hall and into the elevator.
And then down to Jason's Deli, because I've got a big thing for their chicken salad wrap.