It’s been almost two weeks since my last official meat meal. I’m finding vegetarianism interesting so far. I think it must be different to make a dietary change for health reasons – if, when you eat shrimp, you go into anaphalactic shock, then you probably pretty quickly develop an aversion to shrimp. I don’t feel an aversion to meat, really, I just decided not to eat it. Although I feel strongly in an ideological way about meat consumption, I don’t have strong feelings about meat when I see it on a menu or on someone else’s sandwich. It doesn’t gross me out or make me feel ill, which I know happens to some vegetarians (and which does happen for me with broccoli, the one vegetable that I truly cannot bear). A dietary restriction not for reasons of health or taste but for ideological reasons seems sort of unnatural: if the food looks good and smells good, and I can reasonably assume it won’t make me ill, then it seems natural to eat it. I have to keep reminding myself that factory farming of meat isn’t natural. This is a conscious lifestyle choice I’m making for myself, and I guess I’m getting used to what that means.
Two restaurant incidents of note. Last Saturday, F and I stopped at Popeye’s Chicken for biscuits – just one biscuit each, to tide us over until dinner. When we walked in the door, the chicken smell almost knocked me over. I really like fried chicken. I practiced tapas and we got out of there without chowing down on bird flesh, but it was still quite an experience. Just the awareness that I couldn’t have the chicken made the smell more powerful.
Also, last Sunday I had lunch at Subway with my mom. I had never realized before just how meat-centric their menu is. Subway used to be one of my favorite fast food places; I have so many memories of getting the spicy italian sub with my best friend on Saturday afternoons in middle school. Now there is exactly one option on the menu for me – the veggie delite – and I’m not overly fond of Subway’s veggie selections, so this is kind of a letdown. (No pickles and no olives, please, and hold the sweet peppers too.) As soon as we realized that my choices were limited at Subway, Mom offered to go somewhere else, but I need to figure out how to feed myself at normal restaurants, so I said we should stay. My veggie delite was perfectly serviceable. No spicy italian, but pretty okay.
I had the thought that next time I could have them put marinara sauce on the sandwich – I often used to do that with the spicy italian, to turn it into a pizza sub, so this would just be a veggie pizza sub, something I could get excited about. Then I realized that the marinara sauce at Subway has the meatballs sitting in it. There’s likely to be little meat chunks throughout the sauce; I’ve encountered little meatball bits in my spicy italian pizza subs many times. This means the marinara sauce is out for me. I wouldn’t eat chicken broth even if there were no chicken chunks in it, so why would I order marinara sauce that had meatballs sitting in it? I guess I could, since unlike chicken broth the marinara sauce is not intrinsically made of meat, but it still feels like cheating. Overall, I need to measure how far I go with this, how fanatical I want to be. I think it’ll be a long learning process.