Tag Archives: vegetarian

The Battle of the (Vegetarian) Veganista

“Vegetarian veganista?” you might say. Why yes,
that is me! You see there has always been no secret of me being a vegetarian
and choosing to not eat meat. My diet/lifestyle has been in the works for years
and by now, my friends and family are used to me being complicated when we go out
to dinner.
It might sound a little like this between the
server and myself, “May I order the Calypso Shrimp Linguine but with the shrimp
of the side and add broccoli, asparagus, and mushrooms?” (The shrimp on the
side is for my husband, duh!) … almost always the server asks, “Are you a
Don’t worry, I worked in the restaurant industry
for years and know how both customer and server etiquette should work. I always ask nicely for my complicated requests and
the servers have always been awesome.
So where does this “veganista” come into play?
This one time at an animal rescue dinner event,
our entrée choices were: chicken parmesan, eggplant parmesan (vegetarian
option), and spaghetti without tomato sauce (vegan option.) You ordered your
meal way ahead of time when tickets were purchased and I selected eggplant
parmesan. I was served spaghetti. (Enter: reassuringly checking my ticket,
clearly seeing eggplant parm.) When I
politely pointed out the incorrect order to the server, he was confused as to
why a vegan would eat cheese. Who said I was vegan? Not me! After much
discussion in the kitchen (if you’ve ever been to Buca, you know that kitchen
is wide open!) I was finally served what I ordered.
Here comes dessert. I was served carrot cake
instead of cheesecake because I was “vegan.” Gimme that cheesecake because I AM
I got my cheesecake and my family and I joked
about my new diet for the rest of the night.
A few months after my vegan Buca run in, I
learned how naïve my vegetarian lifestyle was all because of parmesan cheese.
Ironic, right? I cringe at that word because it has been forever emblazoned in
my brain as something evil and now disgusting. In short, cheese is not
vegetarian. Which lead to learning milk is not vegetarian. And finally, eggs
are not vegetarian. Even dairy cows end up being served at McDonald’s with the
egg laying chickens. Need further clarification? Go do some research. It’ll be
life changing.
And let personal war wage inside me. I gave
up meat to not take part in horrific factory farming practices but all the while I
was still a contributing factor with my organic dairy purchases. I also learned
that the words “organic” “cage free” and “free roaming” don’t mean squat. I’m not okay with the idea that an innocent animal had to die a horrible death just so I can eat. No thanks. 
So, the questions that beg to be answered are “why
didn’t I put two and two together all these years” and “why didn’t anyone tell
Some days I think being a vegetarian is a joke
and you might as well eat meat. The way I see it, there should be two black and
white diets: meat eaters and vegans. Other days, I drive myself INSANE when I
check food labels. The one item that infuriates me is non-dairy coffee creamer.
Assuming I was safe, I bought it. No, “contains milk” was listed right on the
back of the bottle. It was then I became a label reader. And heads up, milk or
milk products (i.e. casein) are in a TON of food products.
Photo from: Daniel
So where do I draw the line between sane and
insane? It’s a struggle that I go through every day especially since my husband,
Sean, is a meat eater and will always be one. I just have to find out what
works for me especially when eating at restaurants. My biggest worry is I don’t
want people to be inconvenienced by me. Honestly. I
went to a wedding once where the groom panicked after dinner while talking to
me. “OMG, we completely forgot you were vegetarian. Did you get enough to eat?”
Ah, my heart wanted to break because the sweet bride and groom had much more
important things to think about on their wedding day than what I had to eat. Don’t you
worry! I’ll be fine.
When I cook and bake, the transition has been a
bit easier. Replacing actual milk has been relatively easy because there are
many alternatives out there. Sean and I really like Almond Breeze’s Vanilla Almond
and I love Silk’s coffee creamers. Butter has
been super easy to replace because our butter was already actually vegan, Smart
Balance Light
. I’m still working on the egg replacer and determining
when I should be binding or leavening!
 Sean has been amazing and so supportive of my
struggle. It is a HUGE step when he tries my vegan cooking/baking. I have even
received the “Sean-Approval” on many of my dinners and bakings which really
makes me feel great! I’ve even noticed that I’m feeling better with less stomach aches and my headaches are gone. I’m not sure I can ever fully commit to a vegan lifestyle
which leads me to really respect those that do. It’s a tough lifestyle in an
unforgiving world but I do feel like I can make conscious decisions to have a
better and kinder lifestyle as a vegetarian veganista!

The Glamorous Vegetarian

“Glamorous” and “vegetarian” aren’t words that are often exchanged together. Usually, “that’s not normal” or “weird” are commonly and stereotypically used instead with other misconceptions.
I’m glamorous and I’m a vegetarian.

It started when I was 13 when out to dinner my “well done” steak came to the table and leaked red liquid. That was the first time I had entertained the thought of just how did my food end up on my plate. I didn’t eat the steak and never had another one.

The next year in science class we dissected a chicken wing. Never again could I touch, much less eat, a chicken wing. I never learned how to cook chicken because I could never touch it raw. When I rarely ate meat, it was always cooked out of sight by someone else.

Then I started to research how “the animal becomes food” process and I was mortified. I was so naive thinking Old McDonald’s farm animals magically and painlessly ended up in the stomachs of millions. No E-I, E-I, O there! Factory farming and inhumane methods are painfully involved. PETA is sometimes a bit overdramatic but there is no hiding how the mass meat industry is running. And no, you oh-so-funny meatatarians, PETA does not stand for “People Eating Tasty Animals.”

I gave up all meat once and for all three years ago. Sean and I were visiting Atlanta and went to the Yellow River Game Ranch (an AWESOME place!) Feeding the animals is what you do there but the little baby chickens that ran up to me for food changed the way I would eat from then on.
Had I had any doubt about my decision, the chicken truck we passed on the way home sealed the deal. I believe I cried for the next 10 miles.

It all started with animal welfare but today I’m just plain ol’ disgusted at the thought of eating carcass. I’ve also switched to organic dairy, too.

I’ve continued my research and have discovered how the world has a sneaky way of using animal byproducts in many meatless foods. I’m no longer safe by just eating something without meat. My biggest discovery that really angers me is gelatin.

Gelatin (or gelatine) is a translucent, colorless, brittle (when dry), flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals’ skin and bones.

Nothing glamorous about that! It’s in a ton of stuff besides jello. The jello shots many think are just so fabulous are really just down right disgusting. Did you know it’s also in many types of yogurt? How about marshmallows, skittles, and Altoids? Even one of my Smart Ones frozen dinners had it listed as an ingredient. Gross!

And PS, some types of cheese has rennet in it. Don’t have a clue what that is? It comes from the stomachs of baby cows. Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian FYI.
So, how is being a vegetarian weird, again? I’m weird because I choose to not partake in animal suffering or eating ground up animal body parts? Negative. I’m different because I am educated and stand up for something I believe in. 
Instead of thinking of one being so different than you and (gasp) not normal, try to find out the reason. I guess ignorance really is bliss but I’m speaking out for the ones without voices to wake people up.
No more stereotypes or name calling because being a vegetarian is glamorous!