I grew up in a family eating all types of foods, including meat. I've never been a huge fan; I only ate extra-lean, well-cooked meats. I grew to like the taste, but the sight of raw meat (or the feel of it) and the preparation always turned me off. The idea of hunting or picturing an animal dying to be on my plate would make my stomach churn. I pretended I had no part in the process. In a way, you'll say, it was an easy choice for me to cut it out. It was, and it wasn't. I grew accustomed to certain meaty tastes (i.e. bacon, anyone?), I forgot how gelatin was an insidious ingredient (i.e. in yogourt and marshmellows) and I took for granted social rituals, especially surrounding holidays.
|Paul McCartney - Famous & successful vegetarian|
My first Thanksgiving and my first Christmas were rough. My mom was very supportive and incorporated plenty of vegetables, protein rich dishes and baked me a salmon pie. However, my father was still in denial about my "quitting meat". I had to bring my own vegetarian option as a main course and was offered a few veggies. The smell of the turkey and meat pie filled the houses I went to. Maybe I'm wired all wacky, or maybe it's the effect of years in my Noth American omnivorous culture, but I still thought the smell of a roast was mouth-watering. Fortunately, my friend Victoria invited me to her (Polish) Christmas Eve and luckily, most of their traditional dishes are vegetarian or fish-based. There was hope.
|Celebrity Vegan - Natalie Portman|
Support is incredibly important. From other vegetarians, but also from your social circle. Your friends and family need to be aware of dietery restrictions and substitutions, veggie-friendly restaurants and ensure to involve you in holiday and event meal planning. My brother use to be vegetarian, but essentially, my family and partner are meat-eaters. Fortunately, Scott makes tremendous efforts to accomodate my lifestyle by reducing the amount of meat we store at home, cooking vegetarian dinners for us both and informing our hosts of my diet. He's even quicker to ask waitors about their vegetarian options when we walk into a restaurant. That is the type of support that makes the omnivore/vegetarian relationship work!
|North Indian Curry - Vegetarian|
The obstacles do not discourage me. They stimulate me: how can I thrive when all these factors act against a lifestyle I chose because I believe in it? I just need to create new traditions, adapt old ones, find new restaurants, browse cyberspace for new ideas, get one trusty cookbook and keep reminding people that this is a legitimate lifestyle choice.
As many vegetarians joke, when you get down, remember there is no meat in chocolate! :-)