I’ve never really thought about vegetarianism, but I’ve never even thought about trying it on myself. I am an incorrigible meat-eater, but for all that, I am completely comfortable with vegetarians – I even started a column on vegetarian recipes on my blog.
Well, everyone is free to eat what he likes the most, best suits him and most exactly matches his inner feeling of the world or state of health. I have lived quietly in such good neutrality and did not panic. Until last week I was invited to a TV talk show about vegetarianism.
There were vegetarians, meat-eaters, doctors, yoga adepts, and everyday people not involved with vegetarianism… And there was a heated atmosphere, heated arguments and shouts of “You’re eating corpses!” There was even a wild theory that eating red meat is the same as smoking – the harm is kind of the same. Frankly speaking, I was in a light shock – I simply did not expect such battles on such seemingly peaceful topic. But now I have finally decided my attitude to vegetarianism.
First of all. If a person chooses it independently and consciously – flag in his hands and a bundle of vegetables around his neck. But when vegetarian parents put their young children on a vegetarian (or even worse, vegan) diet, they are not just imposing their opinion on them, but they are also depriving them of some of the substances necessary for normal growth. Only one in a hundred does it right – through a nutritionist. The rest of us do it on instinct. There, a couple of years ago in France, a couple of vegan parents drove their own child to exhaustion and death. Yes, it’s out of the ordinary case, but it’s also a good reason to think.
Second. Vegetarianism and veganism in our reality is a big gamble. We don’t have enough variety in available vegetables, grains and legumes! Nope. And if vegetarians are more or less able to eat different varieties of vegetables and berries then vegans are in trouble. What vegetables do we have in public stores, say, in the winter? Cabbage, carrots, potatoes, beets, and onions. Well, more imported foreign fruits and vegetables, which are a) not always of normal quality (remember those same orange watery tomatoes) and b) is normally like pesticides and other fun stuff. For cereals and legumes – buckwheat, rice, millet, barley, and beans. Lentils have also recently become inexpensive. All sorts of exotics like soybeans, chickpeas, mung bean, tofu, etc. – in places to know, and often at a price that is not at all satisfying.
Third. There are no meat-eaters among my acquaintances who militantly flaunt the fact that they eat meat. These people just enjoy animal protein, enjoy life, and don’t touch anyone. Most vegetarians I’ve encountered, on the other hand, carry their diet like a banner and try, almost by force, to convert people who don’t want it at all. Don’t eat meat, that’s your right. But don’t put pressure on others.
Fourth. Personally for me a completely vegetarian lifestyle is impossible. There are two reasons:
1. I physically feel bad without meat. I felt it well when I had a two-week diet on vegetables, eggs, and dairy. It’s hard and sad, and it’s not my thing.
2. I work with a wide variety of foods, with a lot of meat and poultry among them. And even if I could theoretically give up meat without damaging my physical and emotional well-being, I still wouldn’t go for it, because a cook is obligated to always try what he cooks.
Anyway, vegetarian and vegan recipes will appear on the blog – because there are Orthodox fasts, because there are vegetarian readers and because you need variety in food.