Can anyone tell me why carbohydrates get such a bad reputation? These days, so many people seem to think that bread/potato/pasta based dishes make your arteries explode, while acting like meat is our number one life support.
Yet ironically, we need almost as many carbs as fruit and vegetables but only a small amount of protein.
I became vegetarian in recent years, having been brought up with very little meat by my vegetarian mother. As you may have gathered, I care very much about animals, and anyway, I was used to mostly vegetarian food. When I tell people I’m a vegetarian, the most common responses include the following:
‘How come?’ Read the above paragraph.
‘Where do you get protein from?’ Nuts, tofu, eggs, dairy, certain vegetables, pulses…not really rocket science.
‘I couldn’t be a veggie.’ Ok, fair enough, but this is where it can potentially get irritating. I don’t mind people eating meat. Come on, I live with four cats when I’m not at uni (that said, I hope none of the humans in my life develop a taste for squirrel…). I just don’t get why having meat in a meal seems to be compulsory, while meat free food is deemed at best a special diet alternative, and at worst boring just because it doesn’t contain chicken or bacon.
It just seems that people forget that there are other foods and recipes out there sometimes. Protein and fat are essential. Iron? Don’t get me started. Meat, on the other hand, is just one of many sources of the above nutrients. It’s not our main energy source; that’s the carbs’ job. What can you cook without it? Risotto. Curry. Pasta. Chinese food. Vegetable chilli. Soup. Just try it some time – you can do pretty much anything with these basic dishes.
Fun fact: in Spain, a vegetarian option is what you have when you make an omelette and rather than using meat, just add bacon or seafood. Spain has many perks, but for my mum on that particular occasion, veggie food isn’t one of them. Over here, the main ingredient associated with a veggie diet is tofu. In Asia, it’s just a food eaten by vegetarians and meat eaters alike, while in the west it is often labelled as bland and disgusting. Bland because most people here don’t know what to do with it. Disgusting? Remind me how meat is made. Haha.
Another anti-veggie statement, which I’ve yet to experience directly is that plants feel pain. For one thing, if we avoided any organic matter at all, we would starve. For another, plants don’t have brains, hearts or central nervous systems. Fellow veggies: remember this argument!
So if you have ever been thrown by the mere concept of vegetarianism, I hope this gave you something to chew on, and that it wasn’t judgmental. Vegetarian or not, eat healthily, respect other’s views and enjoy your food. But don’t try squirrels; they’re bad for the breath.
Thomas not realising that cats cannot be vegetarian…