The Vegetarian Experiment:The Diary

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The Vegetarian Experiment:The Diary

Hideous!

As a food fanatic I am a big fan of all sorts of meaty treats. From bacon sandwiches to bangers and mash, so can I, a meat fiend, give it up in favour of veggie cuisine?

As any regular readers will know the Northerner and I love food, especially meaty food. Together we have feasted on many different types of meaty meals. From some of the finest meat-packed sandwichesNew York Cityhas to offer, to some melt-in-your-mouth home-cooked Sunday roasts.  If we go out for a meal, neither of us give the veggie section a second glance, why would you go out and pay £10 for a salad, right?

Well, not this week, in a bid to try something new and possibly even become a little healthier, we have given up all things meat in favour of a greener life. Having read about Blue Square Premier League team, Forest Green Rovers whose chairman Dale Vince has taken meat off the menu, I had a thought. It’s one thing for me to go meat free but could I persuade Ben to do the same? And if I could who would find it hardest?

Here’s how we’ve done so far, I’ll post the rest when we are finished.

Day one.

I dash into a morning meeting, and an unmistakable smell wafts in my direction. The smell all meat eaters know and love. A hot, delicious, bacon roll, unbelievable, day one of a veggie life and I have to say no to a FREE bacon roll. Thankfully, there is also the option of a pain au chocolat to distract me, it’s no bacon roll, but it’ll do.

Panic sets in around half six as the Northerner and I are eating out tonight. I sit in Prezzo, perusing the menu and am all too aware of how limited our options are. I’m even more aware of this as the Northerner complains and loudly curses the day he met me, particularly when he realises he can’t have parmesan on his pasta.

Days two and three.

The sound of my alarm drags me from my dreams of hotdogs and hog-roasts into the land of the living and meat-free. I feel exhausted already; can that really be down to just one day off the meat? I start today with some toast but again am in too much of a rush and forget to pack my lunch. The Northerner fares a little better and takes his tub of lentil soup and fruit.

The Northerner is finding lunch a little easier as he has soup most days. I, on the other hand, am finding it difficult to spot anything both veggie and appetising in Costa. I settle on a tomato and feta pasta, I dislike tomatoes so it doesn’t go down well.

Tea for the both of us is yet more pasta and the Northerner is reaching a point where he may be starting to resent me a little.

Day three improves at tea time, when the Northerner cooks falafel and hummus pitta-bread served with sweet potato wedges and cous-cous. Suddenly vegetarianism seems less of a curse and more an interesting cuisine. There’s less complaining during this meal.

Day four.

The Saturday morning breakfast roll, the Northerner’s favourite breakfast of the week. Usually consisting of two juicy pork sausages, mushrooms and bacon. I feel bad depriving him of this, so have decided to improvise. Last night I picked up some alternatives, including (unbelievably) veggie bacon. I get up before him and get cracking on our breakfast ‘treat’.

Having taken a bite from his roll the Northerner describes this as, “The lowest moment of my life,” as he chokes on the ‘fakeon’. I have to agree, veggie bacon is the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. The Northerner tells me he loves me slightly less after making him eat, what he believes to be, ‘bacon flavoured cardboard’.

I cheer us both up by making mushroom risotto with garlic bread for tea. I’m starting to get a cold and wondering whether I can blame it on my lack of meat?

I’m heading out tonight, which will involve a great deal of gin. Generally where there is gin there is a 2 o’clock trip to Burger King. The Burger King trip takes place and amazingly I remember to ask for a veggie burger. This is the saddest moment of my week.

 

Day five.

After a night on the tiles and a long hard day of work, a delicious Sunday roast is what my body is craving. Luckily the Northerner is a whizz in the kitchen and usually has the dinner on the when I get home. Today is no different, only the smell which greets me as I walk into my flat is roasted carrots as opposed to a roast chicken, which doesn’t quite get my mouth watering in the same way.

The combination of a nut-roast, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and veg is all good but does leave me feeling as though something is missing.

 Day six.

I’m now at a point where I regret ever starting this bloody experiment! I am constantly worrying I will accidentally eat a steak and suddenly realise hours later! I’m also starting to get suspicious of the Northerner, how is he managing so easily? He must be sneaking meat at work, whilst I am getting sick and tired of snacking on carrots!

Dinner was good, vegetable burritos with rice and coleslaw but it still felt like something was missing. I’m just glad we have only one day left. Roll on tomorrow!

The expert’s view:

Nutritionist Sarah Walford gives her views on the pros and cons of a vegetarian diet.

(Sarah has just launched a nice, nutritional website http://www.nw3nutrition.com/ go and have a looksie.)
Pros:

  •  Has been associated with longevity and a lower risk of chronic illness and diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
  •  Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower levels of      cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Potentially a more sustainable way of life, with environmental and ecological benefits.

Cons

  • Should be well planned to avoid deficiencies, for example iron, zinc, calcium and Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Supplementation of vitamin B12 should be considered as this is only available in meat sources.
  • Care should be taken that the diet is not too high in Omega 6 fatty acids. The ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids must be considered.
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