The English idiom ”Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a metaphorical phrase we heard ad nauseam growing up. Meaning, you shouldn’t prejudge something or someone by their outward appearance alone.
Where the subject is vegetarianism however, the image that is conjured up sometimes is that of a person who volunteers for Green Peace or PETA, or someone running freely through the Garden of Eden.
Hmm, well I am a runner!
I have been told many times that I don’t “look” like a vegetarian, something I find quite amusing. I mean, what exactly does a vegetarian “look” like anyway?
Once a person accepts that you are a vegetarian, the first question that is usually asked is, “How do you get your protein?”. That oldie but goodie is often followed by, “You still eat chicken don’t you?”. There invariably is the, “Don’t you miss meat?” inquiry or the ever popular, “Did you do that for medical reasons?”.
Finally, the conversation almost always ends with, “You must eat a lot of salads huh?”.
Offense is not intended by any of these peculiar queries, and none is taken. Indeed, I view it as a chance to enlighten people, and to dispel some of the myths surrounding the practice.
To the question of what do I eat let me say this, eating has never been better!
A Black Bean Burger w/avocado from Chili’s
An oven baked Veggie Calzone from Hungry Howie’s
A Caprese Sala… shh, no one is allowed to say the “S” word
Deep Fried Eggplant w/parmesan & spaghetti from The Olive Garden
A Mediterranean Platter w/houmous, tabbouleh, & felafel
Zucchini Burgers from Ruby Tuesday
A Four Cheese ”Italian” Sub – Yum!
A Veggie Burger from Burger King – Made your way of course!
Hmm, this appears to be the makings of something delectable…
Ah yes, a BLT w/egg made with Smart Bacon
I shall call it – The Faconator!
Vegetarian eating is only limited by the imagination and depending on your tastes, the wallet!
Grilled Eggplant stuffed w/ricotta cheese & peppers
Linguini w/tomatoes & spinach
Cheese & spinach stuffed ravioli
Rotini w/olives, feta cheese, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes – Hallelujah!
Manicotti w/fresh basil, mozzarella & mushrooms – Deelish!
Pasta w/long stem artichokes, feta cheese & roasted garlic
And just for laughs, an “S” word with tons of fresh goodies, awaiting a drizzle of olive oil & balsamic vinegar
This is but a very small sample of the meals I have eaten over the last twenty months and honestly, it is not unlike a low fat or low carb diet. Difference being, where they limit fat or carbs, we limit meat, albeit completely.
I lift weights regularly and to the question of protein as it relates to muscle mass and strength, I would say that our protein needs are vastly overstated.
Most Americans get more protein per day than they need, but the issue is ingrained into our culture, so there is a lot of confusion there.
A tostada made w/ground soy
A black bean burrito from Baja Fresh
Brown rice veggie sushi
A veggie sandwich from Jimmy John’s – Yep, it’s a biggun!
I only consume 20 to 45 grams of protein per day, yet I can lift the same amount of weight for the same number of reps as I could two years ago. I am just as fast on my bike as I always was, and currently run a 21:36 5k.
I do all of that on two-thirds less the protein than I used to consume, so to the curious I would simply say; do try this at home!
Four Cheese Pizza
White Pizza (no sauce)
If you are not ready to stick your toe into the waters of vegetarianism that is okay. I am not here to push anything onto anyone, or to bash those who consume meat.
Millions of people live healthy productive lives eating meat, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, nothing at all.
I just want you to know that there is more to vegetarians than iceberg lettuce and raw carrots.
Take this oven roasted Mediterranean sub from Dominoes for example:
Just loaded with oodles of yummy goodness!
Try one. I promise you will savor every morsel of this tasty treat!
Being a vegetarian has never been easier, as its popularity has grown, so have the available options while dining out, and even more in grocery stores.
I got this veggie pita at the Red Hot Inn on the corner of the campus at Priority Health. Despite its simplicity, it was actually pretty good!
A Black Bean Quesadilla w/grilled fajita veggies from Qdoba
Lasagna w/spinach, mushrooms, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and garlic bread – Oh my God!
So take care not to prejudge the next time you see what appears to be a wolf eating pancakes.
For when you exchange pleasantries, you just might be greeted with – baa, baa.