08 July 2008

Experiments in Eating

So, I've given up being a vegetarian. It just didn't work out. I slowly started to reintroduce chicken and fish about 2 months ago and expanded to pork and red meat in the last few weeks. As long as I am careful to keep the portions small and avoid fried food like the plague, I haven't been getting sick.

I have a few reasons why I gave up:

1. Traveling as a vegetarian is hard. It's difficult to find good options on non-vegetarian menus, especially in major meat eating areas (i.e. German-speaking countries and Midwest region of the United States). Middle Eastern & Indian restaurants are a good fall-back, but not always available and/or fair to my meat-loving husband. Not to mention the angst which happens when extended family members are trying to figure out where to go or what to serve for dinner.

2. We have an upcoming adoption. I was really, really torn regarding raising a child as a vegetarian. Children need a lot of protein and fat for brain development and animal products are the most efficient way to get it to them. Plus, being a vegetarian as a child can really set you apart, especially when you live in a Germanic culture. As an adopted, biracial foreigner, our child will already be "different." Not to mention that I firmly believe that to raise non-picky eaters you have to have everyone in the family eating the same thing at meals. And only eating that. Making special separate meals is a bad precedent to set. So making meat for my child and vegetarian for me goes against that.

3. My hair was falling out. Even though I very carefully monitored my protein intake, including doing a supplementary protein shake, I simply wasn't getting enough protein. The hands full of hair every time I washed my hair was disturbing. In the last six weeks, hair loss has slowed.

So I am once again eating meat, but I will continue to include vegetarian meals into the mix as well. We'll balance it.

Thus far my stomach is doing alright. Hopefully as long as I am cautious about what I eat it will continue to do so. Fingers crossed.


Sara said...

I think there is a lot of ground between vegetarian and full on all the time meat eater. I was a vegetarian for 7 years and then decided I was missing something so went back to eating meat very occasionally (less than once a week).
It works for me, I still feel like I'm reducing my ecological footprint, which was my original motivation.

Pointless Drivel said...

Bacon. Everybody needs bacon. It's the world's most perfect food. Ever see anyone eating bacon who isn't happy about it? Of course not. It is delicious and nutritious and, let's face it, just plain yummy. Kind of like a meaty potato chip, but better tasting. Encouraging more bacon comsumption will solve the world's problems.

christina said...

LOL on the bacon comment.

Sounds like you're doing better now. I'd say a varied, moderate diet including a little bit of all foods is probably more beneficial in the long run than choosing an extreme (not just vegetarian but also low, low carb or zero fat or whatever) and being unhappy and stressed about it. The hair loss was most likely due to an iron deficiency rather than lack of protein. It's really hard to get enough iron and B12 on a vegetarian diet.

The Big Finn said...

May I recommend the pork chabonnade that you can buy at your friendly neighborhood Coop? Sure, the Swiss have duped us into paying nearly ten bucks for what basically amounts to ONE pork chop that has been sliced crosswise, with surgical precision, into four slices, but...

It's tasty, only about 7 - 8 WW points per pack, and takes one minute per side to cook. You can either fry them in a pan (you probably won't want to do this) with just a tiny bit of oil (I just wipe a pan with a little oil on a paper towel), or throw them on the BBQ...which is what I normally do.

If you blur your vision when you look at 'em on your plate, it actually seems as if you're eating a lot of food. Honest!

Twelfthknit said...

I find I eat less meat when I am not trying to exclude it from my diet, oddly enough.Having my son home for a few weeks has made me see how poor my diet has been lately- it's definitely easier for me to do something about that when I am eating meat.
Hope all is going well with the adoption process.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, vegetarianism is mostly related to poor cooking skills - O.K., ethics are often cited as a reason but frankly if any vegetarian had had my mother and grandmother and their fabulous cooking to grow up with, they simply wouldn't have had the strenght to resist...

On the other hand, if one grows up with hamburgers from fast food restaurants, then it's no wonder one becomes a vegetarian.

One of my favourite non-vegetarian meals is duck with a mandarine sauce acompanied by mashed potatoes and some fine french red wine... YumYum!

Sara said...

swiss guy, i have to disagree with you there, perhaps you didnt grow up with someone who cooks amazing vegetarian meals (as opposed to just a regular meal minus the meat or something), but my dad's vegetarian cooking (my parents eat vegetarian at home) is so good it leaves you with no desire to eat meat.

Ingrid said...

I do the two meal thing as I am vegetarian and my family not. My children can decide later on what they want. I eat lots of beans for protein. And haloumi cheese. I only take a vitamin tablet when menstruating for extra iron. My family happily eat my vegetarian meals as they like them too.

Good luck with the baby. I can understand that the waiting is the hardest time. You won´t believe how your life will change. All the best.