So, you guys all remember my Meat Hiatus? The weekly recaps of what I ate during my meatless time? (Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6?) And then, at the end of it all, I wrote up a list of things that I’d learned from giving up meat temporarily. That post went up and I took off for Vegas for the weekend.
Imagine my surprise when I came back to an explosion of comments on that post… and the discovery that Grub Street wrote about my list (my second-ever appearance in Grub Street, and it’s tagged ‘flatulence’ – yes, I make splashes like no one else, haha) as did Veg Daily, which claimed I blew a lot of hot air about going veg. (Ok, Grub Street’s headline “Cutting out meat leads to cutting the cheese?” was pretty funny too. Actually, there are a lot of amusing headlines you could write about my article… I’m just not that creative I guess.)
In any case, I wanted to address the comments and concerns over my list of discoveries – I suppose I could just respond to the comments, but this is more fun, no?
The first big issue is that people seem to have misunderstood a lot of things I wrote. So let’s go again (for your reference, the original list is here):
- Eating a (semi-)vegetarian diet made me very gassy. Enough comments came through that make it clear I am not the only one. I never said it smelled bad, or that being vegetarian makes you smell bad – bordering on the gross and/or TMI, it wasn’t like it smelled. But I was very gassy during this time, and I hadn’t changed anything about my diet except not eating meat. The conclusion was a logical step for me. Oh, and for those who are new to my blog? I actually eat a lot of vegetables on a regular basis. I like – no, I even love vegetables, properly prepared. I have a fairly healthy diet, light on the carbs but heavy on the vegetables and meat.
- To clarify: I have only one vegetarian friend. Everyone else is an omnivore, and I stand by what I said: it is NOT impossible to eat out [with non-veg friends] but it is difficult because you do have to keep asking “Is there meat in that?” or “Is that made with meat?” etc. I allowed myself the choice of eating things made with meat stocks or fats, and I still found it difficult to find things to eat occasionally without resorting to a plain salad. My friends went for ramen and I had to politely decline not even because of the pork broth.
- I will address this when I respond to comments.
- See #1.
- I will address this when I respond to comments.
- I don’t see how this is negative – I state explicitly that you can have it both ways, I did, and so can you (if you want).
- Leaving out a hyphen makes a big difference! I didn’t mean ALL vegetable dishes; I meant dishes comprised of all vegetables tend to be on the bland/boring side. Unless…
- you add a lot of spicy stuff or hot sauce. A lot of meat items you can just salt up and grill/cook, and they’re delicious. I find this less true, or rather, true about less vegetable items than meat items.
- See #1.
- I really don’t know why people are heated about this point to be honest. I said something nice about being vegetarian – considering before this challenge to myself, I’d been one to say “I just don’t feel full unless I have meat,” for me to say now that I’ve learned I can be completely sated and happy eating a vegetarian meal, isn’t that a good thing?
- Again, everyone seemed to focus on the negative but ignored this point. I said I can definitely see myself dropping meat from a few meals a week. I don’t need to eat as much meat as I thought I did. Isn’t that a good thing?
- Ah, the advance planning point. What was I thinking? Seriously, I was specifically thinking about times when I’d been unable to pack my lunch (which, by the way, helped a lot in terms of keeping to this challenge), and had to struggle to find something in the area of my office that was suitable for consumption. Pizza, onion rings, french fries, freshly-tossed-salads – that seemed to be the only items in the Financial District available to me, and they aren’t exactly gourmet choices or things that I’d be all “Ooh I want that” or that I could eat on a daily basis. That just isn’t healthy.
- I’m actually surprised no one commented on this one, but I do feel it’s true.
- See #1.
Now, on to the comments!
keite– I hope I never find out what type of gas or how pleasant/unpleasant my friends’ gas is… hahahaha. Seriously though, it’s not a contest. I never said it was bad, but it was definitely more frequent than I am accustomed to – and quite a few of the comments agreed with me. See Nicholas’s comment (below yours).
SkippyMom – Admittedly, I didn’t keep hard tabs on my grocery bills before this challenge started, but I do know that just from the first few weeks while still eating fish to the next few weeks of eating no animal flesh, my weekly grocery bill went from $20 to $10. I would imagine my not eating meat lowered the bill drastically as well, though I do tend to buy things like chicken thighs in bulk and freeze them (which keeps the cost to a minimum), and I don’t eat quite as much beef as one would imagine (even that, I buy ground beef in bulk and freeze it in .5-.75 lb portions in sandwich bags). So… the answer to your question is “probably” haha.
Anonymous (1) – to respond to your questions: ummm, I care about having more gas, and a lot of people do, I believe.
Second, sure, lots of restaurants are vegan or vegetarian, but I don’t feel comfortable asking that my non-vegetarian friends go to a restaurant solely for my sake because I don’t eat meat – temporarily, no less – and I wouldn’t expect anyone to do so, either!
Third, I find it fascinating that you tell me I need to re-examine the food pyramid but then later tell me that meat and dairy are not healthy – last I checked, they’re part of the same food pyramid to which you refer, which discounts your entire point.
Oh, and if you’d read my point carefully, I state explicitly that it was never friends who were mean to me about what I eat, nor did my friends ever tell me to eat meat when I said I wasn’t feeling well. It was always people I didn’t know very well, and those points were actually stated as an epiphany that perhaps it’s time for everyone to stop telling vegetarians to eat meat… because it isn’t nice.
Although I reiterated my point above about needing to plan carefully, the fact is, as a meat-eater, if I am hungry and need something quick, I can run into any place on any street nearly anywhere and find myself with many choices – some healthy and some not so healthy – whereas the same cannot be said for vegetarians. So yes, planning is necessary; planning should be part of any healthy diet, but most people don’t do it.
As for your last paragraph, that’s just blatant propaganda and well, horse manure. You know what uses up a lot of energy? Creating soy products that look and/or taste like meat. Just eat the tofu the way it is instead of doctoring it to taste like meat.
Gar – I agree with everything in moderation. I think you mean “Dirt Candy” though not Dirty lol 😉 And actually, I eat a lot of vegetables on a regular basis, but usually with more protein than I obviously consumed during my Meat Hiatus. And thanks – I agree the options are out there, but I still maintain that it does take a bit of searching if you ‘just want a quick bite’ and duck into a random place… and you may have to exit and look again a few times before you find a place.
Ange – 6 & 7 are pretty terrible. Some people were so rude. I’m surprised that you don’t find 11 and/or 12 to be true, actually, and if 4 doesn’t apply to you… are you super thin or something?
Niko – lol, seriously, I only meant that it’s hard if you’re confined to finding a lunch that fulfills those requirements and you have to be near your office. You can’t tell me that in Midtown, you have an easy time of finding meatless meals that are healthy on a regular basis! And no to the desserts… that is just… no 😛
BS – Thanks, and all I can say to the rest of your comment – you KNOW why – HAHHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAH!!!
Lizz – ahhh, that sucks, I can’t imagine going out when feeling the way I did when I ate too many veggies….!
mesogeia – Wow! I don’t think I could give up eggs and dairy as well. Did you eat a lot of tofu? Big props to you, I feel silly for even making such a fuss over giving up animal flesh for 41 days! I seriously wonder about the gas thing because according to the Grub Street article, it’s “common wisdom” that eating meat is what gives you gas!
Now, because I’m that self indulgent, I’m also going to respond to the comments on the Grub Street article!
IDANCEATLEDISKO – Thank you!
Bett – You’re right; it should read “Not eating meat led to me being very gassy. I don’t claim to know the inner workings of all (or any, really) vegetarians, nor whether they are gassy or not. My mistake!
Ladybugspots – It genuinely never occurred to me that I’d be gassy simply from changing my diet to exclude something I eat but not really adding much to my diet that I didn’t already eat. I guess I know for next time! Thanks 🙂
WMUAlumnus – already responded to your comment above, thanks!
NobodyElseHasThis – I think I clarified what I meant above about the vegetables being bland? Oh, and it takes me about 2-3 minutes to poop as a meat eater. Maybe TMI but you started it! 😛
VegCityGal – Hmm. I wouldn’t call myself a reporter, though I did report on my personal findings from my own Meat Hiatus. If you keep that in mind, perhaps you’d understand what I was trying to say a bit better. Also, I’m not sure why everyone keeps saying ‘vegetarian food’ – I didn’t eat vegetarian food, I ate vegetables. I avoided all meat replacements and simply didn’t eat meat. From my limited exposure to vegetarians – I don’t actually know any vegetarians who do that – they all eat meat substitutes, perhaps not on a daily basis. And… to your first sentence – if you can call it that – utter, bitter nonsense? Enough people have agreed with me (vegetarian and non) on various points that you can’t deny I have spoken truthfully based on my own experiences, which other people have also experienced for themselves.
SusyCav – Wow, a personal attack on my body… did you even read my full article or bother looking to see my carefully documented journey, during which I kept a log of what exactly I ate? I’m a happy, healthy omnivore, with a happy, healthy digestive system – neither you nor I are urban legends. We exist. And I’d like to think we can co-exist peacefully, although if you keep making sweeping generalizations about meat eaters, things might get ugly. Especially when you pretty much just called me fat. As for the reason I went veg temporarily, it was, as is stated in the Grub Street article, because I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could do it. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Oh, hell yeah. I learned a lot during this time, which no one can take from me, even if they would like to say repeatedly that I am wrong about the things I observed, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Observations are subjective, as are nearly every blog. Oh, and for your sign off? I’m a fairly ‘green’ person, and going veg or not is a very personal decision. It is not for everyone.
DD7 – The point was to be able to eat at restaurants that don’t cater solely to vegetarians, and actually, it was more specific to being able to not bring my own lunch and still be able to find a decent lunch in the immediate area surrounding my office building. I believe I’ve addressed all of your concerns above from other comments? As for living up to the “foodie” name… I’m not even sure what that means anymore. Some people take it to mean food snob… and I am SO not into that. I will always live up to the “feisty” part of the title, but once foodie starts meaning people who only eat artisanal this or locally sourced that… forget it! 🙂
Erock4 – Thank you 🙂
BernardBrown – Thank you!!! I think you understood the basic point of everything I was saying much better than most people.
Seriously, thank you to everyone for linking/reading/hating/commenting/everything. I want to emphasize that this was a great learning experience for me; I did learn, first and foremost, that I can (and will) drop meat from my diet more frequently now as it isn’t 100% necessary. I also learned a bit of sympathy/empathy for vegetarians – from dealing with rude people who will tell you that you should just eat meat or people who will push their blatant agenda on you (cough cough from an omnivore’s POV, this happens to me by vegetarians/vegans more often than you might think, but it was interesting getting it from the other side), and smelling grilled meat when you know you can’t (or won’t) eat it… Well, it was a great learning experience that I don’t regret one bit.
I also learned that I can have meatless meals and barely miss the meat… which is great for my wallet! And, depending on who you talk to, for my health as well.
Cheers and thanks again for reading!!!