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Eat Your Veggies

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I’ve been a vegetarian for close to 5 years and the only difference I’ve made to my diet is an increase in macaroni and cheese and apple sauce (I refuse to admit apple sauce isn’t a vegetable!!). When people ask me vegetarian-specific questions about protein and fiber and “Well, where do you get your iron?” I stare at them, tears in my eyes, screaming, “Where do you get YOUR iron, buddy!” and run away.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Target. Unfortunately, this means most of my vegetables are grown on the magical, Market Pantry, frozen foods farm. You know the one. It’s the farm where ‘Vegetable Medley’ means, drumroll: Frozen peas and carrots! This has to end!

My plan is to eat and prepare new vegetables as much as I can, so that by 2016, the Market Pantry items in my freezer will be more ice cream sandwich-ey and less broccoli floret-ey. First up – parsnips!!

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I started with parsnips because I knew I wanted to start with a root vegetable. Root vegetables aren’t exotic but there’s still a sexiness about them. They’re a familiar shape, they feel safe. Start with what you know, folks. I was very surprised when they rang up $.66 for three. They look like something a hipster bunny would enjoy! And the store was selling Chapstick for $4.00! Say whaaaat?

I found a recipe for Butter Fried Parsnips because what better way to experiment with healthy eating than butter? The recipe asks you to peel and quarter the parsnips lengthwise which I immediately found too frustrating. I ended up slice the parsnips into chip-like discs.

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I’m no good with the knife so don’t be surprised if by the end of 2015 I make every vegetable into some sort of chip.

Next came the buttering of the parsnips.

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I wasn’t excited when I had to dip each boiled parsnip into melted butter. I love butter and what it stands for (Delicious food!), but melted butter is ga-ross. It reminds me of the episode of Friends when everyone drinks the fat.  I also don’t think I melted enough because I was having trouble covering each piece.

Once each parsnip was (partially) buttered, it was time to season those pitches (parsnips + bitches = pitches). The recipe called for putting each buttered parsnip into a baggy filled with flour and spices and shaking them to coat. Baggies and butter? I had no patience for this. I decided to put the flour mixture on a plate and coat them individually. This took way more time than expected and didn’t even work that well, proving I should probably start following recipes correctly.

Finally, I got to cooking the partially-buttered, partially-seasoned parsnips.

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They actually look pretty good in this picture, right? But this is after almost 20 minutes on each side cooking. I watched two episodes of Friends while these things cooked. Could it BE any longer??

Total time for this recipe was supposed to be 30 minutes. It took me 90. This is nothing new. It takes me 3x the amount of time and counter space to do anything. AND I MEAN ANYTHING. I was so exhausted, I didn’t even bother making a main dish. I ended up having my parsnips with my go-to, side-side dish, yep you guessed it – apple sauce!

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Well, what did I think? I liked them! There were mistakes I made that with some patience, probably would have made them taste better, but overall my parsnip chips were fairly tasty.  Even before I added a gallon of salt.

Hey! I’m one step closer to being a more believable vegetarian!! Where will this vegetable experiment take me next??

Carolyn Busa
@misstoiletslave
carolynbusacoemdy.c

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Being a Vegetarian in America

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Americans live in a culture that has a serious love affair with meat. How else do you explain something like this?:

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To be clear, that’s a bacon and cheese sandwich where the buns have been replaced with pieces of fried chicken. And I don’t have a problem with this. People are perfectly entitled to eat whatever they want. Hell, I’ve been known to down an entire Domino’s pizza by myself at 11:30 on a Tuesday night. I don’t have a problem with what other people are eating. The thing is, a lot of people seem to have a problem with what I’m not eating.

There’s a sort of mythos around the idea of “The American Dream” that seems inextricably linked to eating meat. What’s more American than a family barbeque in the backyard, standing over the grill commenting on the quality of the meat? Brands like McDonald’s and Burger King have managed to link their names to American culture in a way that makes it feel like they’ve always been there. Even if you’re the poorest of the poor in America, you can buy a full meal for your entire family, usually consisting of a burger and fries. For many, many people, part of being an American is eating meat on a regular basis. And, again, that’s fine.

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But the thing is I’ve chosen to opt out of that part of the culture. And that makes some people very angry. In fact, it’s made enough people angry and/or defensive that whenever I broach the subject of my vegetarianism with a new person, I have to launch a preemptive strike in which I downplay my life choices so I’m not accosted. A little bit of self-deprecation usually helps things along, too. Often it goes something like this: “Oh, no thank you, I’m a vegetarian. Yup, yup, have been my whole life. I know, crazy. I’m sure if I had ever eaten meat, I wouldn’t have the self control not to eat bacon.” I follow this up with a little laugh as if to say “I know, I’m a nut!” More often than not, this puts people at ease and I can eat my veggie burger in peace.

I never feel good about these encounters. It makes me feel like a fraud, for one thing. I genuinely believe in abstaining from eating meat, for many reasons. But I’m very often not afforded the same respect from carnivores that I give to them. I think that many of them feel like it’s a personal attack, as if my not eating meat means I’m looking down on them for doing so. Which, to clarify, is never the case. To reiterate, I don’t care what you eat. I hold the same views on vegetarianism that I do on religion: if that’s how you feel, awesome! Just don’t proselytize, because no one wants to feel bad about their belief system. Or their diet.

So for now, being a vegetarian in America is not viewed as a badge of honor, save for various enclaves (Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, etc.). If you announce this part of yourself to anyone, you’re going to be met with a certain level of hostility and at the very least mild discomfort. And that’s really too bad, because the vegetarian diet has a lot to offer. I understand that a lot of the hostility is due at least in part to the misguided militantism of some vegetarians who take a very judgmental and counterproductive approach to convincing people. Shouting “meat is murder” is going to get us nowhere. Shouting in America only leads to more shouting. People can eat what they want. And if they have the thoughtfulness to ask us why we’re vegetarians, our response should be candid and friendly without poisoning our rhetoric with judgemental self-righteousness. Seriously, no one wants to hear that.

But again, this should go both ways. If you eat meat, fine. Please enjoy it, I have no reason to take that away from you. But understand that my not partaking in your porterhouse is not reflective upon you. For the third time, I Don’t Care. Just show me the same respect and stop belittling my life choices. I want the same thing you do: to eat in peace.

 

Colin Hinckley

colinhinckley.com

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Dating app for Vegetarians and Vegans

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Finally, a dating app for Vegetarians and Vegans. Here at Lettuce Love, we give Vegetarians and Vegans a great way of getting in touch with each other. You can download the app on the App Store or Google Play.

Many Vegetarians look for a partner with the same ethics and morals about their diet. Here we have created a great dating network for them to do just that. 10% of the subscription fee goes towards selected animal charities across the globe.

For all you veggies already in a relationship, you can share your stories on our Lettuce Love Forum page, or take part in other discussions. We have built a great way to find Veggie Housemates, sharing fitness ideas and workout ideas for Vegans, or discussions on our planet Earth.

Lettuce Love is a community for all Vegetarians and Vegans to spread love for all living entities, nature, the environment, and each other.

Lettuce Inspire.

Beetroot to your heart.

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Best Restaurants for a Vegetarian Date in London

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Here are our pick of the best restaurants to take your date out to a nice Vegetarian or Vegan eating place. In no particular order;

1. Tibits – Just off Regents Street, this is a great place to go on a first date. You pay by the weight of your plate, so if you’re a dude reading this, make sure she just has light salad. You’re able to sit outside in the sun, when it decides to come out, or indulge in great conversation indoors. 

2. Mildreds (Soho) – It’s not the biggest place, but the food is exquisite. You’ll both leave with great taste in your mouths. The food here will always leave a conversational topic after you’ve left.

3. Govinda’s (Soho) – You get every sort of food here; mainly Indian, as well as Pizza, and Pasta. There is a nice Spiritual feel about it as it’s underneath a Hare Krishna Temple, but nevertheless, if you can find space in the nice quiet corner you’ll have that intimate feel.

4. Terre a Terre (Brighton) – A Brighton favourite here. 

5. Food for Friends (Brighton) – This place has great Vegan options, and is classy. For a class Veggie date, you need go no further.

If you have your own favourites, then please use the forum to tell the world. 

To find your Vegetarian or Vegan date download the app Lettuce Love today on your iPhone or Android.