Saturday, May 25, 2013

The grass is green wherever you're not

At first, I thought I understood why someone like avowed carnivore Anthony Bourdain generally loathes vegetarians. Cutting meat from my diet (though I sometimes eat seafood, dairy, and eggs) left me feeling lighter and more energetic. So much so that for about a week after the "change", I was always on the verge of shoving the meat-free life into other people's faces.

Can you imagine: "DON'T EAT MEAT. YOU'LL LOOK SO MUCH BETTER. LIKE ME." (excerpt from Antisocialista 101 [2013].)

As it turns out, this self-satisfied enthusiasm is not the (main) reason behind Mr. Bourdain's distaste. Out of journalistic curiosity, his wife tried it out for 2 weeks, getting a pretty great article out of it

From her article, I learnt that vegetarians in Asia are quite different from vegetarians in the West in that western vegetarians tend to be miserable cows who are miserable because they're eating terrible cow food and everyone else who does eat cow can't wait to see the back of them because they're such miserable cows.

For the record, I've been vegetarian since February (Chinese New Year reunion dinner was a bit of a challenge), and the timing couldn't have been better: it was around then that the Ikea not-beef scandal broke all across Europe, and the provenance of meat here is generally suspect anyway. As I am the de facto Chief of Domestic Culinary Affairs though, I have to taste what I cook, and yes, I swallow (mm-mmm).

It actually feels different when I'm hungry now. Before, my stomach would feel as if it had been replaced by a black hole, and it would be all I could do to walk to the fridge to get some food. Now, there's just a little twinge and slight feeling of floatiness. 

As far as physical differences go, it appears that humans are the only species where vegetarians are smaller than carnivores, e.g., elephant vs. lion. I'm sure there are grossly overweight vegetarians out there (how?), but I haven't seen any.

Indeed, in addition to the disappearance of the dark circles under my eyes (ahem), I have lost weight. The full disclosure is that I lost too much weight at one point* and have to work on eating properly sized portions, i.e., that are enough to feed more than one bird.

So, vegetarianism, after a fashion, works for me. I don't miss meat, and I don't lie awake nights feeling unhappy, as though there is a black hole in my life that can only be filled with flesh. I'm treading a different path now, and hope my dad will eventually come to terms with it. I suspect that he might have taken it better if I'd told him I'm homosexual.**

*You know you've overdone it when the guys at the banana leaf restaurant look concerned.
 **It really annoys me when girls say they're gay. /pedantry


Snuze said...

Huh. I don't know if I am able to make such a commitment to food elimination. But go, you!

And thanks for the reading rec.

Angela Gripesalot said...

You're welcome! I don't see it as "things I must not eat anymore forever for the rest of my life" though, just "stuff I don't need and don't miss".

Of course, sometimes when all is dark and quiet, I could swear I hear a Hainanese chicken chop calling my name...