Thoughts on Vegetarianism

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On the first date with the boyfriend, we went for sushi, and he sat down and told me that he’s vegetarian. I’ve never dated a vegetarian before so I freaked out wondering what the etiquette is and ended up ordering the same veggie sushi set as him, even though I love fish based sushi so very much.

As we got to know each other more, and when it was obvious that we would end up together, I made the decision to be vegetarian when I am around him – if I was the veggie one, I would think it gross to kiss someone who had just eaten a load of meat, and also I don’t want to make him feel uncomfortable so it just made sense to me. What’s more, at home I rarely buy meat and the only time I eat it normally is when I’m out for a burger or some German food.

Since making this decision, I’ve seen food in a new light. Checking food labels all the time is kinda a hassle and finding that things I thought were clean actually having animal products in them makes me sad – things like Worcestershire Sauce and kimchi. I’d say that overall, Frankfurt is pretty good with vegetarians but still sometimes there are places with only one or two options. That kinda sucks too, especially when I’m restricted by my gluten allergy as well.

But when we cook together, it’s amazing. I’ve learnt that there are two types of vegetarian food – one type that pretends to be meat with all the fake mince and fake bacon and whatnot, and the other type that is just meatless by nature. He’s been teaching me lots about cooking the second type of food, though when I cook for myself I still like a good slab of pineapple curry flavoured tofu to replace the chicken I would have had otherwise.

I enjoy this new way of eating and I don’t feel like it’s a negative choice, or that he is forcing me to do this. However, I have been surprised by some people’s reactions to this small change. People turn their noses up at food I’ve chosen because it has no meat in it, even when it’s still veyr yummy. In this day and age where I can go to a bakery in Germany and get gluten free bread and where there are whole supermarkets dedicated to people who have special diets (Denn’s… you are heaven!), it should go without saying that you can live as vegetarian and still really enjoy food. But it seems that even now people sometimes treat vegetarians like they are just being that way to be difficult. It’s pretty shocking, really.

The only worry I have is that some day, I’d like to take the boyfriend to Japan and show him my “hometown” and all the places I used to go – Japan uses fish stock in pretty much EVERYTHING. So it will be a challenge like no other. But we’ll see. Maybe it’ll still be do-able…

Comments

  1. I’m pescitarian (vegetarian + fish and other seafood) and it drives me crazy when things like vegetable soup are made with chicken broth or candies are made with gelatin instead of pectin. This seems to happen much more in Germany than in the US (especially with the soup – I never had any problems finding a variety of naturally vegetarian soups and now it seems like there are only two in a whole Edeka). My sister in law is a self described militant vegan and we’re going to have a really tough time finding good food in restaurants if she comes to visit us.

    If you want to read something funny about being a miss understood vegetarian I’d suggest these two articles (perhaps you’ve already seen them?)

    “Where vegetarianism is an exotic illness” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20970092

    and a follow up of reader’s stories “20 of your tales of vegetarian woe” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21122072

  2. I’ve been a vegetarian since I’ve been 8 years old and am experiencing those reactions from both Germans and Americans… (I do eat fish, though, so probably more of a pescetarian).

  3. Big respect. I could never be a vegetarian- meat is a huge part of my diet.

  4. I’m no vegetarian, but I love vegetarian cooking. Its often amazingly delicious.

    I’m a little surprised that you would get bad reactions from changing how you eat. That seems like a ridiculous thing to judge someone else about.

  5. I could never be vegetarian – I don’t like enough vegetables!!

    I find most German restaurants are awful for vegetarians. The non-meat choice in Karlsruhe is usually Käsespätzle… which obviously contain gluten. Otherwise you’re pretty much limited to salad or chips.

  6. I was a vegetarian for five years. I can’t imagine trying to make it work in Japan, though.
    I think you’re very considerate to avoid meat around your boyfriend. As for people judging you for what you eat- that’s honestly just ridiculous, how does it affect them?

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