The smell of a blazing barbecue may be my downfall. Good thing we’re not in Texas.
Flipping burgers the other night was just the beginning. Walking down the street earlier the wafting odor of backyard barbeque actually got my mouth watering. Maybe a trip back to Kansas City is just what I need – to desensitize myself from that sweet summer smell of mesquite smoke, spices and oh so succulent meat.
Sure, bacon is all the rage these days, but I wonder if anyone will ever make a barbeque scented room freshener. Or maybe I should just dowse myself in some BBQ Cologne for a while. Then maybe by the time I get back to the ranch, I won’t be drooling all over everyone’s burgers on Friday night. “Cheese or no cheese? Oh, spittle? Here ya go…”
Visiting friends and dining out can be a challenge as a vegetarian. Especially when some of those friends will wave a warm piece of bacon under your nose like the Pusherman. Other friends will get it and simply prepare a wonderful root vegetable terrine and salad without asking any questions.
It’s imperative, however, to inform your host when your visit includes any meals. It’s only fair, and no feelings will be hurt.
When it comes to dining out, the choice is up to you but your options are limited, especially when it comes to good old fashioned American diner food. It’s hard to limit ourselves when presented with so many scrumptious options, but that is what we must do since restaurant owners are clearly going to cater to the masses.
The good news? There are actually restaurants out there that make their biscuits and gravy without sausage in the gravy. Finding them is the hard part.
We seldom repent of having eaten too little.
— Thomas Jefferson
I’ve always been one to enjoy a great big meal. The feeling following a major food fest always seemed worthwhile for enjoying mass quantities of flavorful food.
Not so much anymore.
Hara Hachi Bunme
Or, “Hara hachi bu” (腹八分). The literal translation of this healthy Japanese saying means to eat until you’re 80 percent full, a common practice of the Okinawan diet. On the Japanese island of Okinawa, natives have practiced this for hundreds of years, and they are among healthiest, longest living people on the planet.
Another healthy lifestyle proverb throughout Japan and Korea recommends we “eat like a crane” which eats slowly and delicately, picking at its food deliberately so as not to damage its pointed bill. Perhaps this is where the ancient cultures learned the benefits of using chopsticks.
When we eat slowly and stop before we are full, we give our bodies a chance to digest our food completely and properly, signalling fullness before we have overeaten. As a Westerner who commonly eats too much too fast, this is proving to be a challenging task to master.
A lack of meat should not be compensated with huge helpings of whatever is for dinner. I have discovered it is still easy to overeat when going back for seconds of fried rice or tuna caserole. So it is without regret I say goodbye to my megameals of yore.
I now look forward to greater satisfaction from the food I eat based on a few simple rules.
Eat until you are 80% full.
Eat more healthy foods, primarily veggies (especially greens) and whole grains.
Get necessary protein from tofu, fish and other legumes.
As my wife told me, I couldn’t be in a more challenging place to try going vegetarian. But as Yoda once said…
“There is do or not do, there is no try.”
I have always liked visiting my wife’s family and enjoyed her mom’s cooking. But eating vegetarian is not easily done in this house, where every meal includes some sort of sweet smelling meat. The challenge, however, is not so much about the abundant choices at hand, but the serious lack of moral support.
When I mentioned my plan to stop eating meat, the first reaction was one of utter confusion. “I guess you’ll have to cook for yourself then.” Then came the pork chops.
Shortly before I had my vegetarian epiphany, I had taken a pork chop out of the freezer for dinner. After I decided to give up meat, I offered it up instead of throwing it out. Tonight it was prepared, along with four others – for two people since I was making a Caesar Salad for the wife and myself. “You’re missing out on these pork chops,” was the first discouraging comment. Followed by “So and so gave up on that eating vegetarian…” Sigh.
Some people just don’t get it, and never will. Luckily, my wife gets it and is offering plenty of encouragement. I didn’t expect anything less, considering she’s been a vegetarian for 20+ years. Watch her now try to go vegan again. Sigh.