Some of you may know that I recently made the decision to become vegetarian. This came about after the Dietitian inadvertently planted a seed by asking if I had ethical/moral reasons for not eating meat. Or, to put it bluntly, did I have an issue with eating anything with a face? I don’t, but it gave me something to think about.
For a long time, I’d been systematically eating my way around every piece of meat on my plate at meal times. I would negotiate things like curry or stir-fry in such a way that I would eat only the veg and rice and deposit the meat in a messy pile on the side. I don’t really know why; for some reason I just couldn’t stomach meat, it required too much effort and I hated the texture of it in my mouth. Nothing anyone did could make it more palatable, so I was getting no protein from red meat or chicken, relying instead on dairy products like cheese or yogurt.
The dietitian reassured me that it is quite normal for people who have previously had a very restrictive diet to ‘go off’, or develop an aversion to, certain foods, but warned that I was missing out on some essential vitamins and minerals as a result. And so it was that I decided to take the problem at hand and turn it into something more workable. I did a bit of research, sourced some recipes and have been eating a vegetarian diet for the last couple of months. Now, rather than push food around my plate, I eat things like lentils, beans and chickpeas in place of meat. I’ve made dhal, veggie chilli, veggie lasagne, bean casserole. I’ve tried veggie sausages, bean burgers.
Don’t get me wrong. This hasn’t been an overnight cure; I’m still plagued by intrusive thoughts around food, I still have bad habits that need ironed out. But I’m sitting down in the evening with a plate of food that isn’t destined for the bin before I even make an attempt.