Monday, 26 February 2007

Tender Hearted Vegetarian

I've been veggie for coming up close on twenty years now. Yes, it's a frightening number, because those twenty years have gone in no time at all. The last ten, particularly, have flown by. It's like time creeps if not stands still while you go through school, and college, and uni (and - in my case - a disasterous relationship in another country) and then as soon as life in the world of earning a living kicks back in, it's *boom, whoosh* - and those years are flying by. To put it in some kind of warped perspective, I've now been in my current place of employment for over 9 years. That's more than my years at senior school and university (grad and post-grad) put together. I'm heading for my mid-thirties at an incredible rate of knots and in my head, for various reasons, I haven't even celebrated 30 properly yet. It's scary stuff.

The ups and downs of this weekend have also revealed two new wrinkles under my eyes in the mirror. Not good!

Anyway, moving back to the original topic - having become a (rather strict) vegetarian at 15 means that I have never actually tasted loads of stuff. Scallops, say. No. Prawns - only in prawn balls from Dad's Chinese takeout, and those were spat out immediately. Any kind of fish other than battered and from the fish and chip shop in newspaper with salt on a Friday night (it's an English thing) or in "fingers", no. Lobster, no. Other shellfish, no. Steak, no. Venison, no. Duck, no. Goose, no. You get the idea.

But do I *want* to taste it? I think the answer has to be, in all honesty, no. I would like to share a meal with P in the true sense of sharing and eating the same food and savouring the same tastes and knowing that the enjoyment was equal. To be able to discuss our food as we can discuss our wines. To enjoy the same subtleties and nuances of taste that can be experienced when pairing a Pinot with rare lamb, perhaps, or a Sauternes with foie-gras (ok, a bad CR example). But that's not going to happen because with all the application of all the logic in all the world, I would feel that eating shellfish, fish, or meat was wrong. Wrong for me, I hasten to add.

I am harking on about this because I do find it difficult to get my protein levels up while keeping my calories down and not going for tofu every day (I must find that article about soy and dementia) or quorn (I swear it wouldn't surprise me if one day someone finds out the damn stuff is sentient), and I feel like griping about it. I'm particularly tired (and this is not new) of eating out as a CR'd vegetarian being so difficult to do. But I guess that's a problem there are no easy answers to. Either I assert my superiority on the food chain and qwell guilt, and eat the scallops... or not, and my days are filled with eggwhites (from eggs laid by free-range chickens fed on a non-GM organic diet, naturally), and grumblings about not being able to eat out and be CRON.

I'll probably do the usual and post today's CoM report later, after my pottery class, but I have to admit I am feeling reasonably blah about food today after the weekend. I might aim for as much nutrition as I can get in as few calories - and usually I have to push to get my calories over 1000 - 1100; that's just the way it is, no drama. I'm reasonably tempted just to eat a bowl of cereal to be honest. Sometimes one just gets tired of trying, and of food.


Anonymous said...

Hey, no one said you have to try every day :)

I didn't become a vegetarian until 16 so have eaten a lot of meats, almost anything that flies or walks or swims... baby octopus ... raw scallops... even shark, gator and snake. I've even fished and hunted in my time. BUT you've probably had a pork pie at some point in your life, and I haven't! Not that I particularly want one but I feel I do miss out on the UK experience somewhat by abstaining.

So long as you're not averse to dairy, there are a lot of easy protein options. But also, even though a lot of CRONies do Zone or try to up their protein, a lot don't. The big points are really the calories: fewer, and the nutrition: more. All the rest? Details.

Sara said...

I have eaten a pork pie and I remember the rough mouth-feel of the fat in the pastry, and the texture of the quivering jelly surrounding the meat, even now. *shudder*

I just amended the post to say I was tired of food but that's not right either. I just am.... what did you post the other day - in "a protein shake and a handful of vitamins" sort of mood. I just cannot be bothered right now! Bring on the All Bran Fibre Plus, is what I say. Except I have no milk. Damn.

April said...

I was vegetarian for ten years, serious vegan for five. Eating out was hell.

One thing you could do, if you're desperate, is to eat a protein shake of some kind or a megamuffin just before going out, then eat your carbs at the restaurant. Not as much fun, I'll admit, but it does solve the no protein problem. I sometimes eat a megamuffin and then just get a nice (non meat) salad.

Miss M is right that beyond calories and nutrition, the rest is tweaking. With one small caveat: in the rodent studies, the CR'd ones fed more protein lived longer than the ones fed less. If you're just doing a very mild version of CR, this might not be an important factor for you. But if you're interested in more serious CR, it might be a consideration.

Do you eat whey protein powder? I don't care for the stuff, but MR eats it every morning with his homemade kefir shake.


Sara said...

I've been veggie and vegan and eating out has always been difficult but recently, here, it seems a lot worse. Or maybe it's my perceptions of it now, with trying to be more balanced in my eating. I have restricted my food calories for years; it's only the CR and the ON together that is new this year. It's the ON that is almost impossible to do eating out. It's easy to eat lettuce.

I haven't eaten whey protein powder yet... It might be worth a try, I guess.

I'm very interested in longevity (who wouldn't be) and one day I will get to putting my money where my mouth is and my wine glass isn't... :-)

Deborah said...

Hi Sara,
Have you been over to Erin's Blog?

Quite inspirational for a CR vegetarian (Vegan I believe) lifestyle and photos to boot!

It won't help with the eating out part.. you'll need to get very picky with your restaurant choices I think for that...but it might help with some food ideas.


Sara said...

Hi Deborah,

Oh yes, I've checked that out. Very impressive! I had assumed Erin was a woman, but I gather from April's latest post where Erin is referred to as "he", not. Ooops. :-)

I'm happy, more or less, with the food I cook for myself. It's just me most of the time. I don't need to be pretty about it; and I like my food at home to be quick, and plain...

I'm already picky about eating out to the point of distraction, if you ask P! To be honest, I don't think it can be done given the constraints I put upon myself.

Still, one can hope... Maybe I'll just have to open my own place. It's not inconceivable.

Deborah said...

Oh What a great plan!!!

April said...

Alas, Erin is a male. I was hoping to get advice on how to get 1200 vegan calories with 70 g protein a day.


Jacqueline said...

Hi Sara!
Whoops, I too assumed Erin was a woman...sorry Erin!

Just wanted to say hello, i'm a new reader to your blog :)


Emily said...

Have you experimented with eating less protein? Not all CRONies eat as much protein as April. I do - I eat more, in fact, because I know that I feel best on lots of protein, lots of fat, and very very few carbs.

I would encourage you to eat lower protein for a couple days and see how you feel. If you're hungry or feel weak, you know it doesn't work for you. If you feel good eating 40-50 grams of protein a day rather than 70, I bet you're fine. I believe that due to genetics and lifestyle, different people have really different ideal macronutrient ratios. For example, an active person in a cold climate (with similar ancestors) might thrive on higher fat.

And you can always increase protein if you don't feel like you're in optimal health.

skinnybitch said...

I think it's horrible that there aren't healthier vegetarian offerings in restaurants! Even for non-vegetarians it can be quite difficult to get a decent amount of cooked veggies with your entree. I recently went to a really nice restaurant and ordered salmon with cauliflower and lentils. The salmon was HUGE - probably 7 ounces - but I swear it took me several minutes of fishing around to find the cauliflower lurking underneath, and when I finally found it, I was amazed at the miniscule portions. It almost seemed like false advertising. I mean, if there's only a couple of tablespoons of cauliflower in a dish, can you call that a side? Apparently.

So Sara, even though I'm not a vegetarian I would happily go to your restaurant!