Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Sustainability Issue

In all honesty, switching to vegetarianism hasn’t been as life-threatening as I thought it would be. While George still nags me to have chicken now and then, trying to wreck the year-long attack on his carnivorous habits, I really haven’t noted a major point of concern in making this a lifelong endeavor. Oh, sure, the smell of chicken wings tempts me and I have to actually think before remembering that I’m not supposed to eat a giant bite of turkey pesto sandwich, but those are small things, unremarkable changes that I don’t regret. I do, however, think that the grocery bills are slightly higher, something I’m going to start marking. And the trips to specialty stores like Vitamin Cottage and Wild Oats in order to get some meat replacement thing are somewhat annoying sometimes. But, truthfully, I’ve always loved grocery shopping, and so it feels like something I could do long-term. Even before this experiment I drove forever to hit the Great Harvest, about 40 miles round-trip, and made near-weekly ventures to the new Whole Foods, 20+ traffic-ridden miles and a parking logistics nightmare.

So the problem, really, is that I have few cravables, and a girl really needs her comfort foods. After nearly 40 days, I haven’t repeated a new recipe yet. I admit that I’m still sifting through veggie cookbooks and deciphering the labels on my canned goods, but what I have made hasn’t been quite as amazing as I’d hoped. Trying to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables has always bothered me come winter. The produce aisles look pale and limp, and after a few months I’m simply over the citrus and apples. It’s like they’re dead to me if I have no other fruit to choose from. This week I nearly licked the cartons of on-sale blueberries as I searched for a good one to take home, and I just plopped the plump fruit into my mouth directly from the refrigerator. I made a physical effort not to eat them all in one sitting. Now I have something to look forward to this afternoon.

My one guilty pleasure I have left, aside from a coffee and tea habit that’s always been vegetarian, is the near-weekly Chipotle runs. Nothing makes me feel better than two veggie tacos stuffed with black beans and rice and then a mix of salsas, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and lettuce. It’s 8 a.m. and this is making me hungry.

I realize that one of my goals was to see whether being vegetarian was easy or feasible as a lifestyle choice for myself. I think what I’ve writte here really proves that the answer is yes.

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