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Random Fri Mar 13 2009

Carnivores, Don't Be Afraid of the Veg!

There's been a lot of posting about vegetarian and vegan foods on the blog this week, so I thought the one I've been wanting to share might be a little overkill. Yet, after Lori's post about MRSA being tied to antibiotic use in meat, I realized it was time to post.

I'm a fairly dedicated carnivore; in fact, there are days where my body absolutely craves meat. At the same time, I realize that a ton of meat may not exactly be the healthiest option, so maybe a few more vegetarian and vegan meals might be a good addition to my diet.

However, straight vegetables and beans only go so far. I wanted to try other vegetarian and vegan options, but I also didn't really want to buy a bunch of food I might end up hating. Then I got the opportunity to go to a fundraiser for Mercy for Animals, an organization that fights against animal cruelty--especially in terms of food production--by promoting vegetarian and vegan diets.

At the party, they had a bunch of vegan treats from local vegan outposts such as Veggie Bite, Mana Food Bar, Strawberry Fields Bakery, and the Chicago Diner. The spread included hot dogs, pizza, egg rolls, "meat" balls, "chicken" nuggets, cookies, doughnuts, and cupcakes.

Overall, the food wasn't that bad. The hot dogs served on some sort of vegan wheat roll were decent in comparison to a meat-based dog. The egg rolls were perfectly tasty. My sliver of pizza was all right, though a vegan I talked to admitted, "Soy cheese is disgusting." A dark chocolate bar by Enjoy Life (dairy, nut, and soy free) was pretty damn good--definitely something I'll try to find in the store.

On the other hand, sometimes vegan food seemed to taste as highly processed as some non-vegan food. The nuggets tasted a lot like a regular kid's chicken nugget that tastes a little unnatural. The "meat" ball didn't have much flavor, but it had a texture that reminded me of cat food. And although the vegan baked goods were edible, I could really tell they didn't have eggs.

The sampling made me realize that there are a lot of vegan and vegetarian options that I can easily incorporate into my diet. Even though I personally don't think my body could stand not having meat-free diet, scaling back a little here and there might be a better way to live.

 
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R / March 13, 2009 12:43 PM

Nice post. I agree that for a meat-eater, converting to vegetarianism/veganism sounds utterly impossible, but the products (fake meat) that are out there now for vegs are so comparable to the real thing that it would be far easier. Were I to ever switch.

Nick Keiser / March 13, 2009 8:37 PM

Jill, could you *please* discourage the big mistake people make every day and describe yourself as an "omnivore" and not "carnivore"? Apologies if your favorite dishes don't at least include vegetable garnishses, grain-based products (bread, noodles, rice, etc.), assorted herbs as spices, etc. and you're actually eating nought but great heaping blocks of skin and muscle. But honestly, something tells me you're not. Let's buck the trend and at least be accurate, hmm?

GR2 / March 14, 2009 1:26 AM

Come on, Nick - you knew what she meant by being a carnivore.

Nick Keiser / March 14, 2009 2:31 AM

GR2 - yes, I do I know what she meant, and it's a word that's completely different from the one she used. It's like running around calling pickup trucks compact cars or saws knives or escalataors elevators. It's extremely inaccurate because the words mean very different things, and involve properties very unique to each despite falling in the same general class or category. Next you'll be telling me that you're fine with a carpenter using nails when they meant screws.

Nick Keiser / March 14, 2009 2:38 AM

And yes, I also get the bit about artistic license, and how "carnivore" could be used for emphasis here, but following it with a description of her body "absolutely [craving] meat" negates that usage. After all, a hungry carnivore wouldn't ever crave any foodstuff but meat!

Sam / March 14, 2009 11:18 AM

Interesting thoughts. I love Chicago Diner!!!

peanut / March 14, 2009 7:43 PM

just out of curiosity...is this "strawberry fields bakery" related to the urbana grocery of the same name?

Jill Jaracz / March 16, 2009 2:37 PM

Apologies to Nick Keiser for not being sufficiently distinct in my description of my eating habits. From what my Random House dictionary says, a carnivore is "any chiefly flesh-eating mammal of the order Carnivora, comprising the dogs, cats, bears, seals, weasels, etc." Although you might think I'm a weasel for using that word, technically I'm not, so omnivore would be correct. I'm sorry to have offended you and will attempt to be more accurate in the future. I also hope that those who were as ignorant as I was have also learned from this error.

Peanut, I don't know if the Strawberry Fields Bakery is connected to the market in Urbana. Perhaps Mercy for Animals could help you (this was their Valentine's party/fundraiser that I went to).

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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