My wife and I became vegetarian close to twenty-five years ago. We were living in Alpharetta, Ga. at the time. We were never big meat eaters, though I loved my hamburgers, and good Italian sausage which at the time, this was in the early 1990’s, was hard to find in Georgia, the Italian sausage not the burgers. Anyway, for dinner we generally ate chicken, turkey cutlets, fish and pasta. One day, my wife, Dorothy made the big announcement, “I’m not cooking meat anymore.” I not sure what reaction she expected, but I said okay, since the chicken, turkey and fish dishes were becoming less and less anyway. Dorothy gave up meat and fish completely, while I hung on to eating hamburgers, chicken burgers and tuna sandwiches for lunch. It wasn’t long before meat burgers of any sort were gone, though I clung on to eating fish on and off for a period of time.
These days, and its been twenty years or so, I don’t eat meat or fish. I’m vegetarian. Dorothy has moved on even further becoming vegan. We do it for two reasons, the cruelty, the utter unnecessary killing of animals, and also for our health. Red meat is a killer. Processed meats are a killer. Even if you eat meat, you should never eat processed meats (bacon, corned beef, ham, hot dogs, beef jerky, salami, sausage, and others.
Before I go any further, I want to say that I am not going to preach or try to convert (maybe a little bit on the latter; I am just telling my story and how easy it is these days to eat vegetarian. You can eat excellent, tasty, and healthy foods without animals having to die.
When we first became vegetarians, the choices were much more limited. Maybe there was one or two companies that made veggie burgers. Honestly, they were okay, but not great. One early experience we had was with vegetarian meatballs. As I mentioned earlier, we were living in Alpharetta, Ga. at the time and we were eating pasta a few times a week; primavera and with a red non-meat sauce. I am of Italian decent and grew up with the tradition that when you had pasta with red sauce, there were meatballs. Well, we found a company somewhere, I don’t remember where, that made non-meat meatballs. We mailed away for a box. It turned out to be a powdery mix where you had to add water, and shape the ingredients into little balls and then cook them. They were terrible! Bland is being kind. That was the end of the meatball experiment. At least for a while.
Today there are many, many choices like Gardein, a company that makes a wide variety of frozen vegetarian products including meatless meatballs, turkey and chicken cutlets. Gardein has become our go to product for many items. Dr, Prager’s, Field Roast, Tofurky are a few other good brands. Like with any food, you have shop and find what you like best. Today, all these products and more, are found in just about any local supermarket. You don’t have to mail away for anything.
Portobello Mushroom with Tuscan Kale and Sweet Potato
My wife likes to find vegetarian recipes that are not too hard to prepare, and most importantly are delicious. Her most recent examples included portobello mushrooms, one of which is pictured above.
Many people are under the assumption that if you are vegetarian all you eat is salads and tofu. Most good restaurants can and will cater to a vegetarian lifestyle, there are still a few places that sadly do not, and they help perpetuate the notion that its salad or nothing.
If there are any vegetarians out there reading this, I would like to hear from you. Why did you switch? What favorites do you have?