Thursday, June 30, 2011

On being "vegetarian"...

Hello :) I thought I'd just write a snippet on why I'm actually vegetarian since I get asked this quite a bit.

I stopped eating meat a few years ago. I'm not sure exactly what spurred it on (my vegetarian friend insists it was her influence- and to a certain extent she's probably right) but to be honest meat no longer appealed to me and I decided it would be "fun" (yes, fun) to experiment with other foods and alternatives to meat as well as cooking with new ingredients. Being interested in all things health & nutrition I wanted to stop eating meat, but make sure I was still getting the right amount of protein/iron.

I think the wrong way to become vegetarian is to eat whatever your parents cook and take out the meat, hence you're not getting an adequate amount of protein/iron/vitamin B12 etc. So I made sure if my mother was making a chicken stirfry I'd cook some tofu and have some of the veges.

Although when I stopped eating meat, I started doing a lot more of the cooking so my family wouldn't be eating meat most nights of the week anyway. In the beginning I started taking iron tablets except my energy levels were fine and I wasn't feeling overly tired or anything so I stopped taking them because there didn't seem a point.

At the moment I don't miss meat at all and love using different grains in my cooking to obtain an adequate amount of nutrients. Today after eating lunch at Iku Wholefoods in the city I was inspired my millet & sweet potato balls I ate, so I decided to experiment and make them myself. I've bookmarked a recipe for "breakfast polenta" I can't wait to try and also have a recipe for red quinoa salad which looks delicious. I just get excited over grains!

My only problem with saying I'm "vegetarian" is the labelling. Who knows, one day I might start eating meat again. And I probably will. But right now I'm happy where I am. I love learning about food, reading about nutrition and cooking for others.

Are you vegetarian? If so, why? I'm curious!

Hannah x


  1. That's so great that you're still making sure you get all the nutrients you need, despite not eating meat. That's where so many vegetarians go wrong - yes, being vegetarian is healthy, but not if it means missing out on huge amounts of protein and iron! One of my best friends is vego but seriously anaemic.

    I'm not vegetarian by any means, but I've noticed that over the past few years, I've been eating less and less red meat. I eat fish and chicken but I just cannot stomach more than a few bites of steak. I've also grown to love vego meals. There is so much potential in vegetarian food, as we both proved the other day with our yummy vegetarian lasagnas :) xxx

  2. I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons, but over the past couple of years I've really started to appreciate the health side of it as well. I hate it when people ask me what I eat if I don't eat meat - there's a whole world of vegetarian foods out there that they've probably never heard of!

  3. Jane- I agree with you completely- it's so sad to see some people (usually female teenagers) becoming vegetarian and then having a restricted diet which is missing essential nutrients. Thats so great you love vego meals! :)

    Jennifer- I know, right! I forgot to mention I too believe in the ethical reasoning, it just wasn't my initial reason to be honest. :)

  4. I stopped eating meat for ethical reasons and reading up about it on the internet and some books. I have just started eating some seafood again though so this is the only meat i'll eat, I still can't manage to eat fish off the bone though if that makes sense haha.
    My biggest annoyance is people commenting that i can't eat seafood because i'm 'vegetarian' when i never tell people i'm vegetarian i usually just say i don't eat most meat.
    I love the variety of other foods that i may not have tried if i ate meat because its so easy to choose something you like and know will taste good where as i have to sort through all the dishes at a restaurant to find something without meat! Haha.

  5. I was a vegetarian before I fell pregnant. But I started to really crave meat! So I eat a really good quality meat, maybe 2 times a week. I also take iron supps, for the baby. I have to the bub zapps all my iron lol!!

    I never really started for ethical reason, it was just a health choice mostly.

    Mine and my husbands family are european, so they eat a lot of meat. I hate this over consumption of meat!! It turned both of us off eating it. And we were very happy having vegetarian, vegan meals, sometimes with a little fish especially when eating sushi!

    But I hate using labels for anything. I say eat what you want and be happy, just try to make the right choices. Ethical food is the way to go :)

  6. Jorji- I've actually eaten seafood in the past a few times because I felt comfortable with the idea and it is hard to explain to people! The variety is great- I do feel like I'm eating/trying a lot more new ingredients now! :)

    Leah- I agree! I don't believe people should all together stop eating meat but there is definitely an over consumption! There do seem to be some great campaigns out such as 'meatless monday' which encourage people to cook with alternatives. And I'm all for ethical food...local produce, fair trade, everything! :)

  7. I first became vegetarian many, many years ago and have been at different ranges of strictness over time. Eating vegetarian and vegan food is where intuitive eating has led me. My body responds well to it and my mind is always excited and open to the endless possibilities of tastes and textures.
    I'm never bored with not eating meat and if I do (which I probably have once or twice over the past year) it just doesn't excite me.

  8. Great post - you made some v important notes (ie. replacing your protein/iron source)!
    Heidi xo

  9. Sarah- Totally agree with you- meat at the moment really doesn't excite me either, and there seem to be endless grains/legumes I'm still yet to try!! :)

    Heidi- thanks, it is important! :)